Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Off-Season Mishmash

Updated December 23, 2007

All I Want for Christmas is Andy Roddick




. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Updated December 19, 2007

With the off-season comes lots of charity work and more hilarious player impersonations from Andy during exos. Check out these latest additions made to YouTube:

Andy impersonates Serena Williams


Andy impersonates Rafael Nadal


The YouTube user uploaded many other videos of Andy's impersonations including Boris Becker, Andre Agassi, Pete Sampras, Maria Sharapova, and John McEnroe. Really funny collection.

Robby Ginepri got even with Andy, though, and did his own (pretty good) impersonation of Andy! Check it out here.

Just in Time for the Holidays: Andy's Fragrance Hits the Stores


Andy signed a fragrance deal with Parlux such a long time ago that I was beginning to think his scent had been permanently shelved. But it turns out that it was released, just with very little fanfare. I don't recall ever seeing a press release about it.

SMELLS LIKE TEAM RODDICK. Sorry, no scratch and sniff available on computer screens. (right-click for larger image)


The scent contains such masculine aromas as Frozen Bergamot, White Birch, Blue Cypress, Frosted Nutmeg, and Blonde Woods. I have to ask, what the heck is a blonde woods? I Googled "blonde woods" and all I got was Elle Woods from "Legally Blonde." So what is Andy saying about himself with this? That's he's legally blonde? Hahaha. Also, do Andy's pheromones really smell like Frosted Nutmeg?, because that really gets me into the winter holiday mood, ho-ho-ho. Jingle my bells, Andy.

Beware, Hecklers: Roddick Will Make You Pay


One of the funnier aspects of Andy's appearances at exos (besides his impersonations of other players) is how he engages the crowd so well, in particular, how he calls out hecklers and makes them pay for their insolence. Muahaha.

From the Omaha World Herald: Roddick rocks the night.
Stop everything, Andy Roddick said. Hold on.

He called the heckler, an 18 year old wearing a self-designed T-shirt that declared love for Roddick, down from the crowd. He walked to the microphone.

Did you all hear what he said, Roddick asked the crowd of about 6,000 at the Qwest Center: "He said, Andy, you wuss."

So, in the middle of Roddick's singles exhibition match, he invited the kid to grab a racquet. Take position opposite the net. Get ready.

Then Roddick hit a serve, 144 mph, directly at the kid, who ran for cover upon contact.

The crowd roared.

"That's about as tough as a tennis player can feel - ever," Roddick said.

In his first-ever professional performance in the town where he was born, Roddick mixed world-class tennis with the charisma that makes him not just a racquet master, but a celebrity.

He came out of the locker room wearing a Nebraska football helmet, much to the approval of Tom Osborne. He ran the option with Eric Crouch, assigning the Heisman winner the I-back role. He consistently bantered with the crowd and fired balls into the cheap seats. And, of course, he displayed overwhelming power and deft touch.

[. . .]

The exhibition, Rock-n-Racquets, came to Omaha for the first time. Roddick started it in 2002 with Andre Agassi. Agassi has since retired, so Roddick called on Williams, owner of eight Grand Slam titles and an Olympic gold medal.

The idea: develop tennis interest in places like Omaha that rarely see the sport up close, said Williams, who'd never been to Nebraska. The idea worked, mostly because of Roddick.

"He's been really entertaining," said Dena Noe, a tennis novice from Lincoln. "I didn't expect that. He's got a great personality - and a really odd serve. I think they're having a lot of fun together."

ATTENTION FANS! Andy's player impersonations are great but what I really, really, really would love to see is him do next is Novak Djokovic. All spring and summer long Djokovic was making a name for himself as the ATP Class Clown doing hilarious impressions of various players, including Andy. I would very much like to see Andy return the favor. So to any of you who plan to attend any future exos where Andy is playing, take your phone camera, and demand that he do a Novak Djokovic impersonation. It's guaranteed to be a crowd pleaser. Thanks much.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Updated December 17, 2007

Roddick Pinch-Hits for Justin Gimelstob Charity Event


The Star-Ledger, NJ. Roddick pinch-hits to help charity:
Tennis and snow don't often go together, but yesterday's sloppy storm created quite a treat for tennis fans at Justin Gimelstob's charity exhibition in Chatham.

When the storm grounded Murphy Jensen's flight from Los Angeles into Newark yesterday, Gimelstob found a pretty decent replacement. He just called Andy Roddick.

Fresh off his Davis Cup victory less than two weeks ago, the No. 6 player in the world pulled on his shorts and filled in quite adequately for the absent Jensen, adding some real flair to an event that already featured John and Patrick McEnroe, as well as Gimelstob and Luke Jensen.

Roddick, who is good friends with Gimelstob, came to New York to chill out for a few days, "to disappear," as he put it, and was actually hitting with Gimelstob on Wednesday at Centercourt.

It was a total surprise to the fans who crammed into the Centercourt club in Chatham, already content to see the McEnroe's and Gimelstob and help raise money for the Justin Gimelstob Children's fund for children with cancer and blood disorders.

"It's amazing that he would come here at a moment's notice like this," a beaming Gimelstob said. "I know I'm going to owe him a kidney or something now. But I hope people appreciate how cool this is, to have two huge champions like him and John here at the event, support tennis in New Jersey and doing their part for the charity."

The Star-Ledger, NJ. Tennis stars serve up fun:
Kevin Wolfer considered his $13,000 winning bid a bargain.

After all, not everyone gets to be Andy Roddick's guest for the duration of the U.S. Open.

"I go to the Open all the time," said Wolfer, the Cresskill resident who won the chance at Thursday night's tennis exhibition for the Justin Gimelstob Children's Fund. "I try to take my vacation during the Open. It was a good deal and it's for a great cause."

Gimelstob, of New Vernon, John and Patrick McEnroe and Luke Jensen took part in the exhibition at the Center Court Racquet Club in Chatham. The special guest of the evening? Roddick.

The presence of the top-ranked American men's player left the girls swooning.

"It is so exciting," said 14-year-old Katie Goepel of Chatham. "My sister and I were jumping up and down a few hours ago when we found out Andy would be here. He's good-looking and really funny. He's got a good sense of humor. Andy's an amazing player with an amazing serve."

Yulia Khaline of Millburn couldn't believe Roddick would be playing at Center Court.

"We had no idea," Khaline said. "We were surprised. Everyone in the whole world knows who he is."

Melissa Mann, another teen-ager from Millburn, said the news about Roddick was leaked by Jason Magnes, one of the state's top boys players. Roddick practiced with Gimelstob on Wednesday at Center Court. It was then that Gimelstob persuaded him to come back.

"It's amazing he's here," Mann said. "He's such a force on the tennis court."

Roddick, who played Gimelstob in his last U.S. Open in September, was paired with Davis Cup captain Pat McEnroe in the night's first match. They played Jensen and Gimelstob in a match Roddick referred to as "Champs vs. Chumps."

It wasn't long before Roddick teased Gimelstob, now retired. "You look like you put on some weight in your legs since you stopped playing," Roddick said.

Related article:
• "For some players, December is our time to give back" [Justin Gimelstob blog, SI.com]

There is a streaming video of highlights from the event here. If you have problems with buffering, you can download the flash video here (thanks to Raina).

Photos from the event (click on thumbnail for larger pic).




. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Finally, A Broddick Sighting


The celebrity gossip blog JustJared.com has published several nice photos of Andy and Brooklyn holding hands while walking around New York City's Union Square. They make a nice looking couple. My only complaint is that ripped jeans have not been in vogue since the early 90s so I'm hoping Brooklyn's fashion sense will rub off on Andy and those awful jeans will disappear from his wardrobe.



Brooklyn Video
I found this video profile of Brooklyn where she talks about herself, how she likes living in New York City, and her favorite band is the same as Andy's: The Dave Matthews Band.

Why was Andy in New York Anyway?
The NYPost says:
WE HEAR: That after he helped the US win the Davis Cup for the first time in 12 years, Andy Roddick flew to New York for a routine checkup of his fast feet with Dr. Josh Dines and Dr. Rock Positano of the Hospital for Special Surgery.

A lot of fans seem to have already formed an opinion about Ms. Decker. Here's mine: there are only two things that concern me, One. Does she make him happy? Going by just the few photos I have seen of them together the answer appears to be yes. So far so good. Two. Does she inspire him? In other words, will Decker be one of those suck-the-life-energy-out-of-him type of parasitic trophy girlfriends or will she inspire him to be the best that he can be, both as an athlete and as a human being? Judging by his recent results on the court, and his relaxed attitude and behavior, I am inclined to believe that she has had a positive influence on him. Anything else about Andy's girlfriends I could not care less about. I don't care what she looks like, how old she is, if she's a model or a former frumpy "Survivor" contestant, or whether their relationship will "last", none of these things matter to me as a fan of Andy Roddick. I only want to see him happy and to succeed in his dreams. Should Andy win another slam on her watch, I will be the first to demand that Brooklyn Decker be cloned.

If the Tennis Thing Doesn't Work Out, There's Always "Dancing with the Stars"


It's the tennis off-season so that means nothing but useless celebrity gossip, tidbits, and other fun stuff to talk about, such as the idea of Andy appearing on "Dancing with the Stars". As reported by Sign on San Diego, Cheryl Burke, who tangoed to a title with Emmitt Smith in 2006, gives us five other sports personalities she'd love to partner with on future “Dancing With The Stars” seasons and Andy Roddick was one them. Cheryl says, "I've read a few quotes from him in the media and he seems to have the sense of humor that would make him ideal for the show."

Maybe she also heard Bob Bryan say that Andy showed off some "Jackson Five moves" when they recently celebrated their Davis Cup win.

And You Thought You Were Obsessed


Foals singer Yannis Philippakis has a huge man-crush on Andy. In almost every interview I've seen on this guy and his band, Roddick is always mentioned. A sampling:

From the Telegraph, UK:
One of the most bizarre of these obsessions is former World No 1 tennis player Andy Roddick. "He's not the most talented tennis player ever," Philippakis explains, "but the idea of psychological discipline and no Plan B - I like that. It's the pathos, too. There's a kind of tragic-hero quality. He's like someone out of The Great Gatsby."

From southscene.net:
So what would he be doing if a burgeoning music career hadn’t taken him in its grip?
Yannis: "Maybe playing tennis. I used to be really good actually. I have a thing for Andy Roddick, I think he’s f**king awesome."

From Spin magazine:
Fun Fact: Singer Yannis Philippakis is a tennis fanatic and American Grand Slam pro Andy Roddick is his favorite player. The lyrics for "The French Open" are based on Roddick's advert with Lacoste. [You can watch a live version of this song on YouTube here.]

The Foals. (photo from the BBC)


I think it's great that Andy inspires so many creative people (another fun fact: did you know that Boyd Tinsley's song "The Ghosts of Wimbledon" was also inspired by Andy?) Although, I'm surprised that somebody would sing a song called "The French Open" in honor of Andy. Why not use a more appropriate title, such as "No Plan B"?


Andy Has a Gay Moment (Without Realizing It)


Cover your eyes, chillen!!!!!!

While we're on the juicy tidbits subject, I guess now is as good a time as any to point you all to this bizarre photo of a fan getting a tad too close to Andy. It was taken back in 2005 after his loss at the US Open. It's clear that Andy was not in on the joke ("He had no idea I was that close to licking his face," says brazen fan Nate) which makes it even funnier. I'm surprised nobody saw this photo until recently. If he hasn't already, I'm sure that Nate will be hailed as a national hero in gay tennis circles. I'm also pretty sure that should Andy see this photo he will sh*t a brick or two. Or three.



GayWired has a profile this month's "World's Sexiest Athlete: Andy Roddick" here.

OutSports names it's Top Ten Sexiest Tennis Players and Andy falls in at No. 9:
Andy Roddick has an on-court attitude that leaves something to be desired. His overplayed machismo can induce vomiting, but fortunately the Top Ten Hotties List doesn’t have a gag reflex. The American is spoiled and whiny in defeat, pompous and arrogant in victory. In fact, one might say that Andy is a big Roddick. We complain about it during tournaments, but now is the time to come out of the closet and confess our crush on the man with one of the most punishing serves in tennis. After all, who doesn’t love a bad boy? Roddick struts around the baseline with his muscular chest poking out; he stares intensely while teasingly tugging at his crotch; and he pounds ace after ace after ace until we beg him to stop. Andy’s all-American good looks and self-satisfied grin are just as lethal.

I don't mean to nitpick with OutSports but their comment, "spoiled and whiny in defeat, pompous and arrogant in victory" couldn't be more off-base. I challenge them to show us a recent interview from Roddick that clearly demonstrates such characteristics. I'm not saying that Andy's a perfect little angel (don't make me laugh) but "spoiled and whiny in defeat"? Since when? It just goes to show that some people's perception of a media image can't be further from the truth.

By the way, No. 1 on their hottie list was Novak Djokovic. If OutSports needs to see what pompous and arrogant really looks like check out this hilarious interview of Novak from 2006.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Davis Cup: Band of Brothers

Updated December 4, 2007

Davis Cup Trophy Presentation




. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Updated December 2, 2007

1st Singles: Roddick def Tursunov 6-4 6-4 6-2
2nd Singles: Blake def Youzhny 6-3 7-6(4) 6-7(3) 7-6(3)
Doubles: Bryans def Andreev/Davydenko 7-6(4) 6-4 6-2
1st Reverse Singles: Andreev def B. Bryan 6-3 7-6(4)
2nd Reverse Singles: Blake def Tursunov 1-6 6-3 7-5

USA: 2007 Davis Cup Champions!

"We've been the ultimate team, and it's just been a blast and it's been an honor to be a part of that." — Andy Roddick

We are the champions! Is anyone else feeling hungover (besides Andy, who was trying very hard to look and act normal and keep a straight face throughout today's dead rubber matches, hence the spaced out look on his face. Mardy Fish was also feeling the effects of a long night, once falling asleep on John Roddick's shoulder and then at another point he stole Andy's watch to play with.)

Video of championship point, with team celebration, and on court interviews:


It was mentioned to me that SkySports did not broadcast the part where Andy and James were hugging their moms in the stands, so I made a .mov file of it which you can download here.

DOWNLOAD highlights from Day 2 doubles here (video courtesy of claire. Thanks, claire!).

Here's a YouTube video of the beginning of the player's press conference yesterday after the Bryans won. Laughing and soaking wet with beer and champagne, you can hear Andy yelling at the press "Don't ask me any questions!"

The video came from a cool blog hosted by Willamette Week about one person's experience at Davis Cup. Lots of videos and original photos were posted. It's a funny read, so check it out.

Speaking of blogs, fellow tennishead and Roddick fan Craig Hickman attended the Davis Cup final in Portland and was fortunate enough to have tracked down the DC team at McFadden's where he met the friendly, happy players and got several photos of them. Click here.

Here are some more animated .gifs that I made to celebrate the USA win.

Mardy hugs AndyAndy hugging Bob Bryan

Click on the links to view the other gifs:

Bryan brothers celebration
Andy and James hug their moms
USA team with flag
Group celebration

More updates later. We can make this DC win a week-long celebration!

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

1st Singles: Roddick def Tursunov 6-4 6-4 6-2
2nd Singles: Blake def Youzhny 6-3 7-6(4) 6-7(3) 7-6(3)



DOWNLOAD highlights from the matches here (video courtesy of claire).

Here are two more videos from the first singles match. The first video is the last point of Andy's match with Tursunov. Andy later said that it was one of the coolest moments in his life when the crowd gave him a standing ovation. The second video is part of Andy's on-court interview afterwards.

Somebody at Versus/Tennis Channel has a sense of humor: they used Andy's photoshopped photo from Men's Fitness magazine as his profile picture.


Animated .gif I made. I love how Andy was so pumped up after James' win.


. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Stuck at work/school/got no Tennis Channel? You can read all the blow-by-blow action live here at Gamewatch.

You can listen to blow-by-blow action live on the radio here at the Davis Cup website.

You can also e-mail your questions to the Davis Cup radio hosts Eli Weinstein and Chris Bowers at live@daviscup.com.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
"In terms of similarities, I think off the court we're actually pretty similar. He probably wouldn't want me to admit it, but he reads a lot. He's actually a lot smarter than he pretends to be. I'm actually a lot dumber than I pretend to be, so we're pretty close in that regard." — James Blake, on the similarities between him and Andy Roddick.

I don't know about you all but I'm so excited about this final I can barely stand it. There's so much going on in terms of news and videos that I will be updating this website in pieces throughout the day, so check back for updates.

2007 Davis Cup Final: USA vs Russia
The draw:

Friday, November 30, 2007
Singles
Andy Roddick (USA) vs Dmitry Tursunov (RUS)
James Blake (USA) vs Mikhail Youzhny (RUS)

Saturday, December 1, 2007
Doubles
Bob Bryan/Mike Bryan (USA) vs Igor Andreev/Nikolay Davydenko (RUS)

Sunday, December 2, 2007
Reverse singles
Andy Roddick (USA) vs Mikhail Youzhny (RUS)
James Blake (USA) vs Dmitry Tursunov (RUS)

Click here for US and International TV schedule of the Davis Cup.

In the U.S. on the Versus channel:
Friday, Nov. 30, 2007, 4:00pm EST to 10:00pm
Saturday, Dec. 1, 2007, 3:30pm EST to 6:30pm
Sunday, Dec. 2, 2007, 4:00pm EST to 9:00pm

Monday, November 05, 2007

Back in Action in Shanghai

Updated November 14, 2007


RR: Ferrer def Roddick 6-1 6-3
RR: Federer def Roddick 6-4 6-2
RR: Roddick def Gonzalez 6-1 6-4
RR: Roddick def Davydenko 6-3 4-6 6-2



Expected loss to a white-hot Ferrer. Too bad Andy had to end Shanghai on two bad notes but the good news is that he got at least two good matches under his belt and some good match play practice all around. Other than tweaking his back in the semifinal, he should be good to go come Davis Cup time in about a week's time. So Andy, rest up, relax with your friends and family, and eat lots of healthy turkey on Thanksgiving Day and we'll see you on Nov. 30.

Another day, another loss to Federer. Roger was playing very well (as he always does against Roddick. Something about Andy brings out the best in Roger) and the player formerly known as Andy Roddick barely showed up. Gone were the penetrating forehands, backhands, and everything in between. Roddick claiming earlier that he would be able to "swing freely" during this match never materialized. This song and dance is getting old and boring.

The best part about last night's match was Andy annihilating his racket in frustration. I hope that's not the injured heel he busted it on. RIP, busted Babolat No. 3,876. Download the video here (thanks again to claire)

Andy plays David Ferrer next in the semifinals. David Ferrer beat Andy in their last meeting in Cincinnati. David Ferrer is high on confidence and is playing out of his skin this fall season. David Ferrer returns well against big servers and can run down any ball. David Ferrer will be Andy's next nightmare match. Good luck to Andy. I hope he can find a way to win.

"Some days you have good days where everything feels pretty clean, and this was one of those. I wanted to take his time away. I didn't want to let him set up and try to hit those big shots. I thought I did that pretty well." — Andy Roddick, on his strategy for Fernando Gonzalez.

Download highlights of the Roddick-Gonzalez match here (video courtesy of claire. Thanks, claire!) and also here.

You can watch Andy's full post-match interview here. The official ATP interview with Andy after he defeated Gonzalez can be viewed here. More match highlights from sina.com here.

You can view other match highlights and player interviews over at tennis.com here. If you can't view the videos on their website here's Andy's interview after defeating Davydenko and Roddick-Davydenko highlights on YouTube.

Glory hallelujah, the ATP finally figured out that many fans such as myself were unable to view their "free" videos on their Masters Series TV website because they did not support Mac platform. They have recently started uploading their free content onto YouTube. Thank you, thank you, ATP, you finally did something right. I would apologize for all of the profane hate mail I sent due to their shortsightedness but I guess it all worked out in the end.

Now I'd like to see the ATP take the next step and start uploading complete match highlights from every tournament, not just the Masters Cup. YouTube can provide excellent, global exposure for a sport that desperately needs as much exposure as it can get, especially in the United States. Honestly, does it really help grow the sport at all if the Copyright Police are wasting their time going after the fans who are only trying to share the excitement of this great sport by uploading great shots, plays, and moments in tennis history? Where is the logic in that? The ATP should embrace this new media instead of trying to fight it. It can only help the sport.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Posted November 12, 2007


RR: Roddick def Davydenko 6-3 4-6 6-2

"As [for] smashing racquets, for as many times as it's helped me, it's hurt me that many times also. It's just part of my personality. I've always been pretty expressive and emotional on the court. Sometimes it helps, sometimes not so much." — Andy Roddick


Here's a video of Andy's entire post-match interview. Thanks to claire for the find. Download the Roddick-Davydenko highlights here.

The two winners of the Red Group meet Wednesday night: Roddick vs Gonzalez. Federer will play Davydenko in the loser's RR. Let me repeat that: Federer in the loser's round robin. Can you believe that?

Speaking of Fernando' Gonzalez's shock win over Federer today, I feel that this hurts Andy's chances of beating Federer more than it helps him. For one thing, Roger was very angry about his loss today (his first RR loss at TMC ever) and all I can say is, Thank goodness he's meeting Davydenko next and not Andy. I don't want Andy to be on the receiving end of Roger's wrath. I'm not particularly anxious to see a repeat of their Australian Open semifinal match. With Federer being backed into a corner he now has to beat either Davydenko or Roddick to make the semifinals. Andy looked good in his match with Davydenko yesterday but obviously, after so many weeks off, he's still got the rust to dust off.


You can download highlights of the Federer-Gonzalez match here. There is also a short post-match video interview with Andy here.

Yes, He's Alive and He's in Shanghai


Tennis.com reports that Andy Roddick never thought for one second that he would not attend Shanghai. That's great Andy, but when people were e-mailing you asking why you weren't going then why didn't you release a short statement saying so? It would have spared your fans some unnecessary anxiety (speaking for myself, of course).
American Andy Roddick, trapped in a high mandarin collared shirt and looking uncomfortably like a turtle, said it’s "unfortunate" that tennis has been receiving so many unfavorable headlines. Roddick, who said he’s never been approached by anyone to fix a match, also scoffed at the notion of a player being poisoned: "I'm not scared to eat. All it takes is one person saying one thing to make a story."

Roddick himself has had a persistent rumor swirling around him in recent weeks, regarding whether he would turn up to play in Shanghai. Following the U.S. victory over Sweden in the Davis Cup semifinal in September, Roddick has spent much of his time rehabbing from heel bursitis and it was whispered that he would skip the trip to China to save his energy for the Nov. 30-Dec. 2 Davis Cup final against Russia in Portland, Ore.

Not so, according to Roddick. The top dog of American tennis said he never gave thought to not making the journey to Shanghai.

"I got a couple of emails about it, but it was always my intention to play here," Roddick said. “Playing here was probably one of the reasons along with Davis Cup why I wasn’t able to go to Paris [for the Masters event there earlier this month). Davis Cup is probably my top priority this year, but you’re not going to get in any better workout for Davis Cup than playing against this field.

"And, you know, it's such an honor, it’s an event unto itself here, so I was always coming."


There are videos available from the Masters Cup ceremony here (Andy appears 7:40) and here (Andy appears at 4:00).



Roddick Demands Hat on His Warrior


From People's Daily Online:
Capturing the confidence in Roger Federer's smile required some reflection, while Novak Djokovic's short hair demanded finesse. But Andy Roddick was the only one who requested a do-over — at least when it came to his trademark baseball cap.

All the players were given pictures of their statues before the tournament and were asked to offer suggestions. Roddick was the only one with a quibble. He apparently felt his baseball cap was a part of his public image and that it belonged on his terracotta. Sculptor Shen Xiaonan said the cap was not initially sculpted on his head because they thought it would obscure the statue's face.

"Roddick made the change. Originally it was without a baseball cap because it cast a shadow on the face," Shen said of Roddick's statue.

Here's another video about Novak Djokovic. Towards the end they show him joking with Andy about his habit of bouncing the ball dozens of times. Funny guys.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Posted November 5, 2007

Missing in Action



Have You Seen This Man?


Matthew Cronin of Fox Sports recently spoke with Mike Bryan and Mike let it slip that Andy may or may not be going to Shanghai. Fans revolt in the streets. Roddick better hire a bodyguard if he's serious about not going. Sometimes I can't tell whether he's teasing, joking, or just being a blockhead.
Like close friends Andy Roddick and James Blake, it's the Davis Cup that's on the Bryans' minds. The U.S. hasn't won a title since 1995, and when the squad faces Russia in Portland, it will be the first time the Americans have played a home final since 1992. Roddick is so focused on the tie that he skipped Paris this week and may not show up in Shanghai, which he has already qualified for (he'll incur a huge fine if he doesn't appear). Roddick isn't injured, but is at home training in Austin, Texas.

Mike Bryan says that Roddick is "50-50" to make the trip to China.

"I know that a lot of people want him to play — his sponsors do and so does the tour and fans, but he's not sure yet," said Mike, who spoke to Roddick a few days ago. "He doesn't care if he finishes the year ranked No. 2 or No. 6. It's been his dream to win Davis Cup, and that's what he's thinking about and working toward. Maybe it would be good for him to go to Shanghai and gets some matches in and maybe get a win over Federer. The top guys — Federer, Nadal and Djokovic — have kind of distanced themselves from him this year and Andy doesn't want them to pull away any further, but Davis Cup is what's getting him going right now."

I have to wonder what Andy's thought process is if he really thinks that not playing any competitive matches before Davis Cup would help when he faces a strong Russian team full of good players who have been playing matches all season long. The Pros of playing Shanghai far outweigh any Cons. It's admirable that Andy is determined to win Davis Cup but his tunnel vision could also backfire on him. If he's skipping all of these tournaments in order to avoid injury then, ironically enough, he risks injuring himself even more after such a long layoff from competitive playing. Fabrice Santoro gave Andy a good workout in Lyon two weeks ago when Andy got bounced from the first round, but one good match isn't going to cut it.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Davis Cup: The Fab Four vs Sweden

Updated September 25, 2007

"I'm so proud to be part of this team, I'm so proud of my teammates, I wouldn't trade this team for any in the world. I love these guys." — Andy Roddick

1st Singles: Roddick def J. Johansson 7-6(4) 7-6(3) 6-3
2nd Singles: T. Johansson def Blake 6-4 6-2 3-6, 6-3
Doubles: Bryan/Bryan def Aspelin/Bjorkman 7-6(11) 6-2 6-3
1st Reverse Singles: Roddick def Bjorkman 6-2 7-6(3) 6-4
2nd Reverse Singles: Blake def Aspelin 6-1 6-3

USA 4 - Sweden 1

Last dance: USA to meet defending Davis Cup champions Russia in the final (U.S. venue to be announced soon, rumored to be Portland, Oregon). Read: Sneak preview of USA/Russia final.


The Closer


"Davis Cup Andy" has become my favorite version of Andy Roddick. It's like he's reborn during these short weekends. Gone is the slouching, the question mark stamped on his forehead, the wimpy forehand, the clumsy footwork, and the ever-present raincloud of self-doubt hanging over his head. Come Davis Cup time it's magic time – abracadabra! – the new and improved Andy Roddick that we've been hearing about finally shows up. The back is straighter, the head is held higher, and his play is more cohesive and finely tuned. His backhand, the Jimmy Connors backhand that his coaches have been tweaking and working on forever, looked stronger than ever and is looking less like a liability. His serve was ripping. His return game was actually impressive(!). A new quirk has emerged: the Roddick grunt. This version of Andy struts around in peacock mode, his feather plummage looking bright and shiny and happy. I find that I rarely worry about Davis Cup Andy because you know that the good Andy will show up here. There is also no Darth Federer lurking anywhere around these corners. In Davis Cup, the old Andy Roddick is the new Andy Roddick. Love it.

"What can we say? Death, taxes, and Andy Roddick in Davis Cup." — Tennis Channel commentator, Leif Shiras, to Davis Cup captain, Patrick McEnroe, on the three sure things in life.

DOWNLOAD Davis Cup match highlights here (video courtesy of claire. Thanks, claire!)

Here are some animated .gifs I made to celebrate Andy clinching the tie. Feel free to use.


"We played the world's best national team, and they proved that." — Sweden Davis Cup captain Mats Wilander.

Andy's reverse singles opponent Jonas Bjorkman had some interesting things to say about Andy's evolving game:
Q. It wasn't your return that failed today; it was very good.

JONAS BJORKMAN: Yeah, I think everyone speaks about Andy's serve, and obviously it is really, really good, but I think sometimes they don't give him enough credit on making a lot of returns himself. He definitely put the ball in play a lot. I can say, if I can find the right way, sometimes it doesn't look that he moves well, but he does. Sort of the way he moves, long steps, it looks maybe sometimes not so smooth, but he's always there.

Like I said, everyone speaks about his serve, but I think sometimes they forget about the variety of his game. He actually has good movement back from the baseline and also he makes a lot of returns.

Q. You hadn't played him in three years. Would you say that variety is much greater now than the last time you played?

JONAS BJORKMAN: I think he always has been a great mover because, you know, with his game, he's always been a great fighter. I think that's probably been the same. I think his backhand is much better now. I would say when I played him three years ago, you felt that if you came in on a good approach, it was really tough for him to make a pass. I think now he's much more confident to hit it.

I think what might be the difference is that he returns better. He definitely puts a lot of balls back. Maybe he don't get enough credit because purely everyone looks at his serve.

Q. I don't know if you're aware of this, but he's now 9-0 in Davis Cup matches where he had a chance to clinch the tie.

JONAS BJORKMAN: Good for him.

"This is my number one priority for the rest of the year, and I'll be discussing my tournament schedule with Jimmy (Connors, his coach) and Patrick (McEnroe, the USA captain) to make sure I look after my body and it's right where it needs to be for the final." — Andy Roddick, getting his priorities straight.

James Blake, the King of Dead Rubbers.


There was a news headline I read a while back on James Blake that perfectly encapsulated his career: "The only thing consistent about James Blake is his inconsistency." In Davis Cup away ties, that could also read as, "The only thing reliable about James Blake is his unreliability." He is a top ten player, our No. 2 player behind Roddick, but his dismal record doesn't reflect it.

We all know Mr. Flake has issues about dealing with pressure and whatnot but I'm not going to go off on him like I usually do. For one thing, many of the players, including Blake, were suffering from flu-like symptoms just days/hours before the matches were to begin. As for Patrick McEnroe saying with a straight face during an interview that James "keeps improving" I wouldn't expect anything less from him. We all know that James is the team's weakest link. We know that he blew it (again). We know it, James knows it, and the team knows it. But as DC captain McEnroe has to lift his players when they're down and try to build confidence in them by showing his own confidence in them. Perhaps James will redeem himself in November. The home crowd should help him and he should also invite the J-Block along too, just for good measure.

Other Random News Stuff:


Andy takes a dive
• Andy's dive on the hardcourt vs Marcos Baghdatis at Montreal won the ATP's Mercedes-Benz Play of the Month for August. Click here to view the video of it.

SWF looking for Roddick-type dork to date
• Andy was included in a poll conducted by Yahoo! Personals where singles were asked which celebrity they would most like to date. People magazine's 2006 “Sexiest Man Alive,” George Clooney, received 20 percent of the single female vote. People’s 2005 “Sexiest Man Alive” Matthew McConaughey was not far behind on the list with 13 percent of the vote. Also included on the list: Andy Roddick (5 percent), Derek Jeter (4 percent), and Ricky Martin (3 percent).

Who wrote the music for the Roddick-Lexus commercial?
• I received an e-mail from one Jason Johnson claiming that it was he who wrote the jingle music for Roddick's Lexus commercial "The Big Backup." The .mp3 of that tune can be downloaded for free from his website www.jasonjohnson.com.

The physics of Roddick's serve
• Another e-mail came to me from the online editor of Popular Mechanics who wanted to let me know about an article that has just gone live on their website entitled, "Tennis Physics: Anatomy of a Serve". They break down Andy's serve step by step. Fascinating stuff.

Jimmy Connors in Men's Vogue
Roger Federer is not the only tennis god in vogue. An e-mail from another editor has alerted me to an interview with Jimmy Connors in the September issue of Men's Vogue where naturally they discuss Andy. Says Connors, “He’s a tremendous learner. He’s willing to try things, he’s willing to take things right away and put them in a match situation and do it when it counts. That’s what it always took for me to be the best...It comes down to him and his desire and what it takes to go out there and actually win it. And he’s got it-he’s proven that. He’s got to believe in it and just that little bit more to go out and say ‘Look, I’ve done all the work, I’ve done the preparation.’ He has the talent and the ability to be the best.”

Connors on Roddick's treatment in the press:
"He lost a few matches and the press got down on him, and that kind of crept into his head a little bit, and that was one of the things that led me to be a part of what he's got going, to try to clear that up. Because I've taken a little bit of a hammering myself on about six or seven occasions. And I don't think he deserved it."

Related Davis Cup articles:

• "Don't underestimate Roddick in Davis Cup" [TR.net]
It's easy to see Andy Roddick as someone who was lucky to hit his peak just after the Sampras era and just before the Federer era, a sort of fortuitous interregnum. But when the history of his career comes to be written, his outstanding Davis Cup record ought to merit a shower of praise, and he added to his impressive record in the team variant with a superb win over Sweden's Joachim Johansson in Gothenburg. Firing 30 aces – seven more than PimPim – testified to the serving display. Yet it was Roddick's return game that won him the match.

• "The Russians are coming...to the USA" [DavisCup.org]
Russia’s tennis players will be travelling to the United States in late November in an effort to defend its Davis Cup crown and the Americans will be looking to avenge the heartbreaking defeat they suffered in the semifinals to Russia last year in Moscow

• "US finds itself as favorite in Davis Cup final" [FoxSports.com]
ANDY RODDICK: "It's something we as a team have been dreaming of for a while, having a home final. I think we're all just really excited about the opportunity. I always said, as a kid, I had four dreams that I thought were just completely out of reach that would never be attainable. One was to win the U.S. Open, one was to be No. 1, one was to win Wimbledon, and one was to win the Davis Cup. It's big dreams for a kid, and I don't think I ever thought I'd ever be in the vicinity of that. Now, selfishly, we're here. Chance to get three out of four, it's exciting. It's definitely right up there with anything that I've been able to do."

• "Two down, two to go for Andy Roddick" [411mania.com]
Being the only true U.S. threat for a Grand Slam title is lonely enough, but pursuing these titles in the era of Roger Federer is likely maddening for Andy Roddick.


• "Roddick closes in on Davis Cup dream" [New York Times]
Fifteen years later, Andy Roddick will be expected to do much more than sound a horn at a Davis Cup finals in the United States.

Roddick was 9 years old when the Americans last played host to the finals, in 1992 in Fort Worth. The opponent was Switzerland and the United States assembled one of the finest lineups in history — Andre Agassi, Jim Courier, Pete Sampras and John McEnroe.

After suffering through the clang of the Swiss cow bells in the stands on the first day, Roddick and his oldest brother, Lawrence, returned on the second day with air horns and put them to liberal use. The Americans wound up winning, 3-1, unwittingly laying the foundation for future teams.

“That final pretty much changed my life in terms of tennis and wanting to play Davis Cup,” Roddick said later in a television interview.

• "Roddick's revelation; sends US to Davis Cup final" [ESPN]
Roddick on the 1992 US Davis Cup final vs Switzerland: "I wasn't one of these kids raised to be a tennis player at all. But just seeing something like that is pretty powerful. You know, being with the other fans in an arena like that, seeing your heroes play, hearing the anthem for the first time, it really was the first time I'd been at a sporting event which was just, you know, completely about patriotism and that whole thing. I think I fell in love with it then."

• "Roddick leads US into Cup finals" [SI.com]
Roddick is now a perfect 9-0 in clinching Davis Cup series. "I get very nervous," Roddick said. "It's tough in the morning or the night before. But it's a really good feeling when you are able to clinch."

• "Future is now for US in Davis Cup" [International Herald Tribune]
Roddick has never played the will-he-or-won't-he game. Since he joined the team in 2001, he has missed only one match for the United States, which may have affected some of his tournament results but does make him the most committed top American player since John McEnroe.

"I know we talk about it ad nauseam, but I really do love the guys that I play with," Roddick said. "They're like brothers."

• "Roddick worthy of plaudits for Davis Cup prowess" [Sportsticker]
Having watched him closely the past few days in Gothenburg, Sweden, you could see how much the Davis Cup means to Roddick - from his preparation right through his performances to the moment of celebration when he dropped to his knees having put USA into the final.

COMMENT ON THIS POST

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Updated September 21, 2007

1st Singles:
Roddick def J. Johansson
7-6(4) 7-6(3) 6-3
2nd Singles:
T. Johansson def Blake
6-4 6-2 3-6, 6-3
Doubles:
Bryan/Bryan def Aspelin/Bjorkman
7-6(11) 6-2 6-3

Is anyone else not enjoying watching these matches? Not that the quality has been bad but I find it difficult to just sit back and enjoy the spectacle when there's so much riding on the outcome. I'm breathing a little easier now that the Wonder Twins pulled through for us again today. I'm not going to enjoy watching Andy's reverse singles with ToJo at all tomorrow. I don't care that Andy destroyed him at the USO; if ToJo comes out firing the way he did vs Blake then we've got ourselves a bloody dogfight on our hands. I really don't want an exciting, classic five setter, I just want a nice, stress-free, easy win for Andy.

And it's imperative that Russia stop futzing around and win both of their reverse singles tomorrow. We want Russia to win because that means USA will host Russia on home soil (yay!). If Germany wins then they would host USA, most likely on the dreaded clay (boo!).

ESPN reports on today's doubles match and also posted an interesting stat chart about Andy's ability to clinch ties:
A starkly serious Andy Roddick followed every shot intently from the bench. During a couple of breaks in the action, he stood up and leaned over the sideline boards as if he were a hockey player about to hop over for a line switch -- an apt image in the somewhat dimly lit Scandinavium arena, where home ice for the local Frolunda Indians club lies underneath the temporary court.

"Andy said it was the most nervous he's ever been at a Davis Cup tie," Bob Bryan said. "Every time I looked over there, I could see him kind of shaking. He's a pretty high-strung guy. He probably would like to be out there serving it out himself."

Hearing this makes me nervous. I don't want Andy to get himself so riled up that he makes himself sick to his stomach, as happened last year during his DC match with Andrei Pavel of Romania.

With regards to Andy's first match with Pim-Pim and James' match with ToJo, I will let a fellow tennishead, tinamarie, who saw the match live do the talking:
1:1 is not at all what I expected. The biggest surprises for me was PimPim's level of play after such a long break (however, the match didn't really feel close) and James Blake's attitude on court...I haven't seen many of his matches, so maybe that's normal for him, but he was just so negative. He seemed extremly annoyed with anything: ballboys, fans, umpires... I guess playing a Davis Cup match abroad isn't easy and maybe he was even right about some calls from the umpires, but I would still think a top ten player can handle such a difficult situation. Cursing, even hitting a ball towards some loud Swedish fans and -more generally- a completly negative body language wasnt at all what I expected from him. For me, it was amazing to see how much body langaue can tell you about the course of the match. Right before JB broke TJ in the third set, he was bouncing a little, running from his chair to the baseline, just showing some energy. and it was somehow clear to us he would take the next games. Afterall, he is a better player than TJ. But some errors in the beginning of the 4th set and his negative attitude was back. You could literally see that he wasn't going to win this match. And I am sorry to say this - but he really wouldn't have deserved it, either. [. . .]

To complete my report though, I really have to give a lot of credit to Andy. His level of intensity and focus was amazing. Great body language, too. The crowd never really got into the match. One reason was that there hardly were any rallies; the points were unsually decided by serve. The other reason was that the match didn't seem as close as the scores might suggests. Not to take anything away from PimPim (Joachim Johansson), but I never had the feeling he could actually win. He made some great shots, but never really threatened Andy on his serve and made a lot of errors on big points. A couple of times, he had beautifully prepared a winner and then netted. Andy, on the other hand, never choked on big points and kept his great level of serve from the first to the last point of the match. Very impressive.

Great write-up, thanks tinamarie!

Related Davis Cup articles:
• "US men get the team concept" [SI.com]
• "Don't underestimate Roddick in Davis Cup" [TR.net]
• "Steve Tignor's Davis Cup preview" [Tennis.com]
• "USA's colorful history against Sweden" [Peter Bodo, ESPN]

Random Acts of Roddickness



"Andy Roddick Beat Me With A Frying Pan"

(Click image for book order info)

Woohoo, new bathroom reading. This is one of those crazy finds I came across when I wasn't even doing a search for Roddick anywhere on the web but I found it through a link of a link of a link.

Here's hoping this weekend's Davis Cup news headlines read something similarly, "USA beats Sweden with a Frying Pan."

More Randomness

• Andy's dive on the hardcourt vs Marcos Baghdatis at Montreal won the ATP's Mercedes-Benz Play of the Month for August. Click here to view the video of it.

• Andy was included in a poll conducted by Yahoo! Personals where singles were asked which male and female celebrity they would most like to date. People magazine's 2006 “Sexiest Man Alive,” George Clooney, received 20 percent of the single female vote. People’s 2005 “Sexiest Man Alive” Matthew McConaughey was not far behind on the list with 13 percent of the vote. Also included on the list: Andy Roddick (5 percent), Derek Jeter (4 percent), and Ricky Martin (3 percent).

• I received an e-mail from one Jason Johnson claiming that it was he who wrote the jingle music for Roddick's Lexus commercial "The Big Backup." The .mp3 of that tune can be downloaded for free from his website www.jasonjohnson.com.

• Another e-mail came to me from the editor of Popular Mechanics who wanted to let me know about an article that has just gone live on their website entitled, "Tennis Physics: Anatomy of a Serve". They break down Andy's serve from the ball toss to the follow through, step by step. Fasinating stuff.

Roger Federer is not the only tennis god in Vogue. An e-mail from another editor has alerted me to an interview with Jimmy Connors in the September issue of Men's Vogue where the discussion turns toward Jimmy's protege, Andy: “He’s a tremendous learner. He’s willing to try things, he’s willing to take things right away and put them in a match situation and do it when it counts. That’s what it always took for me to be the best...It comes down to him and his desire and what it takes to go out there and actually win it. And he’s got it-he’s proven that. He’s got to believe in it and just that little bit more to go out and say ‘Look, I’ve done all the work, I’ve done the preparation.’ He has the talent and the ability to be the best.”

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

US Open: The Party Slam

QF: Federer def Roddick
7-6(5) 7-6(4) 6-2
R16: Roddick def Berdych
7-6 (8-6) 2-0 ret
R32: Roddick def Johansson
6-3 6-2 6-0
R64: Roddick def Acasuso
4-6 6-1 6-2 ret
R128: Roddick def Gimelstob
7-6(6) 6-3 6-3

Roger Federer once called the Australian Open "the happy slam." So I am christening the US Open "the party slam." With all those electrifying night matches and enthusiastic, raucous New York crowds (every session has been sold out), how can it not be? How can anyone not be enjoying the spectacle?

Here We Go Again. It's Roddick vs Federer.



The silence is deafening. For the first time time since the start of this non-rivalry I'm not reading or hearing any buzz about this quarterfinal match at all. Ennui seems to have finally settled in. I have no feelings about this match whatsoever, said one bored fan. Is this what rock bottom feels like? Myself, I am comfortably numb about tonight's match.

I guess I should be happy that for once Roddick didn't lose to anybody that he shouldn't have lost to before getting to Federer. On the other hand, Andy had such little match play (two players retired on him) that it may have done him more harm than good.

Not that it matters. Expectations are about as low as they can get for this match. "Nobody expects much from me," Andy has said. "I expect more from myself." On his end, Roger has said, "I know the danger of playing Andy." Which is bad news for Roddick. Federer has never taken Andy for granted, even though their head to head is lopsided in Roger's favor. Something about Andy brings out the best in Roger whereas Roger often brings out the worst in Andy. Their matchup couldn't be worse; while Federer is spreading his wings and flying higher than anybody imagined Roddick would take a step forward and then five steps back and then run in place back to square one.

To add another problem: Roddick has already peaked during his third round match with Thomas Johansson, playing some of his best tennis I've seen from him since the Australian Open (Craig Hickman has a nice write-up of that match and the Berdych match here). Unfortunately Andy has not been consistent with those kinds of results. On the Roddick rollercoaster it usually goes: play great one day, play like crap the next.

As one who has been observing Roddick for years, here is my own unhelpful advice for Team Roddick:

• Do not go out into the match feeling relaxed. You did that at the Australian Open semis and look what happened. You are at your best when playing angry. Get angry at Roger. Be very angry with him. Be an asshole. Use the crowd. No apologies.

• You're not allowed to hit more than three backhand slices in a row.

• Do not bum rush the net, especially when you are panicking. The whole point of approaching the net is the element of surprise and your opponent is never taken off guard because you keep approaching the net like an elephant.

• Play against your instinct. Federer knows your game well and he knows what you tend to do when you're feeling confident and when you're in trouble. Be prescient and mindful. You tend to rush the net when you're in panic mode. Roger knows this. Avoid it.

• Play the point, not the score.

• Instead of hitting Federer with 140mph bombs all the time (which he can read just fine), try throwing in some 105mph loopers. I noticed Djokovic did this to Federer in Montreal and Roger couldn't read the slower serves nearly as well as the fast ones. He also can't return down the middle serves as well from the Ad court.

• Do not put pressure on yourself to either win or lose. I know how competitive you are and I know that in the back of your mind you are thinking, "Oh shit, I have to win this. I can't let Roger beat me again!" You are only setting yourself up for failure by thinking this way. Learn to quiet the voice of self-doubt. Let go all of pressure to win or lose and just enjoy the process of playing tennis. This is exactly why Roger wins so much. He has thrown all pressure off of his shoulders. He can swing freely because winning or losing is not on his agenda. You can learn to do the same.

• Good luck and have fun! You are the star. And remember: Jimmy Connors doesn't want any more broken pieces of Andy to pick up and put back together. He is running out of glue.

Related articles:
• What Roddick needs to do to finally overcome Federer [SI.com]
• To Test Federer, Roddick Must Go for Broke [NY Sun]
• Connors gives Roddick some simple advice [New York Times]
• Federer brings out the worst in Roddick [Washington Post]
• Five ways to beat Roger Federer [Time]
• Ousting Federer a long shot for Roddick [Cronin, Fox Sports]

Roddick's New Lexus Commercial


Fan review has been mixed for "The Big Backup". We don't get it, but we like it anyway because it stars Andy and it doesn't have anything to do with mojo.

The Roddick/Lexus imprinting seems to have worked, too. Said one fan, posting on MTF: "We may be watching too much US Open coverage. When Mary Jo was interviewing Andy after the match, my four year-old daughter informed me that he was the guy who drives his car backwards after the tennis ball."

On the flip side, the Lexus ad could also be interpreted as a metaphor for Roddick's career going backwards, chasing after something he can't catch.



The one thing most people want to know is: who did the music? I don't know, but I'll post the info when I find out. (edit: music was composed by Jason Johnson).

Roddick vs Gimelstob Match


Not a classic but I enjoyed this match for what it was, just two friends enjoying their last professional match together on court (plus the fact that Roddick was rockin' in all black. Very New York City chic). The tennis was high quality and the friendship between the two was obvious, with several funny moments occuring throughout (see video below of the military academy tennis team incident). Roddick wasn't feeling it and came out flat in the first set but Gimelstob was a revelation. That was the best I'd ever seen him play and I was genuinely concerned that Andy was in danger of losing the first set. Andy said he knew Justin would go "kamikaze" and he did that. Justin also had seven shirt changes, giving Sharapova and the Williams sisters a run for their fashion money.

The highlight of the match didn't even occur during the match but afterwards in their oncourt interviews:



Here is Justin's write up on his last match at the USO. I'm sure we haven't heard the last of him. A TV career for tennis' Mr. Funnyman is in the works.

Related article from The New York Times blog: "Tennis Funnyman Leaves the Open and Its Fans in Stitches."

Related article from Newsday that says very well what I thought of Andy's first round performance: "Roddick wins but shows weaknesses at US Open."
Drama may have a long shelf life, but Andy Roddick is starting to get the idea that almost can become an old story. Again last night, his still-young tennis career of spellbinding power, narrow escapes and occasionally spectacular crashes was on full display in a first-round U.S. Open victory over Justin Gimelstob that was equal parts adrenaline rush and odd passivity. . . . Roddick demonstrated his hesitance for the obvious, allowing Gimelstob to control the net and push him farther and farther to the court's edges, so that Roddick needed his bazooka serve - hitting 145 miles per hour - to pull his chestnuts out of the fire in the early going.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

On the Road to the US Open

Updated August 28, 2007

Andy Roddick is Looking for Love


Andy talks about what he looks for in a woman. Download the HQ .mp4 file here.



Andy's first round match with Justin Gimelstob is the last match of the evening, after Sharapova's. Andy and Justin played in the first round at Wimbledon this year, too (you might remember how Justin was diving all over the place!). I don't know if Justin will try diving on the hardcourts but the 2007 US Open will also mark Gimelstob's last slam appearance and I guess if he's going to go out with a bang, doing so versus a good friend like Roddick would be an appropriate send off for him. Thanks for the good times, Justin!

Tuesday's evening schedule:

ARTHUR ASHE STADIUM
7:00 PM


1. Women's Singles - 1st Rnd.
Roberta Vinci (ITA) v. Maria Sharapova (RUS)[2]

followed by

2. Men's Singles - 1st Rnd.
Justin Gimelstob (USA) v. Andy Roddick (USA)[5]

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Updated August 26, 2007

Go to Yahoo! Sports and click on the video "What's Up With Andy Roddick?" Jim Courier gives a great breakdown of Roddick's game and his current predicament.

If you missed them, you can watch Andy on Good Morning America here and his interview on ESPN's First Take here.

Andy is on the cover of Hamptons magazine this month. If you think the cover shot is hot you're going to love the photos on the inside.

USO Begins Tomorrow


The US Open begins tomorrow, Yay! I will be attending the day session so I'll get to watch Federer make mincemeat out of one of the many qualifiers he was drawn against. The New York media is in full hype mode so I'll be posting articles as I come across them. This one from USA Today is particularly good. Click on the link to read the entire article.

"Roddick hopes to reclaim Grand Slam magic in New York" [USA Today]:
There's more than a smidgeon of defiance in Andy Roddick when asked about his record on the sport's most important stages since snagging his one and only major at the U.S. Open four years ago.

"The question is asked like I don't do well in big events," Roddick says. "I still feel like I have another Slam in me, at least, and that's what I'm shooting for."

Some might call Roddick's posture denial more than defiance. No. 1 Roger Federer and No. 2 Rafael Nadal have won the last 10 Grand Slams and 13 of 15 since 2004, and Roddick and the rest of the field have had to settle for crumbs left by the ATP Tour's top two players.

But that same quality — a fierce fighting spirit — has made Roddick the most successful American male in the post-Sampras/Agassi era. And it's a characteristic that could land the 24-year-old Texan a second major in New York, if things break his way.

"I expect to play well," the fifth-ranked Roddick says. "I expect to be one of the best players in the world. I definitely didn't feel like I expected to be outside the top 20. That didn't feel right to me. It feels a lot better in this position."

"30 Seconds With Andy Roddick" [NY Times]:
Andy Roddick, who says his kitchen skills are lackluster, cooked with celebrity chefs as the guests at the Dacor Taste of Tennis charity event Thursday in Manhattan.

Roddick, the 2003 United States Open champion, is seeded fifth this year and will face a fellow American, Justin Gimelstob, in the first round.

FAVORITE TV SHOW “The Office.”

FAVORITE CHARACTER ON THE SHOW Steve Carell is amazing. It is the only show you can watch by yourself in some random city in Europe and cringe — but in a good way.

FAVORITE MOVIE “The Shawshank Redemption.”

FAVORITE FOOD A good steak.

THREE DINNER GUESTS Muhammad Ali, my mom, and I don’t know.

ONE PERSON YOU TALK TO EVERY DAY Probably not every day, but I travel with my brother and my trainer year-round. I see them every day.

IF YOU COULD HAVE A SUPERPOWER Probably flying.

BEST PART OF THE OPEN The crowd. It is the biggest show in tennis. The lights, the people, everything. It is nice to see tennis affect New York — it is a tough thing to do. We get here a week before and just get ready for it to start.

FAVORITE SPORT TO WATCH BESIDES TENNIS It changes, but Nebraska Cornhuskers football rules my life. I have gotten into the N.F.L., too, because of fantasy football. I won last year. Our draft is tomorrow, so I am a little nervous.

DO YOU READ A LOT? I am reading the last Harry Potter book. I like James Patterson and, along with everyone else, I really like Dan Brown’s books. And I like biographies.

IF YOU WEREN’T PLAYING I’d probably be in my eighth year of college, trying to qualify for my third Beer Olympiad.

Here's Peter Bodo's opinion as to how the Roddick-Connors relationship is going, from his ESPN chat last Wednesday:
Trudy, New York: Not that it's been a full year, how would you rate the Roddick/Conners association so far? Do you think it's been successful?

PETER BODO: Trudy, that's a complicated question, and in a way I wish it weren't. To me, Roddick and Conners have been together long enough for whatever magic Conners brought to the table to have worked, yet it seems all Conners has been able to do is to get Andy back to where he was before the slump that led him to hire Conners. However, I wouldn't underestimate the valuable role Jimmy played in bringing Andy back from the brink of potentially falling way off the pace, to make him a force on the tour again. In a way, it's just a glass half-empty/glass half-full scenario.

Gossip Roundup


From PageSix: Andy Roddick doesn't have a lot to say. . . . . . . . . .from A Socialite's Life: Andy Roddick might have a slight sunscreen addiction . . . . . . . . . . from Kenneth in the (212): Andy Roddick can't fake it . . . . . . . . . . here's a story about new American hope (and Washington finalist) John Isner and how Roddick and James Blake hazed him . . . . . . . . . . from the New York Daily News' gossip duo of Rush & Molloy: Andy Roddick refuses to go cycling with Lance Armstrong because he's afraid of him. Who isn't?? . . . . . . . . . . Ever wonder whatever happened to that guy who played Andy's mojo in those American Express commercials a while back? Click here to find out . . . . . . . . . . someone made a list of the Top 50 Sporting Couples. Jimmy Connors and his old flame Chris Evert made it. Andy Roddick and Mardy Fish did not . . . . . . . . . . here's a Cincinnati gay tennis blind item that was found on Craigslist . . . . . . . . . . speaking of gay, Andy Roddick has his fair share of gay fans and here's another one of them admitting to his crush on Andy: an interview with lead singer Yannis of the British band The Foals. Quote: "Andy Roddick, he breaks my heart, I can't believe what happened this year in Wimbledon! My crush on Andy is fading quickly because he's never winning anything." . . . . . . . . . . and finally, not only is the US Open draw rigged but so is AOL's Hottest Men in Sports poll. Only a day after Roddick was shown leading Tom Brady by a healthy 57% did the votes suddenly change overnight and now Roddick is way behind in the poll with 29% of the vote. The fix is in!

FLAKE: 2007 Pilot Pen Champions!




Here's my little write up about attending the men's Pilot Pen final in New Haven that I posted on MTF:

Just got back from attending the Pilot Pen final. When I saw that it was going to be a James-Mardy final I said "Book them tickets!" and we drove the two hours up to New Haven. Easy ride to the stadium. Not surprisingly, the place was jam packed. I'm glad we went. It's not everyday we see Mardy and James play together (this was only their third meeting and their first in a final). I simply had to witness that in person.

One thing I learned is that Pilot Pen/New Haven is James Blake's town in the truest sense. The crowd was heavily pro-James. A few smattering of Fish fans would try to cheer Mardy on. The best part was when a small group of Fish fans sitting way up in the upper tier of the stadium would start their own "Fish! Fish! Fish!" chants as soon as the J-Block's "James! James! James!" chants ended. It was pretty funny. Glad to see Mardy had his own impromptu F-Block.

Seriously, James owns this tournament the way Andy owns the Houston clay tournament. Anne Worcester's comments after the match (she's the tournament director) let us know just how much Pilot Pen depends on James Blake: ka-CHING! It was New Haven's first all-American final too, and it was obvious Ms. Worcester was happy about that as well. She couldn't stop thanking Mardy enough for accepting her wild card offer at the last minute.

Also, people can complain about the J-Block all they want, I didn't see or hear anything inappropriate from them all match long. If anything, they added some fun atmosphere to that place. And Nike was smart to jump on the J-Block bandwagon and to market them as a commodity. I'm not kidding when I tell you that every single piece of J-Block hat and clothing in the Pro Shop was sold out, and every kid under the age of 15 was wearing a blue J-Block t-shirt. Lots of adults were wearing them too. New Haven is definitely J-Block town. ka-CHING!

Anyway, seeing James and Mardy play in person is a treat except they they both seemed so casual about this match. I didn't feel any sense of urgency from either one of them. It was like we had stumbled across a friendly practice match or something. I was disappointed that the final wasn't quite the classic I was hoping for.

I don't know if ESPN showed the trophy ceremony but it was very cute. Both Mardy and James would tease each other during their speeches and it was obvious how strong their friendly competitiveness is. During his speech Mardy said, "I know Anne [Worcester] was asking "Is there anything James Blake can't do?" and the answer to that is: yes, he's terrible at golf." That got a good laugh. When James did his speech he said to Mardy, "You may be better than me at golf but I got two holes-in-one and you didn't." More laughter.

Afterwards, both James and Mardy signed autographs. Mardy left after a bit but James continued to sign many, many more. He was literally pulled off the court so that the women's doubles teams could begin their match.

So I'm very proud of Team Flake today and I'm glad we took that spontaneous trip to New Haven which was a lot of fun.

COMMENT ON THIS POST
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Updated August 22, 2007

Hamptons Magazine Celebrates
Cover Star Andy Roddick


Photos of Andy Roddick at "Hamptons Magazine Celebrates Cover Star Andy Roddick" on August 21, 2007 at Tenjune in New York City.









The Last Men Standing: Andy Roddick vs Tom Brady - AOL's Hottest Men in Sports


This is it. This poll is down to the last two men standing. Andy takes on NFL star Tom Brady in the final of AOL's Hottest Men in Sports poll. This will be a battle royale because Brady is a huge football star here in the states and he just beat out world soccer star David Beckham to get to the final. Right now, they are neck and neck, with Andy barely ahead. Keep voting for Andy!



. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Originally posted August 19, 2007

USA FANS, VCR/TIVO/DVR ALERT!

Andy will be on several shows next week beginning with his annual visit to:

Good Morning America on Tuesday, Aug 21, 7:00am EST on ABC
VIDEO! Click here to view Andy's appearance on GMA from this morning!

ESPN First Take, Tuesday Aug 21, 10:00am EST on ESPN2
I don't know what this show is but Andy's name came up so I'll be taping it.
VIDEO! Click here.

Arthur Ashe Kids' Day, Sunday, Aug 26, 12:00pm EST on CBS
Will Andre Agassi make a surprise appearance?

Punkd, re-run, MTV2, Monday Aug 20, 12:30pm EST
If you missed it the first half dozen times now's your chance to see it.

For everybody else, don't fret! Videos of Andy's appearances will be uploaded afterwards, of course. If not here, then likely by one of his many generous fans on his website.

Roddick vs Leinart - AOL's Hottest Men in Sports

This poll is still going on and Andy is in a close battle with his friend Matt Leinart. Keep voting!

© Copyright 2005-2009 Roddick Watch. All rights reserved.