Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Roddick Begins SAP Open Campaign

"Roger is not on my mind 24 hours a day. Only three hours a day when you guys are asking about him."

— ANDY RODDICK. Putting the obnoxious media in its place again.

SF: Murray def Roddick 7-6 (10-8) 6-4
QF: Roddick def Spadea 6-3, 6-7 (5), 6-1
R16: Roddick def Querrey 6-4 7-6(3)
R32: Roddick def Dancevic 7-5 6-1

SAP Open News Archive:

  • He Was Angry, But Roddick Does Not Walk Away Upset
  • Angry Roddick Subdues Spadea
  • Two Coaches, Two Styles, One Goal
  • A Long Day and it's a Good One for Roddick
  • Roddick is the Flagship for American Tennis
  • Roddick on the Rise, Boosted by Connors
  • SAP Open: Rejuvenated Roddick Looking to Regain Crown
  • SAP Open: Murray Could Face Roddick Again

  • Updated February 17, 2007

    No Love Lost Between Not-So-Close Friends

    Hoo. Things got a little hot during last night's quarterfinal, didn't it? Vince Spadea has always been the fifth wheel whenever American tennis is discussed.

    Angry Roddick Not Upset
    The crowd was buzzing and rackets were flying at the end of a spirited second set Friday night at HP Pavilion. Andy Roddick had failed to put away Vince Spadea when he had the chance, and their match was headed to a decisive third set.

    During the ensuing changeover, both players fired their rackets to the ground and jawed at each other, and the third -- and biggest -- upset of the quarterfinals seemed possible.

    But Roddick would have no part of that.

    The SAP Open's top seed took charge early in the third set and went on to win 6-3, 6-7 (5-7), 6-1. He will play tonight against No. 3 seed and defending champion Andy Murray, who outlasted No. 7 seed Lee Hyung-taik 4-6, 6-3, 7-6 (7-4) in the late match Friday.

    "It happens in tennis, it happens in sports; sometimes you get a little heated in the moment, and I think that happened,'' Roddick said. "But beyond that, it didn't go off the court.''

    Or did it?

    Spadea has written a tell-all book -- "Break Point: The Secret Diary of a Pro Tennis Player'' -- that might have touched a nerve in the locker room.

    "I don't know if it was appreciated,'' Roddick said after Friday's match. "I don't know if there is a common sentiment that you should feel like you have to be censored while you're getting your ankles taped. I don't know how many people have read it from the locker room. But I don't know if that had anything to do with tonight.''

    Roddick said he had not read the book, adding, "I don't read many books, so I am going to choose wisely.''

    On the court, tensions seemed to heat up after Roddick fired one of Spadea's drop shots directly at Spadea early in the second set. "It's not a record-setting precedent to go after someone with a short ball,'' Roddick said. "It's happened -- a lot.''

    Asked what he thought about Roddick's "head-hunting,'' Spadea replied: "Andy is a good guy. That's all I have to say about that.''

    No bad blood?

    "I think we're just all having a good time out there,'' Spadea said. "It's a competitive sport. We know each other well. I've seen brothers fight way worse.''

    Roddick appeared on his way to a straight-sets victory when he had a break point to go up 4-1 in the second set. But he hit a shot long, and Spadea began to pick up steam.

    Spadea evened the set at 4-4 when Roddick double-faulted on break point, an error that prompted Roddick to launch a ball to the upper deck.

    The tiebreaker ended with Spadea returning consecutive point-blank volleys before Roddick hit one wide.

    But from there Roddick rolled.

    "My energy went down, I made too many unforced errors in that first game,'' Spadea said. "I just didn't use the momentum to my favor.''

    . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
    Originally Posted February 14, 2007

    Roddick Opens Against Dancevic Tonight

    Roddick did a few publicity rounds for SAP before opening against Frank Dancevic tonight. One of them was a terrific interview with sports radio KNBR which you can listen to here. I promise you won't be disappointed. Roddick knows how to lay on the charm and wit.

    There is also a short video over here of Andy talking to San Jose NBC affiliate KNTV about SAP.

    Joel Drucker writes in his Angles & Dropshots SAP blog:
    Tuesday morning, after flying from all day Monday from Ostrava, Czechoslovakia, two-time champ Andy Roddick was up bright and early at the HP Pavilion for a practice session and 8:15 interview on KTVU’s “Mornings on Two” program. Even if it costs him sleep, Roddick has always loved the chance to practice on the court where he’ll be playing Wednesday night. Unquestionably, Roddick’s clinching Davis Cup win Sunday over Tomas Berdych was the finest claycourt effort of his career.
    [. . .]
    In his role as SAP’s global worldwide tennis ambassador, Roddick paid a visit to SAP’s hospitality area last night, chatting up guests and sharing thoughts with tournament director Bill Rapp. Speaking of last weekend’s Davis Cup victory in the Czech Republic, Roddick said, “It was good to win one on the road, to go up against 7,000 of them and our powerhouse rooting section of ten.” Roddick also discussed his foundation, which benefits at-risk children in South Florida and Texas. “It started when I was 17,” says Roddick. “I was acting pretty quiet around Andre Agassi, and he asked me if I had any questions for him. So I asked, and one thing I wondered was what he regretted. I figured I’d hear about some matches, but he told me that the thing he most regretted was that he hadn’t started his sooner. I started mine the next year.” To date it’s raised nearly $6 million.

    Waiting for Roddick in the second round will be young American hopeful Sam Querrey. Sam recently spoke with Matthew Cronin of about hitting with both Pete Sampras and Andy Roddick. Querrey says he was more excited about playing with Andy than Pete:
    Querrey has already met and hit with plenty of luminaries. He's a regular practice partner for Andy Roddick. He's spoken with Jimmy Connors. He's hit with James Blake. But it's Roddick whom he most looks up to.

    "I didn't even know that Connors held the record for consecutive weeks at No. 1," Querrey said. "For me, knowing Andy and beating Andy in a practice match is bigger. He's more my generation."

    ANDY'S A SAM FAN. Roddick returns the favor by fangirling all over Sam Querrey at a recent signing.

    Peter Bodo of has weekly live chats over at ESPN. Today's chat was full of Roddick/USA Davis Cup questions:
    pepper baker, calif.: Andy Roddick looked very sharp on clay at Davis Cup recently. Do you think he could do well at Roland Garros this year? And do you really believe he could beat someone like Federer on clay?

    PETER BODO: Pepper, say hi to salt. I recently wrote that Roddick has the tools to be a fine player on clay, as his match against Tomas Berdych at the Davis Cup showed. Andy's record on clay, especially early in his career, seems to corroborate this. The key is that clay may be slow enough to enable Andy to get set up for his killing forehand, but from saying that Andy is probably a better clay court player than his recent results or interest level indicates and saying that he could challenge Federer successfully on clay are two very different issues. Federer is far and away the second-best player in the world on clay, and that's the reality until someone proves different.

    Otis (Chicago): I know that the top 2 american tennis talents now are Andy Roddick and James Blake. Are there any young up and comers that will be the new face of US tennis anytime soon?

    PETER BODO: The only guy on the radar right now who's mature enough for consideration is Sam Querrey. Querrey has a similar game to Andy Roddick (meaning he relies on a monster serve and a big forehand). He's put up some great results in smaller tournament this year, and given how little competitive experience he's had, he's shown a great appetite and strong mind for competition.

    Veruca, Culver City, CA: Pete, What's your prediction for the US vs. Spain DC match up?

    PETER BODO: Hi Veruca, still waiting for the 21st, are you? I think the US is in great shape for that time. We saw how Rafa Nadal struggled on faster surfaces since Wimbeldon last year, and we've seen how much of his game Andy Roddick has reclaimed. The key to this tie might be James Blake. James has struggled in the Davis Cup, for reasons that probably have more to do with pressure than surfaces and opponents. You couldn't ask for a more tailor-made opportunity for him to master the whole Davis Cup thing. Of course, that also carries a certain amount of pressure, because he's as aware of that as anyone.

    Kelly (Lexington): Hi Peter! America is all about power aces and blazing forehands. There hasn't been a successful American at the French since Agassi's last win there. Why aren't the tennis academies teaching today's youth about finese and touch on clay courts? Keep up the good work!

    PETER BODO: Hey Kelly, thanks for reading. I think the issue of proficiency on clay is a very complicated one, and I've searched forever and found no easy answers. Why, for instance, would Gustavo Kuerten have had such a spectacular career when the courts he developed his game on in Brazil were more like asphalt than clay? How come the U.S. produced clay court players on the order of Chang, Aggassi, and Courier when at least two of those guys were prinipally the product of the academy? I'm a little bit against the conventional wisdom, and believe that clay court proficiency is more related to styles and assets than training, per se. However, developing a game on clay, however you play (see Stefan Edberg, Boris Becker, and even Roger Federer) shows that you don't necessarily become a clay court specialist. The great thing about learning on clay is that you ghet to hit tons of balls and you develop patiance and stamina and also protect your body.

    Siva Ayyar, Studio City, California: Mr. Bodo, You are taking the Davis cup far too seriously. It is simply not a major sporting is not a team competition. Tennis is not a national competition. Tennis is an individual competition. I am a patriotic American, but, I don't have any loyalty to the American players currently playing. Davis cup should die off. most of the attention in the tennis world should be focused squarely on the man's grand slam events and super nine events. Why are you fighting so hard to preserve the Davis cup? It was a bad idea from the start and is diverting the public's attention from the grand slam events.

    PETER BODO: Well, Siva, that is a very powerful statement, but don't you take into account the fact that almost every great player worth his Wimbeldon trophy has been a devoted, enthusiastic Davis Cup player, and often cites Cup play as a peak career experience? The whole thing about Nationalism in the Davis Cup is a silly red herring. People basically celebrate the international diversity of the game in the Davis Cup, even though they cheer for their own teams with extra passion. To me, more importantly, Davis Cup is a historic, unique, cherished event. I certainly don't mind if some people out there aren't interested in it.

    Clovis (San Diego): Peter, I'm having an argument with a "buddy" of mine, please settle it. Who's the better tennis player, Sampras or Roddick? Say they play 10 times, how many do each of them win? Thanks.

    PETER BODO: Let's keep in mind that this is all theory, but based on their records and styles of play, you have to go with Sampras as an overwhelming favorite. The only surface I can see where Andy would have a lot of room to operate, oddly enough, is clay, and that's because I've never seen a great player go to pieces on a surface as frequently as Pete did late in his career.

    Snippets of Stuff

    Queen's Club, the second best grass tournament that Roddick attends every year, got some sense slapped into them and have decided to scrap the idea of having a round robin format this year. Yippee! . . . . . . . . . . Heart-attack inducing headline we didn't need to see: "Roddick has hepatitis C" turned out to be Body Shop founder Anita Roddick and not Andy. Not that the news is any more pleasant, but still . . . . . . . . . . after watching Roddick's impressive win over Tomas Berdych this past weekend, Peter Bodo now thinks Roddick could beat Roger Federer on clay. Shut up, Peter . . . . . . . . . . newlywed Taylor Dent is still in rehabilitation from back surgery several months ago. He has begun practicing again and has played a few charity events but he is still not well enough to get back on tour. Get strong and well soon, Taylor, we miss you . . . . . . . . . . Brad Gilbert has once again started nattering on about how tennis should allow on-court coaching. Shut up, Brad . . . . . . . . . . while everybody else was getting excited about representing their country in Davis Cup, what was Roger Federer doing? Getting a shave with his fellow metrosexual pal Tiger Woods . . . . . . . . . . Marat Safin is a big hit in his first-ever appearance at the SAP Open. Local reporters refer to him as the "Monte Carlo bon vivant". Tournament director Bill Rapp had been trying to get Safin to play at SAP for years, not just because he's talented and good-looking but also because "he's kind of nuts" . . . . . . . . . . . Tennis-X guzzles the Haterade. Tennis-X has always been a hater's paradise where no player is safe from the forked-tongue clique bashing by its pubescent members and even it's own editor, but this week's headline bashing Ivan Ljubicic as "the crappy Croat" goes beyond the snark that Tennis-X is known for. I would expect to see something like that on a fan blog, but on a professional tennis blog? Very poor taste and unprofessional, IMO . . . . . . . . . . . rumor has it that Roddick will be on the cover of the April issue of Tennis magazine . . . . . . . . . . Laughable Headline of the Week: Eurosport continues it's tradition of posting the most unflattering photos it can find of players to accompany their tennis headlines.

    And Just in Time for Valentine's Day...

    I Just Called To Say I Love You... But I Really Just Want To Have Sex

    Results From New Harlequin Survey Reveal Canadians Ready For A Romance Revolution

    Starstruck - The Harlequin Romance Report 2007, The Romance Revolution, includes the highly anticipated ranking of the male and female celebrities that epitomize The Romance Revolution. With an army of women waiting in the wings to be the next Mrs. Clooney, George Clooney took the number one spot for the men, while stunning songstress and recent breast cancer survivor, Sheryl Crow topped the women's chart. Honourable mentions on the men's side went to hip-hop mogul Jay-Z, comical genius Vince Vaughn, tennis pro Andy Roddick and the sexiest pirate on earth Johnny Depp. Lovely and talented Salma Hayek, controversial pop star Pink, acting legend Diane Keaton and actress turned author Angela Basset are making it look easy for the women. Other celebrities making this year's list include: Jack Nicholson, Matt Damon, Alex Rodriguez, Mathew Fox, Hugh Laurie, Cameron Diaz, Sandra Oh, Natalie Maines, Melissa Ethridge and Demi Moore.

    Valentine's Photo of the Day

    Andy puckers up for us. Mwah!

    Wednesday, February 07, 2007

    Davis Cup: Clay Curse No More

    Updated February 12, 2007

    "It is one of his biggest wins, certainly in Davis Cup, one of his most impressive wins." — US Davis Cup captain Patrick McEnroe on Roddick's win over Berdych.

    1st Singles: Roddick def Minar 6-4 4-6 6-2 6-3
    2nd Singles: Berdych def Blake 6-1 2-6 7-5 7-5
    Doubles: Bryan/Bryan def Dlouhy/Vizner 6-4 6-4 6-4
    1st Reverse Singles: Roddick def Berdych 4-6 6-3 6-2 7-6(4)
    2nd Reverse Singles: B. Bryan def Dlouhy 7-6(5) 6-4

    USA 4 - Czech 1, USA Moves Into the Quarters!

    Quick update: Andy is on the cover of two magazines this month, Tennis Life and the chinese version of Tennis:
    Free Image Hosting at Free Image Hosting at

    Vote for the weekend Davis Cup hero over here. Scroll to the bottom of the page. Igor Andreev of Russia is ahead of the pack with 46%. Andy is next at 22%.

    That was probably the best I had ever seen Andy play on clay. He looked comfortable on the clay and he was hitting his shots deeper than before. He didn't panic and adjusted his game nicely after Berdych took the first set and had all of the momentum going into the second set. And that tiebreak was awesome; it was like watching vintage Roddick, back in the days when he was the tiebreak king. Look at these terrific stats:

    Another awesome Roddick stat: Andy is now 8-0 (100%) in clinching ties for Team USA. Roddick's defeat of Berdych marks the first time in ten years that USA has won a tie on clay.

    Steve Tignor has a very nice wrap-up of the USA/Czech matches here. Tignor is one of the few tennis writers who recognizes that Roddick is an underrated talent (and underappreciated).

    Listen to a short audio interview with Andy here. Instead of crowing, Roddick calls his clutch win a "team effort". Well, there he goes being a cocky jerk again. *wink*

    You can also read a great interview here with DC captain Patrick McEnroe where he talks about Andy a lot.

    Here's a slideshow of some of my favorite photos from the fourth rubber. Hope you enjoy it!

    Davis Cup News Archive:
    • Roddick Rebounds on Red Clay [ESPN]
    • Slipping, Sliding, Hacking, Winning [Steve Tignor]
    • Roddick Postmatch Interview (def Berdych) [ASAP Sports]
    • US Look for Revenge Over Spain []
    • Spain to Face USA in Davis Cup Quarters [Think Spain]
    • Roddick Gives US Davis Cup Victory []
    • Czech President Survives Roddick Serve [MSNBC]
    • Fighting the Curse []
    • Roddick postmatch interview (def Minar) [ASAP Sports]
    • U.S. One Win From Davis Cup Quarters [Sports Illustrated]
    • Americans Try to End Drought on Clay [ESPN]
    • Roddick Nets A Hold 'em Victory [Philly Daily News]
    • U.S. Needs to Get Down and Dirty [MSNBC]
    • Roddick Faces Minar In Opening Davis Cup Match [Tennis Week]
    • Roddick Wary of Czechs [Eurosport]
    • Who's Top American: Roddick or Blake? [WRAL]

    . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
    Originally posted February 9, 2007

    Andy Roddick Geeks Out

    1st Singles:
    Roddick def Minar 6-4 4-6 6-2 6-3
    2nd Singles:
    Berdych def Blake 6-1 2-6 7-5 7-5
    Bryan/Bryan def Dlouhy/Vizner
    6-4 6-4 6-4

    USA 2 - Czech 1

    As if we needed more proof that Roddick was a supreme dork, he apparently lost a bet (probably with the Bryan brothers) and had to talk like Borat during his oncourt interview. The Tennis Channel commentators were understandably clueless as to what Andy was up to. LOL.

    You can download the video here.

    Andy's reverse singles match opponent will be Tomas Berdych. Let's hope he clinches the win to make benefit glorious nation of U.S.A. Good luck to Andy and Team USA!

    * * *
    Our favorite dork Andy Roddick was recently featured on the USA TV special "World's Greatest Sports Bloopers". Click below to watch. You can also download the clip here.

    Davis Cup: USA vs Czechs This Weekend

    Andy is now preparing for the first round of Davis Cup, which will air on the Versus channel (formerly, Outside Life Network) beginning this Friday (click here for international TV schedule). Andy still looks hung over from all those Super Bowl parties he attended recently.

    Andy Roddick answers journalists' questions during a press conference of the U.S. tennis team in Ostrava, east of Prague, Czech Republic, ahead of matches between the Czech Republic and USA in the first round of the Davis Cup on Tuesday, Feb. 6, 2007.

    It doesn't sound like he had a very good practice, either. LOL.

    "Andy Roddick's Racket Is Dead" [Tennis Week]
    Sudden death came to court in Ostrava today. Before completing its first practice in preparation for this weekend's Davis Cup tie against the host Czech Republic, the United States Davis Cup team has already suffered its first clay-court casualty.

    Andy Roddick's racquet is dead.

    There are indications Roddick had a hand in the untimely passing with some court-side observers suggesting it was a crime of passion as a raging Roddick played the role of executioner in spontaneously smashing his blue Babolat racquet to the court. Roddick vigorously asserted his innocence in insisting it was a frame-job.

    Asked about the racquet's premature exit, Roddick explained the frame expired of self-inflicted causes.

    "That racquet just didn't want to be here anymore," Roddick said, prompting U.S. Davis Cup captain Patrick McEnroe to reinforce Roddick's alibi while questioning the racquet's commitment to the Davis Cup cause: "It wasn't supposed to make the trip," McEnroe said.

    "Yeah, it wasn't supposed to make the trip in the first place and once it got here, the racquet was just very angry," Roddick deadpanned. "It jumped out of my hand and then it jumped from the court into the stands. So, it was a racquet suicide."

    I've noticed lately that just as Davis Cup begins, the media will dust off and trot out the old "Who's better: Roddick or Blake" debate. I think this little mini-rivalry is intriguing and good for American tennis. Blake says, "If we keep going back and forth, it will hopefully be fun for the American public, the viewers, the fans. . .The fact that I won the last two definitely gives it a little more validity to have it called a rivalry," It's also a nice reprieve from the endless "Who's more dominant: Roger or Tiger?" debate.

    ...and Just for Laughs

    I haven't created a new Roddick Monthly cover in a while, but in honor of Black History Month here in the states, I will repost last year's February cover. Happy bathroom reading!

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