Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Clay Kryptonite Season Begins for the Americans

The Americans' annual skip-Monte Carlo-for-a-little-R'nR vacation is now over and most of them are ready to roll in Rome. What did Andy do on his vacation?
  • Attended the opening of a new Lacoste store in Austin, Texas, and then visited The Domain where he talks about all kinds of metrosexual guy stuff such as shopping, style, and what it's like to live in metrosexual heaven, Austin, Texas. Photo with a metrosexual fan included.

  • Just added
  • Did a TV interview with local TV/radio personality, Bobby Bones, which you can watch here. He was also interviewed by a local TV station, Austin 8 News, which you can view here.

  • Signed a new endorsement deal with AriZona Beverage Company. He's not winning anything these days but he keeps on getting those endorsements. Does this mean that we can look forward to seeing ads of Andy gulping down iced tea and then falling backwards into a refreshing pool of water, a la the Nestea plunge?

  • Went to NYC to pick up a prestigious award, The Arthur Ashe Leadership Award, the first time a male tennis player has won it. Strangely enough, the ATP tennis website didn't deem this newsworthy enough to mention on their front page. Send your complaints here.

    You can watch a clip of Andy's speech here.

    To give you an idea of how much his charity has grown over the years, check this out (taken from SI.com):

  • Partied with Leonardo DiCaprio and attended the premiere of "Unstrung" at the TriBeCa Film Festival.

  • Partied in Las Vegas at a friend's bachelor party and was spotted by a girl out celebrating her own bachelorette party. Photo included.

  • Was named one of the "55 most fascinating Palm Beachers" by Palm Beach Illustrated. They apparently never received Andy's change-of-address card.

  • Made SI.com mailbag readers giggle with another one of his off-the-cuff smart-alecky remarks:
    Jon, you're right about it being in bounds to question an athlete's physical fitness. However, you've got to admit one thing: That crack about the reporter not being able to bench his laptop is a good one. Give the man his props. -- Craig Berry, Park Forest, Ill. (in response to last week's mailbag comment by Wertheim: "Long as you've got me on a rant, I recently heard a prominent American player complain that it was pretty ironic that he was being questioned about his fitness by a 50-something reporter who couldn't bench press his laptop...")

    Jon Wertheim: Andy Roddick, take a bow.

  • Caused a minor uproar on various tennis messageboards when he and James Blake recently "took issue" (the media's choice of words) with Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal's stance against ATP reforms. Oooh, the two little Americans taking on the Fed-Nadal Goliath, it'll be mutiny! Well, not exactly, but that's how the media played it out and that's how many fans read into it. Personally, I don't think either Roddick or Blake were trying to take sides on any issue, or "one-up" Roger and Rafa. I think they were just answering the press' questions during their Rome press conference and tried to sidestep any potential landmine questions while offering a different perspective on the whole thing. Their comments made perfect sense to me. However, nobody has been able to find their entire Q-and-A interview yet so I guess we won't really know what was said and done until we are able to read the interview in its original context.

  • Besides healing his strained hamstring, he apparently picked up a virus a short while ago and looks to still be recovering.

In other news:
  • The Houston Men's Clay Court Championships is staying in Houston! Leaving Mac and Linda's Westside Tennis Club after seven years, it will now move across town to River Oaks.

  • Great interview with Bob and Mike Bryan over here. They talk about Andy a lot, obviously. Here's a choice quote:
    Q: Okay, a little word association. Andy Roddick?

    MIKE: Type A. A lot of energy. Strong personality. Great sense of humor. One of the most competitive people you’ll ever meet, but also very loyal.

  • Did you know? Peter Bodo wanted to give Andy Roddick a lap dance.

  • Was mocked by Novak Djokovic at the Monte Carlo Player's Revue where players put on a show by mimicking other players. Djokovic's dead-on impersonation of Roddick won high acclaim. (see photo above; love the dozens of colorful wrist bands). Yves Allegro brought down the house dressed as his doubles partner, Roger Federer, and Thomas Johansson did a great impression of Rafael Nadal. You can read about the party here and view the other photos here.

  • Andy Roddick's Quarterly Report Card comes from the NYSun where they give him a passing grade of B and I would agree with that. He is no longer losing to players he shouldn't be losing to, and he's making some SF's and Finals. Unfortunately he's now getting tarred and feathered in these SF/Finals. He's back up to No. 3 in the world but the chasm between him and Federer/Nadal seems to grow wider every month. I can't figure out whether he's moving forwards or backwards, or if he's just been running in place this whole time:
    Forgive fans of Andy Roddick if they are unsure what to think of their man in 2007. He played well at the Australian Open until Federer embarrassed him in the semifinals. He's reached three semifinals and a final but hasn't won a title. His overall record, 22–5, is among the best in the world, but he has a losing record, 4–5, against opponents ranked no. 15 or better. Those numbers probably won't improve on clay, so it could be several months before Roddick gives us some signs about the rest of the year. Helping the U.S. win its first Davis Cup since 1995 could be his ultimate achievement.

  • Funny article by Joel Drucker in Smash magazine about the time he tried to return Roddick's serve:

  • New Babolat print ad that is lame-o.

Now About Rome. The Draw Sucks.

Some of us were having a short messageboard discussion about Roddick's Jekyll-Hyde personality, wherein he can be utterly charming one minute and then bite your head off the next, when news came in about his recent practice in Rome:
Andy Roddick slapped five with Gael Monfils and did some impromptu ball-boying for Monfils and Arnaud Clement. Roddick started his own practice session with Max Mirnyi hitting smoothly. I left thinking that he may be ready for this one. I came back an hour later to find him smashing his racquet, dropping f-bombs, and scaring the girls in the stands. Guess he’s not ready just yet.

Andy, James Blake, and Mardy Fish were drawn into the same quarter as Roger Federer. Lucky them! Whether it's the Federer or Nadal side, it really doesn't matter, it's like choosing between the noose or the knife. And even though our boys perform best on the Rome clay nobody's really giving the Americans much of a chance of seeing the quarterfinals alive, including myself.

Robby Ginepri was drawn on Nadal's side but he is already out the Rome door, getting dumped out by Daniele Bracciali in the first round. James got past a slumping Gael Monfils today but Mardy wasn't so lucky, going down in straight sets to former Roland Garros champion Gaston Gaudio. Gaudio plays Roddick next. If by chance Andy manages to perform a small miracle and beat Gaudio tomorrow, he would then face Igor Andreev. After that, it could be either Dima Tursunov or Fernando Gonzalez.

What are Andy's chances of beating Gaudio on clay? Rock, paper, scissors....

Edited May 29, 2007
Video: Roddick vs Gaudio Rome highlights

Random Funny Photo

I had my way with Photoshop a few years ago and made this:


faith said...

I must agree with the Jekyll-Hyde problem. I've been in Foro Italico for the last three days, and I was confused.
Andy had two practice sessions a day (or at least I attended them), and well, in a couple of those he smashed two or three rackets and kept on screaming about his f*serve and his drop shots.
Actually I was afraid of Gaudio, and so was John, in fact i was sitting next to him watching the match with mardy, and he was of course really interested in it.

Then yesterday after the match I saw him while he was waiting for the car, and seemed the calmest and the most charming guy in the world...

Then today...the serve and the drop shots...
where di he left them??

(i'm so sorry for my english!!)

Craig Hickman said...

Thanks for the updates, tangerine.

I complained to the ATP site for not posting news about Roddick's prestigious award. But with the Djoke being heralded as its new darling, "old folks" like Andy Roddick get no more copy.

Tennis has become more Tinseltown in recent years, and it's to the detriment of the integrity of the sport.

tangerine said...

Your english is fine, thanks for the story! We were all worried about Gaudio but of course Andy would get blindsided by the unheralded Chela instead. :/

I complained to the ATP too. Their site has been so annoying lately, every single update has been about either Roger or Rafa. I know they're dominating now but still...if the ATP can promote Roger's Vogue cover they can certainly promote Andy's humanitarian award. Sheesh.

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