Saturday, July 14, 2007

Andy Roddick: Giant Killer

Updated August 8, 2007

Final: Roddick def Isner 6-4 7-6(4)
SF: Roddick def Karlovic 7-6(7) 7-6(5)
QF: Roddick def Lee 7-6(6) 6-2
R16: Roddick def Stepanek 6-3 1-6 7-5
R32: Roddick def Zib 6-4 6-2


Andy Roddick: 2007 Legg Mason Tennis Champion!


I had been angry with Roddick for that Taco Bell stunt he pulled at Indianapolis last week but his performance at Legg Mason makes up for all that. For once, Andy Roddick did not allow some young upstart to use him as a career springboard. For once, Andy Roddick went into the match with a game plan and executed it. His returns were terrific against the big-serving giants, Isner and Karlovic. He moved Isner around as much as he could and dictated play. Instead of waiting for his opponents errors, he was aggressive and took it to them; best of all, Roddick finally got rid of that annoyingly useless loopy forehand and flattened it out, hitting numerous penetrating forehand winners on the lines that were reminiscient of 2004 Andy. Even Darren Cahill was impressed with Andy's forehand. What's old is new again.

It's matches like these that make me proud of Roddick the most. Even though he didn't face any top 20 players, he certainly didn't have an easy road to the final (he was thisclose to losing to recent Countrywide Classic champion Radek Stepanek in the fourth round), and taking down two seven foot tall serve machines is no easy task, especially for a player who's return of serve is not that great (both Karlovic and Isner served more aces than Roddick did during the week; Isner served up a record of 144 aces in a non-slam tournament). But with each match Andy got stronger and he played smarter. It's so wonderful to see. It's also so rare that we see it. If only we could get him play like this day-in and day-out.

Watch Andy's amazing backhand pass from the semifinal match:



DOWNLOAD Roddick-Isner final highlights here (commentary in English; video courtesy of claire. Thanks claire!).

DOWNLOAD Roddick-Karlovic semifinal highlights, also courtesy of claire, here.

DOWNLOAD Roddick-Clement Rogers Cup match highlights here (commentary in French; video courtesy of Danielafrenchfan. Thank you, Daniela.)

Two videos of Andy's post-match press conferences were found on DailyMotion. Watch them here and here.

What John Isner said about Andy:
"I had so many memories here. Each match I played I thought was amazing but I kept on topping it. That match against Monfils last night, playing under the lights and that atmosphere, and the fans going crazy, it was amazing. But I'll always remember competing against Andy Roddick in an ATP final. You can never take that away from me. This whole week has been amazing, a dream come true. Playing Andy, the biggest draw in American tennis, was just an unbelievable honor."


With his Washington win, Andy moves back up to No. 3 in the world rankings. Federer and Nadal are still light years ahead of everybody else. With only a few points separating Nos. 3 through 5, this is where the real battle is.
 
Tonight at Montreal's Rogers Cup, Andy takes on Marcos Baghdatis. It is their third meeting within a year. Should Andy beat Baghdatis tonight it will mark his 400th career win. Good luck to Andy!

Maria Sharapova weighed in on Andy's Taco Bell fiasco. From TennisReporters.net:
Maria Sharapova beat Patty Schnyder today in the Acura Classic final and afterwards she celebrated by going to In-N-Out-Burger.

After being told of her friend Andy Roddick's disaster at Indianapolis, where he went to Taco Bell the night before his semifinal and ended up throwing up during his loss, Sharapova paused, but decided that that she would still go and chow down some ground beef.

"He's 24 and sooooo immature," she said. "I'm being smart and doing it after a tournament, so if something does happen, at least I'll have a day to recover."

A few of you have asked me if it was ever confirmed that it was indeed food poisoning from Taco Bell that Andy suffered from. I can say yes, it was, from three sources: Roddick himself (see the quote in blue a few posts down); Davis Cup captain Patrick McEnroe confirmed it during tonight's broadcast from the Roger's Cup; and this, from SI.com:
From a reader who requested his name be withheld: "I volunteered as a player escort at the Indy tournament again this year (ohh, stories to tell), and when Roddick got off the court hungry at midnight on Friday, he weighed his options out loud. Unfortunately I believe he decided on the Taco Hell location still open downtown, no matter how we vols tried to dissuade him, knowing ourselves the sorry fare trotted out there."

But Taco Bell Lives on in Tennis Infamy


Did you know that Andy's hero Andre Agassi once famously said that there should be a Taco Bell on every street corner? Andre was a bad role model for Andy. Bad, Andre! Bad!

Boppers Unite! Roddick into the Last 8 of AOL's Hottest Men in Sports

Both Andy Roddick and James Blake have made it into the last eight in AOL's Hottest men in Sports poll. Go vote for them again this week!


COMMENT ON THIS POST
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Updated August 2, 2007

All Aboard The Roddick Roller-Coaster


Do you love to vote in web polls? Do you especially love to vote for Andy, for anything? Then hop on over to AOL's Fan House where you can vote for Andy in their Hottest Athletes poll. He beat out American swimming superstar Michael Phelps in the first round but he is losing to American NFL star Jason Taylor right now. So go vote!

right-click for larger images




Other tennis stars in the poll: James Blake and Rafael Nadal. Vote for tennis!

And good luck to Andy tonight in his quarterfinal match at Legg Mason. He plays (yet again) Korean Hyung-Taik Lee. Andy leads in their head-to-head 9-1. Lee can be a difficult player and after last night's Stepanek nightmare I am a bit nervous about this match. For the Americans, ESPN2 will broadcast the match live tonight at 7:00 PM EST. Good luck to Andy!

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Updated July 30, 2007

"Unfortunately when you finish a match at Indy at one in the morning, your dinner options are Steak and Shake, Taco Bell - and those are the leading candidates. Needless to say they were barking at me." — Andy "no quiero Taco Bell" Roddick.

"Roddick feeling better as he arrives in Washington" [Yahoo Sports]:
Andy Roddick will probably be avoiding the drive thru this week.

Roddick admitted Monday that a late-night fast food meal after a match last week in Indianapolis was what slowed him down in a semifinal loss on Saturday to Frank Dancevic. At the time Roddick complained of "a stomach bug or something."

But Roddick says he started feeling better several hours after that loss, and proclaimed himself ready to play Tomas Zib on Tuesday in the second round at the Legg Mason Tennis Classic, a tournament Roddick has won twice.

"I'm getting better, should be all right by tomorrow," said Roddick, who added he never seriously considered not playing this week.

Roddick's brother and traveling coach, John, agreed.

"He's going to be fine. I'm not worried about him physically right now, he said. "Yesterday he felt better, today he feels close to good, so tomorrow he should be fine."

Roddick said there are other things to worry about, and he insists the surprising loss to Dancevic isn't one of them because the two didn't play when Roddick was at full strength.

Heading into that match, Roddick only lost one set in his first three matches in Indianapolis.

"I don't put a whole lot of stock into my last loss," Roddick said. "The first few matches I felt like I was hitting the ball pretty well from the baseline. I feel like I could have served a little bit better throughout the week, and that's something I'll be looking to improve upon here."

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Updated July 15, 2007

Blake Watch


James Blake was on the Jay Leno show Friday night, click here to watch the video on DailyMotion.

Andy met up with James while James was doing his book promotion in LA. James' webmaster friend Chris took some photos of Andy doing sprints up and down the street! Check them out here. (scroll down the page a bit to view.)

Backstage at the ESPYs. Here's a short clip of Roddick, James Blake, and Matt Leinart checking out one another's chest hair. About Roddick's chest hair Blake cracked, "That just came in last week." Watch it here. (click on ESPYs on the left-hand side, then click Backstage at the ESPYs.)

From USAToday.com: "Roddick plans to turn up heat in US Open Series." Oh boy, do I hope so.

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Andy attended the ESPY Awards and "The Insider" reported that he presented an award. The ESPY's will air on ESPN Sunday, July 15th, at 9 p.m. EST.



Andy also attended Matt Leinart's "First Annual Celebrity Bowling Night to Benefit the Matt Leinart Foundation" and shocked us all when he showed up wearing a salmon pink shirt. I was begining to wonder if he had forgotten that the color wheel is made up of more than just black, white, and green. Here, he poses with "Sex and the City" actress Kristin Davis who also attended.

From AZCentral.com:
Tennis standout Andy Roddick met Leinart at the ESPY Awards several years ago, and the pair have stayed friends.

"It's been easy," Roddick said. "He's an easy guy to like. And I like that he's using his influence to make a positive difference. You see so much negativity among sports stars."

Roddick came even though he knew it would become clear his athletic gifts don't extend to all sports.

"My bowling is horrible," he said. "Horrendous. I'll be lucky if I bowl my waist size."

He wasn't kidding.

POWER THREESOME. Roddick, Serena Williams, and James Blake backstage at the 2007 ESPY Awards. (right-click for larger image)

James Blake has been busy promoting his new book, "Breaking Back". Here's some quotes from him about Andy from an interview he did with ESPN's Page 2:
SAM ALIPOUR: Talk to me about your rivalry with Andy Roddick. I don't know if I can call it a rivalry. Can you get this thing going?

JAMES BLAKE: (Laughs) Sorry to say, we're never going to have a heated rivalry. Sure, there are times when we're at each other's throats on the court, but at night, we're having dinner. I won't speak for him, but I'm so proud of him and I think it's great to see the top two Americans so committed to the team thing, the Davis Cup thing. And I'm pretty happy I got the best of him the past two times, but he's got the No. 1 American player spot back from me. He's playing well. We spend so much time together on the court and off; I know I have a friend for life in him.

SAM ALIPOUR: That's great, James, but the American sports fan wants blood. Tell me at least one thing you don't like about Andy. He seems like a frat boy to me.

JAMES BLAKE: Yeah, but I like frat boys. (Laughs) I was in a frat at Harvard. But here's one: He doesn't answer his phone, and he's pretty bad about calling back sometimes. Oh, and he's also a bit of a slob. I'm pretty bad, but he's worse than me.

Here's a treat for you all: somebody was kind enough to upload an old Tennis Channel documentary about Andy on DailyMotion. Unfortunately, some countries do not have access to DailyMotion. I don't know what can be done about that but for those who do have access, you get to see what our baby Duck (Andy) looked like at the age of 17: a skinny, dark-haired, squeaky-voiced lovable dork. Happy viewing!

WATCH Part One. WATCH Part Two.

Monday, July 02, 2007

Wimbleduck

Updated July 14, 2007

Last Thoughts on Wimbledon 2007


SI.com's Jon Wertheim's 50 thoughts on Wimbledon. Here are his thoughts on Roddick's loss:
Get blown off the court by Roger Federer and it's demoralizing but not altogether crushing. Too good, mate, you say. Brandish a two-set lead and a third-set service break and fail to come through, as Andy Roddick did against Richard Gasquet, and you're talking about a loss than can stick in your craw for a long time.

Michelle Kaufman's Top 10 Wimbledon stories:
No. 4. Andy Roddick, one of the most passionate and articulate players on tour, is more frustrated about his Wimbledon performance than anyone can imagine. He was determined to not only make the semifinals against Federer, but perhaps topple him. Instead, he was headed home after the quarterfinals, and as down as he has been in a long time.

Tough-love words from Bud Collins, an American tennis aficionado legend who recently got fired from NBC (a few weeks after Roger Federer refused to do an on-court interview with him after he lost in the French Open final). But Collins is better on paper than in person. This is the first time I've heard anybody say that Roddick lacks a "killer instinct." Food for thought:

"As Ugly as it gets for Roddick" [MSNBC.com]:
If any player leaves this Wimbledon the victim of a most bitter and disappointing defeat, it's Roddick. [. . .] This loss was a real blot for Roddick because of his inability to close out a match from such a winning position. [. . .] There was the potential for disaster and Roddick could do nothing to avoid it. That's not what's expected from a top-10 player. A big spot calls for a big-time response. Big shotmaking, big fight, that gets it done. Roddick didn't have any of that, and that's got to be alarming to the player and his camp. [. . .]

A Ruthless Roddick is required. I can tell you one thing without reservation -- this was the kind of match that Jimmy Connors wouldn’t have let get away. Connors now lives and dies with every point Roddick plays. To see his pupil fail to slam the door on Gasquet had to be most upsetting and troubling to him. Roddick needs to learn how to be ruthless right to the end in matches. Unless he starts to become that he is going to leave himself open to disillusioning losses like the one to Gasquet. [. . .] Roddick must now again put his game in the hands of Connors. He also may need his confidence rebuilt after the collapse against Gasquet. [. . .] Roddick doesn’t have the best record in five-setters as he’s now 9-10 when going the distance and that’s not all that impressive for such a highly ranked player. Competition on the tour is getting tougher and more intense. [. . .]

Federer could be out of reach. It was Roddick’s job to make it to the Wimbledon semifinals to play top-seeded Roger Federer. Federer expected to see Roddick in the semifinals. Roddick expected to be there, but in the end he didn't live up to his part of the deal. [. . .] It's not time to write Roddick off as a big-time player, but he's certainly got his work cut out for him. If the loss to Gasquet showed anything, it showed Roddick needs more from Connors, but he also in turn has to take what his coach is giving him and execute it on the court, most notably in big matches.

And finally, this find comes courtesy of claire over at AR.com:
Eric Butorac of the doubles team Booty and Stretch has written a blog over on his site and he mentions Andy which I thought was quite sweet:

I flew out Saturday to head to Newport for the Hall of Fame Championsh ips. Actually ran into Roddick in the airport and chatted to him for a while. I've never been a huge fan of his, but have gotten to know him a bit better lately. One thing I do really like about him is that he leaves it all on the court. He was up two sets to love on Gasquet yesterday before going down 7-6, 7-6, 8-6. I could tell today that it absolutely killed him. I like that. When I lose a match, it hurts, and I love seeing the top guys in world that aren't afraid to show that it means something to them.

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Updated July 8, 2007

QF: Gasquet def Roddick
4-6 4-6 7-6(2) 7-6(3) 8-6
R16: Roddick def Mathieu
6-2 7-5 7-6(8-6)


Very bad loss for Andy to squander that two-set lead, and he was up 4-2 in the third. He took his foot off of the gas pedal again and made some boneheaded plays. He goes from winning 18 tiebreaks in a row to losing two tiebreaks in a row to one of the more notorious chokers on tour. This was also the second time in his career that he's squandered a two set lead (the first was at Roland Garros 2005 vs Jose Acasuso). In many ways, this match with Gasquet was very similar to that one: Andy got too complacent with his lead and then let his opponent back into the match. Feeling more confident, his opponent would then started hitting winners all over the place, including the numerous breath-taking backhand down the line winners. Ironically, this was also the first time in Gasquet's career that he has come back from a two set deficit. Once again, Andy provides the breakthrough win and stepping stone for a young, upcoming player. It would figure, wouldn't it?

The match stats says it all: 93 winners from Gasquet.


Perez Hilton has a different take on the match.

From Tennis.com:
Alex: Silver Spring, Maryland: What do you think is wrong with Andy Roddick and James Blake? Are they underprepared, unmotivated or are they just being beat by better tennis players? Do you see either of them ever winning a major?

PETER BODO: Well, Alex, I think option C is the one you're looking for. Blake has been having a terrible year and his chances of salvaging it are growing dimmer by the day. Roddick showed up to play at Wimbledon, for sure, but he ran into a guy that many people have touted as the next Federer in Gasquet. I don't share that opinion of Gasquet, but he's a very talented, flashy player, who happened to play his best against Andy, much to Andy's bad luck.

I fear that the window of opportunity is closing fast on Andy to win some big titles; the new generation, lead by Rafael Nadal, which includes Gasquet, Djokovic, Berdych, Baghdatis, and Monfils, among others, are finally coming into their own and these guys are good. Worst of all, I fear that one day Andy may lose all heart and become a broken man, as has happened to Guillermo Coria when he lost a heart-breaker at the 2004 French Open final. But I think am just being fatalistic that way. Andy's heart is too strong. He has suffered numerous bad losses in his career, but he has always managed to recover, brush himself off, and jump back on the horse. I don't know if I could ever be as strong as Andy has been. Bless him!

You can watch his post-match interview here.

Why I Jumped on the Novak Djokovic Bandwagon


Watch this:



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Updated July 3, 2007

R16: Roddick leads Mathieu 6-2 6-5

match suspended again due to rain. To be resumed tomorrow, Wednesday. First up at 12 noon local time.


FYI, the "Andy's Love Life" page has been updated.

News Update


Andy is on another flight magazine, this time for the July/August 2007 issue of Washington Flyer. Click on the cover below to read the story.



Just in case the link expires, here are screenshots of it:
Page 1Page 2Page 3

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Originally posted July 2, 2007

"Man, here's the deal with golf. Every time I play golf, I got to buy a new set of clubs. It's not relaxing for me. I go mental...I haven't reached the point in my life where I have the patience level it takes to play golf. And I don't have the pants" — Andy Roddick, on trying another sport.

Photo courtesy of The Sun

R16: Roddick vs Mathieu - called off for tonight due to rain delay. 
To be rescheduled for tomorrow, Tuesday.
R32: Roddick def Verdasco 6-3 6-4 7-6(2)
R64: Roddick def Udomchoke 6-3 6-4 7-6(3)
R128: Roddick def Gimelstob 6-1 7-5 7-6(3)

Who Farted?


Watch below to see.




DOWNLOAD HQ .avi file of Roddick's fart joke from the second round here. (thanks to Neely for the video)

Wimbledon News Items


From the BBC:
Congratulations to Andy Roddick, who can enjoy the unfamiliar feeling of a Wimbledon victory. A-Rod wins the tennis lookey-likey website vote for his uncanny resemblance to American Pie character Stifler with 46% of the vote, followed by Tsonga-Ali on 24%, and Federer-Tarantino and Andy Murray-Napoleon Dynamite sharing 15% each. So it's not been a totally wasted day, eh?

"Is Roddick again Roger's fall guy?" [The Age]:
Andy Roddick was asked how many times he thought he would have won Wimbledon if Roger Federer was working in a Basle cuckoo clock factory. As cruel lines of questioning go, it was like asking Peter Costello how many terms he would have served as PM if John Howard didn't have the keys to Kirribilli. Asking Daryll Cullinan how many runs he would have scored against Australia if Shane Warne had chosen to bowl ten pin instead of spin. To his credit, however, the American did not flinch. "I don't know," Roddick mused. "You figure I was in the last weekend three times. At least one, possibly two."

"Roddick makes violent progress" [The Telegraph (UK)]:
But Connors was the ultimate alley cat, clawing, scratching and snarling his way to five US Open titles, two Wimbledon and one Australian Open. He [. . .] stubbornly refused to reassemble, and a flawed personality which led to all manner of anti-social behaviour - filthy language, obscene gestures, temper tantrums, sexual innuendo, cruel mockery and blatant gamesmanship. [. . .] As he now says: "I was branded a brat, a punk. I don't think people really understood what I was about. Fortunately for me, I quite enjoyed the reputation I had. I wanted to be No 1 and I'd do anything to get there."

"Roddick and Connors forge a Hollywood tale" [The Telegraph (UK)]:
Connors has kept his plans private at Wimbledon, but in one off-duty moment he described his pride in Roddick's progress. "I came back into tennis for one reason, to help Andy to be the best he can be," he said. "His willingness to accept change, and to incorporate ideas, is incredible."

"Roddick watches one historic exit and races towards destiny" [The Guardian (UK)]:
Sometimes important moments in British history are best viewed through the eyes of a foreigner - especially when it is as entertaining a cultural commentator as Andy Roddick.

"Stakes so high but Roddick is poised to cash in" [The Evening Times (UK]:
Roddick's ferocious competitive spirit is such that he will not tolerate so much as a single bad hand when playing poker with Connors, never mind defeat in a more competitive athletic environment. His losing streak against Connors has begun to gnaw at the world No.3. "It seems like most things we do turn into a competition," said Roddick. "I don't want to talk about us playing cards because it hasn't been good for me this week."

"Roddick must learn new tricks" [The Herald (UK)]:
Roddick has been cursed by arriving on the planet as the same time as Mr Federer and the American insisted this week that he would have won more grand slams if the Swiss had quietly taken up interior designing rather than tennis. This is undoubtedly true but Roddick has contributed to his own woes. His examination paper yesterday was passed with ease but it showed the flaws in Roddick's education. [. . .] Roddick seems to have merely one tactic: when in trouble, hit the ball harder. This crude policy can have its moments of success.

"Favorite or not, Roddick charges ahead" [FoxSports]:
The Swiss has had a good year, but not quite up to his standards, losing in four out of his last five tournaments. He may be a tiny bit vulnerabe. "Any time he takes more losses than he normally does, I think collectively everyone's pretty fired up about it," Roddick said. "I don't think we're sitting here feeling sorry for him. I don't think we're upset to see him lose. No way."

"Roddick over Federer in Wimbledon upset" [MSNBC.com]:
Roddick is highly respected -- even feared -- by Federer.

"Once proud champions and bitter rivals, now Mac and my Dad are best mates"
(nice article written by Jimmy Connor's 22-year old daughter, Aubree. She is the red-headed girl often seen sitting next to her Dad during Andy's matches). [This is London]:
Probably like a lot of girls of my age, I thought for a long time that Andy was cute. He's tall, he's good looking and those are cool attributes for any guy. He also happens to be funny and he works hard as well. Andy and Dad both took a lot of confidence from his win at the Artois Championships, the warm-up grass-court tournament for Wimbledon.

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