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!


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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.

4 comments:

Craig Hickman said...

Hear, hear on the line that for once Andy doesn't allow some upstart to use his as a springboard in his career.

tangerine said...

I know, right? I'm hoping he can do it again because another talented upstart named Djokovic is waiting for him today and the odds don't look good for Andy. *eek!*

concrete_d said...

Who made these highlights reels? There are no good points in them. None. They consist almost entirely of Roddick hitting aces or winners and the other guy making mistakes. Half of the playing time is Roddick walking around between points.

I know, if I don't like them don't download them. But there used to be some pretty good highlight videos on here (Gasquet/Roddick, Gonzo/Roddick).

tangerine said...

Sorry concrete, I'm not the one making the highlights reels, they come from other readers who send the links to me.

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