Thursday, November 20, 2008

Roddick Announces Stefanki As New Coach

Updated December 9, 2008

Andy at his annual charity, Dec. 7. (click for larger image)

There is a great interview Steve Flink of the Tennis Channel did with Larry Stefanki recently where Larry goes into deeper analysis of Roddick's game and mindset and what his plans for coaching Roddick in 2009 will be. Reading the interview is getting me excited for the Australian Open to begin already. It's apparent that Stefanki is thrilled to be coaching a world-class athlete like Andy. Here are a few choice quotes from Larry, click on the link to read the entire interview.

"Steve Flink: Chronicles of Roddick" [The Tennis Channel]
"Andy is going to be the last guy I will ever travel with. When this is over I would like to get involved with junior development in this country. So it just felt like the right time. I felt like working with Fernando had gone its course. He had gotten to No. 5 in the world. I am excited about this because I feel I can really help him. Andy being an American was a big part of the decision for me."

"Let's face it, with a guy of Andy's caliber, winning another Slam or two is the gig. He is a past No. 1, a Grand Slam winner and he has had a dry spell for five years. I know he has the capability of winning another Slam or two. He is the best server in the game bar none, and he is looking to improve his return of serve, and coming forward and ending points a little sooner. Andy is a big body athlete, more of a Boris Becker type of athlete. He is not a David Ferrer or a Davydenko so he needs to make an adjustment and take risks at the right times. This past year he was below 30% on capitalizing on break points and he needs to bring that percentage way up. With some adjustments, there is no reason why he can't win a couple more Slams."

"He hit one return against Janko Tipsarevic at Wimbledon on a big break point in the bottom of the net. We talked about that and he said he was choking badly. And I said, 'No, no, no, no. That's where you have to know that you have the best return and it's rock solid and you are going to be aggressive. That knowingness and that thing in your head that clicks in is what you need to draw on. And knowing it and bluffing it are two different things.' Andy definitely knows how to win but he can get better at some things when he gets under the fire. I'm encouraged about that, and so is he."

"I think it appealed to Andy that I have worked with so many different personalities, so many different nationalities, some one-handed [backhands] and some two-handers, such a diverse group of guys. You learn something from everybody when you coach at the highest levels as I have. Andy is a great competitor. What stands out to me is his heart, his desire, his determination and his competitiveness. And he knows at his level you can't bluff it. I am very impressed with Andy."

"This guy is an incredibly hard worker. He is a mule. You tell him to do something and he does it. If you asked him to run through a wall and he knew that would make him a better player, he would do it."

"I was impressed with Andy's groundies when we worked in Austin. Very, very impressed. He has got an underrated [backhand] chip. We talked about that. Andy said, 'I get no respect for my chip.' He does from me."

"Like every great player, Andy is a perfectionist with the highest standards. He knows he doesn't want to fall into the trap of just getting balls back."

"Andy's mentality now is 'I am not going to be denied.' I love that. How can you not want to work with a guy like that?"

"His fiance [Brooklyn Decker] was there and she is an absolute wonder and asset. She is the greatest thing that that has ever happened to him. She has an unbelievable calming effect on him. I think my personality should work well with his. I will be there for him, but I am not his Daddy. I told Andy, 'I am not going to carry your bag.' He is going to get married so he is in charge of his own life. He doesn't want a guy coaching him who is a control freak. He is in control of his own life. This job is not about me — it is about me helping him achieve the goals he has decided to take on. Andy is a winner, and I am really looking forward to these next two years. He has so much going for him."

I really like what Larry has to say but I have to be honest and admit that I am worried that he may try to mess with Andy's serve the way he's done with previous protege's (like Tim Henman). We have seen over the years that coaches who try to "tweak" Andy's strengths end up messing up his entire game and as a result Andy's confidence takes a dive, and then he starts losing to every Tom, Dick, and Gilles. A perfect example is Andy's forehand, which at the height of its power during 2003-04 was one of the most feared weapons he had; nothing but flat power and precision. Somewhere during the nightmare 2005-06 season he got it into his head that he should use more topspin and loop the forehand more, which is fine to use against certain opponents such as Lleyton Hewitt who cannot create their own pace, but it got to the point where Andy was relying on the loopy topspin more than the flat power forehand and that's just not where his strengths lie in his game. I don't care how "one-dimensional" his serve/forehand combo is. That is what got him to the top of the game and that is how he won his lone slam title. He won a slam with a backhand that was worse back then than it is now! And what is so bad about being one-dimensional anyway? Serena Williams is one-dimensional. She is the proud owner of nine slam titles. Heck, Rafa Nadal is one-dimensional and he beats everybody including Federer. Andy recently said that his game is more well-rounded nowadays, which I agree with and think it's nice, but here's the million dollar question: is he a better player today than he was in 2004? My shocking answer: No, he is not. We've tried tweaking with his game, adding a few things like slice and topspin, and his backhand and ROS are better, but what I'd like to see again is the good old one-dimensional power/confidence player Andy back in 2009. When he feels good about his game, then everything else will fall into place. He will win more often and therefore win more titles. He can beat anybody when he's on his game, including the top five players in the world. Believe it. Simple as that.

My Challenge to Team Roddick in 2009: Focus on Winning That Elusive Second Slam, Forget the Clay Season Altogether


Personally, I feel that Stefanki's one and only goal in 2009 with Andy should be to help him win that elusive second slam, and I think Stefanki feels this way too. That's it. Just one more slam. I don't care if it's Wimbledon, just win a slam, any slam. Andy has three good chances to do it: at the AO, at Wimbledon, and at USO. The French Open is a lost cause. Seriously, I would advise they skip the clay season all together. Clay is not Andy's forte, not his strength, he doesn't like playing on it, and worst of all, he always ends up getting injured on it and it ruins the rest of his season. It's not worth it. Playing on clay adds absolutely nothing to his ultimate goal of winning Wimbledon. I say to Andy and his team: dump the French Open; skip Monte Carlo, Rome, and everything clay in between. It's Rafa's surface to own anyway, so let him have it. I'm not kidding. The European clay tournaments are not worth your time, not worth getting injured on, not worth ruining your chances on grass, and you hardly get any points anyway. Deep six it. Find other ways to stay match-tough.

Random Photo of the Day. Ahh, that rant felt good to type. Now back to Brooklyn, here is a tag-free photo of her attending the Vogue Fashion Fund in NYC in November.



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Updated December 2, 2008

I hope our American friends had a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday!

Continuing on the story behind Roddick hiring Stefanki as his coach, a lot of fans were wondering "What about Gonzo?" As far as anyone knew, Stefanki was still under contract with Fernando Gonzalez and Gonzo gave no indication on his blog that he knew Stefanki had been hired by Roddick, instead of the USTA, which he originally thought.

"Stefanki Not Hired by USTA to Coach Roddick" [TR.net]:
There has been some confusion caused by a recent Fernando Gonzalez blog, where the Chilean says that he was told that his now former coach, Larry Stefanki, was hired by the USTA and in a LTA-Brad Gilbert type of deal where he would be coaching Andy Roddick with USTA supervision. No such deal exists. Roddick privately hired Stefanki. [. . .] Apparently, Roddick’s management informed Gonzo that it was a USTA deal, maybe to soften the blow and also possibly to convince Gonzalez to let Stefanki out of his contract six months early. Stefanki was signed up to coach Gonzalez through ’09 Roland Garros. [. . .] Stefanki is a very talkative sort who might be a bit too chatty for Andy (remember that Roddick eventually tuned out Brad Gilbert) but at least he stands by his men for a substantial period of time, unlike Jimmy Connors, who abandoned Roddick when the going got tough earier this year.

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Updated November 24, 2008

More About The Stefanki-Roddick Partnership


UK Times Online:
Stefanki, 51, says that Roddick, having called him two days after pulling out of the Masters Cup in Shanghai with an ankle injury was "so pumped up I want to get going now. Can you be here tomorrow?" "Hold on," he replied "I'm going to the Big Game on Saturday. This isn't like Texas vs. Texas A&M," he said, in reference to the state where Roddick has made his home, "this is Cal vs. Stanford (the biggest college football game in the Bay State).

And so Roddick will have to wait another week to get down to work. Stefanki is just as eager. "Andy Roddick is the best server in tennis," said Stefanki, "and not only does he have the biggest serve in the game, he gets 68 percent of his first serves in. He held serve 91 percent of the time this year. That's an amazing stat. He just doesn't get broken very often. But (he pauses here) he's No.20 on return of serve.

"Confidence is built on the right mechanics and having the right philosophy. Andy, especially on second serve returns, needs to get more aggressive. Not necessarily going for everything, but not just sitting back and returning the ball. He's not a David Ferrer 5'9" road-runner. You've got to take more risks and unless you do you're not going to create that presence you want on the court." [. . .]

Was Stefanki surprised to receive Roddick's call? "A year ago, when Fernando made the Masters, we had dinner together - me, Andy and his brother, John. We talked largely about ATP politics. He had some interesting suggestions and he wanted to know what I thought. Then, this year, after he beat Fernando at the US Open (6-2, 6-4, 6-1 in the fourth round), I told him: 'That was the best I've ever seen you play.' I think maybe that conversation stuck in his mind. Now I'm absolutely overjoyed. I haven't been this excited in a long time, especially knowing he's even more excited about getting started."

Like most Roddick fans I am "cautiously optimistic" about this new partnership. Cautious, because we've been down this road before and recognize the pattern: Roddick will be energized and play lights-out for a few months, but after one or two bad losses he'll stagnate and then fall back into old bad habits; Optimistic, because an infusion of new ideas and new blood is always good to have on hand just before a slam right around the corner. I'm eager to see what magic Stefanki can work on Andy.

While we're on the subject of Andy's coaches: Jimmy Connors was recently arrested after refusing to comply with an order to leave an area near the entrance of the Thunderdome following a confrontation at a men's basketball game.

Jimmy defended himself, releasing a statement saying in part:
“Jimmy said he wanted to stay and wait for his son to watch the game, and as a result was taken into custody,” the statement said. “Police told Jimmy that he was being taken into custody for ‘being a non-student refusing to leave the campus.’ Jimmy is extremely disappointed and embarrassed about the way the situation was handled.”

Whatever, Jimmy.

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Breaking news from AR.com:
Team Roddick is thrilled to announce that Larry Stefanki will be joining Andy on the road as his head coach.
Stefanki was most recently the coach of Fernando Gonzalez. Click the AR.com link to read all about it.
 

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Updated November 21, 2008

Roddick and Blake are not chokers, says Jim Courier


Jim Courier is in Dubai for the Legends Rock event and has dismissed suggestions that Andy Roddick and James Blake are underachieving 'chokers' in a recent interview:
"With Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal around life has definitely become difficult, but I think it's a dangerous assertion to say that those guys [Roddick and Blake] are choking."

Courier said Roddick would have won more than his 26 career titles to date, including one Grand Slam, had he not been part of the era in which tennis was dominated by Federer and Nadal.

"I think Roddick has had an incredible career so far," said the 38-year-old Courier, who won 23 career titles, including four Grand Slams, during his 12-year career. "I think he's an over-achiever. He won the US Open in 2003, reached No 1 in the world and has also won the Davis Cup. These are things some players only dream of, so I get a little disturbed whenever it is suggested that he's under-achieving and choking. People need to look at the guys he's faced throughout his career. He's been up against Roger Federer, who is simply the best player I've ever seen; the most complete player ever. Timing is everything in life and unfortunately for them their peak coincided with the peak of Federer and Nadal, so it's very, very challenging for them."
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Updated November 21, 2008

Rafa Watch


Jon Wertheim has apparently given up trying to get Roger Federer named as Sports Illustrated's Sportsman of the Year, so this year he nominated Rafael Nadal, perhaps thinking that would confuse the committee into actually voting for a tennis player as Sportsman of the Year. No tennis player has won SI's Sportsman of the Year award since Chris Evert in 1976.

Right now Rafa is on vacation enjoying the sun and sand and resting his battered knees. He will not be playing in this weekend's Davis Cup final vs Argentina. Talk about a buzz-kill.

Rafa named one of GQ magazine's Men of the Year


The accolades for Rafa continue to pour in. (right-click for larger image).


 

Monday, November 10, 2008

Is The Tennis Season Over Yet?

Updated November 16, 2008

Brooklyn (and Andy) on the Dan Patrick Show

Brooklyn did a radio interview recently talking about a new Sports Illustrated photoshoot and halfway through they decided to give Andy a ring in Shanghai. Good stuff.
Brooklyn Decker
The Sports Illustrated model issue talks about Dan's role in the upcoming swimsuit issue and mediates as Dan argues with her fiance Andy Roddick on the phone.
Listen to Brooklyn on the Dan Patrick Show here.

Thanks to Kate for finding the link.

Andy and Brooklyn's Wedding Plans


USA Weekend:
We told you yesterday that our Dennis McCafferty is in Charlotte, N.C. today for a cover story shoot involving Sports Illustrated swimsuit models and NASCAR drivers. (Yes, we always give him the tough duty.) Well, who should show up with the models today but tennis great Andy Roddick, who is engaged to model Brooklyn Decker. Roddick was just casually hanging out and reading The Wall Street Journal while the ladies were getting ready so, ever the good reporter, Dennis asked Andy about the couple's wedding plans. He learned that while there is no date yet, the ceremony is to take place in Austin, Texas, where Roddick has a home, and that Decker is being cool about the whole thing. "She's certainly no bridezilla," Roddick says.

Djokovic Defeats Davydenko for TMC Crown


From worst to first, the Faker defeated the Fixer 6-1 7-5. It wasn't the most exciting or memorable TMC final ever, but it's a great win for Djokovic who has been low on confidence in the second half of the season. He bookends the 2008 year, starting with the Australian Open win in January and finishing with the Masters Cup in November.

With this win Djokvoic finishes the year at number three. Had he defeated Tsonga in the third round robin he would have knocked Federer from the number two spot. As it stands now, they are only ten points apart in the rankings and Novak could still overtake Federer before the Australian Open begins Jan. 19, 2009.

Andy Roddick finishes his year at number eight.

Angry Djokovic Fan Flames Jon Wertheim


Speaking of Djokovic, did anybody see this hilarious letter that was published in the SI mailbag a few weeks ago? I don't know what's funnier, the fact that they even published this letter or that Wertheim actually knew what a Fedtard was. LOL.
Hey, Jon, seeing as how you're a Fedtard, if you really think Roger's win over Novak Djokovic in the USO semis was so big then why didn't you consider the fact that Djokovic shot himself in the foot by attacking the N.Y. crowd, thereby stressing himself out in the semis? There's no doubt Novak came out flat-footed and uninspired during that match, he clearly was afraid of upsetting the crowd again. I'll bet you won't publish this comment, or even mention this fact in future mailbags. We all know how biased you are. -- Anonymous

WERTHEIM: You really have to respect the courage of someone who sends an anonymous letter to a Q/A column about tennis. Just so we're straight: I am a biased "Fedtard" because ... I asserted that Federer's win over Djokovic was meaningful. And then I neglected to mention the point -- totally irrelevant to the question -- that Djokovic had "shot himself in the foot by attacking the N.Y. crowd?" Where to begin? Start with this: I have too much respect for Djokovic to accuse him of playing "uninspired" tennis in a Grand Slam semifinal because he is afraid of upsetting the crowd.

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Updated November 15, 2008

TMC Final: The Fixer vs The Faker


Shanghai will crown a new year-end champion this year. Raise your hand if you predicted this unlikely final between the guy who was accused of fixing matches by the ATP last year or the guy who scolded the entire US Open crowd for believing that he was faking his injuries.

Both players have had a mediocre second-half of the year after winning titles in the first half (Novak winning AO, Indian Wells, and Rome, and Davydenko shocking everybody by beating Nadal to win Miami). Personally, I would like to see Novak win. I think it would be good for his confidence to finish his year with a TMC shield. For Davydenko, winning TMC would be his highest career achievement to date, and perhaps some personal vindication of his place in the top five.

The final begins at 4:00pm local Shanghai time. Check this clock to get times in your area. Visit justin.tv to get live streams.

Here's new video of Andy signing autographs for fans just before he announced his withdrawal from TMC:



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Updated November 14, 2008

Is The King Dead? Or Just Sleeping?

Bah. I was rooting for Roger. His year has been quite the annus horribilis. But as Roddick himself has said, every player would love to have Roger's year, except for Roger himself. In fact, he's downright miserable about his demotion to world number two:
"When they (court announcers) say 'This is the world No. 2' it just doesn't sound right to me because either I'm No. 1 or I'm a grand slam champion," Federer said. "I'm not world No. 2. I just don't like the ring of it when I'm introduced on court. It just sounds awkward to me because I've been up there for so, so long it just sounds unfamiliar."

This sounds more arrogant than it really is. There were quite a few broadcasters, both here and internationally, who kept correcting themselves when they started to announce Roger as "the world number one." This is indeed unfamiliar territory. 2008 has wreaked havoc on the ATP. I have a feeling that 2009 won't get any better for Roger. Or Andy. Or Rafa. Seriously, how can Rafa top himself in 2009 after such a brilliant year? And will our Andy finally grab that elusive second slam or has his time come and gone? Oh questions, many questions, for 2009.

Don't look now but the TMC semifinals are comprised of Novak Djokovic, Andy Murray, Gilles Simon, and Nikolay Davydenko. How hard would you laugh (or cry) if the likes of Simon or Davydenko walked away with the TMC trophy? For me: if Simon wins, I laugh. If Davydenko wins, I cry. And then I give up watching tennis.

"Bring me my towel, you slug!"

Say It Ain't So, Jo! The Best Worst Excuse I've Heard Yet


Speaking of laughing and crying, I was prepared to hand James Blake the award for "Best Worst Tennis Excuse of the Year" for blaming TV commentators for the way he played at the French Open this year but then Jo-Wilfried Tsonga went all Djokovic on us and came up with this beauty when he lost to Davydenko in his first round robin match:
"I lost a lot of energy, because when I asked for my towel, my towel didn't come. Sometimes in this match, I lost energy with that. Sometimes I have to take my towel alone, so for me, it's maybe 10 meters [33 feet] more. But if you count at the end of the match, it's like one kilometer [0.62 miles]."

That ought to tone down the Tsonga-walks-on-water rhetoric from the tennisheads for a while.

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Updated November 12, 2008

Roddick Sprains Ankle During Practice, Withdraws from Masters Cup


Can this guy ever catch a break? Luckily it's not serious and it shouldn't interfere with his off-season training.


Watch Andy's withdrawal announcement here.


From the AP:
Andy Roddick has withdrawn from the Masters Cup after spraining his right ankle during practice - an injury that he said did not appear to be serious.

Roddick made the announcement Wednesday, hours before he was to play Roger Federer in a Red Group match. He was replaced in the tournament by 26th-ranked Radek Stepanek, the first alternate here.

Roddick said he rolled the ankle during a warmup drill for practice Tuesday and initially hoped treatment would allow him to play, but he realized during his pre-match warmup that he couldn't run or serve well enough.

"I came out here and tried to warm up 45 minutes or so ago, and it was pretty apparent that my movement was probably 30 per cent or 40 per cent," he said.

"Unfortunately that's just not good enough to get it done at a tournament like this," Roddick said. "I didn't feel like I could go out and try to compete and win a tennis match. It's definitely a tough prospect trying to beat Roger with no serve and not being able to move much.

"The risk/reward wasn't there. You're risking further injury where it might cut into preparation for next year."

Roddick said his trainer and a doctor told him the injury didn't appear to be serious, and he anticipated being able to do his planned training during the off-season.

"I don't think we're looking at anything more than a week or so," he said. "I was planning on going home anyway. Basically I'm just starting that process four days earlier by not being able to finish here."

Stepanek, of the Czech Republic, could qualify for the semifinals but would have to win both of his matches and hope no more than one of the other players in his group finish with two victories.

"I called him this morning at about 10:00 or 10:30 and said, 'You should prepare like you're going to play. I'm probably 50/50 to play tonight, and I'll let you know as soon as I try to warm up,"' Roddick said.

The 26-year-old Roddick has been hampered by injuries this year, twice sitting out a month - the first after retiring from the Rome Masters in early May after just three games with a shoulder injury.

"Hopefully I have all these nicknack injury things out of way," Roddick said. "They've been pretty frustrating. I feel like I've been playing catchup a little bit ... as far as not being prepared and ready. So I'm very much looking forward to getting healthy and actually having some time to try to get fit again and be prepared going forward next year."

One thing the early departure does is allow him to focus on acquiring a new coach. He split with Jimmy Connors earlier this year, and had since been working with his brother John.

"There's a short list," Roddick said without naming any candidates. "I didn't want to start going through the process of talking to people either over the phone or in person until my season was finished. That's something that I'd definitely like to get taken care of in the next couple weeks."

Roddick, who was making his sixth straight Masters Cup appearance, is a former No. 1 who has been no lower than 12th in the rankings since 2002.

Radek Stepanek took Andy's place, and Roger defeated him 7-6(4) 6-4. Stepanek is ranked 27 in the world. Eighteen other players ranked higher than Stepanek did not want to play in Shanghai! James Blake (10) and David Nalbandian (11) had both made clear that they were not interested in being alternates this year.

Andy Murray and Novak Djokovic, who won both of their matches, are into the semis.


Highlights of the Roddick/Murray match can be viewed here.


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Originally posted November 10, 2008

Is The Tennis Season Over Yet?

Zzz. What tennis?

I don't know about you all but my brain checked out from tennis about a month ago. More and more every year I grow to really dislike the end of season. Everybody's tired, injured, wiped out, doesn't care, whatever. Does anybody else find the indoor season to be utterly depressing? It looks depressing. On TV everything looks gray and the colors are muted, even the players look dreary. Stands are so empty you can hear the sound of the ball echo. They play to sitting-room-only audiences with maybe a handful of fans quietly watching, giving no indication that they care who wins or loses or if they even know what's going on. The season is just too damn long. Need more proof? Rafael Nadal had to pull out of the Davis Cup final with Argentina because his knee just can't take it anymore; Roger Federer is taking painkillers for his back and just lost to Gilles Simon today, putting Federer's fans in more agony; Andy Murray is whining about being tired, continuing to train the UK to have low expectations for him; Del Potro, in his first year at TMC, looks like someone told him to go sit in the corner. The only one who truly seems happy to be there is Gilles Simon. Allez, Simon!

Announcing: The Top Seven Players in the World. Thanks for Coming, Andy.

Andy Roddick is the Invisible Man.

Not only am I grumpy because tennis is still going on when it should have ended by now, but also because our main man Andy Roddick couldn't be bothered to show up in time for the portrait. Personally, I love these portraits and look forward to seeing Andy in it every year but this year he couldn't make it in time, for whatever reason. With the way Andy's year has gone, and the fact that he continues to fall down the rankings by a notch or two every year, I am certain that this may be his last trip to TMC. And with him missing from the portrait, well, it feels almost prophetic. The thought of no more Andy at TMC makes me sad.

TMC Red Group
Murray def. Roddick 6-4 1-6 6-1

Well start, Andy! /sarcasm/ Federer is up next for him. Federer has a bad back and can't serve but I'm sure he'll suddenly feel 100% better once he sees Andy across the net from him.

This entire post today has been rather depressing, hasn't it? Here's some happy stuff to read:

News Items


"Fast-talking tennis players" [ATP Tennis]
"Andy [Roddick] will spit facts at you quickly, but it's not as constant like James and not so choppy. There is a rhythm. I love his wit and how he deals with the press. He doesn't let them get away with silly questions."

"Roddick to play tennis nude for $15,000!" ... Psyche out!, never mind, Roddick chickens out:
"It was kind of said in jest and the lady who bid on it was really cool afterward, saying her main concern was helping the cause." Last week, the Los Angeles Times reported that Roddick "originally was going to auction a private, hour-long tennis lesson to the highest bidder. Then, to sweeten the deal, he offered to take off his shirt for the 'one-on-one instruction.' Finally, the recently engaged Roddick offered to give the lesson — fully nude! Winning bid: $15,000 from a female fan."

"Roddick's still a grinder" [James Martin, ESPN.com]
How does Andy Roddick do it? All he does is perform well year after year, beating the players he should, trying to win every time out. He's tennis' version of a grinder, writes Tennis.com's James Martin....Roddick is one of the most consistent, and consistently overlooked, top performers on the men's tour. [...] What does Roddick's record tell us about him? For one thing, it reveals a player who is mentally engaged for every tournament he enters, a canny competitor who understands that he has to earn his ranking points anywhere he can get them. Roddick knows his limitations all too well. Indeed, can you remember a top-ranked player who has taken so much flak for his shortcomings, which in Roddick's case are his hacker's backhand and choppy volleys? I can't. Yet he ably compensates for these weaknesses by relying not only on his celebrated serve, but also his gritty, if sometimes grating, mindset that sees him through so many matches.

"Are we too focused on Roddick's failures?" [Sandra Harwitt, ESPN.com]
It could be said that if it weren't for Roger Federer, Andy Roddick could be displaying at least three Grand Slam trophies at home instead of being a guy with only one major victory. So what? Why does the No. 7 Roddick get a bum rap when he has proved to be a hard-working, dedicated player who readily accepts challenges?

"All hail Andy Roddick, the nice guy of the ATP tour" [Neil Harmon, Times Online]
It is about time that Andy Roddick's contribution to men's tennis in the past nine years on the ATP Tour received full and unequivocal respect and the Net Post does not mean it should happen now just because of the gesture, when he lifted the China Open yesterday - the 26th title of his career - to donate $25,000 of his prize money to those still suffering after May's catastrophic earthquake in the country's Sichuan Province. He has deserved his panegyric for a long time.

This is a rare positive article coming from the UK press. Be sure to leave Neil a nice word in the comments section.

"Who's got the power? Tennis power rankings for the month of October" [ESPN.com]
Andy Roddick reportedly offered to give a tennis lesson in the nude to the highest bidder at a charity event this month, drawing a $15,000 offer from a female fan. Roddick, engaged to swimsuit model Brooklyn Decker, later said he was joking about the nude part. Clothed, Roddick had a successful Asian swing, winning a title in China and making the semis in Japan.

You may have missed them: Andy and Brooklyn in New York


Another coffee run from last month.


Dog duty, same day.



Thanks to Marion for the links!

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