Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Roddick, heat TKOs Djokovic, Federer up next

QF: Roddick def Djokovic
6-7 (3), 6-4, 6-2, 2-1 ret.

SARS, bird flu, anthrax, now we can add heat exhaustion to Novak's long list of ailments.

"Djokovic is one retirement away from the Retirement Slam." — Patrick McEnroe, pointing out that Novak has now retired in all slams except for one, the US Open.

FACT: Andy Roddick has made the AO semis in every off year: 2003, 2005, 2007, and now 2009.

FACT: Serena Williams has won the Australian Open in the same off years: 2003, 2005, 2007, and .... 2009?

Thanks to the 130F heat, I feel we got gypped a potentially great quarterfinal match. The first set was a good indicator of what was to come, both players were tuned in and serving beautifully. Novak was the more aggressive player, looking to come in to the net whereas Andy stayed back (mistake). This proved the difference when Novak won the tiebreak. Andy made the needed adjustments to his game (coming to net and flattening out the forehand a bit) in the beginning of the second set but it was around this time that Djokovic began to wilt in the oppressive heat. Credit to Andy, I was really impressed how he did not seem affected by the heat at all, he was bouncing around, running down every drop shot Novak played, and at one point he skipped back to his chair after breaking Novak's serve while Novak walked slowly and heavily back to his before calling for the trainer. By this point we were all thinking the same thing: Novak's gonna retire again.

I feel for Novak. After what happened at last year's USO you just know that Roddick was the last guy Novak wanted to retire against so he must have been really suffering to quit like that, and he even looked like he was debating with himself about it before finally walking over to shake Andy's hand. Novak tried to fight through it but then he began to cramp and finally tapped out in the third game of the fourth set right after Andy broke him. Credit again to Andy, he's not one to gloat and say "I told you so!" He had a very subdued reaction after Novak left the court, sitting down and putting his head in his hands to privately digest the fact that he has made a slam semifinal for the first time in two years. In his post match interview he didn't say one word criticizing Novak's decision to throw in the towel (that was Federer's job, see below). Andy Roddick, the guy who was basically dismissed as a real title contender the entire first week and was asked if it bothered him that he wasn't in the conversation along with the "Big Four", is now one of four remaining. To quote Dick Enberg, isn't that delicious?

Said Novak about Andy afterwards: "He's improved. I think his new coach has an impact on that. He's been playing really well throughout the whole tournament and absolutely deserves to be a winner."

Federer Bashes Djokovic Again

"I'm almost in favor of saying, you know what, if you're not fit enough, just get out of here. [. . .] If Novak were up two sets to love I don't think he would have retired 4-0 down in the fourth. Thanks to Andy that he retired in the end. Andy pushed him to the limits. Hats off to Andy." — Roger Federer, Daddy-O.

Ever notice how Roger never fails to upbraid the younger generation when given the chance? Rafa, Novak, Murray, they've all received a tongue-lashing and white glove slapping from The Mighty Fed, Djokovic more so than the others.

I get the distinct feeling that Roger doesn't respect Novak very much.

Here Come the Annoying Bandwagon Fans

From this week's mailbag, now that Andy's made the semis suddenly everybody thinks Roddick is a great guy and they want to root for him because he shows respect for players. Here's a newsflash, people: Andy has always shown respect for other players, even when he's lost. He's never made excuses for any of his losses, no matter how bad they were. He's never cheated or tried to steal a point that doesn't belong to him. He may get a bit intense and prickly oncourt and he's had some memorable meltdowns but it's only because he wants to win so badly. It's his job to win, he's a professional athlete. But his sportsmanship and character have never been in doubt. Buy a clue. *boots the fair-weather fans off the wagon*

I was extremely impressed with Andy Roddick's interview after the Djokovic match, not to mention his on court performance and behavior during the match. The genuine respect he showed for Federer and what he said to Novak when the match was over was really nice. I know people have been giving him grief over the things that he has said or how he behaved in the recent past... I'd like to give Andy props for his sportsmanship and attitude and I hope he goes very far this year! — Rise Gilliland, Rochester Hills, Mich.

JON WERTHEIM: Agree. Roddick has really distinguished himself with his play and his disposition. (Was it just a year ago that he humiliated a linesman?) No question he took the high road with Djokovic, who, let the record show, has now retired from a match deep in Grand Slam play three times in the last two years. Question about Roddick: did he lose weight? He looks a bit slimmer. Kidding. The chestnut about weight loss is encroaching on Ana Ivanovic-practiced-in-a-drained-pool territory.

Related bandwagon article: "Can Roddick at last live up to his potential?" [The Guardian]

Related News Items:

• "Roddick fresh as a daisy in extreme heat" [ESPN]
• "Michael Stich: Djokovic disrespected Roddick" [Eurosport]
• "Roddick just fine with Djokovic retirement" [Douglas Robson,]
• "Old World Order still in rule" [James Martin,]
• "The resurgence of Andy Roddick" [Bleacher Report]
• "Roddick ready to rejoin the conversation at Slams" [USA Today]
• "Second serves: Roddick's win leaves us hanging" []
• "Roddick handles the heat and Djokovic" [The Daily Fix: WSJ blog]
• "Revitalised Roddick evokes memories of … when was it again?" [Sydney Morning Herald]
• "Andy Roddick, all grown up" [LA Times]
• "Fitness is the answer for Andy Roddick" [Times Online]

Previews of Roddick-Federer Semifinal Tonight

"The Federer-Roddick rivalry has more often appeared like a rivalry between a hammer and a nail." — ESPN

ESPN's preview of the Fed-Rod semis.

Andy Roddick: "I think it helps that I stopped a big streak against him in Miami. It's certainly not going to hurt at all."

"He has nothing to prove. He's created quite an animal for himself, where if someone wins a set they're questioning his form. He deserves a lot more respect than that. You're dealing with a guy who's probably the greatest ever."

Roger Federer: "It's always a pleasure to play against Andy with his serve and his character. And it's nice to see Andy doing so well, he's hung in for so many years. People don't give him enough credit."

Related News Items:
• "Breaking down the Aussie Open semifinals" [Fox Sports]
• "A-Rod's ready for Roger … and hopefully a different result" [Sydney Morning Herald]
• "Roddick facing mammoth Federer task" [The Guardian]
• "Roddick has a real chance against Federer" [LA Times]
• "The Fantastic Four: Nadal, Federer, Roddick, and Verdasco" [Tennis Talk]
• "Australian Open: 5 Reasons Roddick Will Beat Federer…Or Maybe Not" [Tennis-X]
• "Federer/Roddick: An Insomniac's Delight" [Bleacher Report]
• "Roddick fit and reaady for Federer" [ESPN]
• "Andy's sharp but Fed looks better" [Yahoo Sports Blog]

Good luck to Andy tonight (3:30AM EST live on ESPN2. Live streaming video can be found on,, and Fingers crossed for a dream final....featuring Andy Roddick vs Fernando Verdasco!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

QUOTE: "I'm almost in favor of saying, you know what, if you're not fit enough, just get out of here. If Novak were up two sets to love I don't think he would have retired 4-0 down in the fourth. Thanks to Andy that he retired in the end. Andy pushed him to the limits. Hats off to Andy."

This is NOT the right quote, it is taken out of context. It is combining TWO different comments into one. Go to
to see what Federer said in the proper context.

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