22 August 2005

Tennis: Roddick still Federer’s bitch

The world’ finest individual sport had its annual tournament here in Cincinnati last week. ClarkStreet does not recognize corporate monikers, so this tennis tournament is known as “The Cincinnati ATP Masters” or simply, “The ATP”.

This year’s final continued the pattern of hardcourt domination by Federer and Roddick, and unfortunately for Roddick, the pattern was repeated to its extent as Federer took Roddick, 6-4, 7-5.

Roddick is one of the all-time greats. In addition to superior athleticism, he’s got a strong head and fights every minute of the match. Coaches love athletes like that because it’s one of the things you really can’t teach. He’s a competitor in the best sense of the word and it’s been great for fans and the game.

Compare him to Marat Safin, another strong player with a similar game. But Safin doesn’t have Roddick’s maturity and mental fortitude, and it has cost him matches (and therefore, titles). Safin can be brilliant beyond description one day and dull and lifeless the next. You never know with that guy.

But Roddick is a workhorse player in the mold of champions like Connors, Lendl, Agassi (phase II), and Hewitt. With Roddick, you get 110% every day. Like every player, Roddick has choked a time or two, but he doesn’t beat himself. Either you beat him, or you lose. And there aren’t many players who can beat him.

Roger Federer can, and now he’s done it 8 times in a row. Roddick is 1-9 against him.

I think what we have here is a redux of Laver and Rosewall. Like Roddick, Rosewall was a great player who had the bad luck of playing at the same time as the greatest ever.

My prediction is that at the end of 2005, Roddick will talk to some coaches and former players and run his situation by them. He will not accept that he must take a backseat to Federer, no matter how great Federer is. Roddick will be on a mission to be the world #1, and the clash of the titans that will ensue will be better for the game than any of the past ones.

And I haven’t even mentioned the Rafael Nadal factor…


KatieG said...

oh my gosh - i love your blog, local ohio politics that i know nothing about, and likely will never affect me, same short sweet sarcastic postings on national issues.... and that you took the time to dissect professional men's tennis!!! awesome.

(i'd like to see a rivalry again...i loved the Stefan Edberg/Boris Becker battles....)

And Safin is good for the game because Safin is hot.
(sorry, the girl in me...)

WestEnder said...

Yeah, I had an ex-girlfriend who thought Mark Phillippoussis was good for the game. Whatever happened to him, anyway?