03 July 2009

A Final to Remember?

That's what I'm hoping.

Federer vs. Roddick, it's all set. Everyone is focusing on Federer and his inevitable march into the record books but let me give Roddick some love here.

Roddick is an amazing player... when he has a coach. Without a coach, he's a one-trick pony whose entire game is built on a gigantic serve and forehand. As it turns out, that's usually good enough to beat 90% of the tour 90% of the time.

But when he has a coach his game gets the extra dimension of tactics. Every time he has hired a coach, his game has gone up a level. And every time he gets rid of a coach, his game goes down.

Now, under the tutelage of Larry Stefanki, he just played the match many of us have been waiting for him to play since... well, forever. It was an epic performance. I think most of us thought it would be Murray who would get through to the final. I know I did.

Roddick beat Federer in 2002. It took him SIX years to beat him again. He is 2-18 against the Fed.

Yes, the money is on Federer. Yes, the fans are with Federer. But I, for one, would be thrilled to see Roddick win the Wimbledon title. He would beat the only man who has prevented him from winning Grand Slam finals. It would be a truly memorable achievement in the context of their rivalry and this particular moment in tennis history.

Roddick always plays big and always plays hard. But now he's playing smart. He's gonna bring it, no question. It's never worked before but if he actually pulls this off, I'll give a standing-O in front of my TV. He'll deserve it.


Allison Johnson said...

If Roddick had existed in a Federer-less era, there's no question that he would have a Wimbledon title. I love Roger beating Pete's record, but I still want to see Andy finally get that Wimbledon! The odds against Roger in a grand slam final are just too scary (if you aren't named Rafael Nadal). I'm with you - it would be great to see Andy pull this one off, but I'm not counting on it.

WestEnder said...

I was thinking about what Roddick could do strategy-wise.

Big serves don't effect Fed the way they do normal humans so Roddick's main weapon will be neutralized (like it always is).

But if he takes a page out of Nadal's book (and this is where a good coach could make all the difference) and hits kick serves to Fed's backhand, he might hinder Fed's return game which is one area where Fed has a clear advantage.

I also think he should look for chances to get to net as much as possible. He did that very well against Murray.

Kick serves and net pressure... I'll be watching for these 2 things to be part of his strategy, especially in tiebreaks.