When it comes to American tennis, Andy Roddick has been the lone hope for men’s tennis success on the ATP tour. American tennis fans have been spoiled over the years with incredible amounts of talent. After Sampras, Agassi, Connors, and other greats, we’ve become greedy for more quality tennis players. Roddick has proved a solid player, but he hasn’t been able to live up to these great expectations. Aside from his single US Open title, Roddick has been unable to capture any other major tournament trophies. His modus operandi has been consistency over the years, rather than big victories. Roddick nears the end of a great career where he has been a permanent fixture in the top ten, but his inability to win big titles has been frustrating for both him and the American fans.
The Andy Roddick Tennis Game and Serve
Roddick is among the greatest tennis players famous for their serves. The Roddick serve was consistently the biggest of his day, often nearing 140 mph. His serve at 155 mph held the record for fastest until Ivo Karlovic one upped him with a 156 mph one. Serving has always been a staple of the Roddick game, but it has made him terribly one dimensional. The American was once regarded as a heavy hitter–though his weapons no longer pack the punch they once did. The forehand is less effective and powerful, while players in the men’s game have grown used to heavy hitting and Roddick’s power isn’t quite as special as it once was. His serve is still a weapon, but it is a rarity for him to be able to back up powerful serving with consistent returns.
It was only a few years ago that Roddick’s game was a fierce proposition on the grass at Wimbledon. He exhibited incredible performances reaching back to back finals, only to be dismissed by an unbeatable Roger Federer. In an era without such a dominant grass player it’s almost certain that Roddick would have secured at least one Wimbledon title.
No longer is Roddick able to push opponents around the baseline with his ground strokes. He has transitioned from different coaches over the years (Gilbert and Connors recently) finally settling on Larry Stefanki. Stefanki’s resume is nothing short of spectacular, having coached players like McEnroe, Rios, and Kafelnikov. The adjustment for Roddick has been to mix up his game more. He realizes that he cannot compete in long and drawn out baseline rallies. Smart and aggressive tennis is the only option left for success. Well timed tactical ventures to the net are now a common part of the Roddick game. Stefanki, and others, have brought Roddick’s game to a strategic level that really eclipses his former self. The problem is that the power of the men’s game has passed Roddick by. While he can no longer hang in rallies with big hitters, he must find solutions in difficult shot combinations and consistent execution.
Roddick’s Future Goals
At 30 Roddick has a few good years left if he stays in top condition. From this point in his career it is unlikely he can still vie for grand slam titles against the likes of Djokovic, but that doesn’t mean he can’t continue to compete at a high level. It’s unfortunate for Roddick that he has recently fallen out of the top eight. This drop will exclude him from the end of the year ATP World Tour Finals held in London. The next few years will see Roddick take down a handful of smaller titles on hard court tennis surfaces to add to an already impressive resume. Unfortunately for Roddick, American tennis fans will continue to be unsatisfied with such results.
- The Barclays ATP World Tour Finals 2011 (fryingpansports.com)
- Sports Carnival Ecstasy – August 18, 2011 (brutusreport.blogspot.com)