Andy Roddick was defeated in the Australian Open quarterfinals earlier today by up and coming Marin Cilic in a great 5 setter. Andy fought all the way back after dropping the first two sets, but unfortunately did not have enough left in the tank to gut this one out and earn a birth in the semifinals. The common tennis fan will say there goes Roddick choking again. Many believe that Andy does not work hard and is just a talented pretty boy who gets by on his natural talent and looks. This is the not case my friends.
Roddick’s game has progressively improved over the past five years. He has developed more of a mental game, not to mention a consistent backhand. He even has improved dramatically in his ability to conduct court at the net. When Roddick became the world’s number 1 during a hot streak in the summer of 2003, Roddick was a player with a big forehand, and an even bigger serve. He just hit the crap out of the ball basically. Due to his rise to number 1 seven years ago, many set the bar way to high for the guy and had impossible expectations. Not only has Roddick raised his game from a mental standpoint, but also he has even improved his physical conditioning and quickness over the years. The man has really worked at it. Andy has added little elements to his game and become a better all around player year by year.
It just happens that the level of the competition on the tour has progressively improved as he has raised the level of his game. Not to mention that there have been two guys that are the best players of our generation in Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer that have been a mainstay in the draws.
So give A-Rod some love. I felt bad for the guy as he lost for a third time in a Wimbledon final to arguably the greatest player of all time in Roger Federer last summer. Andy lost the match 16-14 in the 5th set. He left everything on the court in that match and was still beaten. This was probably his best shot at capturing another Grand Slam title before his career comes to a conclusion.
If Andy would have worked harder when he first hit the tour in 2000, maybe he could have nabbed another Grand Slam or two before the arrival of Roger Federer as the player he is now. It takes players time to realize their potential in this funny game. Federer did not become Federer until after a few years of tough luck on the tour.
But please do not say that Roddick choked again. The man has worked his butt off and developed over the years. He is continuing to progress and may never win another Grand Slam title due to the amazing competition on tour these days. But the man is not choking. He is just getting beat.
Stay tuned for the next edition of Sportskraze.