Tag Archives: Cincinnati

“The Roddick of Old”

Many had hoped to see a Roddick vs Federal Finals matchup in Cincinnati today. Instead, fans got a Mardy Fish vs Roger Federer 3 set battle.

Yesterday, at the Cincinnati ATP Tennis Master Series event, fans were thrilled to see an All American Semifinals matchup between childhood buddies Andy Roddick and Mardy Fish.  This was a big time match that featured three sets of solid tennis, high tension and emotions, and two rain delays.  The man who sports the last name of “Fish” swam his way into a finals date with Roger Federer that occurred earlier this afternoon.  Federer came out victorious in an exciting three set rumble, but Mardy had a great tournament and looks very solid heading into the US Open.

Yesterday’s match was quite disappointing on many fronts though for not only Andy Roddick, but for American tennis in general.  Sure many were shocked to see the struggling American men’s game put two players into the Semifinals.  But the “it” guy in American men’s tennis for the past 8 years has been none other than Andy Roddick.  Roddick fell out of the top ten a couple of weeks ago and could have really used a finals appearance or possibly even a title in Cincinnati heading into the final Grand Slam of the year.

Roddick, as I have said many times before, has thoroughly impressed me for years now.  He has truly worked his tail off to develop a backhand and a more patient game.  He used to just blast big first serves and rely on his very strong forehand.  For years now, he has demonstrated an all around game.  And though he hit number 1 in the summer of 2003, his game was not nearly at the level in which it is at now.  Many of you are probably asking how that could be possible.  I mean he was ranked number 1 then and is not even in the top 10 now.  Well it comes from watching the guy play.

ARod still demonstrates a very strong forehand and first serve.  But he has really cut down on his unforced errors and now has a somewhat effective backhand.  Plus he has developed a reliable net game and his fitness level is light-years better than it ever was.  Lastly, he typically has demonstrates a cool, workmanlike demeanor on the court.  Andy’s amazing work ethic shows in his abilities to play all around tennis these days.

All of this went out the door though against his good buddy Mardy Fish. The match was all knotted up late in the first before a rain delay.  Roddick took advantage of the delay though and immediately closed out the first set in the first game following the delay.  Then in the 2nd, he seemed to be cruising until a second rain delay hit.  This time, Fish took advantage coming back from a 5 to 2 deficit, and captured the 2nd set in a tiebreaker.  Fish cruised to finishing things off in the 3rd.

The  end of the 2nd and the entire 3rd set reminded me of the “old” Roddick days.  Andy appeared out of shape and looked to close out points as quickly as possible.  His patience went out the window and it showed with the amount of unnecessary unforced errors he committed.  Plus his backhand was lapsing.  Lastly, his temper came out.  Roddick has generally been good at keeping his emotions in check for years now.  Yesterday was a major exception though.

In the end, the Roddick of “old” came out and cost him a finals showdown with his old rival Roger Federer.  Roger captured a much-needed title today though and looks very sharp heading into the US Open.

Roddick still had a great week and knocked off 2 top five players in Djokovic and Soderling.  But his recent bout with mononucleosis seemed to hurt his stamina yesterday.  Lets hope that this does not hurt him in Flushing as he is probably the only American hope to bring home the title.

Which Roddick will show up in Flushing Meadows? The new and improved Andy, or the “old” Andy?

Stay tuned for the next edition of TheSportsKraze.

-TheSportsKraze

“College Football Power Rankings”

Many have doubted the Buckeyes in recent years due to ther inability to keep up with the speed of the mighty SEC. Well this is their most talented team in a good few years and I have hunch that they will be bringing home a National Championship come January 10th, in Arizona.

 With everyone else putting out College Football power rankings, and with the season less than a month away.  I figured why not put out my own version. 

5 Teams Most Likely to Win a National Title

1.  Ohio State 

–  I know many are scratching their heads on putting this team ahead of the defending National Champs, Alabama.  But this team is very talented and returns a plethora of players off of last year’s Rose Bowl Champion.  Terrelle Pryor, in an outstanding Rose Bowl performance, finally looked ready to meet the heavy expectations that Buckeye Nation bestowed on him upon his arrival in Columbus. Without a weakness to be found, I have these guys as my number 1 at this point.  Also remember that though the Big Ten will be tough, it is not as rugged as the SEC. 

2.  Alabama 

– With the return of their quarterback, Heisman Trophy winning running back, outstanding backup running back, and top 2 receivers, you better believe that Nick Saban’s boys will be ready to play.  But the SEC is brutal and with question marks on defense, I have them sliding to number 2 on my power rankings. 

3. Virginia Tech 

– They have arguably the most dangerous backfield in America.  They play in the ACC.  And if they can manage to find a way to get by a very strong Boise State team in Week 1.  The Hokies should cruise until a late November date with the U.  This is the game that should make or break their National Championship or ACC Championship hopes for that matter. 

4. Florida 

– Urban Meyer is the best coach in the country.  And though he lost a ton of talent off of last year’s underachieving squad, the Gators will be chomping at the bit all year. Do not be surprised to see this team knock off the Tide on October 2nd at Alabama.  As the University of Cincinnati and so many other opponents of the Gators have learned over the past few years, speed truly does kill. 

5. Oklahoma 

– Bob Stoops claims he has a formidable squad ready to go and take care of business in the Big 12 this year.  And when Stoops speaks, people tend to listen.  They will have to overcome a big time early season challenge in Cincinnati on September 25th.  But do not be surprised to see the Sooners back in a BCS Bowl game or dare I say the National Championship.  

Very Probable BCS Bowl Game Participants (Best of the Rest)

Boise State 

– I would have these guys ranked in the top 5.  But I am not sure if they can beat Virginia Tech in Week 1.  I see this as probably their only loss on the year though.  With great power comes great responsibility. With great talent comes great expectations.  And with this being said, the expectations are at an all time high.  It is never easy to deal with big time expectations.  

Texas 

– The Longhorns will be tough again.  Minus the Oklahoma game, I only see them struggling at Nebraska.  Do not be surprised if this team under the great coaching of Mack Brown somehow sneaks past the Sooners for the Big 12 Title though. 

Iowa 

– This team is back and hungry after a BCS Bowl victory down in Miami.  Outside of Ohio State, this is the toughest team in the Big Ten.  The Hawkeyes will be one of America’s best in 2010.  And though many do not give this team much respect, they will make some noise this year with their accomplishments on the field. 

Miami 

– The U invented swagger.  This should be the best team Miami has had in some time.  September 11th will be an extremely tough game at Ohio State.  But if they can find a way to knock of the Hokies on November 20th, this team will be heading to a BCS Bowl for the first time in years. 

Pittsburgh

– The Dion Lewis led Panthers are hungry to atone for their heartbreaking loss to end the regular season against their rival Cincinnati last season.  They will not get rid of that bad taste until they clinch a Big East Championship, earning an automatic bid to a BCS Bowl game.  Behind a strong rushing attack and a great defense, this team is dangerous, and a force to be reckoned with.  Do not be too surprised though if the Bearcats shock the Panthers again in Cincinnati come December 4th to go to a BCS Bowl Game for a 3rd straight year.

Other Teams that Could Sneak Into BCS Bowls

 Cincinnati, TCU, Wisconsin, Nebraska, Arkansas 

College Football is always very unpredictable and fun.  I know many will question my pick of a non SEC team winning the National Title.  Realize that though the Big Ten will be tough this year, OSU will have an easier time going undefeated than if they played a brutal SEC Conference schedule.  The beautiful thing about College Football is its mysterious nature.  This year appears to be no different as teams enter their 3rd day of official practices. 

Stay tuned for the next edition of TheSportsKraze. 

-TheSportsKraze

“A Whole New World”

7 years ago Andy Roddick, pictured above, brought home the US Open title and was ranked number 1 in the world. Since then, no Americans have won a Grand Slam Title and there are currently no Americans ranked in the top 10.

The ATP is heating up at this time and currently in the middle of it’s annual summer tour of the United States.  This all leads up to the final Grand Slam of the year, the US Open, in Flushing Meadows, New York.  Generally at this time, Americans celebrate the grandiose achievement of their phenomenal players.  This is the time of year where the tour gains the interest of the American public in the sport.

In the past, Americans have been spoiled by legends of the game such as John McEnroe, Jimmy Connors, Pete Sampras, and Andre Agassi.  Since the retirements of Agassi and Sampras, the men have not really lived up to their normal expectations of being at the top of the ATP tour.  Americans the past 5 years have predominantly “Lived on a Prayer” (Bon Jovi) that is Andy Roddick.  But when the new rankings come out on Monday, there will be no American’s in the top ten.  Ever since the computer rankings began in 1973, the US has always had at least one representative in the top 10, and generally multiple reps.

Well as the summer tour heats up in places like Washington D.C., LA, and Cincinnati, there is not a whole lot to celebrate.  There currently are no American’s in the top 10 on the men’s tour.  No American has brought home a Grand Slam since Andy Roddick won in Flushing Meadows 7 years ago.  That is a gap of 27 Grand Slam tournaments.  To add to no American men bringing home a Grand Slam Championship in 7 years, only 2 current Americans have ever even advanced to the semifinals of one of the prestigious majors (Roddick and Ginepri).  It is a sad time.

Tennis has become more global than ever.  Everything in the world is becoming more global than ever.  It sort of even makes you think about the economy and how the rest of the world has been gaining ground on the United States, and some, have even passed us in many ways.  It is truly amazing how the global nature of society seems to even spill over into the simple game of tennis.

Can American tennis save face this summer during their traditional tour of the United States?  This is the time of year that makes or breaks the popularity of American tennis?  Can America continue to “Live on the Prayer” that is Andy Roddick.  Or will they have to look elsewhere?

I do know that many Cincinnatians only watch the US Open and when the players come to Cincy.  Their whole perspective on the game is determined from these 2 tournaments.  There is an awful lot of pressure on Roddick, Isner, and others to save American tennis for at least another year.

Stay tuned for the next edition of TheSportsKraze.

-TheSportsKraze