Has there ever been such a one-sided head-to-head in tennis that engenders more interest and intrigue than Roger Federer v. Andy Roddick? I’m sure there is one, but I can’t think of it right now. Thursday (probably night) we get meeting No. 17 between the two Grand Slam champions, and of course it’s Federer with the massive 15-1 butt-whipping edge over Roddick.
Despite the lopsided numbers in this series, for some reason it brings in the masses, brings in the hype, and I’m sure this match will be no different. Hell, I’m already on board.
On the surface, this one should be all Roger’s. Through the first three rounds at the Sony Ericsson in Miami, Fed’s looked good, maybe not great, through. Granted he hasn’t had the toughest road – then again neither has Roddick – but it’s been business as usual for the Swiss who has enjoyed straight-set wins over Gael Monfils, Robin Soderling (ret) and yesterday Jose Acasuso.
On paper Roddick’s had arguably the easiest draw of any of our quarterfinalists, but he’s nearly fumbled it. The newly-engaged American (more on that in a bit) struggled to beat Victor Troicki, was pushed around a little by Ivo Minar and needed the distance to put away Julien Benneteau.
So again, just looking at the results, big edge to Federer here who seems to have his game in check while Roddick’s really been shaky.
That said, we still have the Federer mono bug to deal with. As I mentioned in an earlier post, at the Australian Open Fed looked sharp for the first six sets of the tournament before running into Janko Tipsarevic. At Indian Wells, Fed again looked good in his first six sets then got blown away by Mardy Fish (who is also an engaged American model). Now again, we are at the six set mark in at a tournament, will Fed’s game again check out? My guess is he breaks the spell here.
It was interesting to hear commentator Doug Adler during the Federer-Monfils match reveal that he had spoken earlier to Fed’s agent, Tony Godsick, who had told him that Roger was still a step slow because of the mono. I can’t seem to find any follow up on Godsick’s comment to Adler, but Tony trying to again lower expectations for Roger? Or is it a built-in excuse for Roger if he loses, while he earns more praise if he wins?
And Fed now stirs the pot further saying he had a bout with mono in 2006, WTF? “Apparently I already had it back in 2006, hints of it,” Fed said yesterday. Oh really Roger, anything else you care to share with us? Why not just come out and say you’ve had it on/off your whole career?
This is getting real messy and tiresome. Unfortunately, just like mono itself, we are going to have to endure this for a while longer.
Regarding Roddick and his engagement, I have to say good for him. Congrats. Mandy Moore first brought Andy into the public eye, now he goes a step beyond with a Sports Illustrated Swimsuit model Brooklyn Decker. Nicely done, Andy. Isn’t that what any pro athlete dreams of?
And I just love how the publicity-starved tennis world plays this up. On the ATP homepage their story headline reads “Roddick Engaged to Swimsuit Model.” What I’d like to know is what if Decker was an accountant or a journalist or a blogger, would the headline then read “Roddick Engaged to a Blogger”? What if Federer got engaged, what would the headline read in that case? “Federer Engaged to a..???”
I know the tennis circuit is hard-pressed for any kind of cross-over publicity, but if you’re the ATP you should ease-up a little on the “swimsuit” angle and the “he’s a winner on court and off court” message. Let the media play it up, but you, as his pseudo employer should not unless Andy specifically tells you to run with it.
Back to tennis…
Looking at the rest of the field, it’s hard to go against James Blake at this stage. (Actually, it’s usually pretty easy!) With Rafa looking ahead to the clay season, I get the feeling the Spaniard doesn’t want to overly exert himself in this situation. So I like Blake in this one, and I also like him to beat Berdych in the semifinals and get to the final where he’ll lose to Fed. I know I didn’t think Fed would win this title, but Roddick really hasn’t looked impressive and Fed can’t afford to lose to Andy.
I’ve been wrong before – so I’ve probably just cursed both Fed and Blake – but if Fed really wants to prove that he’s back and healthy, it starts with Roddick. It starts Thursday.
As for the women, I have to mention Serena Williams who trampled all over Justine Henin 6-2, 6-0. How the hell does that happen? I have no idea, but it’s awesome. Women’s tennis is such a freakin’ circus.
And on the topic of tennis on TV, kudos to Fox Sports Net for bringing a better product to Miami. Of course it’s hard to do worse than Indian Wells, but I think Ted Robinson instead of Barry Tompkins helps the telecast and helps contain the excitable Justin Gimelstob a little bit more. Now that doesn’t mean the coverage is great, just means it better for what it’s worth.
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Australian Open: 5 Reasons Roddick Will Beat Federer…Or Maybe Not
No Joke, a Fish Swallows Federer Whole in Indian Wells Desert