Roddick, Blake Threaten to Turn Rome into a U.S. Event
by Sean Randall | May 8th, 2008, 10:02 pm
  • 107 Comments

Now be honest, who would really have believed that after four days of tennis in Rome that Rafael Nadal, David Ferrer, Nikolay Davydenko and David Nalbandian would out and Andy Roddick and James Blake would still be in? There’s no one on the planet who would have thought that four days ago. No one.

But, it’s happened. Roddick and Blake are just a win – and a very winnable win – away from a semifinal meeting in a Masters Series clay event. Meanwhile, clay elitists Nadal, Nalbandian, Davydenko and Ferrero are sitting at home or wherever they lay their heads wondering how the hell do a couple of Americans make a mockery of one of their biggest clay events.

Before I go any further, let’s face it, Roddick and Blake got great draws and still have great draws. I picked Roddick to reach the semifinals because of his draw, so for me it’s no surprise he’s gotten this far.

Blake’s also had very a forgiving road (playing Italians in Rome is really a good thing, even if they are clay courters) and now he’s a smiling beneficiary of the Nadal withdrawal – he’s not going to beat a healthy Rafa on clay.

Just like Sam Querrey did in Monte Carlo beating Moya, Seppi and Gasquet, Roddick and Blake are taking full advantage of playing freely and without pressure, while their opponent – usually a clay court European – feels the weight of the World not wanting to return to the locker room having lost to an American on the dirt.

And Tommy Robredo, Roddick’s next opponent, will be feeling that tomorrow. Robredo’s a much better clay court player than Roddick and if this match was at the French I think he’d win. But here in a best-of-3 format Roddick will surely get one break, maybe two and that just might do it. Plus, Robredo is coming off a tough three-set win over and Davydenko and Robredo doesn’t exactly tear it up vs. the Top 10.

Blake’s a different animal. The minute you put your chips on him he collapses in spectacular fashion. For proof, just see Houston and Delray Beach this year. And unlike Roddick he’s probably favored against Stan Wawrinka, the “other Swiss”, who just happened to have beaten James at Roland Garros in 2005 after being down two sets.

And history might be on Stan’s side. We usually see an unseeded semifinalist in Rome so maybe Wawrinka’s the guy. I’m sure Nicolas Almagro is hoping he isn’t, though. The unseeded Spaniard enjoyed a day off today courtesy of an injury to Fernando Gonzalez. His reward is Novak Djokovic, a tough three set victor over Igor Andreev.

Djokovic probably isn’t playing his best right and Almagro can beat him. And I think he will – actually I hope he will because I don’t want to see Novak retire to Fed again.

Speaking of Fed. Federer continues on his quiet, comfy draw tomorrow against Radek Vaidisova-Hingis. Federer should get through.

But back to the Americans.

In my mind, fast clay court + no pressure + big American games = trouble for the lower-ranked, less powerful European clay court guys. And that’s what we’ve seen thus far.

Simone Bolelli had Roddick a break up in the first before falling apart mentally. Bolelli’s a better clay court player than Roddick, but in front of his home crowd in perhaps the biggest stage of his life Simone couldn’t handle it. For Roddick, it was a nice afternoon hit in Rome. He’s been No. 1, he’s won a Slam, he’s won the Davis Cup, he’s engaged to a Sports Illustrated swimsuit model, so what the hell does he care? Losing to Bolelli on clay isn’t going to cause him to lose sleep. Bolelli’s will surely be thinking about that blown 3-1 lead for days to come.

Fernando Verdasco, no mental giant himself, was up a set against his American right-handed double Blake, but simply couldn’t sustain whatever got him to be up a set (again, Verdasco could be the biggest waste of a player on the circuit, sorry). And I think tomorrow his countryman Robredo could very well follow suit – cave in.

Wawrinka, however, is the likely underdog against James so I would rate his chances better than Robredo’s.

And before you ask, if this is such the case for the Americans they why do the crap out so bad at the French or even Hamburg. Well, Hamburg is too slow and the French, that’s a Slam and there actually is pressure to succeed – Blake, Roddick and even Querrey have lost matches they should have won. So this American success we are seeing this week in Rome, I don’t think it carries over in Paris unless the guys get really great draws. At least that’s how I see it.

That all said, I still like Roddick, Federer and Almagro getting through, and I think I’ll lean Stan over James. As always, feel free to bet against me. Just give me a cut of your winnings!


Also Check Out:
Blake Bombs, Rain Ends Day at ATP Masters Rome
Opinion: Which Roddick Will Show at Washington?
Blake Will Pull for Roddick Against Federer at US Open
ATP Indy Event Misses Roddick, Stiffs Blake
Blake Bids for Nadal Upset in Shanghai

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107 Comments for Roddick, Blake Threaten to Turn Rome into a U.S. Event

Harry Says:

The way things are going, there is a possibility of an all-Swiss final.


Naydal Says:

Roddick beat Fish who is hardly a clay court specialist. Then he beat Bolleli who is a journeyman at best. Blake beat Seppi who hits 35 mph second serves and then Verdasco who is so inconsistent he can barely be called a clay courter. Until now the only thing they’ve proven is that they can take advantage of a good draw. The real tests come tomorrow for both of them…


Chris H. Says:

Andy and James might be doing well THIS week, but in general, their approach to the clay court season pisses me off. They skip 3 big tournaments, play maybe two prep events and wonder why their clay court fortunes are so poor. Or worse, they don’t even WANT to do well in Paris! So they “concede” clay. Weak.

Oh I know being in beautiful hotels, in the best cities of Europe for a month or two, when you can fly home whenever you want on a private jet is sooo painful! After all the European players NEVER spend long periods of time in the US! Wait…they ARE here for EXTENDED periods of time. Twice each year! Trying to improve on hard courts and doing it. Not conceding events, rounding out their games, aspiring to win everywhere. What a concept. I am embarassed by the effort and commitment our players show to do well on clay.

-Chris H.


Mike Says:

Hey Chris,

How does the Davis Cup trophy look on your mantle?

Davis Cup > Clay Season for Roddick

I know which one I would pick. Thanks Andy for bringing home the Davis Cup in 2007, especially since the last one was in 1995 which was more painful.


Glenn Says:

Mike,

It’s all about mental stamina. Roddick is a wimp. He cries like a baby on court, and has no mental self-control. Of course, Roddick will play well in Davis Cup. He’s a baby who needs approval.

Nice serve, though.


Glenn Says:

Harry,

I hope there IS a Swiss final. Wawrinka is an underrated player. His maturity on court demonstrates the demeanor of a champion.


Von Says:

Mike:

“I know which one I would pick. Thanks Andy for bringing home the Davis Cup in 2007, especially since the last one was in 1995 which was more painful.”

We who appreciate the effort of the US Davis Cup team are in a minority. These guys forego playing in some tournaments which could earn a fat paycheck to play for their country. The participation from most of the top players is PATHETIC — they don’t want to lose points and are concentating on their careers and bank accounts. Thank God for wimps like Roddick, Blake and the Bryan Brothers. GO USA!!


Von Says:

Some credit should be given to Roddick and Blake for really trying to play on clay. Instead of slamming them, let’s encourage them. Kudos to Roddick and Blake. I think we all know who’s the cry baby when he loses. No need to mention names.


tennisballpenetrator Says:

Is Djoko the cry baby?


Dr. Death Says:

Sailors fighting in the dance hall
Oh man! Look at those cavemen go
It’s the freakiest show
Take a look at the Lawman
Beating up the wrong guy
Oh man! Wonder if he’ll ever know
He’s in the best selling show
Is there life on Mars?

Some posters seem to revolve around the same themes over and over. For others, I wonder if some of these people play tennis, or just watch tennis from very far, far away. I see a couple of new posters here. Welcome!

Tennisballpenetrator (I know you are not new to X)- translating your name, good luck bru! Djoko will be just fine and will win something this year.

Glenn – an all Swiss final would be exciting. What sport?

Chris – your ticket to return to earth will be ready soon. Reception is not good in outer space? But I also do enjoy watching Roddick break down and cry – especially when he wins a tournament, puts the check in his pocket, and buys Brooklyn a little trinket.

Bring on the tennis action with the wimpy, crybaby wankers who are left in the tournament on clay while the specialists bathe their sore feet, take antibiotics and other clay courters walk around believing that they are there to win one big match and then tank out and not go after the whole tournament.

All I would like is some entertaining tennis and see these guys to put their hearts into it for the money they are being paid.


zola Says:

Sean
***Blake’s a different animal. The minute you put your chips on him he collapses in spectacular fashion. ***

well, it’s either that or the fact that you wrote about him! He just lost to Wawrinka!
I am very impressed by Wawrinka. He has been very consistent. He is a good player on clay. last year he played the final in Stuttgart and this year he played Semis in BArcelona ( don’t remember MC). He is really good and I’m happy for him.

On the other note Dinara Safina won Henin and Serena back to back on clay! just WOW!


jane Says:

Yes, Blake lost, but it was a tight match until the very last set; congrats to Blake for playing a good tournament on clay and giving it his all.

Dr. Death, I’m with you on a an all Swiss final. Cold up there in those Alps hey?


Dr. Death Says:

Limited audience also, Jane. Not good for the sponsors.


Chris H. Says:

Guys-

Yea the Davis Cup is a great triumph, but come on, it was early April. Where were they in Portugal? Barcelona? Ok, at least Monte Carlo?? Even the mighty Federer played Portugal and he has decent clay court credentials. I think they are just conceding the clay court season when, with effort, they might do well. I don’t get it.

-Chris


Leo Says:

I think an all-Swiss final while unlikely, will be exciting to any Swissophile (not sure this is a word ;-)) Each to his own. I dont’ think any country has the patent rights to intra-murals.

Too bad for Blake though. I think he’s got the game for clay… maybe not the self-belief.


jane Says:

Chris.

“Even the mighty Federer played Portugal and he has decent clay court credentials.”

Why, do you think, did Federer play in Portugal this year? He didn’t last year. Perhaps because he neededd to win a title? Get in some match play on clay?

Roddick already has two titles this year.

Sure, more Americans might’ve played MC – but you might know that they were celebrating the forthcoming marriage of Fish that weekend. They could be judged harshly for this, or you could see it as friends who have their priorities straight, and tennis players who know they can actually rest and not fall to hard in the rankings.

In some ways, I think they’re smart not to overdo it. Other Federer, Roddick has been in the top ten longest. Blake has also been in-and-out of top ten spots pretty consistently – even though the guy broke his neck!

I think these two players have their heads on pretty straight, and heck, they even know there’s more to life than tennis.


jane Says:

Typo: should be “other than Federer”


jane Says:

Hmmm… Radek just took the first set off Fed. I wonder if he can win this one?


Von Says:

Blake could have won today — the second set was lost in the tiebreak. He fell in the 3rd set and then fell apart. I wonder psychologically how much that hurt him — he did seem shaken to me, and could it have been a flashback to his horrible accident 4+ years agon in Rome?

I’m just glad he made it to the semis and I hope he’ll do well in Hamburg.

I hope Radek gives this his all — he’s a fighter — been in the top 10 just a couple of years ago and he’s no slouch.

___________

Chris: TMF badly needed a title. How the mighty have fallen to go to lowly Estoril. WOW.


jane Says:

Dr. Death – I think I just got your Bowie reference; is it related to Roddick’s wonderful little press conference quip?

“You know, who would have thought we would have a couple Americans making up a quarter of the draw in the quarterfinals. I guess if we landed on the moon we can figure out how to get to the quarterfinals of a clay court tournament, right? ”

Is there life on Mars?

Radek is now up a set and 3: love in the second. Who knew?

Looks like chaos is restored in the court; what a great season of unpredictability.


Leo Says:

things looking pretty bleak for Fed. Come on Rog, hang in there!


jane Says:

Fed just broke back – Step let him back in. This is a good match.


Von Says:

Dr. Death:

Great post!! would you teach me how to write some poetry?

Maybe we should put the Americans in a time capsule and freeze them with a list of commandments written by the experts on how to/how not to play on clay. Just a thought, but it could work. Return date to earth in the year ?


jane Says:

So much for an all-Swiss final.

Good job for Radek; he’s often taken a set off Fed in the past and then caved. But this time, even though he let Roger back into the second set, he fought hard until the last point. A well deserved win for Step.


Von Says:

Oh WOW, what a great match. I don’t know how many of you saw the match live on TV, but the after match show by Stepanek was priceless — he did his worm dance, et al. I’ve had my day’s quota of laughs — a keeper for the laughs. Good job by Stepanek — he earned it!! I suppose the other guys are now licking their chops, now that Fed’s out. Some great tennis ahead. GO RODDICK!!!!


fed is afraid Says:

fed needs to go back to the basics, he has lost it, esp his backhand. and stepanek is one ugly dude. ugh, hope he isn’t in too many more matches that i watch,


fed is afraid Says:

and hingis was engaged to that guy? she must have been high at the time.


Shital Green Says:

Hi Jane !
Hi Von, Zola, Sean, grendal, Dr. Death !
Hi everybody else!
Yeah, that was a great performance by Radek. And not so great play by Fed. The second set could have been 6-2 or 6-3 if Radek had not missed his serves and nerve. On the other hand, when Fed was 4-1 in the 2nd set tie, he had a chance, but he choked this time. You could read nervousness all over his face.
I cannot say whether it is good or bad at this stage of the match, especially this time around. Number 1 and 2 are out, and that opens the whole field wide open: Opportunities for others to shine. I will continue to enjoy whenever I can sneak peek.
It should not be difficult for A-Rod to eliminate Robredo. Good luck for A-Rod !
I have been busy with my end-of-the-semester stuff. I still have to finish grading and turn in the grade. I hope I will be done by this evening and keep up with you guys, though clay court is not my turf (in my whole life, I have played only a couple of times on clay).
Later,


jane Says:

Shital Green,

Hello yourself!

“I have been busy with my end-of-the-semester stuff. I still have to finish grading and turn in the grade. ” I’m at the other end of the ball game, just starting up with teaching summer semester, so I’ll be getting busy just when tennis is heating up. Oh well, like you, I’ll be sneaking a peek whenever I can!

Cheers & happy watching.


Von Says:

Hi Shital:

You surfaced just in time to see some gr-great matches. We missed you. Remember what Aristotle said, necessity was the mother of invention; hence, if you deem tennis necessary, you’ll find a way to do it. Did you see Stepanek’s after-the-match show and dance? It was hilarious! I couldn’t stop laughing. Catch ya later.


Glenn Says:

Congrats to Radek. Federer made some impossible shots (as usual!!!), but his nerves probably got the better of him.

Congrats to Wawrinka!!! Unfortunately, I missed the match, and accidentally read about it here (what a spoiler!). I’ll watch it on replay later. That’s one to record.

I don’t want Roddick to win (he is SUCH a baby on court) against Robredo, but with his serve and improved backhand, he probably will. I’m watching it now. If he loses, I’ll definitely record it on replay later.


Dr. Death Says:

Jane – good catch on David Bowie, Roddick also some of our mates’ comments.

Von – dont know if we can afford Bowie’s course on poetry.

Roger may need to, however.


Sean Randall Says:

I am so very glad I missed the wormed dance! So much for the all-Swiss final or the all-American semifinals.

Looks like Robredo still has zero belief against Roddick – 18 straights sets lost is it?

Two unseeds already in the semifinals, that probably spells bad news for Almagro. I can’t imagine 3? Has that ever happens at a Masters Series?


jane Says:

Sean – I wouldn’t count Nick out just yet. Remember, this is the year of who-knows-what’s-going-to-happen-next. Almagro is great on clay, plus Novak had a tough one against Andreev and Nick will be well-rested. With Rafa and now Fed gone, ANYONE left could win this thing, which is very exciting.

That said, I’d love to see a Roddick vs. Djokovic final, and then I could just sit back and enjoy, as I’d be happy no matter who came out the winner in that situation.


Sean Randall Says:

Jane, as you wrote, “unpredictability restored”!

The event has to have some form of order. Just a little. So that would go against Nico in that case.

I see Robredo got his first career set off Roddick. Having found himself in such an unfamiliar territory (winning a set v. Roddick), Tommy immediately gets broken to start the third!


jane Says:

Crunch time for Andy & Robredo… 3rd set t.b…


jane Says:

YAY ANDY!! Great job until the LAST point.


Sean Randall Says:

Yup. Roddick has no business beating Robredo on clay. But Tommy has no belief against Andy no matter the surface.

Tall order for Wawrinka who’ll be getting his first look at the Roddick serve.


Mike Says:

Does anyone sense some extra motivation to do well on clay from Andy Roddick to help himself prepare for the Davis Cup? Going to Spain and playing them on clay is a very intense task, but beating Robrero is a good step in the right direction. I have this image of Spaniard matadors bringing out the Americans bulls for slaughter. Hopefully a semi-final in Rome is helping Roddick sharpens his horns. (BTW, I have the utmost respect for the Spaniard players and had an amazing time when I visited Spain. Can you say blonde Spaniard women from the Andalucian region of the country? Simply insane. San Sebastion, Sevilla, and Marbella was incredible as well.) Oh, back to tennis, nice effort by Roddick to reach the SF in Rome. :)


jane Says:

Wow Novak steamrolled through that first set; I thought it’d be much tighter. Well, maybe Almagro will play better in the second. But good for Djoko anyhow.


jane Says:

Almagro just retired; anyone know why?


Maja Says:

Oh my God – it’s going to be Djoko against Stepanek – WOW – very tough!


Dr. Death Says:

If buttercups buzz’d after the bee,
If boats were on land, churches on sea,
If ponies rode men and if grass ate the cows,
And cats should be chased into holes by the mouse,
If the mamas sold their babies
To the gypsies for half a crown;
If summer were spring and the other way round,
Then all the world would be upside down.

Federer out.

Did Roddick cry after his win?

Almagro saw Mike’s post about Almagro’s sister so he retired and is on his way to Mike’s house.


jane Says:

LOL Dr. D – here’s to upside down worlds and life on Mars!

Keep it coming players…this is the best tennis season in a while.


Von Says:

jane:

Almagro had a problem with his wrist — he couldn’t hit the ball. He called for the trainer after the 3rd game and got his wrist taped, but he seemed to have difficulty moving it after the taping — couldn’t bend it. It was very visible that he was in pain and did the right thing to retire, avoiding more damage/injury.


C!P! Says:

just missing Rafa! hope Stan can prevail here !he deserves to be at least for one week the No.1 Swiss


jane Says:

Seriously, though. Too bad Nicholas had to retire. A tight match would’ve been nice. I could only follow live scores so still don’t know what, exactly, happened. I read somewhere that he was also sick last week with laryngitis.

Maja,

Djoko and Step should be good. That USO match between the two was a marathon. This is only 3 sets though so it can’t go on that long.


Shital Green Says:

Djoko got walkover win. Almagro could have posed a real threat to Djoko had he been healthy: He had both knee and wrist problems today.

Yes, Jane, A-Rod vs. Djoko final would be the best I can hope for. It would not make me sad a bit if A-Rod happens to beat Djoko, even though I favor Djoko. I can always enjoy Roddick’s victory, even if it were against my fav. Wawrinka will be a lot tougher to get past by. Stepanek could end Djoko’s march. Stepanek is hot, battle tested, and full of confidence after defeating Fed. Could that all play on his advantage? It looks like that way, but let’s just wait until that happens. Let’s just hope A-Rod and Djoko somehow make it to the final.

Von, thanks for reminding me of the wise man. And I did watch that Stepanek’s signature move. I used to be a dancer myself in those days when crocodile move was hip. It cracked me when I saw him doing on the court. He deserved to go a bit wild to celebrate the big moment of his life, after felling the No. 1.

Time to get back to work !


jane Says:

Thanks for the update Von; when I saw the scores in the first set I knew something must be up, because Nicholas is a fighter.


Von Says:

Dr. Death:

And, if wishes were horses, beggars would ride.

“When shall we three meet again in thunder, lightning, or in rain? When the hurlyburly ‘s done,
When the battle ‘s lost and won”. -


Von Says:

Shital:

“Von, thanks for reminding me of the wise man. And I did watch that Stepanek’s signature move. I used to be a dancer myself in those days when crocodile move was hip.”

I hope you’ll follow his advice; where there’s a will, there’s a way.

Were you a pupil of my fave, Ben Vereen? Now that’s someone who’s got the moves. :) I can sit and watch him for hours. Take care of the solar plexus; it can pose a problem with age. :)


Dr. Death Says:

Von – Macbeth, of course.

Shital – welcome back. Mark those papers and play some tennis.


Von Says:

Dr. Death:

Of Course, correct is right. :) Stephen Boyd uttered a part of that quote in Ben Hur as he was lying on his death bed speaking to Charlton Heston, after the horse race in the Roman arena. Have you seen that movie? I’ve seen it no less than ten (10) times.


zola Says:

hey Shital,
Great to see you again. get those gradings doine and come join us. Although with Rafa out, I can’t say it is much fun.

I was hoping for Nico to take out Djoko and he retired! Argggggggggg………

Fed is…
Stepanek is now engaged ( or married) to Nicole VAidisova. I think she is 100 times hotter than Hingis!

Oh, and Roddick won Robredo. I think he has a good chance to win this tournament. Please God! Anybody but Djoko! ( no offense to Djoko admirerers…this is just for the sake of ranking points and maybe I don’t want to see him shirtless!).


zola Says:

Dr Death,
when is your next tourney? What surface are the matches on?

btw,
htp://www.channelsurfing.net
has many links to the Rome series. You can also download TVU ( http://www.tvunetworks.com) and watch on “starsports”. That’s what I do now because the dang AMS master TV is playing up!


zola Says:

C!P!

I wouldn’t mind Stan as the champion either. I am starting to admire his “no frills” style and has been so consistent. A master shield will definitly be great for him.


zola Says:

Von,
you should be happy now that your boy is to semis. He played a good match. That was the only one I semi-watched today. Suddenly Spain-US Davis cup doesn’t seem so lop-sided.

Jane
Same to you. Although Nico retired, but still it’s a win. Although I want Djoko to stop here. The ranking point gap between him and Rafa is closing fast!


Von Says:

Zola:

Thanks for the kind words. Yes, I’m happy Roddick is in the semis. One match at a time is all I can handle. The match today with Robredo kept me on the edge of my chair until the last point. It was exciting.

I think the Davis Cup, Spain V. USA, will be very interesting. One match at a time …

I posted a response to your comments on the breakdown of MS clay v. North American hardcourt. I hope ATP will institute some changes next year that will be favorable to the clay-court season. This year everything is already carved in stone – no erasers available, and will remain that way until 2009. More player complaints will do the trick. Don’t worry, be happy, good things are ahead. :)


Daniel Says:

If Djoko wins here and defeat Nadal in a possible semi-final in Hamburgo, he will be the new number 2 monday 19. Next matches will be very exciting!!


Maja Says:

Jane, yes it’s gonna be great, but I think it’s going to be tough. Altought it’s only 3 set maximum – it can be very hard – like it was today to Federer…
Doen anyone knows a schedule of play for tommorow? In original Italian time zone…


zola Says:

Von,
It was interesting to me that Roddick had 11 Aces. So he can actually translate is game to cly. I think he was in Rome semis before. ( I read somewhere, haven’t researched it). Robredo is a great clay court plyer and he was playing well. So it was a good win for Roddick.

I’ll go read your comment in the other thread. I am not very hopeful about any changes by these ATP wizards. ATP has lost money , is struggling with Law suits from Monte Carlo and Hamburg and has lost all credibility with the players and the fans. A big change is needed.

2009 is much worse with 19 tournaments to play and withdrawls will be punished by taking out the highest ranking points in the category ( MS or GS). It is just brutal. we need an “alternative ATP”! maybe this time with a CEO from “pixar”!

Daniel,
you are creeping me out! But I would like to see a clay court match between RAfa and Djoko, or even Fed and Djoko.

Hopefully in HAmburg fed will take out Djoko before losing to Rafa in the final! .:)


Von Says:

Maja:

“Does anyone knows a schedule of play for tommorow? In original Italian time zone…”

It’s at 8:00 a.m. US Eastern time zone. The matches will be broadcasted live on the Tennis Channel beginning at 8:00 a.m. ET. Hope this helps.


Von Says:

Zola:

“Robredo is a great clay court plyer and he was playing well. So it was a good win for Roddick.”

Robredo’s game has improved tremendously and he now has developed a fighting spirit. he used to give up once he got broken. Now he fights back. He really took it to Davydenko yesterday, and even though they had so many breaks of service, Robredo just kept fighting. His game is now similar to Davydenko’s — truly amazing. I was rooting for him to win yesterday. I think the doubles he plays with Rafa has really helped his game, and his fighting spirit can be attributed to his association with Rafa and his fighting spirit — a influence on Robredo, and good doubles combination — those two.


Daniel Says:

Zola, I am anxcious waiting the Hamburgo draw to see in which side Djoko will be. Next RG Nadal will have to surpass himself, as if it is possible to do more than he does!

I too think that is really unfair for him to play 3 MS in 4 weeks. If the schedule was at least similar to last year, he would have a week after Barcelona and had arrived Rome recharged. We will have a new Rome champion, but the taste won’t be the same. But I think Djoko won’t mind, cause he will have a shot at n. 2!


I like tennis bullies not tennis sissies Says:

I was surprised to see Arod employ alot of serve volley against Robredo today and it worked beautifully


zola Says:

Von,

Rafa-Robredo are No 10 in the doubles ranking. Can you believe it?
Robredo used to play well. I think last year he didn’t do well, but the year before he was in Shanghai. I was quite amazed with his match with Davydenko as well. It is good to see him fight. Not sure if it is Rafa’s influence ( but thanks!). Perhaps more confidence in his own abilites.

Daniel,
well, If Djoko was not so close to Rafa in ranking points, it would have been OK to see him win. Now,it make me nervous to think about it.


Maja Says:

Von thank you very much…but I’m in Europe – maybe I could convert the time zone to europian, they are converters on the net, but I’m not good with that so it would help if anyone knows original Italian time of play?


jane Says:

Yeah, Roddick was aggressive today, and while he got passed a fair bit, too, his volleying was darn strong. It was a great win for Andy.

I am looking forward to these semis.

What will be interesting is if there are any big upsets at the three remaining Grand Slams. Then we could see some major shifting in the rankings.


jane Says:

Maja,

Check out the Rome website, which you can link to from the ATP website; the schedule should be up there.


Maja Says:

Thanks jane, I knew about atp page but I hardly found the schedule, anyway I succeeded – thank you both – von and jane :)

By the way Von – Roddick played great today :p :) ;)


zola Says:

Maja,
this is my share:

http://www.timeanddate.com/worldclock/city.html?n=215

use this to find the current time at Rome.


Maja Says:

Thanks a lot Zola, I appreciate it a lot. But it’s a bit missunderstanding, which is probably my fault – I’m so close to Italy that the Italy time zone is mine time zone too.. and Von gave me the time of the match but in the american time zone – so I just wanted to find the way to convert it to Italy – eastern europian time zone :) But I found the actual schedule on the other way so it’s ok now :)


Dr. Death Says:

Great tennis day, indeed!

I will have to find the highlights but given the speed of hard clay and if A Rod was hitting his approach shot really deep, serve and volley ought to work.

Zola – I am in another one day event at the end of May (or at least I hope to be). It will be on an artificial surface similar to clay.

8 am EST ought to be 2 pm in Rome.


zola Says:

Maja,
this is in rome time:

not before 02:00 pm

[6] A. Roddick (USA) vs S. Wawrinka (SUI)
R. Stepanek (CZE) vs [3] N. Djokovic (SRB)
[1] B. Bryan (USA)/M. Bryan (USA) vs [7] J. Bjorkman (SWE)/K. Ullyett (ZIM)

check the whole schedule here:
http://www.internazionalibnlditalia.it/1/ProgrammaRisultati.asp?LNG=EN&Date=20080510

on the right hand side if you predd on the day, you will see the order of play for that day.


Maja Says:

Zola you’re great, thanks a lot! :) By the way is that you with the nickname – zolarafa on the tennisworld page comments? :D


jane Says:

Von,

You might enjoy this you tube video –

“Andy vs Nole in Super Ping Pong Tennis” shot earlier in Rome.

Our guys know how to have fun!


zola Says:

Dr Death,
there is like a 2-seconds highlights on the ATP page!

Roddick was able to serve hard. I don’t know about the speed of his forehand.

what is the articial surface? Is the speed or ball bounce the same as clay?
wow! so, you play a lot! I hope you get to go to this event!


zola Says:

yes Maja, that’s me. :)


Maja Says:

Here is the link to that youtube clip you were talking about jane http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ONndsZ9WjmA roddick and djokovic playing super ping pong :)


Maja Says:

I don’t understand – is it forbidden to put links from youtube here?


jane Says:

Maja,

I don’t get it either, but sometimes when I post links it takes forever for my posting to show up, or else it doesn’t show up at all. So I thought I’d just put the title of the you tube video up and then Von, or anyone who interested, can search it at you tube or through google.

It would be nice if someone clarified about posting links though.


Maja Says:

Well I guess we have to stay patient until someone explains :D wow, I can’t sleep of an excitement about SF – I’m drinking milk and even that’s not putting me to sleep :D


zola Says:

Jane,
I just posted a link above. But I had this problem that sometimes my posts ( regardless of having links or not) took a loooooooooooong time to post.
Anyway. this is a link of Rafa-Fed Miami from 2004 ( rafa was 17, fed 22). Let’s see if it posts here:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w2JYWhSjPb8


zola Says:

Jane and Maja,
this is the link to the “super ping pong” between Andy and Djoko that you guys posted before. I hope it shos up:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ONndsZ9WjmA


Von Says:

Maja:

You’re welcome. I didn’t know you were in Europe or else I would have saved you the trouble and told you that it’s 2:00 p.m. Rome time — they’re 6 hours ahead of US Eastern time — I think most of Europe is 6 hours ahead of the US. Anyway, you got the information from Zola, Dr. Death, and the website, so you’ll be fine. And, there I was giving you the Tennis Channel information, as if you could receive their telecast. Shame on me! :)

Thanks for the kind words on Roddick — he played very well and was patient — behaved like a little lamb.

_____________

jane:

Andy made some crisp volleys and a couple of beautiful backhanded volleys and net play. Even the commentators’ comments were “soft hands”. Wow, I have never heard them say that before about Andy’s net play. He has improved a lot.

Thanks for the YouTube information. I think Novak and Andy have a good rapport — except in Dubai when Andy wanted to smack Djoko. Apparently when Andy arrived in Dubai he had been traveling for 24 hours and needed some sleep, so he decided to get some 40 winks on the floor of the locker room before his match that day — he didn’t even get to practice. Andy stated that Novak kept dropping things on him and walking over him — I suppose Djoko was being funny. Prescription for being the Djoker.

___________

Sean Randall:

What’s the procedure for posting links on Tennis.X. Please reply. Thanks.


Maja Says:

Thank you zola… and that clip with Nadal is great too…
I’m going to sleep now – wish you all good night (if it’s not a daytime where you live :D )


zola Says:

Maja,
you’re welcome. :)

Von,
I just posted some links, just copy and paste. try one and see if it works.but I had problems before that even for normal posts I had to wait for hours for it to appear here.


jane Says:

Zola – thanks for posting the links. Rafa was great then too – so young!

Maja – sweet dreams.

Von – the “soft hands” show in the super ping-pong video too. The comments below the video are mostly about Andy and Nole having great personalities and guys who like to have fun. That’s for sure.

They both like to win too! We’ll see what happens tomorrow. :-)


jane Says:

Von,

I could be wrong, but I suspect Andy is one of the players that Novak looks up to and admires. I don’t know why, but I get that impression.

They do seem to have a good rapport.


Andrew Miller Says:

Sean: Could you elaborate on Verdasco being the biggest waste of a player on the circuit? The guy has some of the best tennis shots I’ve ever seen, and his lefty game used to throw Roddick into a tizzy. Why is he the worst performing of the Spanish armada? (Even Feliciano has decided to get better)


TD (Tam) Says:

Hello hello everybody! I am in tennis seventh heaven here. It’s a shame Blake couldn’t finish off Stan W. but Wawa has been playing terrific tennis this week. Sooo happy to see our hardcourt specialist Andy Roddick finally do good things on the hated clay; His win over Robredo was the best I had ever seen him play. Good luck to him and Stepanek in the semis!! Rome has certainly been full of interesting surprises but I guess that could be said of the entire year so far lol

Von, to answer your question from a while back I am female. :)


TD (Tam) Says:

jane- I could be wrong, but I suspect Andy is one of the players that Novak looks up to and admires. I don’t know why, but I get that impression. They do seem to have a good rapport.
————

Jane I get the same impression. It’s interesting to me that Novak gives more respect to Roddick than he does to Federer.


bob22 Says:

Excellent video Jane, thanks for pointing it out.


Sean Randall Says:

Andrew, you said it yourself regarding Verdasco, “The guy has some of the best tennis shots I’ve ever seen” yet where are his results?

ONE career title?? ZERO quarterfinals in Slams and ZERO semifinal appearances in Masters Series. With the game he has he should have had better results.

I think he’s a much better player and has much more upside than Lopez yet their results are about the same. Birds of feather flock together as they say…


Sean Randall Says:

Von, you are free to post links, however if you add more than two links (or maybe it’s one) the post will go into the moderation queue.


Andrew Miller Says:

I think, like you are suggesting Sean, that Verdasco is a case example that brilliant strokes only go so far in tennis. It is amazing to me that, with his game, that he doesnt have Roddick like results, and it must be that the guy just doesnt want it. Verdasco has one of the most formidable power games on the tour – he seems like a shot-maker of the highest order (best in class shot making, and a lefty to boot), but his results like you mentioned, show no heart. I have started to cut Feli Lopez a little more slack because he put up a fight against Federer at the US Open, but you are right, he seems like he is back to his normal game plan – mediocrity. Verdasco to me is even more disappointing than Monfils or Gasquet or Baghdatis, because he is a lefty with nearly perfect shot-making. I think he is the most disappointing player in the top 50 and is going down as a huge underachiever.

I am amazed when I look at the list of the top Spanish players (Nadal, Ferrer, Robredo) – all of them have flawed games, but their tenacity – especially Nadal and Ferrer, is right up there with the best. Why this generation of Spaniards hasnt become like the US’ greatest generation (Sampras, Agassi, Courier, Chang, Martin, heck even Mal Washington and David Wheaton, and throwing in Chris Woodruff for his Oz QF and Aaron Krickstein so no one forgets him) is pretty interesting to me – it’s been all Nadal, with some clutch work by Ferrer once in a while, and as a decent quarterfinalist to match James Blake’s results. Heck Mardy Fish and Robby Ginepri – solid players but nowhere near the caliber of Spain’s players in the top 50 – have had a better year than most of the armada outside of Nadal.

It’s almost as if the armada of talent exists just to give Rafa some friends on tour and maybe win another Davis Cup. From France I come to expect it, and from Argentina, diddo. But Spain just takes the cake for underachievement, in my opinion.


Sean Randall Says:

Andrew, very true. I’m sure not sure Verdasco should have had a Roddick-like career, but certainly his skills warrant better results. As you say Mardy Fish, Robby Ginepri have done better in the bigger tournaments than Verdasco, yet Verdasco has the much bigger game than either guy.

re: the Spaniards. Look at Robredo today, no belief against Roddick. At least I didn’t see any. The match was never in doubt for me. And even though it was on clay I don’t think Robredo went into the match with a strong belief he could win.

Verdasco and Lopez the same. Do they ever get a big, surprising win over a Top 10 guy in a big event. Sure they might push a guy or get a set or two but rarely do they pull it out.


Dr. Death Says:

Andrew & Sean:

While we need a sports shrink to give us some articulate answers on this subject, I am reminded of one of those formative episodes from childhood (that sounds like b.s.) but is not.

Growing up a mate’s father was a famous general and he was our shooting coach. “Two men face each other with the same weapons on a level field on a windless day. Which one wins?” After playing with our minds for a bit, the General said: “The one with the WILL to kill.”

Sports is the same way. Talent gets us so far. The rest is mental. Notice how we almost never speak about someone who is #20 or # 100 as being a nasty person etc., etc. It is always one of the big dogs.

I do believe that the will to win is what makes the champion in any sport.


Maja Says:

I’m so sorry that Roddick couldn’t play…it looks like this is a year of injuries more than ever – what’s going on?! :(
Does people who bought the ticket get their money back when something like this happens?


Shital Green Says:

It was reported that “back spasm” caused Roddick to retire, but according to the conversation between Roddick and his trainer, it looked like he had real bad sore feet, and on top of that some part of his body connected to his arms were not rotating properly.
It was sad to see he had to exit without giving a good fight. Probably, it is safer for him that way and took a right decision.


Maja Says:

It looks like Stepanek will retire too and Djokovic is leading 6:0 – but offcourse everyone will believe that Stepanek is feeling bad altought he was good yesterday when he wiped off Federer, and nobody believes to Djokovic when similar thing happens to him when losing.


Dr. Death Says:

Really too bad; makes for an unexpected and perhaps boring final. We will see.

I guess A Rod did not read my post on socks of a while ago.


Von Says:

Bummer!! Is this tournament jinxed or what? Roddick twisted his back when he moved to the right to retrieve a ball — there was a bump on the court where he was stuck. After that he couldn’t rotate his arms and tried serving, but to no avail. Now Stepanek’s body temperature is too high and they’re trying to cool him down. So sad. The commentators said that they could have a riot on their hands. WOW.


Shital Green Says:

Now Stepanek is feeling nauseous due to heat and is retiring after ice-treatment. He does retire. Really disappointing, 2 retirements in one morning !
Both Wawrinka and Djoko will be well rested for tomorrow’s final. Looking at the past H2H record [Wawrinka sort of beat Djoko in Umag 2006. Well, Djoko retired in that match when it was 6-6 (1) in the 1st set], I think Wawrinka may have a slight edge, but I hope Djoko pulls it throuh to win his 1st Masters on clay.


Von Says:

TD:

I saw your post of last evening. Yes, Roddick played very well yesterday against Robredo. So sorry that the retirements today will spoil your week, but tomorrow should be a good match. Enjoy your vacation! :)


jane Says:

Shame about Andy and Step! The ATP better start thinking about their players. The amount of retirements in this year and last year are high, and imo it has something to do with the schedule. I also think viruses are more rampant everywhere.

But really, what a shame. I hope both guys get better as they both played well this tournament.

I hope Djoko and Wawrinka are able to play a good final match.

Top story: Nadal Dominates In Return At Beijing, Djokovic Stays Perfect; Serena, Sharapova Advance
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