Australian Open: 5 Reasons Roddick Will Beat Federer…Or Maybe Not
by Richard Vach | January 28th, 2009
  • 23 Comments

The five reasons Andy Roddick will beat Roger Federer in the Australian Open semifinals:

5. BECAUSE ROGER’S BACKHAND CAN BE AS SHAKY AS ANDY’S — The Swiss’s backhand wing looked awful last year — mono of the backhand. Of late it has regained its composure, but can Andy break down the Fed backhand and get some free points by attacking that wing? Which Fed will show up Thursday, the one that made 43 unforced errors in three sets in the first round, or less than that in five sets in the 4th round?


4. BECAUSE ANDY IS NO LONGER 200 POUNDS OF LUMBERING AMERICAN — New coach Larry Stefanki convinced Roddick to shed some pounds and get back to his fighting weight during his No. 1-ranked days — and it has paid off with noticeably-improved movement and balance. With his work during the off-season, Roddick is as fit as anyone out there, as he showed by…

3. SENDING A MESSAGE WITH A WIN OVER NOVAK DJOKOVIC — Roddick melted down the world No. 3 Djokovic, who retired from the heat in Melbourne. While Djokovic was getting an almost-full-body ice-down on the sidelines, Roddick was pacing the baseline — in the sun — waiting for the Serb to take the court again. Roddick looked like he was about to start doing jumping jacks on court, and he should have. Hammer that message home. Federer took notice, and a quicker Roddick might effect how the Swiss approaches the contest.

2. THE ONE-MATCH WIN STREAK — Sure Federer is 6-0 versus Roddick in Slam play, but in their last meeting in 2008 at Miami, the American gutted out a three-set win. Always a big confidence-builder (and Andy is a confidence player) to step up to that service line, look across the net and think, ‘What happened last time we played? Oh that’s right — I won.’

1. FALL FROM GRACE — The Fed detractors point out that he can no longer maintain the ridiculous-high level of the past few years (and who can? That was the greatest streak ever). And during this fortnight of play, Federer has again been up and down. Which Rog will step on the court Thursday, the one that dropped the first two sets to Tomas Berdych in blase fashion before rallying to win in five, or the Fed that de-pantsed Top 10er Juan Martin 6-3, 6-0, 6-0?

Or, the five reasons Federer will beat Roddick:

5. ROGER IS THE KING AND KNOWS IT — A wash for the Greatest of All Time (GOAT) in any generation (even Rod Laver said so), Federer has a confidence that is like having an additional player on court. Whatever the score, he is walking, talking, drinking, adjusting his headband, toweling off and playing like he expects to win (hear that Tomas Berdych?) — whatever the score. And when he speaks to the media, he does so in a fashion borderlining on arrogance, but you can’t say anything because — basically, because he’s Roger Federer, and is it arrogance if he’s right? When he holds court with the press he has a regal way of pseudo-talking-down to his subjects while maintaining the truth of the matter. On Roddick reaching the semis, he said, “I’m excited playing Andy. Sometimes people expect him to win 25 Grand Slams and he’s one of my generation who was able to stay at this level for, what is it, five, six years now? That’s why I’m excited to play against him and seeing him create an upset (beating Djokovic) in a big tournament. That’s what has kind of been missing for him in the big tournaments lately.” Translation: ‘Roddick is a great player who hasn’t been able to win Slam titles because, basically, I’ve been winning them all. And it’s cute that he’s been able to get this far in a Slam with his poor big-stage results of late.’

4. HE OWNS RODDICK AT THE SLAMS — The best players perform big on the biggest stages, and Federer holds a 6-0 advantage over Roddick in their Slam meetings. Slams are where you raise your game, and they are where the Swiss has excelled. Roddick needs to show he can consistently break through the Federer-Nadal-Djokovic-Murray wall in front of him at the Slams (he beat all of the Fab Four in non-Slam tournaments last year).

3. ANDY’S WEAPONS DON’T FAZE ROGER — With a sixth sense as to where the Roddick serve is going much of the time, Federer also chases down the Roddick forehand with his underrated speed. Roddick needs to launch serves and hit the forehand with abandon to beat Federer, dictating play with less spin on the forehand than he has been exhibiting thus far in Melbourne. Grip it and rip it.

2. NO MORE MONO — Federer seems to have finally thrown off the physical (and probably psychological) effects of being diagnosed with strength-sapping mono going into last year.

1. TWO WINS AWAY — Federer is two wins away, one over Roddick then either Rafael Nadal or Fernando Verdasco in the final, of tying Pete Sampras’ record of 14 Grand Slam singles titles. Greatness is calling, and an Aussie Open title (which would be two Slams in a row after winning the US Open) along with tying Sampras’ record would erase any doubts that Federer, whether or not he is still ranked No. 2 behind Nadal, is indisputably once again on top of the tennis heap.


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23 Comments for Australian Open: 5 Reasons Roddick Will Beat Federer…Or Maybe Not

andrea Says:

andy has played well. don’t know if he would have triumphed over an in-form, non-retiring novak.

Andy’s miami win is being overly pumped up as one of the top reasons why he will win the semi, which is rubbish. That was a 3 setter and also very close.

and if you look atthe above 5 reasons why andy would win and compare them to why roger will win, they are far flimsier.

With Roger is this close to #14, i can’t even imagine him not making the final.


Oleg Says:

It’s simply a bad style match-up for Roddick. As has been pointed out, Federer can effectively return Andy’s serve, so that’s basically taking A-Rod’s greatest strength away.

Also it will be a night match, so the heat won’t be a factor: Roddick’s improved fitness won’t be that much of a bonus.

The only way I can see A-Rod winning is:
1. he serves 70+ percent first serves
2. he wins the first set
3. he goes for winners, takes risks on Fed’s service games
4. roger plays ‘average’ (like he did vs Berdych, making a few errors on both wings)


I like tennis bullies Says:

stfu vach


Giner Says:

What were you smoking when you wrote this Richard?

“5. BECAUSE ROGER’S BACKHAND CAN BE AS SHAKY AS ANDY’S”

So Roger’s backhand is as bad as Andy’s.. and that gives Andy an advantage? What stops Fed from attacking Andy’s backhand the same way you’re suggesting?

“4. BECAUSE ANDY IS NO LONGER 200 POUNDS OF LUMBERING AMERICAN”

Those 15 pounds weren’t fat. He didn’t have that much fat. He lost some muscle mass, gained some speed but made a sacrifice on power. Nothing comes for free.

“3. SENDING A MESSAGE WITH A WIN OVER NOVAK DJOKOVIC”

Irrelevant. Anyone who could withstand the heat for a few hours would have sent the same message by waiting for Novak to retire. Chris Guccione could have done the same thing. If all you had to do is outlast Novak Djokovic, there is not much of a message to be sent. Roger Federer is not going to wilt in the heat like Novak did, so this is insignificant.

“2. THE ONE-MATCH WIN STREAK”

That was a best of 3 sets match. How many people have beaten Federer in a best of five match since 2004 when he became #1? I can think of 4 players, only 3 are still active today. Guga beat him once in 04, Safin beat him once in 05, Nalbandian once in 05, and Djokovic once in 07. Nadal is the only player to have beaten in more than once. Basically, Nadal and Djokovic are the only players that can beat him in best of five.

“1. FALL FROM GRACE”

His ‘down’ is better than most players’ ‘up’. Last year was his worst year since 03, and he still only lost to 2 players in best of five (Nadal and Djokovic). Mentally, he is tougher than Roddick, and is among the best if not the best. Much is said about Nadal’s mental toughness, but he had 5-2 against Fed in the 3rd set tie break at Wimbledon, should have put him away in straights, but he gagged, double faulted, and errored. He didn’t have the belief that he could beat Roger Federer at Wimbledon. He had 2 championship points in the 4th set tiebreak, gagged again on one, then Roger went for a courageous backhand pass down the line that was do or die, and he made it. He did eventually win it in the fifth, but it could be argued that darkness won him that set (darkness is one of his weaknesses).

I like that you tried to contrive a way to make the article balanced but you’re grasping at straws, because one side of the scale outweighs the other.

So what’s your conclusion? Is Roddick going to beat Federer or not?


sheila Says:

i was so glad roddick won the match over djokovic, although, djokovic had been 100% i think his groundstrokes would have outpowered roddicks. i am not a djokovic fan, but the guy does have a tremendous game. that being said, i am a fan of federers all the way and hope he can get thru to the finals. i think he has a lot to prove. if he loses to roddick then that sends a msg he is now beatable in slams. if he can take out roddick that gets him to the final. unfortunately, if fed should get to the final(i hope, i hope, i hope), i just don’t see him taking out nadal. nadal seems to be unbeatable, as was roger, a couple of years back. however, i think it is imperative that roger win this because it proves he is at least on the same level of nadal. if nadal does win the australian, which everyone is saying he will, then that means nadal is unbeatable on every surface and it also means he has a good shot at winning the grand slam in 2009. does nadal ever have a bad day. the guy is incredible. he never loses. all these guys have something to prove. for nadal it will say he can win a slam on hardcourt; for roddick, it says he is now back in the mix, and for federer, it says he is not wilting in old age(27).


ojo Says:

Rafa is going to take the hardcourt trophy and Fed will be holding the cookie platter…again.


freakyfrites Says:

Fun post! It’s hard to make the same old story interesting. As much as we can analyze it, in the end it comes down to the fact that if the result was predetermined, there’d be no need to play the tennis match. So I’m hoping it’s at least a little entertaining.

To “Giner”: that Chris Guccione line was friggin’ hilarious! Thanks for that.


Mary Says:

“2. NO MORE MONO — Federer seems to have finally thrown off the physical (and probably psychological) effects of being diagnosed with strength-sapping mono going into last year.”

Between his ability to play a heavy schedule with “mono” and Rafa’s annual my knees, legs whatever being on death’s door at the end of the season and his miraculous recoveries, I’m done with the both of them.

It’s boring, fake, and played out.Kinda like professional tennis in general.


jane Says:

Well put freakyfrites! “in the end it comes down to the fact that if the result was predetermined, there’d be no need to play the tennis match.”

Giner, just because only those two players *have* beaten Fed in 5-setters, it does not follow that they are the only two who *can* do so. Tipsy and Andreev both had excellent shots last year – it came down to 5 sets in each, with Tispy pushing Fed all the way to 10-8 in the 5th. And Let’s face it: Berdych should have won that match the other day but he made crucial errors at a crucial stage in the match and collapsed. This happens to some players but not all of them.

Vach need not predict whether Roddick will win. He can simply throw out the pros and cons and leave it for us obssessive types to mull over.


Giner Says:

“Giner, just because only those two players *have* beaten Fed in 5-setters, it does not follow that they are the only two who *can* do so.”

I agree, but I was hoping that said players who *can* do so would have stepped up to the plate by now.

“Tipsy and Andreev both had excellent shots last year – it came down to 5 sets in each, with Tispy pushing Fed all the way to 10-8 in the 5th.”

They did, but the 5th set is an all new ball game. It tests both physical fitness and mental toughness. Winning a 5th set is much harder than closing it out in the 3rd or 4th. If you look at guys who have good records in 5 setters, it’s mentally tough players like Hewitt and Nadal. The ones who have bad records tend to be less tough mentally.

Federer’s 5 set record is not up there for the simple reason that he doesn’t play many of them.

My point is, I don’t think Tipsy or Andreev had the belief or will to do it. The Tipsy match, he was clearly tired in the fifth set and it was only a matter of time before he succumbed to the inevitable. Fed still looked fresh. Fed’s fitness is very underrated.

“And Let’s face it: Berdych should have won that match the other day but he made crucial errors at a crucial stage in the match and collapsed. This happens to some players but not all of them.”

It happens to most as is evidenced by Federer’s record. When you look at Federer’s record, he has taken several losses over the years, but very few of those are in best of 5. Many can win two sets against him, but winning three is a whole lot harder. I do not believe Roddick can take three sets off him, and if it gets down to a 5th set, I give Federer a clear edge mentally. It’s nothing personal, just how I see it.

I would go far enough to wager that if Federer’s losses in best of three last year were played best of five, he would have won most of them in five sets. Andy Murray had won a few against him, but when put to the test in best of five, he couldn’t do it. The same goes for pretty much everyone else that beat him except Nadal.

“Vach need not predict whether Roddick will win. He can simply throw out the pros and cons and leave it for us obssessive types to mull over.”

The problem is, it gives the false impression that his pros and cons are balanced and that it really is 50/50 with readers being split evenly on who is favourite. I don’t think this is the case, and you only need to look at their head-to-head record. Enough said.


Giner Says:

*Winning set 5 is harder than winning your first set against him, or your second. This is clear because many people have taken one set from him.

You have to be consistent and maintain a high level of play over a long period of time in order to take three sets off him. Few have been able to do it. I don’t expect this to change any time soon.

If he is to be beaten at a Grand Slam, it’s still going to be difficult to imagine someone out side of a Nadal or Djokovic (and possibly Murray, though it’s not proven yet) to be the one to do it.

I do not think Simon who beat him twice last year can beat him in best of five. On paper, Federer is at least a slight favourite (if not more so) against anyone in the world except Nadal on clay, in a best of five match.

I am not a Federer groupie, but I concede this much to him, because he’s demonstrated it.

If I am wrong, then I’ll admit it and amend the list and add Roddick to the list of guys capable of beating him in best of five. Until the first precedent occurs, this is all we can know for certain.


Danica Says:

I am rooting for a very unlikely scenario in the finals: Roddick versus Verdasco :).


David Says:

I like Roddick since he’s matured from the brat he was years ago, but I don’t have high hopes for him against Fed. Did you freaking see Fed against del Potro? Nobody could have beaten him that day. And don’t bring up Berdych. Berdych is another proof of Fed’s strength: he refuses to lose, even if his game is off.

I know Roddick is playing better than he has in years, but turn back the clock to when Roddick was #1, #2, #3 in the world. Remember the spankings Federer gave him in Wimbledon finals, and in the Aussie semis? That was Roddick at his best. So… I just can’t see it. Fed has the answer to everything Roddick can throw at him. If Nadal shows up for the finals and plays like he did against Simon, Fed will take it. If he plays like he did for the first few rounds… we’re in for a heck of a match!!

p.s. Fed, Nadal are all time greats, sure… but if anyone wants to hear of the greatest UNDERGROUND player of all time, check out http://www.tennisvagabond.com

Enjoy the match!


tennismonger Says:

I’m w/Danica

I’ll go on to say, if it’s not obvious, that Roddick should be commended for putting himself in the best possible position to win his 2nd slam.
I’d have said last week that no one works harder, but then along came Verdasco…

Let’s face it, as a match-up Roddick has nothing over Federer. But he’s arrived as fit as ever & he’s got Stefanki in his corner, and one hopes more than a little in his head. He has maximized his opportunity as well as her can.

I’ve also gotta say – I’m not anti-Nole, but these Novak enablers (“Oh, he wouldn’t have retired if he was feeling OK, if the humidity had been less than 70%, if the moon was in the seventh house, etc., ad nauseum…”) need to just go away. The guy’s more high-maintenance than my wife but that’s OK ’cause she doesn’t play pro tennis! He needs to add a better trainer + a sports shrink to his team ASAP! I’m hoping for some Melbourne-like heat @ the US Open this year to see if Novak is really gunning for that “Retirement Slam.”


NachoF Says:

It´s been very long since we had a Federer-Nadal final… I hope we get it!


jane Says:

NachoF you’re funny. It was only at the two slams before the last one that we had two Federer/Nadal finals in a row, not to mention the gazillion others. Have we EVER had a Verdasco/Roddick final? Or a Roddick/Nadal? Or a Federer/Verdasco? Nope. So I think any of those combinations would be quite cool also.


sox Says:

guys no more weird scenario…dont you want rafa vs roger at the finals…i will not be surprise if it will be an epic match again…


ojo Says:

Roger Federer is not going to wilt in the heat like Novak did, so this is insignificant.

Giner- how silly, of course not they will have the roof for them.


Sbylog Says:

:-D Vach, that article was hilarious, thx!


Johnno Says:

Nadal rulz Federer sucks enough said. Short, sweet and biased why all these long freakin posts you know how much effort it is to scroll to the bottom of these pages to write a comment far out people! ;)


Ruchik Says:

Roger is going to walk away with the title.He is a magician,the king of tennis and also the LORD OF TENNIS.


frazzledon Says:

eat my shorts roddick


jann Says:

You can’t teach an old dog new tricks, Roddick is playing the same game, service bombs, stiff backhands, ill-timed forays to the net, being out of position, little strategy, only looking a little better while doing it. He has done very well to stay in the top 10, but there is no reason to say he should have more Slams. Anyone who reached a Slam final could have won too. And no, it is not Federer’s fault.

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