Andy Roddick has been in the top 10 for nine consecutive years. He has also won at least one title in each of those years. The only other active player who can boast those numbers is Roger Federer. Roddick has five Masters titles with four runner-ups, a lone US Open to go with four other major finals. And he helped lead the USA to its first Davis Cup title in 12 years back in 2007 and is currently in second place with most singles wins in Davis Cup play.
A few days ago I wrote about how tennis today is being played at the highest level we have ever seen. By that logic, since Roddick has been a top player for all this time, it is fair to assume he’s a better player now than he was back in 2003, when he was number one, or in 2006, when he reached his second US Open final. But I don’t know if he’s better now than he was in during Wimbledon in 2009. Not just the final, but throughout the entire second week of the event he was playing arguably the best tennis he has ever played, and maybe will ever play. His best tennis since then came exactly a year ago when he reached back-to-back finals in Indian Wells and Miami, walking away with the title in the latter.
We always hear about Federer’s decline because he reached a grand slam semifinal instead of a final. Or because he lost to the number three player in the world for a third straight time even though he had beaten him three straight times before that. But what about Roddick? Does everyone assume that it’s common knowledge that he’s declining so it’s not even mentioned?
I’m not really sure. I don’t have an actual answer for Roddick’s future. Since 2003, he’s gone through countless phases in terms of his game. Sometimes he falls by the wayside only to storm his way back into the conversation. He’ll fall short at a slam where everyone is expecting him to do well and then suddenly reach a final where no one even thinks he’ll make it past the third round.
The problem, however, is that he is also getting on the older side of tennis. He’s produced poor results in the last four majors, by his standards. And he is in serious danger of dropping out of the top 10 should he fall short in Miami this week. The big question is if he’ll be able to get back into it this time around.
Based on time, maybe not, but based on history, I’m going to say yes. Roddick will end this year in the top 10 by producing some shocking results in the next few months. After his bout with mono last year, he lost a lot of confidence and has been slowly getting back into form in the last few months. At some point, I believe things will start to click again and he’ll find his top groove. It’ll be tough to do this with the impeding clay season but I think that playing on clay for a few months will help him sort out a few kinks and produce some big results during the grass court super-mini-season.
He’s been America’s top player for the better part of a decade now, and he’s done it almost alone for a good portion of the time. And while we’re all looking for the next big American thing, Roddick shouldn’t be overlooked considering he is still America’s best player. And the upcoming generation will look up to Roddick for guidance, rightfully so. He may not have been the greatest player, but he’s done a ton for the sport and he is unquestionably a Hall-of-Famer.
One thing I’m sure of is that whatever the future holds in store for Roddick, he will face it with his usual gusto and charm and I, for one, am hoping that Roddick will be able around to entertain us for at least a few more years. And I especially hope he wins Wimbledon one day.
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