Close Match? No Way: Federer Demolishes Roddick
by Sean Randall | January 25th, 2007, 8:55 am

Boy was I wrong on the Andy Roddick-Roger Federer tussle. I set the alarm extra early, and thanks to Roger I was only up an hour or so before I went back to sleep mid way thru the third set. After waking up not too long ago and seeing the final score, guess I didn’t miss much in the last few games.

So much for Andy Roddick keeping it close. Roger Federer simply blasted Roddick, and that’s putting it nicely. Really nicely. ADHEREL

I thought once Andy broke back in that first set things would settle in. Roger wasn’t playing great nor was Andy, but Roger seemed to be a bit more off racking up a few more errors than normal. Then around 4-4 things went south for Andy in a hurry as Roger decided enough was enough.


Roger reels off what, 10 straight games (breakfast bagel included) and I’m back in bed. Amazing.

From 4-4, Roger played unbelievably well, in all areas especially his passing shots. It didn’t help that Andy for some reason decided coming to the net on sitter approaches was the answer. What the hell was he thinking? I watched Tsonga makes those passes, Safin make those passes, what, did he think Roger was going to miss?

I really felt that if Andy just stood back and rallied from the baseline that Roger would miss a few more than usual giving Andy the chance to keep it close and maybe, just maybe, pull it out in the end. Forget that.

And forget all that narrowing the gap B.S., which I admit the last few day or so I even started to buy into (even though I wrote in my Oz preview I didn’t believe it).

Yes, Connors has been a help to Roddick. But remember (and I certainly didn’t) Andy was on the way out in the first round if not for Tsonga gagging when serving for a two set lead. He then beats Gicquel – whatever, then an off-peak Safin who played too up-and-down. Next was Ancic, who had some chances but the Croat rarely scores a big Slam win, and gimmie win over his Fish buddy.

Meanwhile, Fed hadn’t dropped a set but hadn’t really looked sharp in wins over Youhzny, Djokovic and Robredo. But the last three were playing good during the tournament so Fed’s wins were in fact rather impressive, though most people, myself included, passed them off as inconsequential.

But I admit, I began to buy the Jimmy hype, the ESPN Pmac hype, the American bias hype, etc.

Roger sure didn’t buy that. And I’m guessing he was sick and tired of hearing all the garbage all week of how thanks to Jimmy Andy was closing in on Roger, and Fed went out and shut everyone up. Amazing, Roger. Hats off. Well done…

Now Roger’s well on his way to Slam #10, the only question is will he win it in straights, which if he does he would become the first player to win a Major w/o the loss of a set since Borg in 1980 (the French I think), and who his opponent will be. I’ll stick with Gonzo to play Fed, but I don’t think it really matters either way. The winner of Haas-Gonzo will be playing his first Slam final and most likely be overwhelmed by the occasion. That means a good chance for Rog  getting a set up and a break up before either Gonzo or Haas know where the hell they are.

As for the women, early pick is Serena. I know I picked Sharapova at the start, but what the heck. It’s a tough match to pick but I think she’s a hungrier (and fatter!) than Maria for this title.

Of course I’ve been wrong, and I’ll be wrong again…

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70 Comments for Close Match? No Way: Federer Demolishes Roddick

Seth Says:

Damn straight, Roger! Wow, he really must’ve been sick of the PMac-ESPN-Roddick love orgy. I’ve been saying since the first round that someone needed to rain on Andy’s parade, lest we have to suffer through more of his peacock-strut arrogance and more American bias nonsense. Fed fell on him like a typhoon. Simply awe-inspiring that he can just switch it on seemingly at will when the occasion calls for it.

MMA Says:

Pat Mac should appologize to all ESPN viewers for the bull crap he’s thrown about FED-ROD “rivalry”. Jim Courier and Andre Agassi seem to be the only American experts that admit the reality, and the reality is Federer redefined the word domination.

Mattye Says:

Thank goodness, no more arrogant, cussing, rude Roddick! He has done nothing but give *American* tennis a bad name.

Roger is an amazing tennis maestro.
Roddick is not.

End of story.

JCF Says:

I dunno… Gonzo has had quite a tournament, beating Hewitt, Blake, and Nadal. If he continues playing the way he’s been playing, the unthinkable could happen.

Though Fed has a one sided record against Gonzo, none of those matches have come easily. And Gonzo has improved a long way since their last meeting.

OmahaKid Says:

After watching Roger Federer undress Andy Roddick again, it may be time to contemplate the notion that Andy Roddick simply doesn’t belong on the same court with Roger Federer. The lead up to the match is always the same; ‘Roddick needs to serve well’, ‘Roddick needs to be more aggressive’, ‘Roddick needs to come to net’, etc. Unfortunately for Andy, the outcome of the match is as predictable as the build-up. This advice may have worked on the top players of seventies, eighties and nineties the playing era of most of the analysts, but even the most ardent critic of Federer has to at least entertain the notion that he is playing tennis on a level that no one has ever seen.

I heard a new one from Mary Carillo tonight, halfway through the Melbourne Massacre that caused a double-take on my part. She said “This match would be going a lot differently if it were held on grass, where Roddick’s serve would skid.” Putting aside for the moment Federer’s 47 match win streak on grass, in addition to the nine out of ten sets Federer has taken off of Roddick at the All England Club, Federer beats Roddick on hard court, grass, clay, quicksand, water, ice and any other surface.

david Says:

I really can’t stand Pat Mac. Don’t like his commentary and dislike his insight (Or lack of) even more. He is biased and he takes himself way too seriously. His only claim to fame is that he’s the bro of John. He keeps playing up the Conners factor in Roddick’s game. The problem is that Roddick can’t run, has a weak backhand and he’s a seriously limited player. How he won the US Open that one year is beyond me. He’s going down in history as a one hit wonder.

jonakaa Says:

yaaaawwn. another boring federer final. At least roddicks match interviews are really entertaining.Thumbs up to the arod for his sense of humor

E.B. Says:

Ditto on the yawn, Jonakaa. Federer may win all the time and he may try to pretend that he\’s modest behind the arrogant smirk, but at least Roddick is entertaining to watch both on and off the court. Nobody gives funnier pressers than he does. It just goes to show how much character he truly has. I wish Roddick well this year.

Lovey Says:

can’t stop me now…

I am an Amercian who always roots against Roddick. He acts likes he is “entitled” to the big titles without having to work for one. What is he without his serve?? Good groundstrokes, an occasional overhead, but no brain for the game. He can’t think his way into or out of a point! I guess when you grow into the game bombing aces into the court, you don’t have to learn to play the GAME…What’s to think about??? But watch what happens to him when the ball comes back…His reaction is all over his face, he is like “Now what?” I can stand his “deer in the head lights” looks out there! Learn to craft a point! Connors won’t be with him for long…can’t “teach” someone about heart, grind and guts…Roddick just wants to show up and take home the trophy. Would love the inside scoop re: Brad Gilbert’s “dismissal” …another bad play.

It’s all about LOVE….

Molasses Says:

And I hope Roddick has a terrible year. His one-dimensional game and his belligerent arrogance are bad for professional tennis. The sooner he disappears from the top 10 for good, the better.

OmahaKid Says:

When you say boring do you mean the tennis Fed produces is boring or do you mean boring as in anti-climatic? It isn’t Fed’s fault that most of his contemporaries have a hard time taking a set off of him. Do you think all of his matches are boring or just the ones the he dominates from start to finish? What about the semi with Safin two years ago, or the final in Rome one year ago? I thought those matches were exciting because the opponent proved worthy in those instances.

RodFan Says:

Shame on you to write articles like this one. You are all anti-american chauvinists. Roddick is trying his best to reach out to Federer’s level and all you do (all of you) is discourage him. Federer is unbeatable at the moment and that is just that. It will end one day. Also, if only American coaches were more patriotic and stopped coaching everybody BUT American tennis players it would help too!

bob Says:

boring is the word, as even the media hype to make him or his game more than what it is, can’t even come close to beating this phenom, Federer. He is in my estimation the greatest tennis player of all time. And then, there’s the rest of the pack.

It is quite conceivable that Roger will surpass 18 grand slams, if his health and motivation hold up.

This has nothing to do with being unamerican, or unpatriotic. Some of you guys must be bushies.

sandman Says:

i’m from chile. i´m “american” so… what are you talking about? what a stupid post man. tennis is a universal sport. by the why … sorry fernando but federer is the 2007 aussie champion

Wabbit Says:

I am a Fed fan all the way but I DID think Roddick had a chance (before the match began). I really think he was good at US Open 2006 and in Shanghai 2006. But I agree with most of the comments here. Roddick is nothing without his serve (where was he when he’d lost it last year for half a season?) and most notably he does NOT have a clue about tactics. He may be arrogant (that’s why I don’t like him) but he also seems to have a newfound sense reality as of recetly as to where he ‘matches up’. His attitude or hype around him -I don’t feel like it has anything to do with him being American (or with any nationality at all). Look how the Brits are crazy for Murray( because he’s the only player they have) who unfortunately happens to be only a “British citizen” as his nationality is Scottish.
Yes, Roger is invincible at the moment and it surely will end and he surely will, one day, finish his remarkable tennis carreer but Roddick will be long gone then. I still wish Andy luck (if only for his effort) because without him it would really be too boring to watch Federer the King dispatch the minions. Long Live the King

Wabbit Says:

I liked that “Melbourn Massacre” nickname. That should go down in history.

Sas Says:

The person that posted that Roger has an, “arrogant smirk” – are you kidding me?! What, he’s not allowed to smile now after he wins? I don’t know, first he gets criticised for not showing enough emotion, then he starts showing more emotion and is labelled “grumpy”. The guy can’t win.

If anyone is arrogant it’s ‘A-Rod’.

Anyway, enough about him because Roger’s great performance today spoke for itself.

GreatRoger Says:

From California.
What a treat to see Roddick lose that badly.
I guess some people think this makes me anti American.
How stupid is that!!!!!.
Tennis is an individual sport
That’s what Davis cup is for and no one did it better than John McEnroe.

And Rodfun:
Roger does not use a coach most of the year, and when he does he uses Toni Roche from Australia.
I really do not like Roddick. He tents to forget that tennis is a sport for gentleman.

I think his court attitude fits an American Football player better than a tennis player.

RodFan Says:

Dear GreatRoger,
There is nothing arrogant about Roddick: he’s funny hard working,likable guy. On the other hand, he is not as talented as Roger (just like everybody else) and is trying very hard to compancate for it with his hard work.
As for coaches.. Gilbert took over Murray, Stepanki trains Gonzales. Both succeeded significantly. Why Gilbert could not take Sam Querrey instead? Is money everything?

Wabbit Says:

Roger’s smirk might seem arrogant, and maybe is, but who would not be ‘overly confident’ after seven straight Grand Slam finals and ten Grand Slams trophies?? (yeah, I know the count is ahead of schedule but does it matter?)
I’d guess RodFan is a girl based on given arguements for Roddick. Nothing wrong with that (if it’s true). But let’s be realistic – Roddick obviously works hard and became a bit more humble, too, but he DOES think that his coming onto the court after previously being No.1 gives him bragging rights. I think the operative tense here is USED TO. Roddick used to be a number one… then came Roger. My take on coaches is I don’t think coaching is about money. it is about making a change and the intriques of employing the change. No patriotism here – just challenge and curiosity about tapping the potential.

scineram Says:

Dear RodFan,
Why should Gilbert take Sam Querry? Maybe Murray is more talented, he likes to work with him. Same goes for Stepanki.

GreatRoger Says:

Not to mention that Gilbert already coached Roddick and it did not work out.
Roddick won the US Open under Gilbert.
It was Roddick’s choice to fire him.

scream queen Says:

Federer is a arrogant phony bore.

ari shuza Says:

Roddick lovable? friendly? when does calling your opponent a “f**king prick” make a person friendly? sure i love a character, but not this kind of character….sorry, roddick is just an ok player, but never good enough compared to Roger!

Go Roger!!

amy Says:

a haha. federer a bore? oh my gosh. his match yesterday was the most enjoyable match i’ve seen, i still have my mouth hanging from all the awesome shots.
roddick fans need a better come back. but its understandable, since they have nothing to work with on court.

Roger Federer's Passing Shots Says:

Hitting topspin approach shots down the middle of the court is a great way to rush the net. We applaud your new strategy, Andy. Keep it up.

don braun Says:

i thought mary carillo’s comment that “roger has the greatest tennis vocabulary of any player who ever lived” says it all. roger is just a great, and worthy champion in the tradition of laver, borg and sampras. Ask James Blake what he thinks of roger. Thankyou roger for giving us the greatest exhibtion of tennis artistry with power the world has ever seen!! an appreciative american

baselinehack Says:

Federerbore: killing interest in tennis one match at a time.

don braun Says:

baselinehack, i asssume you’re down on tiger too. roger is great for tennis, as the commentators say, he elevates everyone’s play.

Tejuz Says:

well.. i am a huge Fed fan and really loved the ‘Melbourne Massacre’. But then he cud have inflicted this on anybody this day.

Seriously,there isnt anybody as talented as Roger. Safin might come a lil close, but hez way inconsistent.

Roddick probably knows his limitations.. and he knowz what Federer is, but then he cant go into a match thinking he is goin to lose anyway. The way the last couple of their matches went, anybody wud have thought that Roddick had picked up his game to atleast challenge Fed. He believed in his serve for sure, to take him to tie-breaks and who knowz what happens in tie-breakers. If we call Roddick arrogant, what should we call Djokovic or Murray for that matter… They havent reached the quarters of any majors but in the press they keep taking about taking out the No 1.

Last year the US press were criticizing Roddick and Blake for always being in AWE of Roger after their defeats. Now they criticize his for being arrogant.. well..atleast i feel, the players have to be arrogant to take it up to Fed.. like Nadal or Safin. They have to believe in what they have got, other wise they just dont stand a chance. Fed wudnt hand the match to you in a platter(unlike Safin, where you cud stay in the match and he wud self-destruct). Fed relishes the fact that hez very tough to beat, even if he loses he doesnt want to go down meekly and makes you earn the win.

Roddick atleast had a few match points and beat Fed at Kooyong.. so he shudnt be accused for thinking he had a chance. These kind of matches happen … Safin crushed Sampras in US Open final.. but that doesnt make Sampras any less greater. Just that Safin was in the ‘ZONE’ that day, just as Fed was today or even in Wimby ’05 finals.

well.. i’ll probabaly watch the recorded ‘highlights’ of the match again, i mean.. the whole match.

backhand Says:

oh, shut up a-rod fans, let’s face it, roger can beat roddick even in his sleep…..





Jessica Says:

Roger is the greatest sportsman of all time.

Ali, Jordan, Woods(!) etc. sorry guys, got to live with it.

His personality is AS impressive, too, I think. Humble etc

Paula Says:

roddick should have gone out against Tsonga in the first round, he got lucky and even luckier with his draw after that. The connors hype was a bit much, but what else do you expect from the idiots over at espn. andy has made some improvements, but it’s nothing to drool over the way they have been. despite what the most recent rankings might say, at this point in time blake is still the best american on tour.

rddcklvr Says:

awww, roddick is just a cutie, leave him alone.

E.B. Says:

I don t think Roddick is as limited a player as the Fed fanboys say he is. If he is so limited then Federer\’s legacy as greatest ever will be null because history will show that he dominated in an age of no real talent just as Hewitt did. Sampras will have been proven right in this regard.

Molasses Says:

Roddick IS as limited as the “Fed fanboys” say. He’s like a rabbit caught in the headlights when someone actually gets his serve or his “big” forehand back. An “Oh crap, what do I do now?!” look paints itself across his face. His movement is still stilted and wooden. His approaches are still hesitant. Against lesser players he can mask this by serving well and banging his forehand. He intimidates them with his power. But in the face of Fed’s supreme talent, Roddick’s strengths are blunted and shown to be far too inadequate to cover his vast areas of weakness.

However, none of this will diminish Fed’s legacy because when all is said and done, I doubt Roddick will prove to have been his greatest rival, or even his rival at all.

zola Says:

Why would you buy to a rivalry story before seeing anything? Did you buy it because of the kooyong match? ( which I read that was a smart trick). Shouldn’t we see something before making a conclusion?
Nadal-Fed is a 6-3. That’s a rivalry. What is the story between Federer and Roddick? 12-1? How is this a rivalry?
My point is that the media is responsible for this hype and for putting nonsence pressure on Roddick to make this great come back, to the point that they chocked the poor fellow.

Website, papers, ESPN, they all love to either raise the a player to heaven or just crash him and this can all happen even in the course of one match.(Just listen how the commentators’ views shift when a player is winning or losing a match). I hold the media as responsible as Roddick and I know Roddick will do his best to improve. I am not sure about the media.

Louise107 Says:

Tennis was only boring during Sampras’s time when he won games by just blasting those aces. It was difficult to tell how good Agassi, Courier and the others played back then because there were hardly any long rallies. At least now, even when Federer’s matches are so predictable, you still get thrilled because not only does he REALLY play the game but he does so magnificently. As a tennis enthusiast for a long time now, Federer is the best thing that ever happened to the sport. And his match with Roddick? It’s like the movies Titanic and LOTR to me – worth watching over and over again.

arrogantz Says:

Can i just say, to anti-Roddick fans (who are obvious ly Federer’s fans) that it doesn’t make you arrogant to think that you have ‘improved’ and say that you may have a chance – having had a ‘very close’ match in the past. Those were, surprisingly, real fact. What makes you arrogant is if you say you can ‘beat the no.1 in the world’ and ‘be no.1 in the world’ and came out crushed and beaten by the ‘no.1 in the world’ like you were nothing!

Alista Says:

Not Roddick’s fault. He did his best … he was just eclipsed by a far superior player playing near his zenith on that day. As far as coaches being anti-American by coaching foreign players, what could be more American by making as much money as you can? It’s called capitalism. As far as I know, it’s the American way.



RodFan Says:

“As far as coaches being anti-American by coaching foreign players, what could be more American by making as much money as you can? It’s called capitalism. As far as I know, it’s the American way.”
And this is too bad. Like I said before money should not be EVERYTHING in this world. America’s loosing best coaches in the sport to train rivals and then asks ‘what? what happened here? where are American players?’

ron Says:

Federer might not have topped Sampras’ record yet but he’s already leading the ranking for “Best player ever” on

rudi Says:

Roddick cannot think his way out of a paper bag. But Connors should take the blame for the humiliation in Melbourne. How do you send a man out to charge the net when he lacks the required ammunition, i.e. the volley. It is called serve and volley for a reason…you need them both to execute. Roddick has the serve, but, thats all. Connors old style of play is based on grinding and gamesmanship and is of little benefit to Roddick today.

Jriz Says:

To discuss Roddicks game without his serve is ridiculous. Its like talking about Roger Clemens without his fastball. Of course he would not be the same player. Would johny mac been the same player if we took away his soft hands. Thats all nonsense. Roddicks game has improved in all areas including his backhand and net game. Unfortunatly for Roddick and others as they raise their games so does Federer. If Roger isn’t around none of this Roddick bashing would be happening. We would be talking about how many majors Roddick is going to finish with not wether or not he will ever beat Federer.

RodFan Says:

Funny you should mentioned that Connors should take the blame for Roddick’s humiliation in Melbourne, because I’ve asked for Connors comments about this on Roddick’s web site. I was thanked for the suggestion but so far didn’t get any feedback. I’ve noticed that Connors hardly ever says anything in post analysis of Roddick’s matches and I wonder why?

On another note: I also think (and Federer said that too recently) if not for Federer we all would have been counting Roddick’s Grand Slam won.

A.I. Says:

At the highest levels of the game, its all about who you are inside that matters. Its not about talent as many of you seem to be arguing about. Roger is as pure as they come. He has the character of a great champion. No, its not true that we would be counting Roddick’s majors “if” Roger was not around. Someone like Roddick will always be eclipsed by someone more purer, someone with better “character”. Thats the way it has always been, and thats the way it will always be.

Jriz Says:

“character”…what abstract b.s.! Please define that for me. Did Conners have great character? How about Nastase? Arther Ashe?? Does character just equal winning? I guess Ivan lendl had “great” character then.. Is it about being a gentleman or having good sportsmanship? So Roddick has good “character” until he plays Federer in a final or semi? and then he doesn’t have good character anymore? Thats all a bunch of nonsense created by people who have never competed at a high level at anything. Sometimes someone is just better and that is all you can say. This is a clear case of that..

A.I. Says:

Dear Jriz: The concept of character may be an abstract term, but its not b.s. Don’t be so quick to judgment. Don’t you think that in our sport of tennis, its all about character. There have been so many styles and back ground of of players from all over the world. Obviously with a good mind set many styles and approach to playing can work. But true champions throughout history seem to be of certain character. I see that as a constant. If you try to understand an abstract concept with concrete rules, it will be difficult for you to understand what I am trying to say. Connors, Ashe, Nastase, Lendl are true champions. Roddick cannot hold a candle to these players. At the moment, there is Federer, #1 player in the world, only real champion and there is rest of the field. Its too bad Federer dosen’t have someone to push him to be even better. And I thought it was very presumptious of you to assume that I don’t understand competition at the higherst level. Yes sometimes a player can play much better. But don’t you have to ask why? Where is the progress? Where is the growth if you just accept things? Don’t you want to know why someone is better, or why someone is not?

RodFan Says:

Dear A.I.,
Roddick does possess a ‘character’ for winning in general and to win Grand Slams in particular: he is a warrior out on the tennis court and does not ever give up. He showed it so many times. The only ‘problem’ he has w/Federer is, that he is not as talented as Federer (tennis-wise), so he has to work harder to compensate for it (which he does). Roddick is in constant quest to improve his game (and himself) on the court and ,I think, we
should all at least respect that instead of criticizing him.

A.I. Says:

RodFan: Do you really think that Roddick is not as talented as Nadal on hard courts or on grass? And you know I do see that he is working hard in his own way. He and Connors have made some adjustments to Roddick’s game too. But these are elements many ‘tennis coaches’ would have made. These are not enough to challenge a Federer. It looks like they are tinkering with his game in a quick superficial way. In order for Andy to really become better, he needs to redesign the way he generates power and stroke production. His technique is awful. He needs to work hard to understand the game better for implementation of a better game plan. And to top it all off, he needs to start palaying anticipating tennis. But RodFan, do you think he is going to do all this? The way he is trying is immature ra ra tennis and unfortunately he is represention of what is wrong with American tennis. I don’t think he will do it, but I hope he does for himself and for all the kids in the U.S. looking up to him. I hope he has the ‘character’ to do it the right way.

Jriz Says:


No doubt that Roddick has some technical flaws in his game: stiff backhand,choppy volleys,inability to flatten out forehand, to name a few. But are these flaws a representation of his poor character? Come on! The guy is a fighter on the court and anyone who plays tennis at a high level can see that clearly. Its also clear that he is working on these flaws and his runs to the US open final and Australian Open Semis showed that. As far as playing “anticipation” tennis i am not sure exactly what that means or if it can be taught. The Federer factor is a reallity that needs to be can ask a guy who i am sure you think has great character (Andre Aggasi) what his record was against Federer.

A.I. Says:

Hi again Jriz: I don’t think Andy’s lack or artistry is an indication of poor character. I say that’s an indication of incompetence of the coaches he has been working with in his junior days. And he dosen’t have poor character. Its actually pretty good overall, just not what it needs to be, a true champion in this game. Its also true he is a fighter. We can come up with long lists of tanker and talented quitters a mile long. However, tennis is as sophisticated of a sport as they come. I just don’t think that Andy’s single minded, one dimentional mind set is enough. Sometimes he has such tunnel vision that it hurts his awareness. The fighter has to be focused yet is aware of every detailed in his mind. At this point in his career, I don’t think anticipation can be taught to him. Again, his handlers in youth just missed the boat completely. The difinition of anticipation in tennis is sometimes misunderstood as constructing points. I think is just an ability to see the big picture and the small picture as needed. That way a player can anticipate shots, games, sets, matches, and tournaments and career choices ahead of time. Coaches always talk about being in the moment and it is important, but there is more to it than that. Andre Agassi? I do think Andre would have done better against Federer in his prime. I don’t think Andre would have been schooled as Andy did. But in his physical prime, Andre was not the tennis player he could have been. His mind was not on tennis enough. You just need to look at his record against Sampras. It’s fun talking to you Jriz.

Jriz Says:


As a tennis teacher myself i am well aware of the need to have a complete game. I also understand that one needs to play to their strenghts…i.e. big forehand, serve, etc. For a couple of years it appeared as if Roddicks forehand and serve were going to be enough to win him a handful of majors. Federer was struggling to grasp his complete game and Roddick was blasting his way right through opponents. Agassi himself beleived that Roddicks game was setting the standard in tennis at the time. Federer changed that. Its often said that a dominating one-dimensional style will beat a good all court game and this has been proven to be the case in tennis on many occasions. Federer just happens to be the first guy to have truly mastered a DOMINATING all court style in history. I am just not sure that it was possible for any coach of Roddicks to see this coming. I don’t think that anyone saw this coming. Roddicks inabilty to play quality shots in a defensive posture will forever require him to play offensive tennis and i think that Conners has made this clear to him. I know that you don’t like to hear this but the only way Roddick can beat Federer is by playing BIG BANG tennis…only chance he has…period.

A.I. Says:

Developing a complete game can often result in a steady game, yet it may stifle certain strength kid may have. Don’t you see enough of this in junior tennis? I do believe that you should build a game around your strenths. But Roddick’s technique is so awful all around. I know some of the coaches that have worked with him and there was not too much stress on fundamentals early on. But this is an obvious point. His game is built on confidence only and not too much of anything else. I remember everyone jumping on the band wagon with Roddick, because people were so hungry for another American star. It was mostly media hype. There was similar hype with Mark Philloupissis after beating Sampras, remember? I don’t think the real experts in tennis believed the hype too much. It was only matter of time before someone figuered out how to play him. I don’t think Gilbert was believed Andy can dominate. Actually the disagreement about that was one of the reasons they parted. This years Australian Open had a lot to do with the luck of the draw. There are many players now that gives Roddick a lot of problems. Federer is simply better. So much better that Roddick has little chance no matter what approach he takes. Federer has to start self destructing on his own. But than in that case there are many player in line to take advantage of that. Roddicks problems are not just defense. Even his offence is not what it could have been. The quality, penetration, and placement even in offense is simple not there. He is not capable of that. I am not sure about what Agassi said about Roddick. Big Bang tennis? Rest of the field has caught up, the flash in the pan effect is long gone. It’s just not that Big or has anymore Bang. You may be right about what he has to do to have a chance against Federer, but that is no real chance at all. That match at the Australian was just sad to see.

Jriz Says:


I really just think you are being a tad tough on the boy. He still has a winning record against most of the guys in the top ten and 21 titles and top five ranking are not a flash in the pan. Plus, you don’t get to #1 in the world with TERRIBLE technique…impossible. Lots of guys have big serves on tour..Lubicic, Aurthers, but they haven’t made it to #1 so Roddick must have something else in his bag. To be honest roddicks confidence faded when he attempted to play an all court game. He tried to add the slice and get more returns in the court. He became passive and players were dictating to him. He was stuck fifteen feet behind the baseline and hoped his opponent would miss. You are not going to win grandslams that way. I am almost certain that was the disagreement that Gilbert had with ROddick. He wanted Roddick to continue to pound the ball and Roddick thought he should bring more finesse. Bad idea. He needs to stick to the baseline..take chance on his return games..and hope that Federer dies or breaks both his legs in a car crash.

A.I. Says:

I may be rather harsh at times. The thing is I don’t think about or talk about Roddick at all. Gilbert’s departure had a lot to do with his respect for Federer’s game that Roddick did not appreciate. And Roddick lacks respect and loyalty for all his coaches. This thing with Connors cannot last. Roddick is the quintessential ugly american in many people’s eyes and in mine. What he has is bravado and some raw talent and lacks much refinement. What he was able to do as far as becoming #1 and the US open was just filling the vacuum. He’s been living on it since. And I think his technique is horrible for a top ten player, its all relative you know. What is he trying to do with that back hand man? But that’s another topic. I do appreciate your empathy for the kid and your last comment cracked me up.

Jriz Says:

Its easy to get on the anti-Roddick bandwagon but nobody on tour is even close to Federer. Nadal has lossed a bit of that intimidation and big hitters go right through him on hardcourts. Blake, who appears to have a good all-court game can barely get a set and no one else is coming close. All the great players in history had a rival or at least had tough matches on a fairly frequent basis. Could the state of tennis be that bad or is Federer that good. Would the Becker, Edberg, Lendls, McCenroes, given Roger a run….not so sure about that. I can find a weakness in almost all their games that Federer could exploit. Beckers returns and ground game, Edbergs forehand would get eaten alive, Lendls inability to create pace off backhand and his volleys, McCenroes lack of pace off the ground and inability to handle topspin. It would be nice to see Federer handle different styles but in the end the result is the same. Win..Win…Win..Win.

A.I. Says:

The state of the game is pretty bad. The racket revolution helped the women’s game, but really hurt the men. Things are coming back to earth, and Federer is the first player to exploit that fully. There will be other players in the future that will give Federer run for his money. Certainly not in the immediate future. I think it would take another 5 years or so for such a player to arise. I know people do it all the time, but it’s so pointless to compare past greats to present ones. The game is ever so evolving. I know you hate this but, most of the greats have the mentality and the character to recognize an opportunity to elevate themselves and the game. Roger is doing it, Andy just dosen’t have the mental capacity to do that. And you are right, no one else at the moment is even close. Hurray for Roger, but I think its also an indication of the times. If, I mean big If, Andy can understand that, he may play better. But it still won’t be enough. I am not anti-Rod. I am anti bad professional tennis. Tennis deserves a true threat to Federer. Federer deserves it. Roddick just insn’t the one, not even close. Like you said, no one is close now, thats a shame.

Jriz Says:

Please don’t go to the racket technology has hurt the game card….WEAK! The racket that Federer is playing with is not that different than the rackets from the early to mid eighties. Graphite is still graphite and are you suggesting that we go back to wood.? Have you actually seen some of the matches prior to the 80’s. Boring! Chip,Charge and slice every backhand. You only see the big matches..Borg, McCenroe ect..Those were great but nostalgia always makes them seem larger than they were.

A.I. Says:

Thats not what I am saying. It was hurting the game because everyone was going power crazy. Depending on the tool of choice, and their comfort level with the new techonology, there were some unfortunate disparities created. What I am saying is, the craze has been equalized so the skill and the mental part of the game is coming back to life. No, I am not advocating wood rackets. And I am not at least a bit nostalgic. You do have to admit that there have been many mediocre players that benifited from that situation. I am not talking about the very best of the players. And yes, the Wilson Pro Staff is a very different kind of a tool than wood by far. What about the Prince oversize? Roddick is a descendent of the basher tennis crowd, but fortunately that type of game is becoming more obsolete. And of course technology affects the game. Sometimes for the worse and sometimes better. No major factor has neutral affect on the big picture. Nothing is black or white Jriz. Racket technology has hurt the game. Isn’t that the reason they are slowing down the courts? But fortunately, because of the greatness of tennis as a sport, it persists and remains relevant. You always over simplify things and over simplify what I say.

Jriz Says:

AI:You are correct that nothing is black or white. What defines GOOD tennis will always be changing and evolving. When everyone was serving and volleying people thought that was boring and now that people don’t come to the net as often that is considered bad tennis. But that is what makes tennis such a great game. THere are so many different ways to win. Its not always about playing great or having every shot in the book. Its about beating the person on the other side of the net on that given day. Thats all that really matters. We can sit hear and argue all day about whether or not Roddick is fun to watch and that is a subjective topic. If you don’t like a player who hits hard and muscles the ball then Roddicks not your guy. But we must be sure not to confuse someones visual appeal with overall competetive effectiveness. Roddicks basher style will continue to be a part of tennis as long as players are allowed to swing as hard as they can. If big basher style is so ineffective why are they slowing the courts then?? Pace of shot will always be a factor when determining match outcomes.

A.I. Says:

When was everyone serving and volleying?

Isn’t professional tennis about winning tournaments? Not about beating the other guy on a given day. Isn’t this a journey man mentality?
Should’t we encourage kids to become true champions?

They are slowing down the courts to allow for more anticipation, artistry, aesthetics, and more TV air time. Not to even things with the muscled heads of the game because they win too much. Because they don’t.

Especially because you are a coach, you should teach your kids to not muscle the ball or become a basher. Good thing for Andy, he’s a special basher. But what about other weaker bashers in history of the game? Yeah, no one knows their names. You know, most Div I college player are bashers and muscle heads too. They could’t get past that for some reason, so they have to go to college, even though they played all their lives. So if you are a typical basher, you may barely play college tennis? And thats ok with you? This type of playing causes injuries, short careers, and burn outs. But there are young kids trying to play this way everywhere, and the coaches are just lettng them. Mostly because they are ignorant. Can’t you see, that encouraging this leads to mediorcrity and disappointments? But thats ok, as long as they tried? Shouldn’t you teach a kid to be the smoothest and be focused like Sampras or Federer when it matters, rather than to just muscle the ball and go for it? There are so much talent wasted because of attitudes like this with adults. If Pete, Roger, or Laver played this way, they would not be who they are today. Isn’t quality of shots more important than raw unfocused power? And don’t these bashers self destruct soon or later? But its okay because everyone is different? That type of mentality, I just don’t understand, especially for a coach.

Jriz Says:

During the late eighties, early ninties many of the top players were serving and volleying…Sampras,Becker, Edberg, Rafter, Stich, McCenroe, Goran..At Wimbledon the ball was in play for about five minutes total per match. Many thought this was boring.

As a tennis coach one thing you begin to realize is that you cannot always teach style. YOu can teach technique and you do your best to instill an intelligent tennis mind. But personality and physical talent go along way in determining what type of style a kid will play. Attempting to get some kids to play smooth and gracefull is not always a practicality. Can you teach a bruising fullback to make Barry Sanders cutbacks. Not possible.. You’re thinking works only if we assume that all players are created eaqual in mind and body. Not a reality. Get ten kids out on the court and teach them to hit a forehad and after a couple of years you will see ten different forehands that vary in style and function. I agree that too many of our junior players are afraid to play a defensive point. They go for big shots even when they are not in position. But the power aspect of the game is a reality and Federer hits just as hard as anyone off the ground. The difference is that he is able to maintain balance and stay smooth while generating his pace. This is what seperates him from the other players on tour. But once again, this ability is the holy grail of tennis. Its not something that you hold a one hour clinic on: “How to move and hit like Roger Federer” . Muscling the ball is an unfortunate side effect of power created by tension. The greatest tennis champions have been able to virtually eliminate this unfortunate side effect (Sampras,Federer). Some champions have not (Courier)(Nadal).

At the upper levels tennis really IS about beating the guy on the other side of the less, no more. Winning tournaments is about winning a series of these battles in a row. Do you think Federer thinks any further ahead than that. If he did he would not be the great champion that he is.

Just appreciate Federer for what he is. Its easy to say that the state of the game is bad rather than just enjoying Federers dominance. Others will catch up but in the meantime i am going to watch in amazement.

A.I. Says:

Those guys are great serve and volleyers, except Goran. Fans loved these players. Who thought this was wrong? Don’t you things people long for those days of great serve and volleyers? I think serve and volleyers will be back and I look forward to that.

Hey man, what good is teaching technique without teaching or suggesting the best style that infuses such factors? Personality and physical talent is emphasized because of coaches like you who make those things too important. Man, especially when a kid is younger, kids are a lot more open and flexible than you give them credit for. People take this stance because its a way for them to take non responsibility when things go wrong. Smoothness and and gracefulness is not practical because you have to make them think they are improving fast, to keep their jobs. And that football analogy, its just silly. If a young person can learn techinque, why can’t they learn style too? You see, you are talking about looking at this with a concrete mind. But I thinik its so important to be abstract at least half the time. Hope you understand by now that what you see is not what you get in this life. What we are talking about is values and character, althought you think its a bunch of hog wash. Everyone is too much of a pragmatist, quick fixes and non responsibility. The result is a Roddick. Its probably not his fault he’s so mediocre.
No kid is created equal, but if you assess all their strength and weaknesses, things balance out too. Many kids have potential to be great as Fed or Pete. Everyone needs to take their own path to be great. Its just sad most coaches and kids don’t even try.
Federer, or someone like him don’t hit hard as a Roddick. Have you even seen these live? He can generate enough power to put a away a ball and be super precise, but they don’t over hit like too many American players do at the present. They use rough power against their opponents, like he did against Rod at the Australian., thus using less energy.
Of course Fed thinks ahaead. He is making history.Its just that he looks at the big picture and small picture at the appropriate times. Did Sampras play this way? He really picked his battles carefully for the sake of the big picture and to win the war. Are you kidding me? You need to teach your kids perspective. Juniors make matches too important. So they cheat or develop for short term gain.
And everyone thinks Fed is some freak of nature. What he is, is someone who did it the right way from the beginning. There will be someone one coming along better than him in everyway. He is truely special but only relative to the rest of the field. Federer deserves more from is competitors.

Jriz Says:

I disagree that serve and volleying will return to the game. While i put Pete in the mix as a serve and volleyer, even he stayed back on seconds serves on all surfaces except grass. The return has just gotten so good that it becomes nearly impossible to come in on second serves on a consistent basis. Maybe in your world of super duper athletes and character driven players it could happen. But reality says nope!
It is obvious that we are butting heads in the worlds of abstract and concrete ideas. As a teaching pro it is my job to deal with the world of reality. I certainly don’t prohibit my students to shoot for the starts and see themselves as champions but making assesments of physical and mental capabilities is a big part of what i do. If you have ever taught childrens sports you would know that treating all kids like they are going to be grand slam champs is ludicrous and in many instances retards progress. Do most kids at age 6 even know what style is? Can they actually watch Federer and perceive how smooth he is and try to copy his style? Some..a few..very out of thousands..those are your champions.. By the way…do you think that Federer could tell you who taught him his STYLE? What about McCenroe? Who taught him that STYLE?
i will agree that Juniors make tournament matches too important. But so did Federer. Heard the stories of him throwing his racquets when he was a junior. Do a little more research on Federer and you will find that all was not perfect. Easy to say now that he did things the right way, but even Federer floundered for a few years on tour before breaking through. Unfortunatly for you i think that you are going to have to complain about the state of the game for a long time cuz i do not see anyone giving Federer a run for a long time…sorry..


A.I. Says:

Which serve and volleyer consistently came in on a second serve? We are talking about serve and volleyers or net rushers? Why are you so absolute about everything? So simplistic. The reality is that the greats in this game continue to push the envelope and the game continues to develop and evolve. If the present day returners are better, the next generation of players will have answers for that.

Maybe what you call being realistic is not always a good thing. So you treat the kids to become realistic and they are probably not going to be a successful pro? What progress? You want them to be club champs? Even if you want to be a good junior, you have to shoot for the stars. Let them learn by themselves eventually what their limitations. Don’t you think teaching them to be ‘realistic’ and so concrete makes them retarded? Kids are not small imbaciles. Maybe he can’t tell you what style is but he can see it, he can feel it. Federer certainly can and does tell in his interviews where is game comes from. His parents, sister, coaches, and friends. And it is also apparent that they were pivotal for his eventual development and growth. Who is talking about perfection? All the greats talk about various sources of inspiration and guidance. And they also find their ‘styles’ because people around them for the most part let them have imaginations and dream, instead of given some reality check. Its also not true that only the few gifted ones become champions. There are many more gifted children in all sports that never make it that have the talent. I have a feeling they were too realistic and gave up.

Do you think Federer persevered because he was so realistic? I never said he was perfect. I said they did it the right way. It certainly does not imply things were easy, smooth or perfect. These people are under tremendous amout of preassure, but they make it because they are positive, tough and imaginative.

I am not complaining about the state of the game. I think the game as a whole is getting better and better, especially in the rest of the world. And Federer is one of the best #1 we have had, even more than Sampras. Why do you think I am complaining. I think the state of the game is not without issues and problems, but its very healthy and evolving. That, I am very realistic about. I wish the best for Federer quest to be one of the greatest and I hope he succeeds too. I am not complaining, you don’t need to be sorry.
What makes you think I don’t know anything about working with children? Why do you think being concrete is more important than being abstract? As a coach, your concreteness may crush imagination and possibilities. It is not your job to give people a reality check. Believe me, they get enough of that from the rest of society. Try being abstract a bit, its very interesting.

Jriz Says:

Its not about being simple its about saying what you mean and being specific. Edberg came in on second serves so did McCenroe,Rafter and Becker at times. When you say serve and volleyer that is what a serve and volleyer is and i don’t see that coming back. That may be simple but its just the way i feel. i could be wrong!
Assuming that i aim low for my students and stunt there growth by telling them the best they can do is Club champ is very “simple” and “absolute” of you. Most juniors fall short because they are not ready to put in the hard work needed, not because someone tells them that they can’t acheive their dreams. Its one thing to have a dream and i am all for that but focused intelligent training is really the key. Maybe Roddick didn’t train properly, maybe he did..don’t really know, but to call him mediocre is kinda ridiculous and “simple”

i don’t feel that concrete thinking is better than abstract thought. but i do thinnk tht both can be taken too far. This often leads to conclusions which may be too simple or too complex. They both have their time and a mixture of the two is often necessary.

Still don’t think you have worked with children in sport though..If so you would know what i mean when i say all kids are not created equal when it comes to physical or mental gifts. Of course you never say that to them but the way you train them IS different.

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