Haas Hammers Not Hot Roddick; FSN Tries to Cover Tennis

by Sean Randall | March 17th, 2008, 12:21 pm

I didn’t know it but apparently what happens in Dubai, stays in Dubai. Evidence, Andy Roddick, who looked like, no, who was a world beater just a week ago in desert in the Middle East, but found no such form in the desert of California Sunday after getting dismantled by nemesis Tommy Haas 64, 64. ADHEREL

I did watch the match, and first full credit to Haas. Under normal circumstances, a Haas win over Roddick would not be much of a surprise, but this one was for me given the circumstances. While Roddick had won two of his last three events, which included convincing wins over Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic en route to a very impressive Dubai romp, Haas had struggled since undergoing shoulder surgery last November. The oft-injured German had won two matches on the year, defeating Diego Hartfield and Robert Kendrick while also losing to the same Hartfield, John Isner, Ben Becker and David Ferrer.

If you are losing to John Isner how the hell are you going to beat Andy Roddick? Well, Haas pulled it together and did just that, really putting away Roddick with little difficulty, although things did get a little precarious at the end, but again, credit to Tommy for pulling out what has to be his biggest match win in about a year.

For Roddick, maybe Dubai was a one-off. The Roddick I watched in Dubai was not the same one that I watched Sunday at Indian Wells. Sure the court was slower and Haas played a smart match, but this was the Roddick we saw the Australian Open, and the one we’ve seen the last few years. The one who stands too far behind the baseline and the one who comes into the net when he shouldn’t be. Roddick is not a net guy. He never will be. He didn’t win the US Open and get to the No. 1 by hitting volleys. He did it by smashing serves, cracking forehands and coming in to put balls away, which is what he did in Dubai.

Contrary to what Roddick thinks, he does need a coach. Haas is a great player without question, but in the second set with Roddick serving, Andy made two, maybe three horrible (“panic” as Doug Adler rightly said) approaches to get broken. And you just have to shake your head at Andy’s tactic.

We know Haas is a guy who’s not afraid of getting tight. We know the guy has great difficulty in closing out big matches, and we even saw some of that at the end yesterday. So Andy’s got to know that coming to the net, where he is not as his best, really plays into Haas’s hands.

Said Roddick, “You know, to get broken in the second, I felt like I actually played a pretty good game. He was coming up with some serious passing shots.”
Translation: No, Andy, you played a pretty bad game to get broken by coming to the net on total garbage.

To be honest, if not for Dubai I would have expected Roddick to possibly lose to Julien Benneteau, who I thought would have beaten a sub-par Haas in the first round. But I tend to go with the hot guy, and after his performance at Dubai who among us thought Andy would get bounced so soon? For Roddick’s sake and peace of mind, he’d better hope Haas beats Murray!

A major problem for Roddick now is with his Dubai momentum evaporating he’ll have to wait another couple weeks until his next match at Miami. And for a streaky guy like Roddick that’s not a good thing.

And before you go Justin Gimelstob on me, yes I picked Andy to win this title, so naturally I’m dissapointed by the loss. It’s not my worst pick – Andy Murray at the Australian Open, Croatia Davis Cup a few years back – and it won’t be the last time I pick the “hot” guy. But I’m an American and I’d like to see one of our guys finally do well at a big event. The Donald, Sam Querrey and Isner may wind up to be Top 20 guys and James Blake might find “plan B” under the X-mas tree one year, but Andy’s really our only top hope right now, so it’s good for tennis in the U.S. when he’s doing well.

And speaking of Gimelstob, is there anyone besides Justin thrilled to have the IW and Miami events switched from ESPN to FSN. Anyone? All you ESPN and network haters I hope you are happy now. You got your wish, no Pmac, no Cliff. Just a month of Gimelstob. Oh, the madness…And for what it’s worth, Indian Wells decided against ESPN to save money. The tournament paid ESPN a reported $480k for every eight hours of airtime last year, which amounts to over a million spent for 22 hours of coverage last year. Maybe this year they saved that much, but with FSN, you get what you pay for I guess. Hope the savings were worth it. Thankfully I do have the masters stream.

As for the rest of the tournament, not many surprises thus far outside of Roddick. The court looks slow, but guys like Ljubicic, Ancic, Karlovic, Mahut and Fish still got through. A Rafael Nadal-Novak Djokovic meeting looks very imminent. With Roddick ousted I think Fed gets through to the semifinals to play the Stepanek/Nalbandian winner, which I have Steps in that one.

Today we have some good matches with Mathieu v. Tsonga and Nadal v. Young. The Donald gets a lot of heat from everyone, but the kid’s still only 18 and I think he’ll put up a good fight against Rafa. I like Matheiu slightly over Tsonga. And then of course we have the Moya-Blake match, which I will avoid at all costs. Seven of their nine career non-slam meetings have gone the distance and at times their matches can be excruciating to watch, as one guys pulls ahead, then chokes and the other guy comes back, and back-and-forth from there. Sorry, but I’ll stay far away from that one.

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13 Comments for Haas Hammers Not Hot Roddick; FSN Tries to Cover Tennis

Nick Says:

480K for 8 hours, my goodness, how much do they get back from the whole weeks? And what about advertisement money? Who gets what?

But you are right, FSN two hours coverage is just great…and you thought ESPN did a bad job…

Zola Says:

I did not see the match and I am not a Roddick fan. But I feel it happens to most of the players that when they play well in one or two tournaments they become GODs and when they fail in one, they are in serious trouble!

Andy had a great run in Dubai, but before declaring him the next contenstant for the world No 1, it would have helped to wait a bit and watch his performance in the master series or majors. Similarly, before anouncing his decline, maybe we should wait and see how he does in Miami.

The ATP tour has at least 13 mandatory tours. Players can be good, bad, tired, sick, etc…on any given day. I am not going to judge any of them unless I see a series of good or bad performances in many of them.

So, I am going to wait and see how Roddick does in Miami and then the Davis cup. Then I think he will hibernate during the clay season and get ready for Wimbledon and US Open. I say if he can’t make a great statement in those two slams, then he has to get used to the bottom parts of top 10 and eventually lower rankings.

Von Says:


“Andy had a great run in Dubai, but before declaring him the next contestant for the world No 1,…Similarly, before announcing his decline, maybe we should wait and see how he does in Miami.”

Good post. The same happened to Fe-lo; he got knocked out in the first round. It’s difficult for these players to keep winning tournament after tournament. They will vacillate from time to time. As you stated, one big win does not make them a ‘god’ and vice versa, and a loss following on the heels of a great win, is not uncommon. They go through a let-down period. For some it’s a short time and others it’s longer, but it certainly does not mean that they are history and they should not be relegated to the end of the line or have their names inscribed on a tombstone. They’ll win some and lose some — that’s sports.

The Bryan brothers are a classic example of a let-down period. Since the US won the Davis Cup, the Bryans have yet to win a tournament.

I’m one of those who have complained about ESPN and sad to say, after just a few hours of watching tennis on FSN, I wish that we still had ESPN. FSN is the PITS!! Can I take back my criticisms?

jane Says:

In Canada, TSN is not airing the FSN coverage, I don’t think, as the commentator is not Gimel, but it’s not Drysdale or Pmac either. I am not sure from where the feed is coming, but frankly I don’t care too much. I am just happy that us Canucks are getting televised, non-grand-slam tennis.

BTW, that was a good post Zola. Both Tsonga and Djok didn’t do so great in their Davis Cup matches and Tsonga lost in Marseille in R32 and Djok in R16. This could easily be seen as the kind of “let down” of which Von writes.

It’s unusual to having winning streaks like Fed, or like Rafa on clay; let’s face it, that’s the exception to the rule!

Tam (TD) Says:

For next week’s in the trunk: Sean Randall, Roddick Hater who doesn’t have a clue. j/k ;)

For the record, I don’t think Dubai was a one off. Dubai was exactly the way he USED to play 2003-05. This recent version of Andy Roddick with no forehand is the doing of various coaches who have mislead him into thinking that he must become a more rounded player. By tinkering with stuff that wasn’t broken his whole game fell apart and then his confidence went with it.

Sean, you had it right the first time, Andy is at his best bashing and smashing the ball. He needs to go back to the basics, that which made him a success in the first place.

I remember that Federer won Dubai and then lost in the first round of Indian wells last year. Was his Dubai win a one off too?

Von my friend, what do you think? :)

Voicemale1 Says:

It’s no surprise Roddick didn’t fare well here, again. The court & conditions don’t suit him. It’s a slow hard court, and the ball is severely affected by the climate – meaning Andy’s serve doesn’t penetrate here like it does on a slick, ultra-fast Carpet surface like Dubai. Serves get returned much more here, and rallies happen much more often – and rallies do not help Roddick. Combine that with Haas having a winning record over Roddick & now working with one of many former Roddick coaches (Dean Goldfine), and it was predictable that Roddick was gonna have an uphill climb in this tournament. And Roddick has never done well here throughout his career.

Zola Says:

Von, Jane,
thanks for the nice words.Roddick is a tough guy. They all are. He will be back!

That photo of Haas is just brutal! poor guy!
BTw, I completely agree with you on FSN. MAkes ESPN look like Mtv! I bet think FSN has charged IW 48 bucks for the whole tournament!

what if a fan goes to the court with a webcam? maybe that’s what ppl have to do.

Ah…I don’t know if I can watch Rafa-Tsonga math on Wednesday. Need to have strong nerves! Lee won Ferrer. Djoko crushed Kohlschreiber. I expected more from kohl. Blake won Moya, no surprise there!

Susan Says:

At least you guys get FSN!!! I’m getting NADA….

Please tell me that after Miami some other network takes over………..Anybody?? Anybody??

Zola Says:

if you have high speed connection try this link:

or install TVU http://tvunetworks.com

and select starsports to watch IW.

thetennisguy Says:

Gimbelstop … or stob. Or the flopper … He’s a riot compared to Cliff Drysdale (I am the biggest Cliff Hater on the planet what a stuffed shirt that guys is).

Case in point, Gimbelstob commenting or should I say joking about Marion Bartoli’s “service” motion. “That stroke came straight out of the public park system” or “she’s a clean ball striker that takes the ball early” but “that’s all the love I can show her”; I mean I backed up the DVR and played that thru a few times and was crying I was laughing so hard. In fact after the break they had to cut to Chanda Rubin to finish the Bartoli match. Even Chanda was commenting about how many times Bartoli was messing with her skirt and panties. I mean Bartoli is pulling at her crotch like a baseball player throughout the match. Bartoli for one should be glad this wasn’t on ESPN.

The only thing about FSN’s coverage is that it’s only about 2 matches long.

Von Says:

“By tinkering with stuff that wasn’t broken his whole game fell apart and then his confidence went with it.”

I absolutely agree with you. Aditionally, Gilbert made Andy play behind the baseline, which messed him up even further, and that has now become a habit. He’ll come up to the baseline, and then just automatically drift about 10-15 feet behind it. Further, Connors has had him keeping the ball in play, which is good for his return game, but Andy now needs to end the points sooner instead of slugging it out with people like Ferrer who likes that style of play.

I’d say that Andy needs to go back to his 03-04 serve and crushing of his forehand similarly to what he did in Dubai, keep the ball in play, but make the points shorter. He has to accentuate the positive, minimize the negative, and work on everything in between.

John Says:

I couldn’t agree more with the hatred for Gimelstub. He’s absolutely the worst. With his constant fake excitement/yelling and sucking up of Roger Federer makes me want to vomit. Not to mention him name dropping Andy Roddick every chance he gets. Not to mention his broadcasting sidekick who doesn’t know one thing about tennis. Ugh, it’s tough to get through when you just wanna see Novak Djokovic kick some ass.

FSN is doing a horrible job of telling us when to tune in aswell. I have to look everywhere on the net to find out when it’s on. So sad they didn’t get ESPN to cover the tournament.

Mary Says:

Hey, I’m just happy that FSN is covering tennis at all. ESPN treats tennis like an ugly stepchild. And not everyone get the Tennis Channel.

By the way, Gimelstub is hilarious, but no one can comment on tennis like MacEnroe. I like Chanda Rubin … a refreshing change to Mary Carillo who is a b-o-r-e.

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