Can Andy Do It?

31 Aug 2009 by Hiland in Andy Roddick

andyroddick-jpgTwo grueling weeks at Flushing Meadows can test anyone’s mettle. The persistent media, the aches, the pains and 128 talented athletes all seeking the same prize makes for a tense environment. Now, throw in some good old-fashioned New York heckling, packed venues and an unexpected heat wave and this U.S. Open has all the characteristics of a marathon survival of the fittest contest. That’s pretty much what we have come to expect from Grand Slam Tennis events.

This year’s men’s championship has more questions than usual. Will Rafa play hard or are his knees limiting his mobility? Will Andy Murray, the heir apparent to the throne, self-destruct yet again? Which Fernando Verdasco will show up? Can Novak Djokovic stay focused for seven matches? Will James Blake disappoint the home crowd? Will Juan Martin Del Potro play tough or remain Mr. Nice Guy? Can the King of Tennis capture his third Grand Slam of the year? Can any American win this tournament? What about Robert Kendrick? Can Andy Roddick come all the way back?

Somewhere in that list of questions is the answer to the championship. On U.S. sports shows and even on the financial network CNBC, James Blake and Andy Roddick made the rounds last week. At best, Blake was unimpressive. On the other hand, one must admire Roddick.

The 6’2” 195 pound powerhouse from Nebraska likes to perform at the Open. After all, he won his only Grand Slam here in 2003 when he achieved his number 1 ranking. In his nine Open appearances, Roddick has reached the quarters seven times. He was runner-up in 2006. New York likes Andy and Andy likes New York.

New York especially likes Andy this year. He is the only American with a legitimate shot at the crown. He is riding a wave of success with his finals appearance at Wimbledon where he went toe-to-toe with King Roger losing serve just once in five sets.

With more than $12 million in career earnings and some hefty endorsements, Andy Roddick no longer plays for money. He plays to achieve his potential, his rightful place at the top of the tennis world.

Andy Roddick is one of the great tennis players of the generation. What he has accomplished this year, at age 27, is quite remarkable and very admirable. At the end of the 2008 season, Andy Roddick looked in the mirror, saw his 3rd round exit at Melbourne, his 2nd round stumble at Wimbledon and his quarterfinal fall at the Open and knew something had to happen. Andy Roddick had to re-invent himself or get out of the game that would either eat him up or take him to new heights.

Andy Roddick’s moment of truth had arrived. Staring him ion the face was the need to expand has game, get a firm grip, on his emotions and develop better-scripted game plans. Andy Roddick needed change. He needed to become known as a tennis player, not just a serve and volley specialist. The transformation would not be easy. The change would have to be physical as well as psychological.

The man set about his task. He has succeeded. He began the year with a semi-final appearance in Melbourne. He reached the 4th round in Paris where the red clay has never been his surface. His runner-up at Wimbledon signaled just how far Andy has come. Andy has not had an embarrassing Grand Slam loss in 2009 and he has registered a host of successes.

As impressive as his record is, his long-awaited maturity has shown through. His mental game is together. He knows who he is, what he can do and what he must do to win. He enters each match prepared, in shape and ready to battle. If opponents blink, Andy will step right up. That makes him dangerous.

Andy Roddick can win this U.S. Open. He will be tested. He will meet France’s Marc Gicquel in the second round and Victor Hanescu in round three. Round four could very well find Roddick playing another comeback kid in Fernando Verdasco. These are matches Andy Roddick should win. Verdasco presents a challenge but he may have his own issues with the likes of Robert Kendrick and Tommy Haas in his bracket.

Roddick would then face 4th seed Novak Djokovic in the quarters. Djokovic does not do well with players like Roddick, who refuse to go away and who are willing to slug it out for five sets and five grueling hours. Djokovic wants to get on with it. If Roddick keeps Djokovic on the court, he will be off for a semifinal pairing with the King. Perhaps, he will not lose a service game this time.

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  • Can Andy Do It?…

    Somewhere in that list of questions is the answer to the championship. On U.S. sports shows and even on the financial network CNBC, James Blake and Andy Roddick made the rounds last week. At best, Blake was unimpressive. On the other hand, one must adm…

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