American Andy Roddick wants to crash Wimbledon party
American Andy Roddick wants to crash Wimbledon party
Sunday, July 04, 2004
LONDON (AP) - Andy Roddick was upset about losing the Wimbledon final to Roger Federer, partly because it meant missing out on attending the champion's dinner with Maria Sharapova.
Roddick said he wanted to see what Sharapova wore at the gala. "Will it be short? Is it going to be long? Disappointed I won't get to see that," Roddick said. "I might just sneak in and crash the party. I'll bring the beer, man. Let's go."
After her victory over Serena Williams in the women's final Saturday, the six-foot Sharapova said one of the most exciting rewards was the champion's ball.
She got that slightly wrong. After the last ball in 1977, formalities were revamped and the function became the champion's dinner.
At the ball, the women's and men's champions danced together as part of the official program. Federer wasn't expecting to re-institute the ritual.
"You should know there's no more dancing," he said.
With her first kiss of a Wimbledon trophy, Maria Sharapova of Russia holds on tightly after defeating American Serena Williams for the singles championship Saturday at Wimbledon, England. The charismatic teen won in straight sets.
Lincicome: 'Artist on court' is nothing special off it
July 5, 2004
WIMBLEDON, England - Well, they got it half right, charismatically speaking.
The happy Swiss collapsed backward, covering his unshaven face and the tears that might come and imitating the joyous Russian of the day before, Roger Federer joined Maria Sharapova for the first Wimbledon waltz.
A well-suited match they make, both with ponytails, hers longer than his, and at eye-level, she as tall as him.
But what will come next for the two of them is more lopsided, because Sharapova is the new princess of a sport desperate for royalty, and Federer is just more of the usual yawn.
"I'm going to the ball, I can't believe I'm saying that. I'm going to the ball."
That was Sharapova the day before, every bit of 17, all bubbly giggles and wide eyes, on the brink of whatever happens next. Federer has done this dance and no one stared.
"I got lucky, I guess," is what Federer said after he had whipped Andy Roddick, and no one argued, not because it was true, but because it wasn't.
Too bad, too, because this grim piece of work is the best in the world and, at 22, could be the best for a very long time.
You thought Peter Sampras was dull, this guy makes Sampras seem like Cedric the Entertainer.
Here's what his home country did for Federer after he won Wimbledon last year. It gave him a milk cow. And he was happy to get it. What he will get this time is uncertain, but goats make a nice encore gift. If he does it enough, he can have the whole chorus from old MacDonald's farm.
Roddick, the scruffy Yank, on July 4, his baseball cap turned front to back, watched Federer tote the trophy around Centre Court with the blank interest of a bridesmaid, suddenly once again the future of tennis and not the present. He seemed not that greatly disappointed, all in all.
"I threw the kitchen sink at Roger," said Roddick, speaking pure American, "but he went to the bathroom and got his tub."
It would have been a regeneration for tennis if Roddick had managed to win from in front, or after the rain break or if he could follow his crashing serve to the net for easy volleys.
Roddick is still all thunder and no lightning, while Federer is a quiet storm that doesn't stop until it has ruined the crops.
According to fellow pro Marat Safin, "Roger has everything, and a backhand."
Certainly a backhand would help Roddick, and you root for him to get one. With Federer you must appreciate precision, almost never worth the effort.
"Roger is the one person I would pay to watch play tennis," Martina Navratilova said. "He is an artist on the court."
Beware the compliment that reaches too far. Tennis players are not artists. We do not watch tennis for the art. We do not watch tennis much at all, in fact, which is a problem that art will not cure.
A movie coming out about Wimbledon was delayed until the fall not because it is preposterous (an Englishman wins) but because it is about tennis.
When tennis has had its greatest runs it has been because of flamboyance and petulance, going back to Pancho Gonzalez, through Jimmy Connors and John McEnroe, Ilie Nastase, Andre Agassi, the early Agassi.
Tennis needs not necessarily an American at the top but it does need someone with a pulse, someone with personality. It doesn't need someone with character as much as a character, and wearing your hair like a librarian spinster doesn't count.
It needs a Roddick, and it had one briefly after the U.S. Open last year, but Wimbledon is the place that validates. All the rest are New Haven.
"I left everything out there," Roddick said. "Hopefully we'll get to do this again some time."
Federer's only concession to fame is to allow his name to be connected to some "Fell the Touch" bath products for men, cologne, after-shave, deodorant, (your basic hotel emergency pack) sold only in Switzerland.
If Sharapova can't do better than that in one phone call (on a phone that works), tennis is truly beyond rescue.
Clearly Federer's second Wimbledon title was overshadowed by Sharapova's first. She is Magical Maria Supernova and he is Roger the Steady. Which T-shirt would you wear?
She climbed into the stands to hug her father and strangers wept. She struggled with a cell phone to call her mother to tell her she had won Wimbledon. Strangers cheered. She apologized to Serena Williams for taking away her title and strangers sighed.
Serena was gracious in defeat, if admitting to being only "20 percent," and she warned Magical Maria that everything is going to change.
Sharapova swore she would be ready. "I've told people," she said, "if I change, hit me in the head, please."
Tell someone to pat Federer on the head if he does.
Marat: Last question: what do you think of me? Dinara: You are my god! When you play, I love
to see you. When you lose, I am even sadder than when it is me. When you are wounded, I suffer.
When you speak to me, I drink your words. When you come to see me playing, I am with the angels.