Roddick has mojo working
Published September 25, 2005
You want to know where Andy Roddick's mojo went? He'll attempt to throw it today into the face of Belgium Davis Cup captain Steve Martens.
Roddick gave Martens a glimpse of his hibernating mojo Friday when he defeated Christophe Rochus to give the United States a 1-1 tie at the end of the first day of the United States' relegation match on the indoor red clay at Leuven, Belgium. If he defeats Olivier Rochus in the opening match today, he'll assure the United States a victory and a spot in the 16-nation World Group for 2006.
As far as his mojo is concerned, Roddick has heard enough about it, and more than enough from Martens, who needled Roddick last Wednesday at the traditional dinner that precedes Davis Cup ties and is attended by officials of both countries and the ITF, the ruling world body of Davis Cup.
The mojo issue began in the days before the U.S. Open, when American Express, which has a contract with Roddick, plastered billboards all over New York -- on the street, in subways and on the boardwalk from the subway to the U.S. Tennis Center entrance.
"Have You Seen Andy's Mojo?" the ads wanted to know. When Roddick was dunked in the first round of the Open by virtual unknown Gilles Muller of Luxembourg, there were several days of wisecracking answers to questions about the whereabouts of Roddick's mojo.
Now it was Martens' turn to take a shot. "I guess you've been hearing about your mojo about 25,000 times," Martens was quoted by a member of the USTA staff as commenting at the podium during the dinner.
"Yeah," Roddick replied icily from his table. "But not at this forum."
Then, after a big point in the second set of the Rochus match Friday, Roddick turned toward Martens and screamed, "Keep talking."
He was so upset by Martens' comments at the dinner, said a Davis Cup team spokesman, that when the team got back to the hotel in Brussels, Roddick went for a 20-minute cooling-down walk before going up to bed.
It's a good story and, no doubt, if Roddick clinches the Cup tie today, there will be those thanking Martens for inspiring the United States to play harder.
I'm sure some will give Martens some credit for the U.S. win.
Most of these tales about higher motivation being gained from pre-game remarks or provocative comments quoted in newspapers and pinned on bulletin boards in locker room are highly overrated.
Neither Roddick nor other professional athletes need an opponent's remarks to take them to a higher level of performance.
But that doesn't mean it's not fun.
And what could be more fun for Roddick today than winning a doubleheader, beating Olivier Rochus and inviting Martens to take a good close look at his mojo?