Originally Posted by Tourmalante
Now I think the whole world is privy to the fact that Andy Roddick is in a carrer slump at the moment. The evidence is obvious for all to see so there is no need to belabor talking about that. What I do want to address however, is this erroneous opinion that far in Roddick's past, there was this magical heyday where he was the undisputed #1 in the world, and his forehand and serve clobbered all comers on the ATP tour. Roddick fans, in way of psychologically distancing themselves from their player's dismal recent results, have taken to concocting this dreamland fiction of Roddick's 2003 Year. They tell us that no, it is not the fact that Federer is simply the better and more complete player, but that Roddick is in a mental crisis and that harnessing his mental energies properly( as he did all those years ago) he would topple the swissman from his throne and the tennis world would rejoice. I'm sorry to inform those interested parties that Roger was beating Roddick like a drum well before he lost the fearlessness you speak of.
I am here to tell you that at no point in Roddick's career was he ever truly a dominant player. In fact his year-end status for that year is one of the most dubious year-end inishes in the open era. One of those years where one sits back and wonders whether the rankings computers have a mind of their own and were bribed. The fact that Roddick can remain in the top ten with the scarcity of legitimate titles he has won this year is a testament to how well Roger and Rafael have cleaned up in the points race. Even a few mickey-mouse tournaments, and one strong showing at Wimbledon are enough to keep him in the top five.
Roddick's whole career can be seen in terms of the evolution of the tour's reaction to his serve. At the beginning of his career the sheer pace of it astounded everyone, and I distinctly remember Sampras getting clobbered by one in 2002 or so. Finicky things like placement, and variety played no part at that point because the other players couldn't even see the ball. But starting in 2003 with the Wimbledon Semifinal, Federer gave the rest of the tour the blueprints to neutralizing the serve. Of course this didn't matter much for awhile because not many people have the requisite handspeed and eyes. But slowly even journeyman began to be able to block back his returns and from then on the point was 50/50 at worst. Now, with no real substance behind his powerful serve, we see Roddick having trouble with satellite players and getting knocked out of tournaments in te early rounds seemingly every week.
Andy Roddick's problem is one of the strongest endorsements for teaching developing players the art and thinking of the game at an early age. Tennis has, its geometry, it's strategy, those telltale nuances that spell the difference between the merely good and the great. The young Andy was bereft of such instruction(or didn't have the initiative to garner a modicum of it by watching tapes of the greats, or just experimenting on the court) and only now in the big leagues, is this lack coming to light.
On a certain level you cannot make an old dog learn new tricks. Andy is never going to be a competent serve-volleyer or as tactically aware as Coria or Nalbandian. And even if he wanted to be such, Goldfine is not the man to get him there. What the hell does Goldfine know about volleying anyway?
As someone who doesn't consider themself partial to either Andy or Federer, I must say that I don't think the hardcore fans of Roddick ever denied that Federer is the better player. You say that tennis is a game of geometry, of strategy, basically a game of more than just a big serve -- this is true, but tennis is one of the most mental sports out there, and it's quite obvious (to any tennis enthusiast) that one large chunk of Andy's mental side is missing; the confidence is gone.
It's not as if he doesn't possess the weapons and sheer power to outplay everyone BUT Federer. He does. He's shown it before. Is he consistent with it? No, and that's why you see him losing to so many players ranked lower than him. So let me say before I continue that I agree he doesn't have that complete package that he needs to tango with Federer.
Here's the way I see it, though. Without confidence, you don't win. I suppose the thought of not being able to beat Federer or other top-ranked players on a consistent basis (or at all) has played on Andy's mind quite a bit, and his confidence has gone down significantly. Being a Williams sisters fan, I compare it to Venus Williams' situation. For the past two years she has had zero confidence thanks to her own younger sister, Serena (who was at one point the Federer of women's tennis) and her injury problems. When her mental state was down, her winning was down. She still had the shots, but couldn't make them.
Roddick went for his forehand more in 2003. Anyone who compares matches can see that. His serve has increased in speed, it's somewhat increased in placement and spin, and I do think he's trying to polish the other sides of his game a little more. I think the only problem with his game is what Brad brought out of him: the aggression. He used to be a first-strike player. That's not there anymore. THAT is why he's losing. He's too neutral.
His serve is still one of the most effective ones on the tour. He has the shots, the power, the determination to win on any occasion, he just doesn't apply it to his best.
So for you to assess his losing etc. as him merely not being good enough to compete at the top level is foolish. It IS true that his mentality state isn't as positive as it used to be. It IS true that he has the capability to be 1 or 2 in the world again. It IS true that Federer is the better all-around player. He's (Andy) not someone that I see dropping out of the top five in the next couple of years, and I think he'll win another slam or two before he's finished. So what are you telling us that either isn't 100% biased and assumed or that we don't already know?
I suppose my avatar looks like a big confliction with all of this, but it's merely satirical.