America Loves This Guy; Andy Roddick is Taking Over

SanTaureau Fan
09-02-2002, 01:18 AM
by Lucas Swineford
Sunday, September 1, 2002

The American tennis-loving public is officially in love with Andy Roddick.

If you don't believe me, ask one of the thousands of fans who packed a snug Louis Armstrong Stadium late Saturday afternoon to watch his match with Raemon Sluiter. Or, ask one of the hundreds who were waiting in line, hoping others would leave for some reason so they could get inside to watch even a little bit of the match.

This love affair has hit quickly and passionately but should not come as much of a surprise. It is a combination of current American culture, the state of the world, the player that Andy Roddick is becoming and where that fits in the timeline of American men's tennis. It is equal parts ESPN, CNN and E! Entertainment Television.

Our society celebrates our athletes as much for their style as their success. We love watching Sammy Sosa hit 450-foot home runs, and we love it even more because he does that little Sammy skip step out of the batter's box. We are in awe witnessing a Kobe Bryant dunk and give our friends an extra high-five for each unexpected twist, turn or pump during his rise to the hoop.

Roddick not only wins points, he wins them with style. He crushes home cross-court winners and pumps his fist to the crowd. He somehow saves points on balls he has no business getting anywhere near and then takes a bow to the fans. He's not trying to show anyone up. He's just reacting as any 20-year-old would.

"It doesn't get much better than night session, Arthur Ashe Stadium," Roddick said following his opening-round victory. "I love it. The crowd reacts. There's a certain electric feel around the court. I was definitetly pumped up when I heard I was going to play tonight."

And it's from being "pumped up" that forces Roddick to act as he does on the court.

He's concerned about winning -- it's his top priority. But he also knows the fans love to be entertained -- and their appreciation is apparent. Combine that with his fun-loving attitude and man-of-the-people vibe, and it's no wonder grown men showed up in Louis Armstrong Stadium last Friday wearing t-shirts with his picture that said "Happy Birthday Andy."

His funked up hairstyle and ever-present visor would have him blending in at college campuses across the country. His look is equal parts Rolling Stone, Maxim and Sports Illustrated. He's cool, but he's also one of us. It's the reason people chant "An-Dee Rodd -- Ick," while tons of shrieking girls proudly display shirts and signs that read ""Andy's Angels" at each of his matches. Sometimes, they make it difficult to remember if you're in Arthur Ashe Stadium or an *NSYNC concert. His matches are an event. They're fun to be at.

And perhaps "Andy's Angels" have had no better place to celebrate lately than at the 2002 American Davis Cup matches. Almost single-handedly, Roddick has propelled the U.S. into the quarterfinals this September. The young Captain America is undefeated in Davis Cup play, and his efforts in the first two ties of 2002 have even upstaged those of his teammate, tennis legend Pete Sampras.

It's not just that Roddick is winning these matches, but it's the way that he talks about the competition and the passion with which he plays. It's as if winning a Davis Cup match is the most important feat he will ever accomplish on a tennis court. For a country on the rebound, national pride is more important to Americans than ever before, and international competitions mean so much to us now. It doesn't matter what the sport is. We love seeing one of our athletes running around, wrapped in the red, white and blue, celebrating a victory. We enjoy it that much more when it's obvious that they're ecstatic to be doing it.

While Sampras continues to play Davis Cup in 2002, Andre Agassi has elected not to. It's not because his play has tapered off. In fact, some argue that he is playing some of the best tennis of his career right now.

We cannot fight the inevitability that each of these legends is nearing the twilight of their sparkling competitive careers. The American tennis fan knows this, and they are preparing themselves.

Roddick, though, will never add any credibility to the discussion. Without fail, there comes a time in every press conference when he is asked about being 'next'. And without fail, Roddick answers it like a media veteran.

"We're not going to replace the greatest generation of all time from one country," Roddick said recently. "But I'm going to do my best, and maybe I can have some of the success that the generation before me has enjoyed."

So while the packed houses have roared watching Andre completely blow through the first few rounds and the unparalleled New York City crowds seem ready to will Sampras to another championship, there is no question about what has happened this week at the USTA National Tennis Center -- America has fallen hard for the young kid with the visor: Andy Roddick.


09-04-2002, 02:38 AM
Amen to that... we sure have!

09-04-2002, 03:35 AM
lol, gotta say, not just Americans love this guy, i'm sure people all over the world are in love, heh

Gonzo Hates Me!
09-04-2002, 08:09 AM
Me too!!!!!!! He is a crazy, funny, amusing person!!! What more could I ask for. Oh yeah, and he is in the quarterfinals. That feels so good when your favorite player is in the quarterfinals!!!

09-04-2002, 08:17 AM
andy my friend, my heart is with you when you win your next match:p

09-04-2002, 08:54 AM

09-04-2002, 09:04 AM
Originally posted by Mrs_Guga
Me too!!!!!!! He is a crazy, funny, amusing person!!! What more could I ask for. Oh yeah, and he is in the quarterfinals. That feels so good when your favorite player is in the quarterfinals!!!

Yeah, this is the normal range of Mr Andy Pandy the quarterfinals: he is "the quarterfinals man" ;)

09-04-2002, 09:12 AM
and then, he loses :D :D :D