I think this is an interesting article. For some reason it's wierd reading it, they make it seem like his career is almost over or something.
Roddick faces the facts
He's 1-13 against Federer, but hungers for another Slam
BY DUSTIN DOW | DDOW@ENQUIRER.COM
Andy Roddick didn't used to be so realistic.
In his younger, more brash days, Roddick hired a coach known for his arrogant nature; identified Roger Federer as the premier player and suggested that tennis would be best served if he and Federer developed a competitiv e rivalry. Now, at the mature age of 24, Roddick knows his place in tennis - and it's not above Federer, who's been No. 1 since February 2004 and is 13-1 all-time against Roddick.
So much for a rivalry.
That's not to say Roddick doesn't belong near the top. He's still the No. 4 player in the world and is the defending champion of the Western & Southern Financial Group Masters, arguably his best event on the ATP Tour. A repeat championsh ip here this week could set up Roddick nicely for a title run at the U.S. Open. And really, that's all he wants.
"I still feel like I have at least another Grand Slam title in me," Roddick said. "It's getting to the point where you want to make that happen sooner rather than later. That's kind of it. Outside of that, I've proven myself."
It is quite a luxury to hope for a Grand Slam tennis championsh ip and possess the legitimate skill to make it happen. Roddick is in the sliver of a percentage of humans on the planet in that exclusive category. Neverthele ss, bigger things than one more Slam title were expected of him after he won his one-and-only Grand Slam, the 2003 U.S. Open. That coach he hired back then, Brad Gilbert, told the Los Angeles Times, "It's the American way. We expect champions and Andy was built to be another champion, in my opinion."
Roddick was 21, rising up just in time to replace the American generation of Andre Agassi, Pete Sampras, Michael Chang and Jim Courier. Roddick eventually reached No. 1 in the rankings, but has gone 0-3 in Grand Slams finals since then, losing each time to Federer.Of course, those great Americans before him didn't have to deal with a player like Federer, who some experts have taken to calling the greatest of all time. He's certainly Roddick's greatest frustratio n, most recently beating him in the Australian Open semifinals . If not for Federer, Roddick, now coached by Jimmy Connors, might be perceived to be just as formidable as those American idols who came before him.
"It's tough, considerin g I've played four Grand Slam finals and three of them have been against the No. 1 player," Roddick said. "Sometimes you kind of wish you had that Grand Slam final against a guy who isn't No. 1."
If another Grand Slam is what Roddick wants, however, it would seem that Cincinnati would be a good place to start. His two best U.S. Open finishes - the title in 2003 and last year's runner-up performanc e - occurred after he won his titles here at the W&S Masters.
Last year, Roddick came to Cincinnati on a slump, his ranking in the double digits and headed toward the 20s. It was a profession al low point, he said. He barely got through his first-round match with a victory but went on to dominate the rest of the tournament, kissing the Center Court surface at the Lindner Family Tennis Center after claiming the championsh ip.
"That was scary and odd for me," Roddick said. "There was the criticism, the talk. And then I re-established myself as one of the top guys on tour. That week in Cincinnati last year is one of the fondest memories of my career."
More keepsake moments can still be added, Roddick was quick to point out. But tennis isn't accounting . Retirement comes quickly, often unexpected ly. Now Roddick realizes he's closer to the middle of his career than the beginning. He appreciate s fans more, especially at locations such as Cincinnati and New York where they tend to cheer in his favor.
"It's getting to the point where I've establishe d relationsh ip with crowds who've gotten to know me," Roddick said. "At 21, 22, I don't think fans knew what to make of me. Am I a brat or a nice kid who's thankful sometimes?"
Who knows when it will end, he said. It was only four years ago when in the wake of the U.S. Open title he finally shed the "future of American tennis" label.
"This is probably the first year where you reflect back and say it's gone by too fast," Roddick said. "You have to re-evaluate at some point. And pushing toward another Slam is the prominent goal."
Copyright 2007, Enquirer.c om