More answers than questions for Roddick
Thursday, December 10, 2009 | Feedback | Print Entry
Posted by Ravi Ubha, ESPN.com
Andy Roddick didn't know what to expect this season. Who could blame him?
In 2008, the Texan succumbed in an ill-tempered third-round encounter at the Australian Open, watching his opponent hit 100 winners. He skipped the French Open thanks to a shoulder injury and fell in an ugly second-round match at Wimbledon, his shoulder and neck still wreaking havoc. His seemingly ideal partnership with Jimmy Connors ended, with Davis Cup captain Patrick McEnroe filling in as coach at the U.S. Open on an emergency basis.
But Roddick turned things around in 2009.
Teaming up with the much-respected Larry Stefanki, he lost 15 pounds and subsequently surpassed or matched personal bests at the campaign's first three majors. Roddick almost triumphed at Wimbledon, the major he craves, going toe-to-toe with Roger Federer in the finale. Unfortunately for the 27-year-old, he was on the wrong end of a 16-14 score in the fifth set.
Off the court, Roddick broke a few hearts by marrying swimsuit model Brooklyn Decker, beating Federer to the altar.
Roddick chatted with ESPN.com in London, where a knee injury left the long-standing U.S. No. 1 as a spectator at the prestigious World Tour Finals.
ESPN.com: Andy, what pleased you most about 2009?
There were a lot of good aspects. I felt like I had a better movement dynamic, and I had better consistency. I don't think I lost to a player outside the top 15 or 20 until Cincinnati, so that was good progress. [Roddick actually lost to Radek Stepanek, then No. 21, in San Jose in February.] Every year you want a chance to win a Slam, and I certainly put myself into that position this year. Hopefully I'll be able to take that one step further.
ESPN.com: How much more pleased are you considering you were thinking of retiring at about this time last year?
I don't know if it was so much quitting as wondering if the best was far behind me. It's satisfying. At this point last year there were a lot more questions for me than answers. I think there are fewer questions this year. But that being said, I would like to build on this year, not look back as kind of setting the pace.
ESPN.com: Andre Agassi said in his autobiography his wife and child made it easier to digest losses. No kids yet, but can you relate to that now that you're married?
I don't know. I think I've always had a decent perspective on wins and losses on the tennis court. They hurt, but my worst day is a lot of people's good day. I don't think I've ever been shortsighted as far as that goes, but yeah, I'm certainly very happy away from the court, and I don't see how that can do anything but help.
ESPN.com: Leading Roger 6-2 in the second-set tiebreaker at Wimbledon, already up a set, did any part of you think, "I'm finally gonna win this thing"?
No, because at two sets up against Roger, there's still a long way to go. I think going into the final you think to yourself, "This could happen." But honestly, I don't look back at it and think of that 'breaker. There was one point that was sloppily played, and that was about it. I put first serves in, I put first returns in, and that's what you want to do in that situation.
ESPN.com: The last three or four games it looked like your hip was really bothering you. [Roddick skipped the Davis Cup semifinals the following week, citing the hip.] How much was it a factor?
It was fine. Adrenaline does a lot of crazy things, and I was aware I was probably going to feel it the next day, but throughout the finish of the match, it was fine.
ESPN.com: What's on tap this offseason, once the knee is sorted?
I had a really good offseason last year, as far as getting in shape and being productive. I want to do more than that this year. We have a pretty detailed schedule in place with what we call a happy mixture of tennis and strength work and fitness. We'll try to improve upon last year.
ESPN.com: What's your take on 2010?
I'm a lot more optimistic than I was last year. I was training last year and hoping, as opposed to this year, where there's less hope and more knowing. That's a good thing. I'm just a lot more confident than I was this time last year.
ESPN.com: What's your Davis Cup status for next year? Are you back for sure, or will you take it as it comes?
I think we'll take it as it happens. Right now, my priority is making sure this knee is OK. I want to get through Australia, and obviously [the knee] gives me something else to think about. I've always been loyal to Davis Cup, and I'm hopeful I can make it happen.
ESPN.com: You're not much into hypotheticals, but if Davis Cup was held next week, should Sam Querrey get the nod ahead of James Blake?
That's not what I do. Sam is recovering from an arm injury. James didn't have his best year, but I'm sure he's looking to turn it around. There are a lot of questions, and with each person you mentioned [Roddick includes himself], there are a lot of questions, so that's not my job on the team.
ESPN.com: Will we see you on court anytime without the cap?
That's not something I've spent three seconds of my life thinking about.
ESPN.com: You're an avid coffee drinker. What's the most you had to drink in a day?
I gotta be at about five or six today. I've been fighting the jet lag trying to stay awake all day.