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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Deconstructing Roddick
Has Andy lost his mojo? Or is there a deeper problem?
Posted: Wednesday August 31, 2005 12:18PM; Updated: Wednesday August 31, 2005 2:35PM

Andy Roddick's game is fine; his biggest enemy at this point might be his confidence.


A few quick, random mid-week questions ... I'll hand out U.S. Open midterm grades on Sunday.

Tennis writers should take a good look at Andy Roddick's game. He hasn't really played well this year; he's mainly won tournaments without facing any top-10 players. I like Roddick, but Patrick McEnroe's comment after Roddick lost to Gilles Muller Tuesday night that "[P. Mac] didn't see [the loss] as an issue," is an example of how we've pampered Roddick by mostly excusing his losses because he's such a nice guy.

Roddick's game does not measure up to his serve, and if you're a tough baseliner who can pass and move the ball around with pace while just blocking his serve back to get the point started, you're in good shape. Roddick needs to start beating these guys.
-- Esigie Aguele, Washington, D.C.

By late Tuesday night the Roddick questions -- all a variation of, "Dude, where's his mojo?" -- started trickling in. It was a stunning upset by any measure. Sure, Muller played brilliant, gutsy tennis; but you expect a former U.S. Open champion and current top-five player to figure out a way to pull out a match like that. Roddick now has lost four consecutive sets in New York. For a player who's usually gangbusters on hardcourts, he lost three matches to players outside the top 20 this summer.

The diagnoses are all over the map. I don't buy many I've heard.

His backhand is still a liability. True, but it's probably better than it was in 2003 when he the best player in the world.

He hasn't been the same since he canned Brad Gilbert. I don't buy this one, either. Bad coaching or bad preparation is hardly the problem here. If anything, Roddick has shown more variety in his game this year. And his physical fitness has never been better.

He's been cosseted and overhyped by the media. Probably true to an extent. But Roddick is sufficiently grounded that some nice press clippings or some fawning from the ESPN booth isn't going to inflate his ego.

He doesn't seem able to generate the same "stick" on his shots. I might buy this. It seems that opponents -- I noticed that when Roddick lost to Paul-Hank Mathieu earlier this month in Montreal and again last night -- no longer get blown off the court. Roddick will get his share of aces, but once the rally begins he doesn't dictate as much.

Far as I can tell, the biggest issue is mental. Roddick once was a terrific "big-point" player who prevailed in tie-breaks and seemed to have a sixth sense for elevating his game when the match tightened. For him to lose three straight breakers to a player ranked No. 68 is astonishing. Plus, I wonder if his failure to make a dent against Roger Federer has -- perhaps even subconsciously -- dulled his self-belief. When you go to work knowing that even if you perform to the peak of your abilities you still have little chance of being No. 1, it has to affect you at some level.






Roddick raises a valid a point when, in self-defense, he notes that he is still a top-five player, a Wimbledon finalist, a player who's won multiple titles this year, etc. This is supposed to be an annus horribilis for Roddick, yet 95 percent of the players in the U.S. Open draw would kill for a year like his. Still, this was not how the script was supposed to have gone. Not for Roddick. Not for the USTA. Not for American Express. Not for the TV-rights holders. Not for a lot of the fans. We'll see how quickly Roddick can regroup and find that mojo. Who knew it was this elusive?



Just saw that Kim Clijsters stated she would probably retire at end of 2007. Do you think she is selling herself short? She cited injuries and traveling as the catalyst. Don't you think this should be a warning to the powers at WTA? One of their star players, "Miss Congeniality," wants to split in less than two years? Is this another Martina Hingis-like episode? How can we, the fans, help pressure the WTA and ATP to shorten the season, thereby extending the careers of our favorite players?
-- Michael White, Fort Worth, Texas

My estimable colleague Richard Deitschcovered this on Monday. I don't think Clijsters is being disingenuous. She (as well as her father) have been intimating for years that her career will be a short one. But I wouldn't cry into my Stella Artois quite yet. Countless athletes have predicted a pending retirement. Then they find the winning (or the money or the lifestyle) harder to give up than they'd thought. If Clijsters hits her self-imposed "sell-by" date ranked No. 1 in the world and is happy with the state of her game and her life, does she still walk away?

What's the reasoning behind listing the seeded players first or second at the Open? The higher seeds aren't always listed first and it's not done alphabetically. It doesn't make sense.
-- David Cook, Long Island, N.Y.

Lots of questions about the draw this week. An overall theme: We all love conspiracy theories, but you're looking in the wrong place. 1) The seeds follow the rankings, but the cut-off day was the week before last. Thus Lindsay Davenport is seeded second even though she is No. 1 this week. (No let's-hype-the-pretty-Russian conspiracy, sorry.) The draw is totally random, names drawn arbitrarily in front of an audience. When Venus and Serena are in the same quadrant, it's mere coincidence. Also, if a stunning number of seeds didn't have to play top players in the first round, it's by chance, not an underhanded scheme to protect top players. The ITF divides seeds, but it does so randomly, so No. 1 could play No. 5, and not necessarily No. 8, in the quarters. Them's the rules.

Again, nothing wrong with casting a critical eye. But this draw business is above-board. Honest. (The distribution of wild cards, on the other hand ...)

How can I find doubles coverage on TV?
-- Mark Eckley, Baltimore

The Tennis Channel might be your best bet. But here's yet another reason doubles is struggling: It's never on television! The players will tell you the lack of coverage plays a key role in doubles' diminishing prestige and popularity. The networks will respond that the diminishing prestige and popularity plays a key role in the lack of coverage. And so it goes.






Will the U.S. Open follow the trend of the first three Slams with the women's champion surviving at least one match point on her way to winning the singles title? (i.e. the Serena vs. Maria Sharapova semifinal at the Australian Open, the Justine Henin-Hardenne vs. Svetlana Kuznetsova quarterfinal at Roland Garros and the Venus vs. Davenport final at Wimbledon.) Do you recall another year in which three consecutive Slams have had this distinction?
-- Tony, Sydney, Australia

Great stat. Not sure if that's some sort of record but my suspicion is that the answer is "yes." Remember not so long ago when we scoffed at the puddle-like depth of women's tennis? (At Wimbledon '02, Amelie Mauresmo said that her prevailing goal was to be No. 3 after the Williams sisters.) It says a lot that all the Grand Slam champions this year have had to steal victory from the jaws of defeat.

Shouldn't Kuznetsova, the defending champion, have been allotted a better time slot than the third match at Louis Armstrong Stadium on opening day of the U.S. Open?
-- Michelle Wu, Austin, Texas

Guess the schedulers knew what they were doing after all. But this question gives us an opportunity to commend the USTA for their scheduling. Generally it's been equitable and this business of relegating non-Americans to the boondocks is, mercifully, no more. Also, how about some props to Kuznetsova? She was the defending champ and she came out and played miserably -- as she had for most of the summer -- losing in straight sets to a player ranked No. 97. Then she totally faced the music, took ownership of her loss and admitted she might be having a hard time with the pressure. Have to respect that.

I don't know if Gustavo Kuerten will ever be in top form again, but he did accomplish a lot: He won 20 titles during his career, including three major champions (all at Roland Garros) and achieved the No. 1 ranking for a period of time. Considering all this, does his career résumé have Hall-of-Fame credentials?
-- Courtney Kelly , Valencia, Calif.

I know a lot of you think I'm too soft on this whole Hall of Fame issue. But how do you not vote for a former No. 1 player who won three Slams, scads of other titles and was a fine corporate citizen?

I know this has been asked before, but what happened to the formerly streaking up-and-comer Iroda Tulyaganova?
-- Aaron, Baltimore

She underwent shoulder surgery last year and has struggled to come back ever since. That's all I know.

More All-Star Weekend Contest:

Matt of Florida writes:

"In regard to the all-star contest, why not have a grunting/screaming contest for the ladies? Place various glass objects around the court, and whoever can break the most wins. That, or whoever can rile the largest number of tennis commentators with said grunts."

Jim Reilley of Sacramento, Calif., writes:

"ATP ALL-STAR SKILLS CHALLENGE:

1. One-set wood racquet mini-tournament.

2. Bull's Eye: Ball machine throws balls and players hit into a target, a la darts, or even moving or stationary targets like cops do at the academy -- they could use Lleyton Hewitt's face on the target!

3. Serves: Not only fastest, but how many can you hit at over 100 mph in the box in a row."

This is endless and absolutely fan-tastic.

Have a great week, everyone!
 

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Well maybe when ur record is 1-10 against Federer, of course ur mental state will not be good.I still think his game is very erratic and i dont know how soon he will change it.People are starting too see how his game really is.
 

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Maybe another explanation that Wertheim doesn't think of is that more players have learned the technique of blocking back Andy's serve. In any case....what's the explanation for how well Andy played against Hewitt in Cincinnati? Or was Hewitt just having a bad day?

I think the current field is deeper than ever and unlike the way it was in prior generations the top players don't get a breather being able to play against a set group of their own generation for years. It has come to be that different teenagers come on the scene fully mature and able to beat top players every year.
 

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actually, what is mojo :confused:
 

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mimi said:
actually, what is mojo :confused:
Mojo originated as a term with a specific meaning, but in the late 20th century became a very fluid term with many different meanings. It originated as a reference to a type of magic charm. The word traces its origins to Africa and entered the English language in the late 19th century or early 20th century through use by African Americans. It reflects the belief, common in many cultures, that some people have the ability to influence others to their own advantage, by casting spells or hexes.

mo·jo (mō'jō')
1. A magic charm or spell.
2. An amulet, often a small flannel bag containing one or more magic items, worn by adherents of hoodoo or voodoo.
3. Personal magnetism; charm.

Source: www.answers.com
 

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thanks a lot, you are very knowledgable :worship:
Castafiore said:
Mojo originated as a term with a specific meaning, but in the late 20th century became a very fluid term with many different meanings. It originated as a reference to a type of magic charm. The word traces its origins to Africa and entered the English language in the late 19th century or early 20th century through use by African Americans. It reflects the belief, common in many cultures, that some people have the ability to influence others to their own advantage, by casting spells or hexes.

mo·jo (mō'jō')
1. A magic charm or spell.
2. An amulet, often a small flannel bag containing one or more magic items, worn by adherents of hoodoo or voodoo.
3. Personal magnetism; charm.

Source: www.answers.com
 

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Discussion Starter #8
its.like.that said:
Roddick was coming off a win against Hewitt, and a decent showing against Federer.

Confidence was not the issue.
But he LOST to Federer again. How many times to you hit the wall before your head cracks?
 

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Honestly, I agree and think it's a mental issue. I don't believe players are learning to block back Andy's serve. He was serving bombs in his match against Muller, and held serve through all of the match except in the first set up 5-3. Roddick's mental game has been suffering for over a year now, and I think it has A LOT to do with his horrid record against the top players. It's sad but true. He needs a sports psychologist IMO.

Just compare the Roddick of today, and the Roddick of 2002-2003. His physical game has definitely evolved. However the mental aspect (The big Texan I'm bigger/better than you attitude on court) is gone. You can see it on his face when he's competing. The mental aspect is gone. You can almost compare it to Venus Williams. Who was THE most confident player on the women's tour, until her little sister started kicking her ass in slam finals. She hasn't been the same player since.
 
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