Tuesday, July 13, 2010

The Curious Case of Andy Roddick

"I'm going to be pissed when I wake up tomorrow." This is how Andy Roddick reacted after he lost to little-known Yen-Hsun Lu of Taipei in the 4th round of the Championships 2010. Roddick lost in five sets in the last four of the five Grand Slams that he has played.

Has Roddick lost his punch or is it the colossal pressure of living up to the standards set by the past American greats that have been taking a toll on this hugely talented player? It came as heartbreaking news for many, when Andy Roddick lost to Roger Federer 16-14 in the fifth set of the 2009 Championships final, but then they accept it because the American was playing against the King Federer – and there were many moments in the match, when Roddick thoroughly prevailed over the then world no. 1.

But, his recent defeat to the little-known Yen-Hsun Lu of Taipei in the fourth round of Wimbledon came as a hard-to-swallow glob – sardonically, he lost 9-7 in the fifth set to Lu, who was ranked outside the top 50 in the ATP Rankings.

Before the start of the Wimbledon 2010, many predicted that Roddick has a real chance this time because Federer had not been in the best of his form and Nadal was looking a bit vulnerable on grass, but before Roddick could have met any of the top-seeds in the quarterfinal stage, he was ousted by Lu – abrupt crash of the flight of hope.

It was heartening to observe that no American men remained in the Wimbledon field after Roddick’s loss in the Championships 2010. It did look somewhat bizarre, as Grand Slams had been always adorned by American legends in the past by the likes of John McEnroe, Jimmy Connors, Pete Sampras, Andre Agassi and Jim Courier among others.

Roddick who turned pro in 2000, won the US Open and Australian Open junior singles title in the same year. Roddich shot to fame in 2001, when he shocked the French Open champion Michael Chang by defeating him in the second round of the tournament on clay, which is not considered his best hunting surface till date. Roddick tasted his big success in the United Kingdom in 2003, when he defeated the then world no. 2 Andre Agassi in the Queen’s Club.

Eventually, Roddick also made into the Wimbledon semifinals in the same year, where he lost to Roger Federer in straight sets, the latter won the Championships and ushered a new era of dominance. Roddick, who holds the world-record for the fastest serve surprised many with his raw talent at the age of 21, when he won the U.S. Open in 2003 and by the end of the year, he was ranked no. 1 in the world. Many Americans and renowned tennis writers across the world hailed this triumph as a dawn of a new era and predicted that Roddick had all the requisites to tread on the coveted path contrived by the past American tennis legends. Sadly, that was the last time; they saw an American with a Grand Slam trophy.

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