Andy Roddick: What makes him Good?

Whenever tennis fans or people in general are told to come up with the name(s) of great tennis players, the words 'Federer', 'Nadal', 'Djokovic', 'Murray', 'Del Potro' and even 'Kyrgios' would tend to come out - that is not an exhaustible list, but you get my point. Rarely does one hear the word 'Roddick'. This is not all too bizarre, given that Roddick tragically for him lived out his career under the sun of Roger Federer. His achievements were overshadowed by a massive degree, his potential further grand slam wins preempted, and his highly effective game toyed, all by that one man. Yes, Roger Federer. However, this is does not mean that Andy Roddick is no good as it seems in this 'conceptual illusion' caused by Federer. In fact, Andy Roddick could be said to be the last of the pre-Federer tennis greats, who like fellow pre-Federer great Lleyton Hewitt, could have earned his place as a tennis legend with 8 grand slam wins (as argued by us) were the Federer disruption not to come.


This may seem like the most redundant point, for either one of two reasons, or both. Firstly, we have mentioned this point may times already (assuming that you are a religious reader of our blog and have been following almost all of our articles), and secondly, the serve may not seem like a shot commanding any degree of importance that would have a major effect on a player's overall 'greatness'? Well, to both: for the first, we cannot emphasize enough how important the serve is; and for the second, its the same. With average serves within the 120-145 mph (correct if our memories did not fail us), Andy Roddick has 9068 aces under his belt, which makes him the 5th greatest server in tennis history when the number of aces served is the sole factor of judgement. All those free points! Yes, we know, the phrase 'free points' tends to get trivialized or even ignored, but they are after all still points. It is perhaps no coincidence that the second greatest server in tennis is also the greatest tennis player of all time.


The forehand. Andy Roddick's only weapon. Yes, there is a huge grain of truth to the assumption that the forehand is the only non-serve weapon to Roddick, but such 'limitation' should not be seen to bear any negative impact on Roddick's overall ability to perform, as seen by most people who after watching too much of Roger Federer, assume much more myopically that versatility is the much more desirable - if not the most desirable - trait which leads to match success. With his powerful and rather consistent forehand, Roddick is able to pummel his opponents into submission should the ball happen to land short enough (our standard of deep here is very high mind you), thus forcing his opponent to be nerve-wrecking alert (we would certainly have felt that way) given the crucial need to not even lapse for a bit in our very conscious effort of getting the ball deep enough.

Why then has Roddick not achieved his full potential

We argue that it has to do with his confidence - it is the type of situation that Andy Murray was in before 2012. When you compare yourself to the very best in the game, and get repeatedly beaten by him (the most devastating and humiliating of which was the 2007 Australian Open loss), your level of confidence would no doubt drop and this would also seep into your performance against other opponents not that great. It is interesting (but tragic for Roddick) how you are very much defined and consequently affected by what you compare yourself against. We are not saying that such self-comparison was an act of hubris on Roddick's part, not at all. It would be completely natural and thus understandable, to do so then, when he and Federer for consistently the number 1 and 2 for 2 or 3 years. Notwithstanding him not having a bag of achievements comparable to that of the other tennis greats, he is still a great who deserves further fan-appreciation.

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