Why So Angry Andy?

Sep 4, 2011 by

Andy Roddick is playing in the third round of the US Open today.  He’s gotten here with a four set win over the Mark Lemke of tennis, Michael Russell in the first round, and then a defeat of 18 year old fellow Nebraskan, Jack Sock, in straight sets in the second round.  Probably wishing for an easier time, Roddick played conservatively against Russell over the final two sets, doing all he could to hand the 33 year old opportunities to push the match to a decisive fifth set.  Roddick broke serve and unleashed giant serves in the fourth set to grind out another ugly win.  He was more decisive against Sock, but if the kid had played pro instead of being a senior in high school last year, that would have been a different match altogether.

Eight years have passed since Roddick’s only major title, and let’s not kid ourselves, he was extremely fortunate to acquire it.  Roddick played decent over the course of those two weeks at the 2003 US Open, but certain events fell positively in his favor.  Most notably, upsets of the number one and two seeds, Agassi and Federer.  In the semifinals, David Nalbandian went up two sets to none against Roddick.  Nalbandian got tight in a third set tie break, lost it 9-7, and personally gift wrapped a surge of confidence for Roddick.  Roddick went on to win the final two sets, crushing forever Nalbandian’s best opportunity for a Slam.  He then made it all a reality with a walk in the park straight set victory over Spain’s Juan Carlos Ferrero in the final.   I am often told great players find ways to take advantage of any luck thrown their way; Andy Roddick absolutely grabbed every bit of it in 2003.  Unfortunately Roddick’s 2003 Open win brought about three inaccurate conceptions; the future of US tennis is alive and well, more grand slam titles are headed his way, and he possesses the talent to be classed among the elite.  I know that Roddick would never substitute his US Open trophy in exchange for less attention and lower expectations, which in turn, would lead to less stress, frustration, and anger….or would he?

On August 30, 2011, Andy Roddick celebrated his 30th birthday, and what’s not to celebrate?  He’s racked up over $19,000,000 in career prize earnings, married a beautiful swimsuit model, owns homes in Austin and Brooklyn, and collected 700,000 plus followers on Twitter. (The amount of Twitter followers is now a direct correlation to success…sad) Andy Roddick wants more and is pissed off about it.  By more, I mean a Niagara Falls like flow of respect.

Respect is funny thing these days with athletes.  Everybody craves it, but few do much to earn it.  On Wednesday night, Roddick decided to use an ESPN post match interview as a forum for what he really thinks of the tennis analysts that often criticize his game.

The post match interview heated up when ESPN’s Chris Fowler asked, “You said you’re trying to find yourself and search.  There’s a million people, a million voices. A lot of money.  ESPN telling you how you should play.  You shouldn’t do this.  You should do that.  Are you searching or is it clear to you?”

Roddick responded in has typical sarcastic and defensive way by stating, “I’m convinced being a tennis analyst is the easiest job in the world.  Whatever the person does, if it works just say ‘that’s what works.’ If it doesn’t work you say ‘he should have done the other thing.’ So you know I’m pretty convinced I could be a tennis analyst when I’m done…it just doesn’t take much thought.  If I’m grinding and I’m winning you guys are like ‘he’s reinvented himself,’ and if I’m playing like crap and pushing it’s ‘he’s horrible and needs to hit the ball.’ Everyone’s an expert but I’m better than most have been….”

In my opinion, nothing is better than the appearance of awkwardness in any given situation.  Even better?  Awkwardness in a nationally televised interview.  I find it refreshing.   Fowler is no dummy, he was baiting and Andy delivered.  The 2011 US Open was officially open for business, with the hot story it starved for.

If you know anything about Roddick’s dealings with the media, his latest tirade didn’t come as a surprise.   Throughout his career Roddick has lambasted the media.  He has toyed with them by answering their questions with sarcasm and cynicism.  If he deems a question ridiculous, he let’s you know it.  Wednesday night was different, he was not in a sectioned off media room fielding questions from journalists or beat writers.  This time the ESPN cameras were rolling live, and a million people were tuned in.  When Roddick made his statements regarding tennis analysts, many he considered friends, everything changed. This time Roddick was no longer amusing and witty.   He was pulling out a knife and stabbing each and every analyst with his comments.

Those so-called “tennis analysts” he was referring to have a wealth of experience competing at the highest level.  The tennis analysts he bashed have coached Davis Cup teams, multiple grand slam title holders, and the top juniors in the world.  They have won their share of grand slam titles, and a few of them compiled an abundance of tour titles.  Numbers that Roddick will never clutch even in his greatest of dreams.  These tennis analysts are among the best to ever play, some are icons, and all have dedicated their lives to the sport.  The names are recognizable among tennis fans everywhere, they are:

John McEnroe: (American tennis icon, HOF, 7 Grand Slam singles titles and 148 career tour titles)

Chris Evert: (American tennis icon, HOF, 18 Grand Slam singles titles and 157 career tour titles)

Pam Shriver:  (HOF, 133 career tour titles, and 21 Grand Slam doubles titles)

Brad Gilbert: (Former coach of Andy Murray and Andre Agassi, 23 career tour titles, and ranked in the top 10 for 3 consecutive years)

Patrick McEnroe: (NCAA Champion, Former Davis Cup Captain, 17 career tour titles)

Mary Jo Fernandez: (26 career tour titles and ranked as high a number 4 in singles)

Darren Cahill: (Coach for Andy Murray, Member of numerous Australian Davis Cup teams, and 15 career tour titles)

Cliff Drysdale: (59 career tour titles, former top ten ranking in singles and US Open doubles champion)

Andy should really shut the fuck up.

Andy Roddick’s anger stems from various elements, many in which he bestowed onto himself.   Roddick is angry that Roger Federer was born.  Federer bounced him out from four potential Wimbledon titles, and of the 22 matches they played Federer let Roddick has only won twice.  Roddick is angry that he relied on the only weapon he was granted, a serve.  Players eventually caught on to the gimmick, and began pushing returns back exposing his limited arsenal of shots.  Roddick never improved on any other aspect of his game, branding him a one trick pony.  20 of the 30 career singles titles Roddick has posted came prior to 2006.  Roddick is angry with the fore mentioned statistic.  Roddick is angry that he is now 30 years of age, and is no longer a threat to anyone on the court.  He recalls the past, and secretly wishes someone would have replaced his stubbornness with an early onset of maturity.    He removed anyone from his inner circle that expressed opinions that differed in nature from him.  Roddick is angry for not having the foresight to adhere to the advice of his coaches.  Key Elements to his game were never added making him incompetent to compete against the likes of Federer, Nadal, and Djokovic.  He went through numerous coaches and ignored them all, including Jimmy Connors; all of them left shaking their heads.  He is left to finish out his career hoping that no one returns his serve, and backhand slice his way to a few more career victories.  Good luck with that strategy.

Please do not misinterpret me, I view Roddick’s career a success.  Very few tennis players can boast a résumé of 30 ATP tour wins and a US Open title.  I just hope Roddick can one day set aside his anger and be at peace with his career.


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