Foot Fault!

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Category Archives: Andy Roddick

From The Vault: THAT 2003 Australian Open Quarterfinal

Long before the words “Isner” and “Mahut” were ever uttered in the same sentence, the tennis world looked to a different match as the marathon match of the generation; the 2003 Australian Open quarterfinal between Andy Roddick and Younes El Aynaoui.

Roddick came into the 2003 Australian Open with plenty to prove. Despite already sitting as a top ten player and a household name, the then 20 year-old had yet to fully break through and establish himself as one of the premier players. In complete contrast, El Aynaoui came into the 2003 Australian Open at 31 and in the twilight of his career, and though he peaked and enjoyed some of his greatest results in 2003, injuries and health problems were only around the corner for the Moroccan.

So many other great marathons are celebrated for the mere statistical triumphs, but what set this contest apart from the rest was the shining quality from first game to last. Both players engaged in lengthy, gruelling rallies while flitting through a whole arsenal of different strokes – slicing, net rushing, dropshots, blasting serves and groundstrokes alike. Playing at at a high level for a straight sets best-of-three match is impressive enough, but neither ever faltered.

As the stunning shotmaking raged on and the match edged slowly into a classic, it was that vast gap in age that became a focal point in the battle. Roddick, with his relative lack of big match experience, was forced to find a never-before-used resolve and mental strength against a seasoned veteran to who it came natural after so long. Meanwhile, El Aynaoui had no choice but to push his body its very it limit as he attempted to outlast a fresher and younger player in Roddick. Even more notably was the spirit the match was played in; in a sport that has seen so many rivalries and clashes between the younger upstarts and the older, established players, the clear mutual respect and admiration illustrated both during and after the match only added to its legendary status, a sentiment that was echoed by the American after the match.

“My levels of respect for him just grew and grew throughout the match and I’m pretty sure it’s vice-versa. “He’s 31-years-old, he’s out there five hours, and he’s still standing at the end. It’s very impressive. I don’t think I’ll be able to do that when I’m 31,” he said.
“This has proven that even the old guys can still play some ball.”

Roddick went on to win this match 4-6 7-6 4-6 6-4 21-19, and though he fell at the very next hurdle, it was his first outing into the final realms of a major and arguably a defining moment in his career. By the end of 2003, he was a US Open Champion and finished the year number one. This certainly wasn’t a bad start.

Players Clash With The USTA; What To Take From It.

After Tuesday’s Day and Night sessions were completely washed out, today brought similar woes as rain threatened to completely throw off the US Open’s schedule and only around 10-12 minutes of play was managed before the players were carted off-court and play was eventually suspended. In a desperate attempt to get players on-court and the fourth round finished, officials decided to put the players on-court during a brief window where the heavy rain became the lightest drizzle. Needless to say, the players were unhappy.

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John Isner Beats Andy Roddick in ‘Winston-Salem’

It says a lot about how much attention I’ve been paying this tournament that only just now have I realised that ‘Winston-Salem’ is an actual real place, rather than just the sponsor of the ATP event held this week. But there ya go; you learn something new every day. Down Winston Salem, John Isner yesterday notched up a pretty predctable victory over Andy Roddick 7-6(7) 6-4. He’ll play Julien Benneteau in the final with the rare opportunity to win a title practically in his backyard.

For Roddick, It’s tough to really pass comment on him and his current form. It goes without saying that derailed by injuries and poor health, this is by far his worst season since god knows when. But that’s it - the question is whether this form is an indication that he’s simply in decline and will never again be a threat on the ATP, or else he just needs some time to find his way again before powering back to the top echelons of tennis.

I think next week will answer many of those questions. All things considered, his draw is just about as good as it gets considering how low his seeding has dropped. And if he can find his way into the second week and quarters with a confidence-boosting 5 matches under his belt; maybe, just maybe he’ll find the confidence to start hitting the ball like the Roddick of 18 months ago and stop losing to the likes of Isner and Kohlschreiber? We shall see.

How Did Rafa Do On Letterman?

Yesterday, Rafael Nadal was on the US talk show Letterman ahead of the US Open. I can’t even deny that I was pretty nervous for him - these days his English is fine when talking about tennis, but as soon as the subject veers away from tennis it quickly becomes awkward silence after awkward silence with Rafa struggling (and usually failing) to find the right word to express himself.

Thankfully, it all turned out fine. Letterman stuck mostly to tennis questions and he even set Rafa up with a chance make a funny(!!!), with Rafa joking “sometimes it’s better if he’s not here” when asked about Federer.

I also love that the main point of the interview was to promote his book, and yet they spent more time shamelessly promoting Rafa’s Babolat racket than actually talking about the book itself.

So a good interview and nice effort from Rafa. But as a rule, I think he should leave all the talk shows to the likes of Maria, Serena, Andy, and of course the great Marat Safin:


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