Andy Roddick- Persevere yet
To say that the latest edition of the US Open is a bolt from the blue would perhaps be taking it a bit far, but it is a shocker alright. So far, as I sit down to write this piece, Andy Roddick and Andy Murray have been the biggest upsets of the season, while 17 year old, Melanie Oudin has overpowered the likes of Sharapova and Dementieva. Nadal is looking good and Clijsters has managed to conquer a William.
Well, this piece right here deals with the pain that the misfortune of Mr. Roddick is inflicting on all his fans and on himself, I am certain.
Roddick’s luck is conspicuous by its absence. Desperate suggestions by a fraught fan:
- Try spelling your name as Andee Roddicke; works for us, also sounds foreign and interesting.
- Sparrows are thought to carry the souls of the dead and it is believed to bring bad luck if you kill one. Er, maybe he killed a couple of hundred…
- Take a sabbatical from tennis and go in search of used horseshoes. It must be hung over the door with the open end up, so the good fortune doesn’t spill out.
- Organise a 14- day yagya, chanting ohm all the while.
- Instigate a conspiracy against Fedex, The Invincible.
- Introduce a law against men taller than 6’6” from playing professional tennis.
Besides the inanity, the truth is that Andy Roddick is a phenomenal player. I say this not because he is brilliant and flawless but precisely because he is not. Roddick is a player that everyone had written off a few years back. He was witty, aggressive, had a powerful serve but that was about it. There was nothing special about his game. Things turned around after his humiliating exit from Wimbledon 2008. Roddick worked hard on his fitness and completely turned his game around. He was no longer banking on his serve but playing with his head on court. So complete was his transformation that he managed to be the better player in Wimbledon 2009, even though Federer won the Final. Talk about being lucky. The match between Isner and Roddick in this year’s US Open was nothing short of epic. Being two sets down, Roddick came back with some hard forehands and passionate shouts. He played some excellent shots and Isner had a tough time breaking his serve. He may have lost the five- setter but he did not play below- par tennis. What makes A- Rod so awe- inspiring is not the perfection or skill that greats like Federer exhibit. Rather, it is the sheer fight that this man has that reinstates my faith in him. Time and again.
Talent is an amazing gift and a terrible curse. Too little of it can render a man helpless while too much can blind. One talented name that brings ambivalence to tennis admirers is, Marat Safin. Standing tall at 6ft 3 inches he has enthralled and dismayed the audience for over twelve years.
He burst on the scene as a twenty year old, destroying Pete Sampras at the U.S. Open in 2002. Defeating Sampras at his homeground, he found himself curious audience and speculative media. Experts showered him with praise and hailed the Russian as the next champion of the game. While he was in possesion of awe-inspiring skills his temprament was wanting. Opponents were often reduced to audience as Safin either demolished them or self-destructed. A career full of ups and downs saw him clubbed with the finest of the game and also penalised for tanking( not trying hard enough) a match. His victorious struggle against, the seemingly undefeatable, Federer at the Australian Open in 2005 is regarded as one of the best matches in the history of the game. Subsequently winning the same event, led people to believe that his career was back on track, however, injuries and ordinary performances overshadowed these hopes.
With years passing by and age catching up he announced this year as his last on the professional tennis circuit; leaving the tennis fraternity saddened and nostalgic. The enigmatic blend of finesse, eruptive temper and dapper looks will hold Marat Safin immortal to tenniskind.