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The Couch Report: Andy Roddick

The minutes are winding down on what is a major week in the sporting world. Lance still has innocence and seven championships from his ten-speed-of-shame – only in his mind; the Dodgers are still looking at an expensive dinner check after a mixed 2 and 4, thus far; Alex wants to lend a hand to the Yankees playoff push; and the Jets finally scored 6 as fans watched, intently – including Tebow and Sanchez.

Everybody is working for the weekend and it’s here. Finally! The remote control button-pushing and horizontal-perusing of all things-sports-channels are at a climax and the clock is about to strike, report time. The Couch Journalist will spare no expense to bring what there is, there was, and what there will be to the realm of the athletic and score-oriented. Sit back, relax, and enjoy….Monday off is on me!

Chronicles of Roddick

Working on the weekend means one thing in tennis: Finals. That is unless it’s the opening weekend and some first-round Joe is spinning in the first serve at 85 m.p.h., hoping the next challenger-circuit match is not so damn humid. Andy Roddick never had to deal with that. On the noonish before his match, post retirement speech, fans, analysts and even Brad Gilbert have clogged the tube-time on ESPN, reflecting on the career Roddick had – Good or bad? Great or one of the greatest?

Considered the face of American Tennis – which has had several flaws – for over a decade now, Roddick brought the attention of men’s tennis to people with extreme sports A.D.D. – the American Sports Enthusiast. With serves averaging in the 140’s, he was able to bring a new style of tennis – bomb the serve and hope they don’t exploit mediocre groundstrokes – to the game and had success doing so. Until Roger Federer came onto the ATP scene. Just like shortstops drafted by the Orioles, not named Ripken, in the 80’s and 90’s, Roddick stood little chance of ever being “the” great player in tennis because there would always be a greater standing in hs path – Federer.

His one major championship came right before Federer became well, Federer, and post-2003 has been crammed with almost-wons for Roddick, mixed with “the big one” – Wimbledon 2009. Four times Roddick faced Federer in a major final, and four times he came away unsuccessful. Top Gun taught everyone that there are no points for second place.    Viper was right. There is not… sort of.

In tennis there are points for second place, and Roddick, while not standing in the winner’s circle, made enough of them to stay in the top-ten for quite some time. As players morphed into a more groundstroke-friendly competitor, Roddick’s all-serve mentality needed to adapt – In 2008 Federer returned a 140 m.ph. serve from Roddick in the U.S Open with ease, and for a winner. Some say that was a turning point in the career of Roddick. Power was not the only factor in winning on the ATP anymore.

However, instead of sulking and staying egotistical, Roddick hired Larry Stefanki and began working on what many thought he could not – adapting a ground game. 2009 proved to be one of his finest years, beating some of the biggest in the game, including Murray and Djokovic. But, as Wimbledon proved, he still could not beat Federer.

The new decade has been a difficult path for Andy, suffering injuries and relying on topspin to induce errors from his opponent as opposed to hitting winners. Oddly enough, the game he was a pioneer for – big serve – has brought on a new wave of young players with a power game, mixed with the finesse he did not have. Note this: Nadal’s U.S. Open victory came only afer he changed his serve to include more power. Gracias, Andy Roddick .

Tonight’s match-up against a cocky, young Australian, Bernard Tomic, may be Roddick’s last in New York – fitting enough, it’s like playing a younger version of himself. However, tennis fan or not, it will be worth watching; Maybe for a little bit of old beating new; perhaps a small resurgence in the very end; or one last bomb up the T.

Maybe just to see Brooklyn Decker!?

Regardless, Andy Roddick will go down as one of the all-time greats in the sport of tennis. Question Answered.

Until then, don’t get up. Because I’m not…

The Couch Journalist.

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