After Roger Federer’s gut wrenching loss in the Wimbledon final last year, I felt obligated to impart on him some words of wisdom. This year, Andy Roddick was the one to draw the short straw in one of the most mesmerizing major matches ever. Deluded as it may seem, I would like to believe that my advice has contributed in some minute form to the success that Federer has been basking in of late. Considering that Roddick is a compatriot, I feel bound to take a crack at pushing him in the right direction.
I hope you don’t regard it as disrespectful the liberty that I am taking in referring to you on a first name basis. After all, I have followed your career for many years and for that reason I feel a kinship on some level. I must confess though that through your nine years on the ATP, our relationship has been tepid. After making a big splash at U.S. Open in 2003, your results at the majors have been spastic. Disappointments after disappointments have caused me with time to consider you, as the Spanish maxim goes, ‘as a zero to the left’. From my viewpoint, a revolving door of coaches indicated that you were unwilling to listen to the counsel of others. As such, this left me doubting as to your capability of ever becoming champion at a major. Your performance a couple of weeks back at Wimbledon demonstrated your desire to succeed is still great and it not only reenergized your fans but gained you some new ones.
Effort has never been one of your faults. Although in the past, your game has lacked focus. In hiring Larry Stefanki and heeding his advice, you have retooled your game and developed other weapons to back up your powerful serve. Your forehand has always been solid and your play at net adequate. However, by strengthening and reinventing your backhand crosscourt and down the line, some of your strokes were purely sublime, you showed that your game can still evolve. More importantly, you revealed in the finals that you are a thinker on the court in choosing the most intelligent shots. You took risks when the situation warranted it, while restraining yourself. In the past panic may have ambushed your decision making. Federer may have gained his record 15th major, but you gave him a fight to remember.
Complements at this time may appear hollow and shallow since you don’t have the Wimbledon trophy on your mantle. Whilst, it may be healthy to reflect on what could have been, the worse thing you can do is dwell. For many seasons, you have walked through the draw with others expecting very little from you. I would like to think that in the long run, this match will leave a positive influence. As such, perhaps, the sanest approach is to regard this year as one of rehabilitation. So keep working at it Andy, your major will come.