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June 22, 2006



The Chronicles of Roddick
Andy Roddick has a lot to mull about going into the most important tournament of the year from him, the 2006 Wimbeldon!

Coming off an injury stunted Roland Garros where he retired in the first round and a semi-final loss to James Blake at the warm-up tournament last week at the Queens Club in London, which by the way he had won three times in arow previously...Roddick is coming into the 2006 Wimbies with his worst win/loss record in three years.

If there is one point that exemplified how he is feeling was that point in the semi-finals against Blake at Queens where in the second set, Roddick goes up to the net and dives to save a blistering forehand from Blake only to come up with another great dive to save another Blake missile, only this time the ball bounced tepidly on his side of the net.

It would have been a 'phenomenal' point had Roddick been able to get this ball over the net, but here he was lying flat on his stomach on the grass, his arms flailing valiantly, smacking the ground with his palms like a six year old in distress....

Not an inspiring site from our only US Grand Slam champ in almost four years.

So what ails Roddick?? why is it that the man can serve at 150MPH (which he did at the Semis at Queens) and still not hold serve much less win a set.!

Here are my two cents...(and as a matter of disclosure, I am no tennis expert, a 4.0 player at best, but getting better...:), at least that is what my friends tell me.

The issue with Roddick is similar to how a baseball pitcher's fast ball can be bunted for a base hit...

Players have learnt that there is greater than a 50% probability of winning a point on his serve, if you even just lob or give him the meekest of returns...and therein lies the problem, Roddick just has not learnt to ( or does not want to ) come to the net, or at least the service line after his serve.

In the Blake/Roddick match, as with many of his other matches there were 'so many' points where Roddick would put in an awesome serve causing James to stretch out to get a weak return and would see this ball come over the net 'high and slow'
and drop inches into the baseline and Andy with all his prepping and strutting and shuffling would hit his standard inside out topspin returnthat Blake would be waiting for patiently on the other side.

I don't know, but from what I have learnt from the coaching I have gotten on tennis is that after your serve, the last place you want to be in is in 'no-man's land', the area between the baseline and service line and that where Roddick invariably lands up after half his serves.

What was that drill..?, you serve, go through your follow through and then a few quick steps to the service line; a lot of the returns that come back to Andy can easily be picked off for volleys, IF he is at the service line after his serve and IMHO EVEN with his weak volley he can hit a number of these for winners! time you watch him play watch where he lands after the serve and after that his feet are frozen
till the return is over the net. Its already too late IMHO to hit a a winner by then...

I am sure there are other things that people have noticed about Andy that he needs to change or improve...
1) not stand 10 feet behind the base line for returns..i.e. take the ball early Andy!
2) Learn how to Volley
3) Come up with a one-handed or more potent backand and so on and so on...,

So please feel free to soundoff on what you think Andy should do to improve his game, I still love to watch him play, he continues to have the biggest serve in tennis and I do hope he finds ways to make that part of his game a bigger competitive advantage!

Tennis player and bonafide tennis addict :).

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