Having spent a good amount of time on the tennis court, I couldn’t miss the battle of the Andy’s yesterday. It was a brilliant match between two tough competitors. Englishmen have rallied behind Andy Murray in the hope that he would bring the Wimbledon championship back to Britain. However, Andy Roddick would have nothing to do with it. Roddick has always been a bomber. His serve is ridiculous. Imagine a tennis ball coming at you at an average speed of 135 mph. I’ve experienced that type of speed in person and it is not pleasant. However, Roddick has never had the all around game to back up his massive serve. I’ve been saying for years that Roddick should develop a serve and volley game to take advantage of his brilliant serving. Pete Sampras showed us what serve and volley can look like with a serve in the 120’s (and great placement). Add 10 mph to his serve and imagine the possibilities.
Well…Roddick finally put it together. His coach, Larry Stefanki, changed some aspects of his game and it has paid off. Roddick looked great going to the net. His volleys were fairly smooth and he won a lot of points at the net. Honestly, I had never seen Roddick look this good. It was a long time coming. Had Roddick worked on this aspect of his game a long time ago, who knows what could have been. I think he could have given Federer a good challenge even in the prime years of Federer’s reign. Federer has not had to face a consistent serve and volley player like Pete Sampras since Pete retired (and Pete was on his last legs when they did play). Pete was one of the best to play the net and the game. Roddick can still win a lot of tournaments now that he has dedicated himself to following his serve into the net. It was beautiful to see.
Now…can Roddick finally beat Federer tomorrow morning and become Wimbledon champion? I think so although he has history working against him. He is 2-18 against Federer. Federer has beaten him twice already in the Wimbledon finals. And Federer is looking to make history by eclipsing the mark for the most major championships by a male, which is held by Sampras. It seems like destiny. But Roger has not seen this Andy Roddick. If Andy plays the same type of game against Roger that he did against Murray, I think it is highly possible. He has to press Federer by coming into the net, pick on his backhand a bit, and control the flow of the game. He has to expect Federer to hit amazing shots and remain composed when it happens. If he does these things, anything is possible. Here’s hoping Roddick pulls it off…for Andy’s sake and Pete’s sake.