The other night I watched the excellent Netflix documentary Untold: Breaking Point about Mardy Fish’s struggles with debilitating panic attacks after his ascent to the top of the tennis game a decade ago. Andy Roddick – a close friend of Fish’s – features prominently in the film and I suppose it got me thinking about him. I’m not the first to say it but Andy Roddick was a great tennis player born at the wrong time. If he hadn’t come of age during the era of The Big Three, he likely would have won multiple Grand Slams instead of just one. Roddick had the misfortune of his prime years coinciding with those of Roger Federer – and then Nadal and Djokovic (and Murray) came along too.
Roddick made four other Grand Slam Finals after his 2003 US Open win – each time losing to Federer. The most memorable – and heart breaking – was the 2009 Wimbledon Final in which Roddick missed a high backhand volley that could have given him a two sets to none lead. Federer went on to win 16-14 in the 5th set.
When Roddick retired at the 2012 US Open, some said his career had been a failure. After winning the US Open in 2003, he seemed set to succeed Sampras and Agassi as a multiple Grand Slam winner. Everybody at the time assumed Andy would win more majors. That he didn’t was no fault of his own. Nobody in tennis ever worked or competed harder – or had a bigger heart – than Andy Roddick. Despite repeatedly running into the brick wall that was Roger Federer, Andy always picked himself up off the mat and left no stone unturned in trying to find a way through Roger. That he couldn’t is not a reflection of his failure but of Roger’s greatness.
If you liked this blog, check out: “Reminiscences Of Former Greatness: Andy Murray At The Australian Open”.