Andy Roddick defeats Andy Murray in a thrilling match

04 Jul 2009 by Hiland in Wimbledon 2009

Andy! Andy! Andy! And More Andy!

Andy Roddick defeated Andy Murray in semifinal of Wimbledon 2009

Andy Roddick

The engine that could chalked up a big one on Friday on Centre Court in front of 15,000 unappreciative fans. Prior to the match Andy Roddick quipped that he would pretend every time he heard the crowd scream “Come on Andy,” he would pretend it was for him, not for Andy Murray. Andy Roddick stood alone on Centre Court surrounded by Brits pleading for an end to the 73-year drought that has plagued the nation.

Perhaps, it will happen next year, but for now, the Brits will have to wait one more time. Andy Murray is a wonderful tennis player. At 22 years young, there is little doubt that his day will come.

In an unexpected twist, Andy Murray out-aced the sultan of serve 25-21. However, Murray chose to play Roddick’s serve from 12 feet behind the baseline. Next time around, the Scotsman may re-think that strategy.

The match started as expected. When the twosome settled into points, Murray inevitably won. Roddick dominated the shorter points. Both players sported robust serves. The crowd was in the game and part of the contest and very much in Murray’s corner. It was a field day, the day the All England Club had awaited for 12 months.

In addition to the 15,000 fans around Centre Court, Henman’s Hill had thousands more passionate Murray fans. This was unsafe terrain for Roddick fans.

After a devastating setback in the quarterfinals at Wimbledon in 2007,  Roddick began to question himself, his ability and his future. In that fateful quarter match, he jumped out to a 2 set lead over controversial Frenchman Richard Gasquet. Inexplicably, the play turned. Roddick could not execute. He was out of gas and soon out of the tournament.

More questions arose in 2008. He was ousted in the third round at Melbourne, did not enter Paris and out in the second round at Wimbledon before reaching the quarters at the U.S. Open. Andy Roddick’s career was headed the wrong way down a one-way street. Roddick stared at the “this way only” sign and made a bold commitment to a coaching change.

In November 2008, Roddick hired accomplished coach Larry Stefanki. Larry had some ideas. They all began with a more dedicated work ethic and recognition that the sultan of serve needed more diversity in his game. The twosome went to work in the off-season.

Roddick and Stefanki were rewarded at Melbourne with a semifinal appearance. They were pleasantly surprised in Paris reaching the fourth round on clay, a surface with which Roddick has struggled all his career. There were other signs of a comeback. His 2009 won lost record stood at a very respectable 33-8.

Andy Murray’s 2009 record is 40-6. He championed the Queen’s Cup. He is the best tennis player Britain has put forth in a very long time. He is a heavyweight contender. He is in need of a big win. Once he gets that win, the sky is the limit.

In the first set of the match that was to launch a weekend of celebration culminating with the home country’s first Wimbledon title in 74 years, Andy Murray was serving at 4-5, deuce.

Andy Roddick disguised a forehand and went with a show-stopping drop shot. Silence! Advantage Roddick, set point.

At set point, Roddick drove a deep forehand crosscourt. Murray nets the sideline drive. Set over.

Silence on Centre Court. A magnificent set of tennis was observed by a cheerless audience; just what Andy Roddick wanted.

Andy Roddick had silenced the crowd, temporarily taken them out of the match. The pressure was squarely on The Scotsman. Commentators reported that Murray stood to gain $100 million pounds in endorsements with a Wimbledon title. That is a fair amount of pressure, maybe more than anyone should bear.

Much like Elena Dementieva the day before, Andy Roddick took the first set, went to the service line and blinked. Murray jumped at the opportunity and broke, then held to go up 2-0. Murray served brilliantly through the set, winning 6-4. Match on! Crowd back.

This match had everything; spectacular shotmaking, an abundance of athleticism, courageous serving, daring net play and two highly gifted professionals.

Andy Murray leads the tour in games broken in 2009. He has broken more serves than Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic or Andy Roddick. He is the king of the break. He has speed, incredible touch and power, power and more power.

Andy Roddick is known as a server extraordinaire. That is the old Andy Roddick. The new Andy Roddick has dimension. He makes players play to his strength. He has patience, but he is not waiting. He is forcing, pressing. He comes up, cuts of shots, takes angles, hits deep crosscourt forehands and sharp down-the-line backhands.

Hey, this Andy Roddick is better than the old Andy Roddick, plus he knows more. He has been there; to the top of the mountain and to the bottom of the well.

There was no way Andy Roddick was caving in. If Andy Murray wanted this match, he was going to have to play better, play like someone who could challenge Roger Federer, not like someone who was ordained a title. Andy Murray was going to have to take this match away from Andy Roddick and it was not going to be easy.

Admit it or not, everyone around Centre Court could sense it. This was going to be a dogfight.

Roddick cast aside childish things. He did not dispute calls, he did not argue with the chair umpire. He stared Andy Murray down, then drew from the holster and shot from the hip.

He broke Murray to go up 3-1. He served a love game to go 4-1. At 5-3, Murray took charge, dominating the game. Roddick absorbed the loss. Murray pulled even and they held serve to get to 6-6.

Andy Murray may have the most breaks on the tour but Andy Roddick is a gunfighter. Roddick possesses the best tiebreaker record on the tour. Prior to today his tiebreaker record in 2009 stood at 25-4.

At 6-6, Roddick scored a break to go up 2-1. Murray answered to go 2-2. They went back and forth. At 4-5, Murray pitched two aces. Roddick would not go away.

He scored a 138 mph ace to go up 7-6. Murray hit a winner. 7-7. Roddick went crosscourt, Murray missed a forehand. Set point with Roddick up 8-7. Another crosscourt forehand by Roddick, another net ball from Murray. Set over!

The stunned crowd put their hand son their laps. Who is this new Roddick?

Set three had a similar feel. The spreading shadows foretold a dark day for the Brits. Murray served and played well. He appeared more athletic. Roddick was amazingly fit. He continued to press play, forcing shots, drop-shotting, slicing forehands, being annoying, totally uncompromising.

At 6-6, the tiebreaker began. The American jumped ahead when Murray missed a backhand at 1-2. Roddick followed with two big serves for 4-2. Murray barely caught the baseline to pull to 4-5. Roddick blistered a service winner.

At 6-4, Murray came up with a critical save passing Roddick at net. 5-6 Murray serving. Roddick thunders a return across the court. Roddick nets the retrieve. Match over.

Hail Andy Roddick, the sultan of serve, the master of pressure, the consummate underdog. Roger Federer will have to earn this championship. Andy Roddick does not go away easily.


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