Wimbledon Had a Pretty Good Final

2009 July 8
by CajoleJuice

I wish this post could have had the title ANDY RODDICK BEAT ROGER FEDERER, but alas, Federer’s only weakness is Rafael Nadal. If Roddick had won, I would have posted this within an hour of the conclusion of the match. I would have been masturbating all over my blog. I would have posted a picture of Rafael Nadal laughing. I would have posted a picture of Godfather Sampras sitting in the stands with a sly smile on his face. I would have posted a picture of Roger Federer crying (it would have happened). Unfortunately, I couldn’t do any of these things, so I ended up staring at my computer screen with no urge to acknowledge the result of this Wimbledon final.

Like everyone else, I thought Roddick had no shot going into the final. Unlike almost everyone else, I’ve always been a pretty big fan of Roddick. Yes, most Americans were probably fans back before the Reign of Federer, but once he started falling off, losing to Federer in straight-sets every match, his bandwagon got fairly thin. I’ll admit that I’ve been a bigger Nadal fan in recent years, but how could I not be? If you love watching tennis, you had to choose a side in the Nadal-Federer battle and I chose Nadal. Unfortunately, Nadal’s knees have already (or finally, depending on how you look at it) started to go, stopping him at the French and keeping him out of Wimbledon. This left an opening in the bracket — and in my rooting interests — for Andy Roddick, the forgotten man.

This meant waking up at 9 am on a Sunday — not that it matters when I can sleep in late on the weekdays — to in all likelihood watch an American getting destroyed the day after the Fourth of July. What I got to watch almost made up for all the matches I saw where Federer totally dismantled Roddick. Almost.

I watched a 5-set nailbiter that showcased one of the greatest serving performances you’ll ever see, and the man behind that performance lost, because his opponent was able to serve with pinpoint accuracy even longer. It wasn’t a Nadal-Federer final, filled with obscenely long rallies; it was a final filled with absurdly easy service games, making every break point seem like it meant the match. Somehow Roddick went 37 service games without Federer converting any of those break points. He seemed to pull out a 135 mph serve down the middle whenever he needed it — except for that second set tiebreak. It’ll be a tiebreak he will no doubt go over in his mind for years. Up 6-2, with two opportunities to blast an unreturnable serve to end the set and go up 2-0, he ended up faulting on both of the chances, giving Federer the opportunity to capitalize on his comparatively weak second serve. Naturally, Federer did.

That was where the match ended. Roddick kept on fighting — even after losing another tiebreak in the 3rd set — and managed to get to a fifth set. I fooled myself into thinking this was an advantage for Roddick, considering he still hadn’t gotten broken. But the match was already over. Federer still wasn’t sweating. After winning the final set 16-14 as Roddick mishit a ball into the stands, he still wasn’t. He was hitting aces with Federbot precision, and only decided to attack Roddick’s serve when it suited him. Roddick had the unenviable position of serving second, but he managed to hold 10 times while the match was on the line. I’d say it was a performance he will never match, but he had already won a fifth set in the 2003 Australian Open 21-19. On the other hand, that wasn’t against Roger Federer, now the greatest Grand Slam champion of all-time.

It probably took me too long to truly appreciate Federer’s greatness, but this past year really has put him in a new light. I used to say I never saw him fight, but how can I say that after a match like this? How can I say it after his fights against Nadal in last year’s Wimbledon and this year’s Australian Open? He still makes it look way too easy, and he still hasn’t proven to have an answer for Nadal, but hey, at least his style of play hasn’t led his knees to disintegrate by the age of 23. I really hope Nadal comes back strong, though. Andy Murray doesn’t seem to be quite there yet, and Novak Djokovic is a massive vagina. So I’m going ahead and predicting a Federer-Roddick final for the U.S. Open. Perhaps Roddick can turn the tide on home soil. I don’t want to see this again.

Pic courtesy of Deadspin.

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