Appreciating Andy Roddick Though He Couldn’t Dominate Like Agassi and Sampras
The following year, however, Hewitt lost in the first round of Wimbledon to the big-serving Ivo Karlovic and became just the second defending champion in Wimbledon history to lose in the opening round.
At that point, the focus, especially from the American media, turned to Andy Roddick. All of a sudden, he was expected to win the tournament and to become the world’s next tennis superstar…to take up the mantle of Agassi and Sampras and extend America’s great tradition of having championship-level tennis players.
After all, Agassi and Sampras had been following up on the success of Jim Courier, Jimmy Connors and John McEnroe, and we had Venus and Serena Williams along with Jennifer Capriati and Lindsay Davenport among others to expect greatness from in the women’s game. It was Roddick’s turn to become a consistent Grand Slam champion.
Now, let’s return to Wimbledon in 2003. Roddick was cruising through the tournament and had only lost one set going into the semifinals. It seemed like he was going to win his first Grand Slam and validate all of the talk that had followed Hewitt’s loss, and America would have its next star.
But then he went up against Federer in the semifinals and got destroyed in straight sets. Federer absolutely tore him apart and then went on to thump Mark Philippoussis in the finals, beating him in straights as well.
So, in the matter of just a couple of days, the expectations for Roddick to become the top player in the world were transferred to Federer, and we all know what happened after that.
That semifinal matchup between Roddick and Federer was significant though because it initiated what would become one of the most one-sided rivalries in tennis history. In fact, it seems like it would be incorrect to call it a rivalry since the two played each other 24 times, and Federer won 21 of the matchups.
Regardless though, looking at it from Roddick’s perspective, it must have been incredibly frustrating to know that he could play the match of his life against Federer and still lose.
And that’s exactly what happened in the 2009 Wimbledon finals. In that match, which was the longest Slam final of all time in terms of total games played, Federer beat Roddick in five sets, winning 16-14 in the final set.
Certainly, that match must have been heart-breaking for Andy and some might argue that loss ended up being too much for Roddick to overcome since he never returned to a Slam final after that. However, while it may seem harsh and it certainly could not be deemed his fault, it’s probably more likely that the American simply didn’t have enough talent to make it back.