It’s Andy Roddick vs. Roger Federer in Sunday’s Wimbledon final. How fitting that Nadal’s absence has taken us back to the 2004-2005 era at the All England Club. What’s that cliche, again? The more things change. . .
This will be the 21st meeting between the two, and I think most tennis fans are as familiar with the match-up as the players are. If it follows the script and Federer’s 18-2 lead in the head-to-head, the match will go something like this: Roger neutralizes Roddick’s serve, repeatedly luring the American to the net before smacking passing shots just beyond his demoralized opponent’s out-stretched racquet. Federer wins in four sets, if he gets nervous in a tie break.
BUT! (And this “but” goes beyond any fear of jinxing the proceedings.) This is Roddick’s best chance since 2004, when he barreled onto Centre Court and won the first set. Andy’s serve is still massive and maybe more wiley than before, the ground strokes are shored up and his tactics are honed to a steely point thanks to super coach, Larry Stefanki. He’s found his Mirka and his mojo. And he beat the other “other” Andy – a phenomenal returner and passer – in Friday’s semifinal.
It could come down to the W factor. Who WANTS it more? Whose WILL is stronger? Whose nerves are WEAKER? Who will settle for nothing but a WIN?
Roger’s W: History. He’s fighting for his treasured title, the No. 1 ranking and a place above Pete in the record books.
As Roger said in Saturday’s pre-match presser: “Records are part of this great match right now, so it’s obviously even more of an incentive to try really hard.”
Andy’s W: Redemption. He’ll no longer be a “One Slam Wonder,” an overachieving one-trick pony, or the best-worst player on tour. Oh, and he’s one match away from winning Wimbledon. That’s something:
Q. Can you describe to us how much you want this title, how much it means to you?
ANDY RODDICK: No, I probably couldn’t (smiling).
Sometimes actions speak louder than words:
That’s Roddick after beating Murray in the semifinal.
So, who do you think is pulling off the Big W at the Big W?