Do you think Roddick made a mistake changing his game?

Discussion in 'Former Pro Player Talk' started by tennisplayer1993, May 7, 2013.

  1. tennisplayer1993

    tennisplayer1993 Semi-Pro

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    2004 Roddick was an aggressive big hitter who had power groundies and his serve (at its' peak, he served over 1k aces and was hitting 140s regularly). His net game got better later in his career but I felt his approach shots were a lot better. His backhand was weak for sure, it was the weakest aspect of his game (however it wasn't as much of a liability later in his career). He still hit occasional winners with the backhand but he probably hit most of his unforced errors on that wing. His volleying game was weaker and all in all he was pretty inconsistent. I didn't think his serve return game wasn't that bad. It was a weakness but occasionally he would be aggressive on returns. A good example is the match against Agassi in Cincy 2004 where roddick lost 5-7 7-6 6-7. He had I believe 50-60 winners but about 30 unforced errors.

    In his prime roddick was an unforced error/winner machine. Do you think his decision to become a pusher and play high percentage tennis was a good idea.

    Another thing that should be brought up is the speed of the courts slowed down significantly since 2004 making it harder to winners.
     
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  2. NatF

    NatF G.O.A.T.

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    Yes, I remember plenty of matches where Roddick played aggressively even late in his career and those are the ones where he was best. His game was offensive, he didn't have the movement to grind. He was all about power.
     
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  3. big ted

    big ted Hall of Fame

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    whether it was his shoulder or the surface slowing, changing to a more conservative game helped him stay in the top 10 but i think his old game was more conducive to winning grand slams, beating the top 3, and winning big tournaments (he'd have more bad days and losses to worse opponents tho probably..)
     
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  4. bluetrain4

    bluetrain4 Legend

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    His game certainly slowed down, but I don't think he decided to "become a pusher". He was still aggressive at times.

    But, yeah, it's interesting that he underwent that change. It wasn't exactly like he was doing poorly with his previous game.
     
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  5. West Coast Ace

    West Coast Ace G.O.A.T.

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    Another vote for 'yes'. His win over Nadal in Miami 2010 - lost the 1st set then just started ripping his serve and FH; won in 3. That was his best game and best chance to win a 2nd slam.
     
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  6. FD3S

    FD3S Professional

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    Yes, but only because he want to such extremes; that spinny FH was actually quite good at moving people around, and drew more than its share of short balls due to its generally good placement. My issue was that when he got those short balls, instead of switching gears and taking a cut, he would keep on spinning and let them get back in the point.

    His net game was always going to be hit and miss; I've seen him hit some sick volleys, and I've also seen him hit some excellent approach shots, but Roddick simply never had the instinct needed to be a proficient net player. It takes more than good volleys and good approaches to come to net regularly and win.
     
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  7. robow7

    robow7 Professional

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    As a young punk, he hit a vicious forehand but I don't know if over time it took a toll on his arm (along with that sling shot all arm serve) but he did not have the same velocity on his forehand as he did when coming up. He was a snotty brat at times but I did enjoy his sarcastic wit all the while. He was just born 10 years too late, had he been playing in the 90's with faster surfaces, he would have been far more successful.
     
    Last edited: May 7, 2013
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  8. vandre

    vandre Hall of Fame

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    for the love of chocolate malts YES!!!!!!!! if you a/b the uso final he won against most of the matches later in his career you can see the change (and not for the better). i can understand playing the percentages and not overhitting but they don't give you style points for being too passive and underhitting!


    i always thought this gameplan gave him his best chance for success.
     
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  9. tennisplayer1993

    tennisplayer1993 Semi-Pro

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    True he may have not sustained longevity if he kept that style of play. He may have become more successful but injuries would probably start to hamper his career eventually.
     
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  10. Relinquis

    Relinquis Hall of Fame

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    sometimes it's better to have the match be on your racquet rather than the opponent's... especially if you have such weapons as roddick had.

    his decision to start pushing/grinding/whateveryouwannacallit was a mistake imo... i wonder though if he had it in him physically to have as long a career by being aggressive.

    didn't his shoulder suffer eventually? i wonder though. no way we could know for sure.
     
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  11. tennisplayer1993

    tennisplayer1993 Semi-Pro

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    I do remember seeing a video in which he said he cannot serve around 140-150 as he did when he was 22 years old. 2004 was probably his best years in terms of having a well variety of weapons and I felt that bulking up was definitely a good idea. He was clearly 2nd best on grass. A top 5 player on hardcourts (1. Federer being the best 2. Hewitt 3. Agassi 4. Safin/Roddick 5. Safin/Roddick) in 2004. He reminded me a lot of Goran Ivanesveic, nearly unstoppable player on grass but not as dominant on hard courts/clay as he was on grass (went 11-1, lost to Federer that year in the Finals, classic match, you can find it on youtube).
     
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  12. obsessedtennisfandisorder

    obsessedtennisfandisorder Professional

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    actually I've often thought the reverse...Arod declined because he didn't change his game.

    In 2006 there was all this talk of him going to full time S@V...(he did it well in the summer of 03 for a bit...why not fulfil that promise) but the reality is he isn't a natural s@v because that would mean 1yr/18months losing rankings points as he learnt to change his game properly..much like sampras did n 91/92 to become a true grasscourt player (pete often stayed back early in his career..thus could be seen as a bigFH/bigserve playa)....so the point of this story...is HE DIDN"T change under conners...an players worked out where to return to him...just chip it back to his BH..(check out all the vids of how far back hewitt stands and where hewy chips the returns to when playing roddick in 04/05..ditto Fed)
     
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  13. mightyrick

    mightyrick Hall of Fame

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    I've always thought Roddick was overrated. The only reason he got to the 2009 Wimbledon Final was because Nadal was injured. Nadal had won Wimbledon in '08 and again in '10. It is highly likely Nadal would have won it in 2009, as well. Roddick would have gotten destroyed by 2008/2009/2010 Nadal.
     
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  14. abmk

    abmk G.O.A.T.

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    what a bunch of cr*p.

    if roddick could take his nemesis in federer to 16-14 in the 5th set, he has a far better chance of defeating nadal on grass.

    given nadal lost to soderling at the FO, his confidence would be low. He isn't getting past either of federer or roddick at that wimbledon. Even if he played close to his best, he'd have have a mighty struggle to get past either of them

    oh and btw roddick destroyed nadal at dubai in 2008 on a fast HC and beat him on a slow HC in miami in 2010 ....
     
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  15. mightyrick

    mightyrick Hall of Fame

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    The only reason Roddick took Federer to a fifth set is because Federer was past prime -- having back problems and having other issues. Roddick played his heart out. Federer had more than a couple of issues in that match.

    If Roddick had played Federer in 07 or before... Roddick gets completely destroyed.
     
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  16. FD3S

    FD3S Professional

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    It's tremendously doubtful that Roddick would have lost against Nadal in 2009, if only for the reason that between Nadal and Federer, Nadal is the player who is more vunerable to power, something that's only exacerbated on fast surfaces. If Federer - the man who handled Roddick's serve with general ease most of the time, right up until they played their last match - could barely handle A-Rod's serve that day, how would Nadal have done, especially considering how well Roddick was playing off the ground?
     
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  17. jrepac

    jrepac Professional

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    I tend to agree, on grass, Roddick would've had a slight edge on Nadal.
     
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  18. mightyrick

    mightyrick Hall of Fame

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    You guys seriously underestimate Nadal on grass. Next to Federer, he is the best grass-courter of Fed's era.

    We can only speculate what would have happened on Wimbledon grass. I strongly believe Nadal would have beaten Roddick. The reason that Federer had problems with Roddick was not because of Roddick's serve. I remember that match VERY well.

    The reason Federer had problems was because Roddick was playing Fed's shots with relative ease off the ground. Roddick always thrived against flat hitters. Roddick also was able to approach the net quite a bit... which is unusual for Federer to allow his opponents to do.

    On the Wimbledon grass in those years, I think Nadal's ball would have been difficult for Roddick on the backhand side. Roddick's backhand was always mediocre. Certainly nowhere near as good as Roger's. But Roger hits only flat... so Roddick's backhand isn't exposed against Federer.

    Again, it's all hypothetical. I agree that Roddick takes Nadal on fast-surface/fast-ball venues (like Dubai). But on Wimbledon grass, which is actually medium pace... I can't see it. Nadal was at his grass peak at that time... and had better results than Roddick (especially at Wimbledon).
     
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  19. abmk

    abmk G.O.A.T.

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    federer had no physical problems whatsoever in wimbledon 2009. He was fully fit and was on a high after winning RG.

    federer went through soderling ( who had just made RG final ), kohlscreiber ( no mug on grass ), karlovic (can be tricky on grass with his serve ) and haas ( who had convincingly beat djokovic ) combined with loss of just one set.

    roddick gave a tough match to federer in the wimbledon 2004 final as well. you just have no knowledge
     
    Last edited: May 16, 2013
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  20. abmk

    abmk G.O.A.T.

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    what the hell are you on about ? that match was one of the very rare occasions where federer had trouble with the roddick serve.

    and roddick's BH isn't exposed against federer ? lol, wut ? federer has exploited it ruthlessly on many occasions ...
     
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  21. mightyrick

    mightyrick Hall of Fame

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    Roddick served decently, but it wasn't why he lost.

    Federer has not exploited Roddick's BH like Nadal exploited players backhands. Federer could take Roddick's slow, loopy FH and hit it into the corner for a winner. He had no issue with it. The only part of Roddick's game that offered any kind of challenge to Federer was the serve. Outside of that, Roddick was totally dominated off of both flanks in every aspect.

    I know someone having a different opinion about the awesomeness of Roddick may startle you, but don't worry, it's not the end of the world. You'll wake up tomorrow and the world will still be there.
     
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  22. abmk

    abmk G.O.A.T.

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    he didn't serve 'decently', he served brilliantly and federer did have trouble reading his serve in that final. You need to open your eyes and watch it again.


    since when did someone have to do it to the extent that nadal does ? he did exploit roddick's BH quite a bit.

    never said roddick was very versatile. But when confident and in-form, his FH was a huge weapon as well.
     
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  23. NLBwell

    NLBwell Legend

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    No.
    Roddick was in the top 10 for many years and was a factor in many major tournaments. If he hadn't changed his game, he would have had a greater ability to challenge Federer and maybe, if lucky win another major or two. However, he would have faded from the scene much quicker as he lost his peak abilities and had a shorter, overall less successful career.
     
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  24. 1477aces

    1477aces Hall of Fame

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    If he hadn't fired brad Gilbert and actually worked out enough and ate properly. ...
     
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  25. Goosehead

    Goosehead Hall of Fame

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    that 2009 wimby final..is that the one where he is 2-6 up in a 2nd set tb ??

    remember he was closer to winning much later in the 5th set..it was 7-7 or 8-8 in games 15-40 on federers serve..a-rod 5 points from the title..

    a-rod had larry stefanksi as a coach, and he seems obsessed with conservative percentage tennis, he did the same thing with henman..got him to stop going for his 130-135mph serves just to save a few double faults here n there, :confused:..

    what a farce..good ole larry interfered with those blokes defo.
     
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  26. krosero

    krosero Legend

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    That's true, don't know if you've seen this piece in the NY Times tennis blog:

    Roddick served to the T on both sides more than I’ve ever seen him. Of 89 total successful first serves to the deuce court, he went down the center 59 times and won 56 of those points. He went at Federer’s body only 7 times. He went wide to the forehand 23 times, and won 15 of those points. Clearly, the T serve at Federer’s backhand yielded great dividends for Roddick. He varied it just enough to keep Federer guessing. As Roddick told reporters afterward, “He was having trouble picking up my serve today for the first time ever.”

    In the ad court, Roddick also relentlessly attacked the T on his successful first serves, hitting 49 of 79 up the middle and winning 40 points. The T serve is effective because it travels over the lowest part of the net and because the ball travels the shortest distance from racket to court. Roddick jammed Federer nine times, often handcuffing him with a slice that spun left to right across his body. He used the wide serve to the backhand only 21 times, suggesting that Roddick’s plan was more about big serves up the middle rather than attacking Federer’s backhand. Another plus with the middle serve is the lack of angle for the returner. Again, Roddick used variety to confound Federer.

    By contrast to Roddick’s heavy use of the T serve, Federer used a remarkably balanced approach in placing his serves. Of 70 successful first serves to the deuce, he went wide to Roddick’s forehand 35 times (winning 31 points) and up the middle 31 times (winning 27 points). In the ad court he also served almost equally to each corner, winning 24 of 27 points on first serves up the middle, and earning 27 out of 30 points when serving wide to Roddick’s two-handed backhand.​

    I'd definitely give Roddick an edge over Nadal at that Wimbledon. He was serving tremendously and his first-serve percentage was through the roof: 73% against Hewitt in the quarters, 75% (!) against Murray in the semis, and 70% against Federer in the final (Roddick's best % in a Slam final).
     
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  27. Moose Malloy

    Moose Malloy Legend

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    ^wish more stats on stuff like that was available. in past & present matches
     
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  28. tennisplayer1993

    tennisplayer1993 Semi-Pro

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    +1 after reading some of his comments, i am very shocked about him talking 2009 as if roger was having a bad year. he made the final at each grand slam, winning 2: the Us and Wimbledon.

    Also IMO if roddick of 2004 was playing federer 2009, I think it may have been a much more interesting match up. Roddick of 2004 was capable of hitting federer off the court like Delpo did in the 2009 US open. Roddick 2004 usually had a weak backhand but that one day, it was clicking for most of the match, he had some winners on it and good amount of power off it. Roddick 2004 Wimbledon Final played the match of his life
     
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  29. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    The most important point is that Roddick believed his more conservative style kept him in more matches most of the time, so his ranking position could be the highest possible.
    While WE may think a more go for it style would have benefited him..in hindsight, it doesn't matter because HE believed his rankings were higher with more consistent, less erratic play.
     
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  30. tennisplayer1993

    tennisplayer1993 Semi-Pro

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    True, if he kept that sytle of play he might be a top 20 player fluctuating a lot in the rankings, possessing the ability to cause some upsets in slams but also much more vulnerable to losing on since he really didn't have any part B to his plan of attack back then.
     
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  31. 1477aces

    1477aces Hall of Fame

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    Yep. He'd have won in 2004 were it not for the rain delays.
     
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  32. tennis_pro

    tennis_pro G.O.A.T.

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    I'd say yes and no.

    Yes - he was less and less relevant
    No - he would've retired long ago if he decided to rip every ball but would have better results in 2005-2007 I think.
     
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  33. abmk

    abmk G.O.A.T.

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    hadn't seen that. Thanks for posting. :)

    will just add one thing. roddick's high %s in those matches didn't come at a reduced pace. He was serving fast, varied it well and was getting a high % of them in .
     
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  34. krosero

    krosero Legend

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    Again true.

    Roddick's mph at Wimbledon (fastest / average 1st / average 2nd):

    2003 loss to Federer - 137 / 122 / 102 (Federer at 126 / 116 / 98 )
    2005 loss to Federer - 135 / 122 / 105 (Federer at 129 / 119 / 100)
    2009 loss to Federer - 143 / 127 / 105 (Federer at 135 / 118 / 98 )
    2009 win over Murray - 143 / 126 / 86
    2009 win over Hewitt - 140 / 127 /92

    For the 2004 final all I know is Andy's fastest serve was 145.
     
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  35. krosero

    krosero Legend

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    Definitely, me too. That particular piece was by Geoff Macdonald at the Straight Sets blog.
     
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  36. abmk

    abmk G.O.A.T.

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    For the 2004 final,

    Roddick 145/128/107
    Federer 128/118/98

    I wish I could get the serve stats for the 1st set. That is probably the fastest set of serving I've seen
     
    Last edited: May 26, 2013
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  37. tennisplayer1993

    tennisplayer1993 Semi-Pro

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    I think its probably something like 145/135/110 (he hit a second serve at 133 mph at set point). He hit a couple 146-147s but they went out wide.
     
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  38. abmk

    abmk G.O.A.T.

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    Those are the official stats. Serves that are out don't count.
     
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  39. egn

    egn Hall of Fame

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    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kWqONgXPQaU

    At 8 minutes Roddick undergoes a transformation back to old Roddick and proves success. As others have mentioned I agree that new Roddick did have it's pros at times completely ditching his old style was a bad decision. Roddick in 02-04 had one of the most lethal forehands on tour, it was so sad to see it fade away.
     
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  40. Sid_Vicious

    Sid_Vicious G.O.A.T.

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    Not really. Roddick was a long way from the finish line even when that rain delay hit. It's absurd how often you hear this..as if Roddick had triple matchpoints prior to rain delay or something.

    That whole match has become enveloped in nostalgia. It was 4-2 in the third set when the rain delay came. Federer even made some in-roads into Roddick's final service game before the rain delay. Funny thing is that Roddick was the one who was annoyed with the conditions when he got down 0-30 to Federer in his service game before the rain.

    The rain delay is just a horrible excuse. It is not like Roddick showed up flat after the delay. Roddick had a game point to hold on to that break of serve. For some reason, Federer's effortless return of Roddick's 137 mph serve on break point matters less than the rain delay.
     
    Last edited: May 27, 2013
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  41. Sid_Vicious

    Sid_Vicious G.O.A.T.

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    Yes, I love that match. Roddick showed the big forehand of the old days along with his more refined net game. Nadal got played hard by Roddick's net game towards the end
     
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  42. abmk

    abmk G.O.A.T.

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    Qft. Federer had broken roddick's serve thrice already in that match by then. Roddick being one break ahead was no 'security' at all
     
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  43. FD3S

    FD3S Professional

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    I honestly don't think it was a matter of the rain making Roddick show up flat as it was the rain giving Federer a chance to regroup and change tactics. If the rain doesn't come down, Fed probably keeps trying to outslug Roddick from the baseline instead of making him hit unsuccessful passes and uncomfortable volleys, and up until that point Fed was having major issues coping with Roddick's power. I don't see Federer making that tactical adjustment by himself without the rain forcing a stoppage. Did the rain delay doom a guaranteed Roddick victory? Of course not, but if Federer kept on trying to hang with Roddick's FH the way he was before the rain, I don't think he would have liked the end result.
     
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  44. tennisplayer1993

    tennisplayer1993 Semi-Pro

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    I wish Roddick knew how to serve and volley :(. He had the huge serve and powerful groundstrokes back then. I just wish he worked on serve and volleyiing a lot sooner rather than trying to become a full time serve and volleyer later in his career when the courts got slowed down significantly.
     
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  45. Sid_Vicious

    Sid_Vicious G.O.A.T.

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    That is not true at all. Federer was handling his own from the baseline .As Ambk said, Federer was not helpless in that match. Roddick got a lot of shots hit on him by Federer as well,it wouldn't be one set all if Federer was helpless. Federer started off the 3rd set really slow and when he got broken, his backhands could not find the court. As a matter of fact, Federer give himself a look at 0-30 on Roddick's serve before the rain delay and it was Roddick's serve, not his epic forehand of doom that people always talk about, that pulled him out and allowed him to hold that service.


    Federer was in game mode when the rain hit and he was in game mode after it went away. What tactical change? Federer said that Mirka told him just one thing "You are Roger Federer"; she didn't offer any tactical changes that Federer should implement nor did Federer consider any himself. After the rain delay, Roddick got outplayed and broken. Plain and simple. As more time has gone on, people have invested more and more into that "Roddick lost because of the rain delay" story.
     
    Last edited: May 27, 2013
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  46. FD3S

    FD3S Professional

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    Oh, he certainly wasn't helpless, but for whatever reason Roddick's FH was significantly more effective than it was normally. I actually agree that it was his serve more than his FH that made the match tight, but he was hitting exceptionally well off the ground considering the pace he was bringing.

    I personally noticed Fed slicing more, moving Roddick around, making him come in by slicing short and coming in more himself off serves and groundstrokes, as opposed to the generally straight forward baseline approach he tried in the opener. He did outplay Roddick, no question, but he didn't do it by playing the way he did in the first set. Rewatching it recently, Fed had a few 'bwuh?' moments in there, but it was either Roddick's serve or FH forcing errors or winning points b/c generally speaking Fed played well. His BH didn't really break down until the 3rd set, like you pointed out.
     
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  47. Larrysümmers

    Larrysümmers Hall of Fame

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    what hurt Roddick a lot was poor choices when to come in. so many times i would see him rolling a heavy TS shot cross court, or a slice bh cross court, come in, and get passed.
     
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  48. tennisplayer1993

    tennisplayer1993 Semi-Pro

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    Yep, as a Roddick fan I hated it. I think his most well rounded year was 2004. He approached on better shots, probably had worst volleys but better approaches. A very powerful forehand. Most potent serving year (1014 aces I believe).

    His record was also his best: 74-18
     
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  49. Anaconda

    Anaconda Hall of Fame

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    You obviously didn't watch the match; Roddick had chance after chance to win the third and 4th set. Roddick was 4-2 up in the 3rd, and had 5 break points in the 4th set and couldn't take either of them. Federer on the other hand coverted the first break point he got given in the 4th set.
     
    #49
  50. Sid_Vicious

    Sid_Vicious G.O.A.T.

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    Thanks for providing this information, Captain Obvious. Now tell me? How are Roddick's 5 BPs in the 4TH set consistent with the claim that Roddick would have won the match if not for the rain delay (which I was protesting)? Yes, I acknowledge that Roddick was up 4-2 in the 3rd set and he had a good chance to wrap up the set. My point was that Federer was playing well and that it was unreasonable to assume that Roddick would have gently strolled to the finish line had the rain delay not occurred.
     
    #50

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