Thoughts on Roddick's Career

CHillTennis

Semi-Pro
Many people consider Andy Roddick to be the last great American tennis player.

In 2003, Andy Roddick would win the US Open at the young age of 21. He would also finish that year as the #1 player in the world.

This would end up being the high point in Andy's career.

Despite reaching another four grand slam finals, he would find himself on the losing end (each time) to Roger Federer.

Some people believe that Roddick was unfortunate to have competed in the era of the "Big 3."

However, it is worth recognizing that the average performance level, of the American tennis players, has gradually declined since Roddick's retirement in 2012.


What are your thoughts on Andy Roddick's capabilities?

Would he have fared better if he had played during the 1990s?

Or was he doomed to be a one or two time grand slam champion due to the limitations of his 2 handed backhand, volleys, and lack of fitness (for part of his career, atleast.)
 

Cashman

Hall of Fame
The 2000s was one of those funny periods where the game changed substantially due to shifts in technology and conditions

Some players benefited whilst others struggled, mostly due to good or bad luck based on how the changes suited their pre-existing games

The changes helped Roddick’s serving but harmed pretty much every other aspect of his game, so yeah, I think he would have been more effective under other conditions

whether that means you could time travel him to the 90s and expect him to win a bunch of slams is a different and unanswerable question
 
Some people believe that Roddick was unfortunate to have competed in the era of the "Big 3."

Would he have fared better if he had played during the 1990s?

I've mentioned this before on TTW, but I'll copy/paste it here again:

Beginning in 2003 he played 38 matches on grass in four years. His record was 35-3, and 35-0 against everyone not called Federer, until Blake beat him at the Queens SF in 2006. Without Roger...? Unless Hewitt could have stopped him in the 2003 final, he'd have won three Queens and three Wimbledons in succession. Becker, Sampras, McEnroe, and Murray have all done it only twice, and never in consecutive years. That'd be quite the grass court legacy.

I think if Andy's fairy godmother appeared and offered to grant him just one of two wishes: either be born ten years earlier and have a career from 1990-2002, or be born as normal but live in an era without Federer, he'd take the latter in a second. As described above, without Fed he's almost guaranteed at least four more slams in the 2000s, most of them at SW19. I don't think he has great chances to emulate that degree of success in the 1990s, against Sampras/Agassi and a bunch of surface specialists.
 

Red Rick

Bionic Poster
Roddick's game was best for the transition era from S&V on fast courts to baseline tennis. Yes there's Federer, and without Fed he probably wins 3-5 Slams or something, but the real problem in assessing Roddick is what would've happened if he hadn't fired Gilbert and hadn't stuck to coaches that pushed him to running to the next or pushing from the baseline.

In a way, pushy Roddick was the most influential player of his day. Servebot and push is what Medvedev and Zverev do this day
 

mike danny

Bionic Poster
Don't think Roddick would have ever been more than a 1-2 time slam winner in most eras. His limitations would have always been too tough to overcome to achieve consistent success.

Having said that, he was definitely unlucky to be playing Federer in his prime who didn't give him an inch and never truly delivered a sub par performance against Andy that the latter could benefit from.
 

mike danny

Bionic Poster
The 2000s was one of those funny periods where the game changed substantially due to shifts in technology and conditions

Some players benefited whilst others struggled, mostly due to good or bad luck based on how the changes suited their pre-existing games

The changes helped Roddick’s serving but harmed pretty much every other aspect of his game, so yeah, I think he would have been more effective under other conditions

whether that means you could time travel him to the 90s and expect him to win a bunch of slams is a different and unanswerable question
Don't really think it affected the rest of his game. What did was Roddick's choice to become passive. His FH and serve were great in 2003-2004 with the new technology.
 

Kralingen

Legend
Ultimately, for better or for worse, he has only himself to blame for his failure to win anything after 2003. Mainly the self inflicted post-Gilbert/2005 pushdom when he decided that having a lethal FH was a bad idea and that he should try to play like Sergi Bruguera with topspin and then randomly run to the net on approaches without rhyme or reason. just lol.

All that said he had one of the best serves ever, and possibly the GOAT first serve for his height - was an underrated mover (see his matches vs Ferrero or even AO ‘09 vs Djokovic), and always put scoreline pressure on by holding serve especially on grass. And let’s be honest, Fed’s brilliance at Wimbledon was unprecedented - Roddick is certainly an excellent grass player that is beyond question. He deserved a title.

He does cop far too much hate and was a better tennis player than a lot of subsequent slam winners, but at the same time, during dips in the Federer monopoly, he was nowhere to be found.

I don’t feel bad for him nor do I feel any animosity to him really. He could have been the American superstar this country needed, but he just wasn’t cut out for that mentally or physically. He’s a great guy and an astute commentator, and has come a very long way from the Steve Stifler looking frat boy with a visor on that I disliked as a kid. And of course Brooklyn Decker is not a bad person to spend your life with.

Most importantly though he owned Djokovic which is always going to be a feather in his cap.
 

Red Rick

Bionic Poster
Don't think Roddick would have ever been more than a 1-2 time slam winner in most eras. His limitations would have always been too tough to overcome to achieve consistent success.

Having said that, he was definitely unlucky to be playing Federer in his prime who didn't give him an inch and never truly delivered a sub par performance against Andy that the latter could benefit from.
Literally every ATG before Fed had their limitations. Apart from ~2007-2013 worse players have won more Slams in just about every era.
 

NatF

Bionic Poster
I think the biggest impact Fed had on him was mental. You look at his early career he had confidence and swagger, post 2004 that all evaporated. Cue the poor coaching decisions. At his best he was a good athlete with a huge serve and forehand, he dealt a lot better with being the underdog than the frontrunner. He was unlucky that Fed happened to be his kyrptonite and could expose all his flaws, he also shared his two best majors with Fed...

Due to his coaching misteps I'm not sure we ever saw him fully realise his potential but he was very good for a couple of years.
 

Red Rick

Bionic Poster
I think the biggest impact Fed had on him was mental. You look at his early career he had confidence and swagger, post 2004 that all evaporated. Cue the poor coaching decisions. At his best he was a good athlete with a huge serve and forehand, he dealt a lot better with being the underdog than the frontrunner. He was unlucky that Fed happened to be his kyrptonite and could expose all his flaws, he also shared his two best majors with Fed...

Due to his coaching misteps I'm not sure we ever saw him fully realise his potential but he was very good for a couple of years.
Nothing is more infuriating than Roddick winning matches cause he was actually ripping forehands for 2 games then forgetting all about that the very next day
 

NatF

Bionic Poster
Nothing is more infuriating than Roddick winning matches cause he was actually ripping forehands for 2 games then forgetting all about that the very next day
Somewhere along the way I think he hit his head and mixed up the meaning of the phrase "play to your strengths". Not sure what was the bigger mistake, firing Gilbert or breaking up with Mandy Moore.
 

wangs78

Hall of Fame
Roddick was a contemporary of peak Fed and aside from Nadal (who showed up a bit later) made it to more Slam finals than anybody else. It’s really nothing to be ashamed of and he can be quite proud of this achievement, to be sure. With that said, I was never a fan of his game style. Everything about his game, I did not like, including the racquet he used (the Babalot PureDrive), which, interestingly enough, doesn’t seem to be used by many/any players anymore. Maybe no one wanted to become the next Roddick??
 

FD3S

Hall of Fame
Gonna steal/tweak one of my old posts for this one but generally speaking I feel that Roddick's results accurately reflected his capabilities given the landscape around him.

I've seen people make the argument that Roddick's a walking example of the 'weak era', that without his serve he wouldn't have made it out of Challengers, that they've seen 4.0's volley better than he does. No. His numbers and highlights speak for themselves, and they say that aspiring to have a better career than Andy Roddick is to aspire to lofty things indeed.

On the other hand, I've also seen people that claim Roddick would have cleaned up the 90's, or that without Fed he would have been an absolute lock for 7+ more majors or some other ludicrous number. No. He always had weaknesses that were exploitable by the top guys, and while I would happily agree that while it's very possible (I'd go so far as to say probable) he wins a few more without Roger his absence would not mean that Roddick automatically jumps into the GOAT debate.

Roddick was a excellent player who maximized the talent he got in spite of the fact he was never going to be an all-time great like Sampras or Agassi. His game always had noticeable holes no matter what incarnation of him you watched, but his strengths were such that if he played at his best the racquet would be taken out of his opponent's hands more often than not.
 

big ted

Hall of Fame
i think him winning a GS title and becoming #1 at such a young age is proof
that fedr really thwarted his success into a more ATG career.
not to mention he won his first GS final he was in which is unheard of these days lol..
even in those finals he lost to fedr he really brought his game didnt let the occasion get to him
like alot of players do.
 
I don't think Roddick would've done all that well in the 90s unless you're looking at the late 90s portion which wasn't a particularly strong time period.

Courts were faster sure which would help Roddicks serve but it would also hurt his ROS which was hardly anything to write home about. He also needed time to setup his shots so the quicker pace would hurt him there. Also, SnV was more dominant in the 90s than 00s and I don't think Rod would match up that well given his ROS and I think his BH passing shot could be exploited a bit by the net rushers.

I do think Roddick in his own era was hurt more by Federer than anything. I think Federer was just the absolute worst match up for him mostly with that 1st serve return and that short slice to draw him in. I'll be honest, I don't think Roddick would've done anywhere near as bad on HC/grass against Djokodal even if you're talking their prime versions. There's not much of a sample size there but for example, Roddick never even won consecutive sets vs Fed in 24 matches. The three wins he did have, he squeaked out (Rod was honestly lucky to win 03 Canada with Fed's pathetic choking). Even when Fed played lackluster like 09 Miami, Roddick still lost. Meanwhile, Roddick's wins over Nadal at 08 Dubai and 10 Miami were convincing. Probably should've beat Ned at 10 WTF too. Roddick had a 9 set W streak against Djokovic. I won't pretend like Djokovic was playing well in some of those matches (09 AO cause of heat, IW, 10 Cincy) but would he have pulled off 9 straight sets against a subpar Fed? Not sure. Even when Djokovic was playing well like 08 USO (arguably a top 6 USO run for Djo), he was very lucky to win the 4th set with Roddicks choking. Rod had a convincing straight set win at 08 Dubai too sandwiched between Nole's AO and IW winning runs (although Nole made some errors in key junctions). Now, this is not to say Rod would've had a winning record against them or anything but I certainly don't think it would've been anywhere near as lopsided as the Fed/Roddick match up. And Roddick would've certainly had more chances in slams against them.

Overall, I think Roddick definitely had the potential to achieve more in his career. I made the point before but if you combine the strengths of 03/04 Roddick with the 09 Roddick, you get a very formidable player on HC/grass. You keep some of the younger Roddick confidence, movement, aggressiveness off the baseline and combine it with the 1st serve percent, the improved BH, volleys and the defensive game of the 09 Roddick and that dude would've been dangerous af. Instead, Roddick went away from some of the strengths of his younger self and really tried to shore up the weaknesses over the years which I think made him lose the plot on what type of game he should've really played. So we never really saw these parts of his game combined on a consistent basis.

l'd also blame some of the bad losses he had in his career (lost a bunch of winnable matches) which made him lose confidence in his game, make coaching changes, etc for his failures on a bigger picture. Unfortunately, Roddick was not the mentally toughest player and choked some important matches and this kind of comes back on himself rather than a coach or any other external factor.

Roddick's game was best for the transition era from S&V on fast courts to baseline tennis. Yes there's Federer, and without Fed he probably wins 3-5 Slams or something, but the real problem in assessing Roddick is what would've happened if he hadn't fired Gilbert and hadn't stuck to coaches that pushed him to running to the next or pushing from the baseline.

In a way, pushy Roddick was the most influential player of his day. Servebot and push is what Medvedev and Zverev do this day
You do realize Gilbert was the one who was persistent on getting him to the net more? Read this article below from TMC 04. And even before this, Gilbert would always talk about it.

 
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Red Rick

Bionic Poster
I don't think Roddick would've done all that well in the 90s unless you're looking at the late 90s portion which wasn't a particularly strong time period.

Courts were faster sure which would help Roddicks serve but it would also hurt his ROS which was hardly anything to write home about. He also needed time to setup his shots so the quicker pace would hurt him there. Also, SnV was more dominant in the 90s than 00s and I don't think Rod would match up that well given his ROS and I think his BH passing shot could be exploited a bit by the net rushers.

I do think Roddick in his own era was hurt more by Federer than anything. I think Federer was just the absolute worst match up for him mostly with that 1st serve return and that short slice to draw him in. I'll be honest, I don't think Roddick would've done anywhere near as bad on HC/grass against Djokodal even if you're talking their prime versions. There's not much of a sample size there but for example, Roddick never even won consecutive sets vs Fed in 24 matches. The three wins he did have, he squeaked out (Rod was honestly lucky to win 03 Canada with Fed's pathetic choking). Even when Fed played lackluster like 09 Miami, Roddick still lost. Meanwhile, Roddick's wins over Nadal at 08 Dubai and 10 Miami were convincing. Probably should've beat Ned at 10 WTF too. Roddick had a 9 set W streak against Djokovic. I won't pretend like Djokovic was playing well in some of those matches (09 AO cause of heat, IW, 10 Cincy) but would he have pulled off 9 straight sets against a subpar Fed? Not sure. Even when Djokovic was playing well like 08 USO (arguably a top 6 USO run for Djo), he was very lucky to win the 4th set with Roddicks choking. Rod had a convincing straight set win at 08 Dubai too sandwiched between Nole's AO and IW winning runs (although Nole made some errors in key junctions). Now, this is not to say Rod would've had a winning record against them or anything but I certainly don't think it would've been anywhere near as lopsided as the Fed/Roddick match up. And Roddick would've certainly had more chances in slams against them.

Overall, I think Roddick definitely had the potential to achieve more in his career. I made the point before but if you combine the strengths of 03/04 Roddick with the 09 Roddick, you get a very formidable player on HC/grass. You keep some of the younger Roddick confidence, movement, aggressiveness off the baseline and combine it with the 1st serve percent, the improved BH, volleys and the defensive game of the 09 Roddick and that dude would've been dangerous af. Instead, Roddick went away from some of the strengths of his younger self and really tried to shore up the weaknesses over the years which I think made him lose the plot on what type of game he should've really played. So we never really saw these parts of his game combined on a consistent basis.

l'd also blame some of the bad losses he had in his career (lost a bunch of winnable matches) which made him lose confidence in his game, make coaching changes, etc for his failures on a bigger picture. Unfortunately, Roddick was not the mentally toughest player and choked some important matches and this kind of comes back on himself rather than a coach or any other external factor.


You do realize Gilbert was the one who was persistent on getting him to the net more? Read this article below from TMC 04. And even before this, Gilbert would always talk about it.

My bad.

I fully agree that different parts of Roddicks game peaked in wildly different years, and IMO he was far behind the curve in adapting to the modern baseline days. With better adaptation he would've a bigger, more consistent threat all the way until 2010. He'd never dominate Fed, but he might squeek out an extra match or two all the while creating more chances for himself against the rest of the field.
 

BGod

Legend
I really should just copy and paste since I repeat myself ad nauseum on this:

Beyond the 4 Slam Finals he lost to Roger that he otherwise wins, there were also 03 WMB and 2007 AO, WMB & USO. Now I'm not saying he's guaranteed all those as well without Fed, but he would have certainly been likely to beat Gonzalez and at least at even odds against Scud & Novak. The 2007 Wimbledon Quarterfinal loss to Gasquet is in my opinion clear cut example of mental fatigue as at that point he had lost 3 straight times to Fed on grass, the previous year's USO and that year's AO. He was up 2-0 and lost in back to back tiebreaks and 6-8 in the final set, will always believe Roddick just didn't want to lose to Fed yet again and needing that 2008 break to work things out mentally (although he lost again to Rog at 2009 AO).

If you're keeping track, I'm saying he's a would be 6 time Slam champ if not more (though 10 max I think) without the GOAT of a generation and what we all thought of all time until Novak more recently. So it pure fate why he didn't reach the same status as Agassi for example.

As far as American tennis post Roddick, well Agassi was popular but clearly below the legacy of Pete who was serve and volley, a style that died out. After Roddick time and again could not overcome Federer the SWISS, unfortunately the coaching in the US stagnated all the while other sports increased in participation and viewership. Basketball, Hockey and European Football have seen continued growth while tennis caved.

It's simply put, hard to even begin contemplating comparisons with Pete, Andre, Connors, McEnroe and that's tough for an american athlete to deal with. I think swimming is going to have the same issues eventually because Phelps is quite untouchable.
 
I do agree with the person who said it is not likely Roddick would have thrived that much in the 90s. His return of serve isn't generally a strength, which was even more important on the lighting fast court conditions of the 90s. Of course it would make his own serve even tougher to break, but he would have to break sometimes, and against other big servers or even people without huge serves but rock solid serve games overall like Agassi or peak Rafter, I see that being tough for him in 90s court conditions. He also did not generally take the ball early or play far inside the court, despite playing a power game, which again was not suited to optimal success in 90s court conditions. He might still wind up with a better career than he had just due to no Federer, but with the court conditions and Sampras in the way, Agassi when he could be bothered (and being a bad match up for Roddick) in the way, and many others, I don't think much better. In fact he probably does not end a year #1 anymore, unless he gets lucky to have one of his biggest peak years coincide with one of the softer years.

I do think the playing conditions and time frame he was most suited of all for is exactly when he played, just got super unlucky to have Federer's peak coincide with that time. Basically the hypothetical in tennis history Roddick does the best by far is when he actually played but without Federer being in his prime or anywhere near it at the same time. If you are talking about today and more recent years the courts have now slowed too much for his game to be as effective to have a significantly better career, probably even in the weak field of today, and certainly when Nadal, Djokovic, Murray were all still playing very well. Basically his timing would have been perfect if it just weren't for Federer existing and hitting his prime at the same time. The courts, playing conditions, most of the other top players in existence at the time (many very good but most good enough match ups for Roddick) were all optimal for him apart from Federer being there.
 

BGod

Legend
Basically his timing would have been perfect if it just weren't for Federer existing and hitting his prime at the same time. The courts, playing conditions, most of the other top players in existence at the time (many very good but most good enough match ups for Roddick) were all optimal for him apart from Federer being there.
Honestly just pushing him 1 year back would have made significant difference. Although 2002 USO is interesting in that scenario a more mature Roddick might well beat Fed at Wimbledon 2003 and he was REALLY close in 2004 as it was. He was also REALLY close at beating Safin in the 04 AO, 2005 USO Roddick sent to 04 is also intriguing because he just crapped out with Muller and was still reeling off a straight set loss to Fed at Wimbledon.

Roddick and Hewitt split their meetings 7-7, and Roddick beat him in straights at Queens in 04 but I won't go so far as to say he wins at 2002 Wimbledon. So to be safe I'd say Roddick wins 2003 Wimbledon and USO, along with 2004 AO and Wimbledon again with the USO being a toss up now. Already a better career and seemingly two YE #1. That Roddick might even win 2006 AO/USO or both.
 
He was the last great American Player but... that isn't saying much either. LOL. he was alright. A little better version of Raonic. Very Good player, nothing special. I mean he wasn't going to dominate in any era. For all his limitations on the tennis court, he actually did very well. Overachieved for sure
 

NAS

Hall of Fame
Very good tennis player for me, was not his fan.
For me he was 3-4 slam winning ability person.
Only bad was, how come he was not good on indoors, he liked fast surface, he has good fh and serve.
Another things original Roddick fans are very good unlike others fake fan of Roddicks
 

dryeagle

New User
Please stop it with the What Ifs. Didn’t stop Murray and Wawrinka winning multiple Slams. Didn’t stop a young Nadal from stepping up and taking Fed down on some big occasions.

Roddick was a rich man’s Todd Martin.
 

NedStark

Semi-Pro
Honestly just pushing him 1 year back would have made significant difference. Although 2002 USO is interesting in that scenario a more mature Roddick might well beat Fed at Wimbledon 2003 and he was REALLY close in 2004 as it was. He was also REALLY close at beating Safin in the 04 AO, 2005 USO Roddick sent to 04 is also intriguing because he just crapped out with Muller and was still reeling off a straight set loss to Fed at Wimbledon.
Don't forget US Open 2001. It was a very close affair against Hewitt, and it took a bad call in Roddick's deciding serve game to end the match - he could have well hold the game without it.
 

Red Rick

Bionic Poster
Please stop it with the What Ifs. Didn’t stop Murray and Wawrinka winning multiple Slams. Didn’t stop a young Nadal from stepping up and taking Fed down on some big occasions.

Roddick was a rich man’s Todd Martin.
Murray is a better player than Roddick full stop. Wawrinka is Fedals pidgeon with a good matchup with a bad Djokovic.
 

mike danny

Bionic Poster
Please stop it with the What Ifs. Didn’t stop Murray and Wawrinka winning multiple Slams. Didn’t stop a young Nadal from stepping up and taking Fed down on some big occasions.

Roddick was a rich man’s Todd Martin.
Stan is Fed's pigeon.
 

mike danny

Bionic Poster
Fed was his barrier to more. Roddick a very good but not great player.
Pretty much. Roddick was never a great player, but I'd never call him weak like many people do. He was Federer's toughest challenge on grass after Djokodal, so that says something about his quality.
 

droliver

Professional
it took some real bad luck for Roddick not to win 3-4 slams. He was consistently one of the top 2-3 players on tour from 2001-2005 and gave the big 3 all they could handle at times. He had some real handicaps with his game, but his serve was in GOAT level and his forehand was the biggest on tour for several seasons.
 

RS

G.O.A.T.
I think Djokovic problem was that he can't read Stan BH when Stan was in peak form.
In 2015 RG final, I saw him getting wrong footed some times when Stan hit the big bh.
Djokovic doesn't have as good a slice of Nadalerer to stop Wawrinka from teeing off but even so all 3 of those matches were high quality and competitive matches and Djokovic wasn't anywhere near bad in any of them.
 

ichaseballs

Semi-Pro
talent wise i think andy was on par with many great americans.
but playing against the big3 (esp fed) could be called bad timing/luck.
any roddick fan was :cry: about 2009 wimbledon.

i was impressed how andy went from a #1 player at a young age and later would still improve his variety and game. staying inside the top10...
i thought connors did a good job helping his volley and backhand.
 
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