Thursday, September 06, 2007

So Long Jimbo!

This is what I expect to hear from Andy Roddick in the next few days; after he ruminates over his most recent loss to Roger Federer. If he doesn't, he seriously needs some perspective. Roddick's game yesterday - though highly praised by the American (and maybe other) media - was a huge disappontment. I mean, how do I differentiate this supposedly marquee match-up with the ones that Roger played against Lopez or even Isner? Truth is, I cannot. Because, for Federer, it was Business as Usual. And Just like he had observed before the match, Andy had no new cards up his sleeve; absolutely nothing on the table to match Roger's hand. And that's what surprises me, because with Jimbo around to coach him, you expect better. Jimmy Connors was no genius with the tennis racket, but he was and is still considered to be one of the best returners that the game has ever seen. And coincidentally, that's exactly what Roddick needed yesterday to create any chances for himself. He was serving big; in fact very big. But without a returning game it simply wasn't enough to get him the V. There was absolutely no game plan on how to attack Federer's second serve. Returning, to a large extent, is instinctive;in fact Federer's massive return in the second set breaker at 4 all was an example of that; but there has to be a hint of an effort. Sadly, there was none. Instead what Jimbo has passed on is his crowd-hustling antics; the fist-pumping, the glare, the vocality and other such paraphernalia. Jimbo should know better. In his time, with the same theatrics, Connors lost 11 of his last 12 matches against McEnroe, despite the latter being psychologically vulnerable. Simply because he did not have the game to match McEnroe's; it's another matter that Jimbo never wanted to admit that. Federer is mentally much stronger than McEnroe. It is probably the only thing that separates the two geniuses and the reason why Federer will end up winning plenty more than McEnroe did. And its also why Roddick cannot beat him with sheer chutzpah. Rodick should be looking incessantly for that elusive Federer chink or a weapon which can back up his big serving. Bring an X-factor into his game; something which Rafa has. Connors has not been able to help him with that. In fact, there's nothing new in Roddicks game that Connors has brought about. Nothing that he has made better. The partnership is a total failure. Probably Roddick needs someone like McEnroe to coach him, someone who can think like a genius and tell him a few hitherto unknown secrets on how to unravel Roger Federer. -BBS


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Excellent post, Biswa. I haven't been following this Open, but could Roddick's missing 'x-factor' be imagination? That is one thing his game severely lacks. Connors should have been able to help there, as his own game was built around using his capabilities to full potential.

Most modern players are also quite weary of returns sailing past them at considerable speeds if they venture towards the net - in Roddick's case, the same reluctance to come in behind some of those massive serves is puzzling.

- NK

7:55 AM  

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