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ATP Tennis 360


February 22, 2010 4:12 PM

Is the new Roddick better than the old one?

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In Memphis Sam Querrey succeed in doing what he only skimmed in San Jose: defeating Andy Roddick. The Nebraska native, who in San Jose lost to Fernando Verdasco, coming back from one set to nil down, confirmed he completed a total metamorphosis from the player he was when he arrived twice in the Wimbledon final, in 2004 and 2005, losing to Roger Federer.

Then, even with his blemishes, his rude moves, he dominated a match with a terrific serve and a lethan one-two made of serve & forehand or serve&volley. Changing coach and deciding to hire Larry Stefanki, A-Rod accepted to subdue to a radical revision of his game.

Undoubtedly he completed an unprecedented work on the weakest points in Roddick's tennis, mainly reinforcing the backhand and enhancing the court covering. Now Andy risks less an inside-in forehand from the advantage side, and manages to hit some winning pass difficult to imagine before. He more and more returns with increasing anticipation, and seems definitely more consistent on the left side.

Phisically he's more prepared, last year he went nearer than ever to win Wimbledon. So why he finished to succumb to Verdasco, defeated Querrey the first time being broken and never breaking back in the entire match? Why he seems now to fight to win matches he would once dominated quite easily?

Simply, because if on the one hand he reinforced his weaknesses, his strengths are no more effective than some years ago. On the serve, although his first remains consistend and the second is far from stuttering, he's now no more unbreakable. His opponents, particularly the younger ones, are smarter returners and his ball has power but probably not enough variety of spins and pace, except on the grass.

His forehand, once flat and deep, now gained lift and unpredictability, but it's rarely a winner. Consequently, Andy being no more a novice, he becomes more frequently tired, and exhaustion makes him vulnerable.

Taking for granted how it's appreciable his professionalism, his desire to complete his game by adding new solutions, but it was worth trying? Or had he better to focus on his serve and forehand?

When he was a young rising guy, he was known for his stubborness in shortening the rallies and immediately verticalizing the game. It sound a bit strange, so, seeing him now not optimising his energies and resources. And, above all, doing so without being rewarded by a great win.

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