roddick’s heartbreak, venus’ venue

Posted on September 6, 2007

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In the end, Jimmy Connors had nowhere to go despite being all dressed up for his protege Andy Roddick’s quarterfinals face-off against Roger Federer in the US Open.

How heart-breaking it must have been for Roddick, to have played so brilliantly, almost flawless tennis during last night’s match, serving well, powering awesome groundstrokes at Federer and peppering his game with attempts at the net, and yet still come up short against the world number one player – and in straight sets at that, 6-7, 6-7, 2-6.

Clearly, Federer had Roddick completely figured out, never losing his trademark cool, unintimidated by Roddick’s bullet of a serve charging towards him, and completely out-playing and out-angling Roddick throughout the match.

How much more beating can a guy take? Roddick has been trounced 14 times by Federer, out of 15 meetings. The last time Roddick beat Federer seems a lifetime away, in 2003.

Will Roddick be able to beat Federer soon? It’s a tough answer that perhaps even Connors and Roddick wouldn’t dare answer.

But what’s heartening is the maturity and graciousness Roddick has been displaying in the face of his losses, unlike his female counterpart, Serena Williams. Serena had been repeatedly vanquished by Justine Henin, but refused to acknowledge Henin’s ability. Instead, Serena has alienated fans by being a sore loser, displaying a lack of class and respect for an obviously better-prepared and harder-working opponent.

Venus Williams, on the other hand, displayed more grace and maturity. Her intensity and will during her match with Jelena Jankovic wasa treat, although Venus’ roller-coaster nerves could be troublesome when she faces Henin next.

Venus should relax like her run to the Wimbledon championship earlier this summer. Her talent, determination and power should be enough to overcome Henin – but she has to stop being so tensed so that her number of unforced errors would stay low. Against a tough opponent like Henin, Venus has to make every point count. And if she can overcome Henin, it would hardly be a stretch for Venus to go on to win the entire tournament.

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