Fine, I secretly love you, Roddick!
I have nurtured antipathy towards this poor fellow ever since he was anointed too soon as the savior of US tennis when he was barely out of his teens. I just hate to be told what to do and I was not gonna like Andy Roddick! His on court cocky swagger and careless dismissal of ball kids and line judges also didn’t help to endear me to him. But, I have taken to following him on Twitter and I gotta admit, he’s kinda charming and his heart-breaking loss to Federer at Wimbledon ’09 has apparently rotted my brain ‘cause every now and then I find myself rooting for him to triumph. I’m not sure how far my new found love for him will go if he’s up against any of the aforementioned players, but I’m kind of hoping he continues on an upward swing.
The Greatest Ever ?
I started on my journey just after Federer’s emotional lost to Nadal at the Australian Open ’09. I had been hearing the grumblings of Federer’s detractors before and during the Open; they said his time was done and he should prepare for his inevitable decline. Yet, Federer proved them all wrong by going on to beat Nadal on clay in Madrid; win the French Open (for the first time!!) and Wimbledon; reclaim his number one spot; and capture the last Masters, Cincinnati, by beating one of his nemesis, Andy Murray, prior to the US Open. I am eager to see if he finally blows all of his critics out of the water by capturing his 6th straight US Open title, after becoming a father and further solidify his hold on number one. Even if he doesn’t, I still think he’ll probably land in the final for 21st time, a feat no competitor has ever done.
Can RRRRRAFA finally capture the one Slam that has eluded him?
I didn’t know much about Rafa before I started following the tour, but he won me over in my first venture out on the tour in Indian Wells. It was some time after midnight and he was close to losing to David Nalbandian, a player he had never beaten. I sat on the edge of my seat as he saved five match points to take the 2nd set and capture the third with the punishingly clear score of, 6-0. His intensity and fighting spirit can’t be denied that’s for sure. He had a disastrous French Open, withdrew from Wimbledon, and has yet to win the the US Open. I’m curious to see if he matches his semi-final appearance of ’08 or does one better by making it to the final.
My (new) favorite player on tour, JUAN MARTIN DEL POTRO
My love for this player has quietly emerged over the last few months of my time on the tour. I am fortunate that he usually doesn’t play on the major courts until the latter rounds, so I always manage to catch his performances during the early rounds on the side courts. I feel as if I’ve discovered him instead of having him shoved down my throat as so many other next big things (sorry Roddick and Murray). I love his quiet and measured presence on the court. A recent critic proclaimed him a dark horse for the title and that’s just the way I like him. I would be very happy to see him lift the trophy, if it can’t be Federer or Nadal (gasp!)
Noticeably absent from my list of player narratives is my old time favorite, Stan Wawrinka. I’m not sure what’s going on with Stan the Man, but I’m not getting much tennis love from him on court. I’m ready to take you back whenever you are ready to be present at your matches!
It’s a good thing the US OPEN is in my backyard, because it has a lot of stories to keep me busy over the next two weeks. I plan on living at the Open, so you if don’t see or hear from me after August 31st, you know where you can find this gallivant!