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Roundup: What the Miami Masters Means For … 3

Posted on April 06, 2010 by Rob York
Andy Roddick: When the No. 1 American won his first and only slam at the 2003 US Open, he did it by serving big, cranking forehands and just generally believing he could stay with anyone.
Sports News - April 05, 2010

Andy Roddick topped the towering Tomas Berdych on Sunday in Miami.

In the years since then tennis has seen forehand power become commonplace, and Roddick’s faith in himself has at times been shaken because of the lopsided nature of his “rivalry” with Roger Federer, having won just two of 21 matches they’ve played.
All the while, Roddick has sought to add depth to his game, coming to net more frequently, relying more on a slice backhand, and attempting to force mistakes from opponents through a greater reliance on defense.

Through all the disappointments and the changes in coaching, it has been easy for commentators (this one included) to decry that change in his approach, as Roddick’s speed cannot be confused with that of Rafael Nadal’s, and he has never been known for having hands like John McEnroe’s.

As of this week Roddick may have proved us wrong. The American ace machine’s serve remains deadly as ever, but faced with players with superior back court games, his net rushing proved the difference against Nadal and his choice to take the speed off the ball left Tomas Berdych completely flustered. In doing so, he won his first Masters shield in nearly four years.

After a lackluster season post-Wimbledon last year, Roddick has now won two titles in 2010 and reached the finals of two Masters Series events in a row. Now, how does he approach clay, having made measurable progress on the surface last year? He could do as he did then, and skip the first few events, but in ’09 he was getting married; he probably doesn’t have such a good excuse this time.

Tomas Berdych: The lanky Czech is one of those to make the term “big forehand” passé in recent years, as he is unquestionably one of the game’s biggest hitters, yet has had middling results, peaking at No. 4 and never getting past the quarters of a major.

Anyone who hates to see human potential wasted has to hope that this result will be a breakthrough. For one, Berdych beat Roger Federer for the first time in nearly six years. For another, he could easily have suffered a letdown from that result, but managed to overcome Fernando Verdasco in the following round. Meanwhile, Robin Soderling is probably still smarting from the beating Berdych administered on him on the semis. Read the rest of this entry →

  • Vintage Athlete of the Month

    • Hall of Famer Tony Oliva
      July 17, 2022 | 2:15 pm
      Tony Oliva

      After waiting for 45 years after his retirement, the Sports Then and Now Vintage Athlete of the Month is finally taking his rightful place as a member of the Baseball Hall of Fame.

      Before injuries cut short his Hall of Fame worthy career, Tony Oliva was one of the best hitters in baseball and combined with Hall of Famers Rod Carew and Harmen Killebrew to make the Minnesota Twins a perennial American League contender during the late 1960s.

      Discovered on the baseball fields of Cuba by a Minnesota Twin scout, Oliva came to the United States in 1961 and within three years the American League Rookie of the Year. There have been many great MLB players from Cuba, including a new generation of stars today, but it is hard to argue that there has been a better player from the island in MLB than Oliva.

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