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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

    • Drew Pearson: Mr. Clutch
      August 7, 2021 | 6:59 pm

      Drew Pearson

      The Sports Then and Now Vintage Athlete of the Month is a former NFL wide receiver know as “Mr. Clutch” for his penchant for making big receptions at crucial moments of the game. After waiting for more than 30 years, he is finally earning his rightful place in the Pro Football Hall of Fame as a member of the 2021 Hall of Fame Class.

      During his decade with the Dallas Cowboys, Drew Pearson had a habit of making the big catch at the right moment to help the Cowboys time and again snatch victory from the jaws of defeat.

      The favorite target of Hall of Fame quarterback Roger Staubach, Pearson was widely recognized as one of the great receivers of his era. Though at the time of his retirement many expected Pearson to easily breeze into the Hall of Fame, his enshrinement was derailed by changes to the game which artificially inflated receiver stats and made the numbers he produced during a time when wide receivers weren’t catching 100 passes a season seem inferior.

      Read more »

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