I watched the Men's Final with the sound down. I never watch tennis with the sound down but somehow I knew today that would be required.
There are two ways to make history - create your own moment or have it handed to you. It's no secret the Monogram is not my favorite male tennis player for reasons to numerous to go into now yet I always try and maintain an air of neutrality on this blog so that one fandom or another doesn't feel slighted. I'm going to try today but if I don't succeed just don't read the post. I'm sure there are other places you can go where the Monogram's win will be celebrated. I hope to put that win in some perspective.
Anyone who was paying attention saw that all the competition - men who don't quake at the sight or name of the Monogram were in the top half of the draw. All of the seeds, everyone of them, in the bottom half of the draw could be counted among the worshipful, those who genuflect before the Presence as he walks on court. With the 2008 Champion injured the task fell to one of the men from the top half to step up and represent. Andy Murray found the hopes and dreams of his country too much to bear and in an amazingly passive match lost to Andy Roddick in their semifinal match. I'm not a big fan of Mopey Murray either but I felt that he had the best chance at making sure a headache inducing celebration didn't take place on Centre Court today.
As our mothers have always told us there is no use crying over spilt milk. Andy Roddick played two of the best matches of his life. He believed he could beat Andy Murray. In the end he still doesn't think he can beat the Monogram. Don't get me wrong. I was pulling for Andy every step of the way but I knew his record of 2-18 was in his head. When he lost that second set tiebreak after having four set points I was worried. When he lost the second set tiebreak I figured four sets for the Monogram. When he won the fourth set I thought maybe, just maybe, he'd hold it together.
I think the Monogram served a record number of aces today. How ironic that he said earlier in the week, in belittling Ivo Karlovic, that serving your way through a match is not tennis. I guess if your name is Ivo Karlovic that's the case. If your name is Roger Federer it's a different story.
I don't know what happened in that fifth set. Nerves? The shadows? Mental fatigue? The sense that no matter what he did his opponent would win? Whatever it was Roddick did not look comfortable or play all out the way he did before he fell hard on his right hip after slipping on the dirt on the baseline. The man who had held his serve throughout a marathon match was broken thanks to a mishit on his part. It was the first break the Monogram got and it won the match for him.
Whatever. Pete Sampras finally stopped the running conversation he was having with his wife long enough to watch the end of the match.
I'm not going to call the Monogram any names. That is not what I'm about. The fact that some on Twitter are calling him a "Pompous Jacketass" is totally Nike's fault. I turned the television off when I realized they were going to run congratulatory commercials ad nauseam.
I'm also not going to say much about the condescending words he directed at Andy Roddick when the match was over. What he said was kind of like a rich man telling a homeless man he knows how he feels. I know the worshipful will defend his comments as trying to be nice. I ask them to put themselves in Andy's place.
I know I should be saying "Congratulations" because of the "historic" event that just took place. I hope the Monogram gives nice bonuses to the folks who make sure his way to semi's and finals is paved with gold. The powers that be have been working hard for this moment for a couple of years now. I'm glad they're happy.
Andy is holding his presser now. He is being described as "visibly shaken" and to have said "I was trying to survive."
It's being reported on Twitter that Bud Collins was in the room and asked that the press let Andy leave. The assembled press gave Andy a round of applause when he left the press room after five minutes.
Sunday, 5 July 2009
Q. Did you just lose to the world's greatest tennis player ever?
ANDY RODDICK: Yeah.
Q. Can you talk about when you were sitting in the chair and the crowd was chanting your name, what did that mean to you?
ANDY RODDICK: That was nice. You know, it showed that they appreciated I guess what we did out there today. You know, it was definitely a nice and appreciated gesture by them.
Q. How is it possible to hold your concentration? You served from behind on 10 occasions with the title at stake.
ANDY RODDICK: Yeah, you just keep going. I mean, you don't really ‑‑ looking back it seems like a lot, but each time it was just a point, and then another one and then another one. I guess it added up after a while.
Q. How would you describe what you did today?
ANDY RODDICK: I lost.
Q. Does it hurt more though when you're that close and it's that long, 95 minutes the last set? How does this compare to the other ones?
ANDY RODDICK: Yeah, I think so. I think it's worse.
Q. What happened on the high backhand volley?
ANDY RODDICK: Well, there was a pretty significant wind behind him at that side. It was gusting pretty good at that time. When he first hit it, I thought I wasn't gonna play it. Last minute, it looked like it started dropping. I couldn't get my racquet around on it.
I don't know if it would have dropped or not.
Q. When do you expect you'll start feeling better and feeling sort of happy with how you performed and the occasion as opposed to the disappointment now?
ANDY RODDICK: I don't know. I'm not a psychic. I'm a tennis player.
Q. Even during the match, could you appreciate this as a sporting event, or are you too locked in at that point?
ANDY RODDICK: Well, it's a sporting event regardless of the score. And, to be honest, no. In the moment, like Bud mentioned, I was just trying to survive each time and hold serve and give myself a shot.
Q. What do you take most satisfaction from in what you did accomplish, even in defeat today?
ANDY RODDICK: Well, you know, I took some satisfaction in December and in November when we started to move forward. It was to give yourself an opportunity to win tournaments like this. I feel like, you know, I did give myself that opportunity today.
It didn't work out, but, you know, I definitely gave myself a look.
Q. Didn't look real easy to have to rally after losing that second set. Was there a struggle inside of you to stay positive? Were you able to blank it out right away?
ANDY RODDICK: There's no way, I mean, it doesn't cross your mind. We're human. We're not Cyborgs. You know, at that point, like everything else, there's two options: you lay down or you keep going. The second option sounded better to me.
Q. Roger is such a tough opponent. What qualities make him so outstanding?
ANDY RODDICK: I don't know. I mean, I don't know where to start there. You know, he just makes it real tough. You know, he was having trouble picking up my serve today for the first time ever. He just stayed the course.
You know, you didn't even get a sense that he was even really frustrated by it. He kind of stayed the course and just toughed it out. He gets a lot of credit for a lot of things, but not a lot of the time is how many matches he kind of digs deep and toughs out. He doesn't get a lot of credit for that because it looks easy to him a lot of the times.
But he definitely stuck in there today.
Q. In that sense, do you think sort of he's the only person who you wouldn't have beaten playing like that today?
ANDY RODDICK: I don't know. That's such an irrelevant question at this point. It's complete hypothetical and guessing. I don't know. I mean, I don't know.
Q. How were you feeling physically in that final game?
ANDY RODDICK: Physically I felt okay. Obviously, you play for 4 hours and 15 minutes you don't feel like you do in the first hour. But, you know, everything felt okay.
Q. This whole tournament, has it given you a new belief, a greater confidence that you can be a slam winner again?
ANDY RODDICK: No, no. You know, it's tough to kind of digest it and come in here and give you guys a lot of insight so soon afterwards.
But, you know, I just keep going. You know, there's not another option.
Q. When you took that fall, you stayed down long enough for it to cause concern around the stadium. Did you hurt anything?
ANDY RODDICK: No. It was okay.
Q. Do you feel like that was the best match you've ever played?
ANDY RODDICK: I played pretty good two days ago. Again, I've been saying all week, I struggle with this, you know, comparisons of one match to another.
You know, I don't know. I was happy with the way I played. I thought I played real well.
Q. A lot of people thought this was going to be about your big serve, Roger's getting around the court, his ability to hit passing shots. Clearly that wasn't really the theme there when you look at how well you played from the baseline and how well he served, did that surprise you at all?
ANDY RODDICK: You know, I don't know. You know, he served great. I didn't get a lot of looks at seconds. I felt like when we were in rallies for the last couple sets, I was actually doing all right and holding my own, if not more.
You know, but he just served great. He did what he had to. If he wouldn't have served as well, I'd probably be sitting here in a better mood.
Q. Is it crazy or is it a blessing in disguise that you're expected to play an indoor match on clay in four or five days?
ANDY RODDICK: I don't know. I got nothing for you right now. To be honest, right now I don't really want to think about that.
Q. Liberate this man. Well done, Andy.
ANDY RODDICK: Thank you.