25 June, 2011

Wimbledon Day Five (3 Thoughts)

Imagine we're having a drink and talking tennis.  Somewhere in the conversation, I say player X has been in the year end Top 10 nine consecutive times, won 30 career titles, made 5 major finals, led his team to the Davis Cup and that he sucks, you'd look at me like I had three heads.  If I said Andy Roddick sucks, I bet half of you would nod in agreement.  By the way, that was his resume I was quoting above.

As you know, Roddick dropped his third round match to Feliciano Lopez 7-6, 7-6, 6-4 and his 2011 Wimbledon is over.  Just two years ago, Roddick stood on the edge of glory, before tumbling 16-14 in the fifth set to Roger Federer for his fourth loss to the Swiss in a major final.  That match was unfortunately a metaphor for his career.  He was on fire early, winning the 2003 US Open, briefly held the World No. 1 ranking, fought valiantly for another bite of the apple, hung around near the top for longer than anyone felt possible.  Ultimately though, he'd be measured against Federer, the man who defined his generation, and he'd come up short.  Roddick may have lost both that Wimbledon final and the career stakes to Federer, but I'd argue he made strong accounts of himself in both.

After a bit of a chalky first couple of weeks, today we saw a few bracket busters as upsets began to rock Wimbledon.  In addition to 3-time finalist Andy Roddick, 2nd seeded Russian Vera Zvonareva, double major winner Svetlana Kuznetsova and one of our picks to reach the semi-final Andrea Petkovic all were shown the gates today.  Heading into the weekend, the draw is beginning to take shape.

Andy Murray continues to fly the Union Jack over Wimbledon with his four set win over Ivan Ljubicic, 6-4, 4-6, 6-1, 7-6 .  On a day when fellow Brits Laura Robson and Elena Baltacha were sent packing, Murray reinforced his status as top dog in the UK.  Surprisingly today was Ljubicic's first time playing on Centre Court and the Croat gave a good account of himself under the roof.  Murray played his best tennis in fits and starts today, seizing and surrendering the momentum, but he got the job done today amid annually soaring British hopes.  Murray handled Ljubicic and the pressure today, but the hype only grows exponentially from here.  Will he let his fervent local fanbase boost or break him?  Well, that's not today's story, keep watching.

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