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Pro Tennis Showcase
September 6, 2011

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US Open 2011, Flushing Meadows, New York, USA
September 6, 2011
Editorial by Jane Voigt.


Jane Voigt Photo
Jane Voigt

Over The Years
September 6, 2011 -- Roger Federer is now 30. Andy Roddick is just behind him at 29. These two are contrasts in style, but have found common ground on tennis courts around the world.
Imagine each on a Saturday afternoon on a hot summer day with no tournament on the horizon. This is somewhat of a fantasy since both men's commitment to tennis would fill an entire calendar year. But just for a moment suspend the obvious.
What might Andy Roddick be doing? And Roger Federer?
Andy has candidly admitted that if he could, like vanish his career for a day, he'd watch ESPN's Sport Center for hours on end, and probably munch on a couple bags of potato chips. You can't imagine Andy eating veggie chips or rice cakes, either. Just plan ole potato chips ... maybe Lay's because he just couldn't eat one.
Roger Federer, on the other side of the globe, might be shopping along the Champs-Elysˇes or soaking up sun on a private beach along the Mediterranean Sea with Mirka, his wife, and their twin daughters: Charlene Riva and Myla Rose. Would Roger pack snacks in their beach bags? With two kids that age -- they are now a bit over two -- snacks are as mandatory for a day on the beach as are his Nike tennis shoes during a match.
After the kids are tucked in, the Federer's probably dine on gourmet cuisine and sip wine. He'd then relax on a couch with Mirka, listening to their favorite music.
The Roddicks, Andy and Brooklyn Decker, might grab some Tex-Mex food at a local Austin restaurant, visit friends or maybe crash out in front of the HDTV with a movie. What do you think they would watch? How about "The Hangover"?
For sure Roger Federer can rock the night life at times. But his demeanor is cool, calm and collected -- at least that's what we see. Classic dresser. Fine wines. A hunger for history and tradition.
Andy Roddick is an American man from the heartland -- Nebraska. He loves football and casual dressing, and the peace of his home. He seems to be a nervous wreck on court, though. He grabs at his shirt, tugs at his shorts in the front, the opposite side as the Nadal tug, and you've seen Andy bite his fingernails as he watches his buddies at Davis Cup ties. All quirks aside, Roddick hones his game every year to keep up and on top.
Interestingly enough, Roddick is the one sponsored by a French manufacturer -- Lacoste. And Federer is a Nike guy, the quintessential American sports marketing giant. That's the most ironic comparison between them.
They turned pro within two years of each other -- Roger in 1998 and Andy in 2000. They have both been #1 in the world. And each man has won at least one tournament a year over the last elevens seasons. This year Federer won Doha. Roddick won Memphis.
Both men were born in August. Federer on August 8, and Roddick on August 30. Roger celebrates at Rogers Cup, (the name of the tournament having nothing to do with Roger Federer but with the Rogers Communications, a title sponsor). Andy's birthday is associated with the U. S. Open, which is cool. He turned 18 at the U. S. Open in 2000, his first. It was Federer's first U. S. Open, too.
Both men contribute abundantly to their charities. The Roger Federer Foundation supports Imbewu, an aid agency for disadvantaged children in South Africa. He created it in 2004. Andy Roddick formed The Andy Roddick Foundation in 2001, one year after turning pro. According to its website, the charity is dedicated to "Serving Children Today for Tomorrow."
Roddick has one Grand Slam title -- the 2003 U. S. Open. The scale tips a bit when comparing Roger Federer's 16 major titles, which includes a career Grand Slam, winning all four majors.
The two have faced each other 22 times at tournaments. Their head-to-head is 20-2, Federer to Roddick.
In 2009, the two men played a final at Wimbledon that approached the intensity and passion of the one Federer and Nadal contested in 2008. Federer walked off the lawns a loser in 2008, feeling an unfamiliar sting of loss at his favorite tournament. That night perhaps Federer had some semblance of how Andy Roddick must have felt after losing three times to the 16-time Grand Slam champ. Roger defeated Andy in 2004, 2005, and 2009. The 2009 final went five sets. Roger won in the fifth, 16-14, after Andy failed to hold serve. The match was Federer's essentially by one point.
Millions of fans were heartbroken. They asserted that Roddick played better throughout the match, which is probably true. Yet in the second set tiebreak, Roddick went for a volley which would have gone out. That reaction at the net was a costly one. Up 6-2, Federer came back and took the second set. Roddick had won the first. If only he'd won the second set, the title could've, might have, maybe just ... we'll never know.
To rehash this final really only illuminates how very close the two are matched on grass. Their best surface. If Federer had been a generation in front or back of Andy, glory on the grass of the All England Club would have painted the American's biography differently. But we can use that same weak argument for Federer. Had Nadal not risen to the top during the first decade of the 21st Century, Federer would have more red clay under his nails.
Tennis is competition. When players break through can't be controlled. If there's anything natural in the world of top-tier tennis it's the curves Mother Nature sends our way: the convergence of talents like Federer and Roddick.
With no matches played today at Flushing Meadow and more rain forecast for tomorrow and possibly the remainder of the week, things could get a bit out of whack for those remaining in the draw, like Andy Roddick and Roger Federer.
Currently, Andy waits to play David Ferrer for a berth in the quarterfinals. Federer has made his way to the quarterfinals -- his 30th consecutive quarterfinal at a major. It's Federer's lucky number.
These two veterans, though, have more experience when weather interrupts the rhythm of a tournament. Their minds will remain steadier and absorb the irregularities once again provided by Mother Nature.


Earlier Columns from this Event:
September 5, 2011 US Open: The Big Stories - Tipsarevic, Ferrero, Djokovic, Dolgopolov
September 4, 2011 US Open: The Outliers - Nadal, Nalbandian, Roddick, Benneteau
September 3, 2011 US Open: Embellishments - Wozniacki, King, Monaco, Haas
September 2, 2011 US Open: Moving Closer - Pennetta, Sharapova, Isner, Ginepri
September 1, 2011 US Open: Will the Real Top Seeds Please Stand Up - Federer, Sela, S Williams, Krajicek
August 31, 2011 US Open: Big Day - Murray, Devvarman, Stosur, Vandeweghe
August 30, 2011 US Open: A Kid In a Candy Store - Nadal, Golubev, Blake, Huta Galung
August 29, 2011 US Open: The Youngsters, Plus One - Fish, Kamke, Dulgheru, Kvitova
August 28, 2011 US Open: Before It All Begins

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