Sunday, February 22, 2009


Andy Roddick steps on the snake 7-5, 7-5 to win his 27th career title.

He's on the board in 2009.

And a useless piece of trivia: he's the first active player on the tour to win at least one title 9 years running.

Match Highlights

(Thanks, Graf_sampras)


Graf_sampras said...

if there is one thing that Andy Roddick is EXEMPLARY about:

it is how gracious and gentlemanly he is when he speaks during a win or a loss.

"i'd like to congratulate radek...he's been the best player over-all in the past two tournaments"........

despite his acknowledge of what was after all, quite true: stepanek did show "hot" form these past 2 weeks...and THEN andy CAUGHT HIM today!!!


This made my day!!

Graf_sampras said...

LUV the way Radek kidded Andy and Andy played back...hehe...that's the spirit guys.

Craig Hickman said...

I can't stomach the snake, so I'm happy Andy beat him this week. He ought never to lose to him again.

Graf_sampras said...

oh - i'm more tolerant of Stepanek than you Craighickman...but it was SWEET today for andy to have vengeance because Radek WAS playing HOT for 2 weeks -- right up to the last shot TODAY!

THAT made my day for Andy's win. i really wanted Andy to win as Radek was playing as well as he has in his own career...just like today....and definitely able to get the title against anyone.

AND THEN andy came up with that BEEEAAAAAUUUUTIFUL backhand passing winner for 0-14 (whatever number) in the last game to break eventually for the title.

that was really really satisfying to watch.

Craig Hickman said...

I didn't see the match, but I keep hearing about this one-handed backhand improv passing shot down the line that fired everybody up.

Graf_sampras said...

Craighickman..i only got home in time to catch the last set - from Radek serving to get to 4-4 - but i think enough to see what might have been Andy's improving his consistency after getting over that first set break by stepanek.

his backhand was GOOD, he kept it neat , well-placed with just enough heft and pace in it to keep it from sitting up.

but what was amazing was in that last break-of-serve game to win the match ...

stepanek , even if behind and serving to stay in the match , as we all know won't give up and still comes up with tricks AND doesn't stop putting pressure or dares a player to come up with winners..and THAT"s what andy did when stepanek pressure andy and stepanek or any player was , approaching the net with a very good approach shot - in position to finish that point...and in fact : andy barely had time to get that particular shot for 0-15...

and barely had time to prepare that backhand andy came up with a beautifully controlled , "from the wrist" , short backswing backhand ..that had a beautiful spin on it . and it went right past stepanek's prepared position at the net...for a winner.

didn't overplay, kept it "loose" and easy...and it just went so beautifully.

it immediately reminded me of a "set-up" winner that changed everything ...from 1999 FO women's finals between graf and hingis.

although at that time , of course hingis was the "better player" on that day ..and should have won really, based on form, ...

hingis was pouring on the pressure on graf in the second set -- and hingis set up everything so perfectly, to finish off at the net ..and graf responded with a "from out of nowhere" topspin backhand winner right past hingis' face and arm...and that basically broke "the spell" and the tide turned...well before that better-known stride by hingis to the other side of the court .

Andy did something as beautiful as that today.

it had heft and security in it but it was truly a "finesse" winner.

for me -- THAT was one shot that was the kind that makes you go:

WHY DOESN"T ANDY do some more of those?!!

when you see it on YouTube eventually - you'll see what i mean.

Graf_sampras said...

and mind you -- stepanek was THROUGHOUT playing BIG , really powerful in addition to HIS touch shots. it was his type of playing on the day that would DEFINITELY bother Federer, Murray, Nadal, Djokovic or anyone and make them nervous.

this WAS a highquality match won by andy.

Graf_sampras said...

i'm already repeatedly checking out YouTube for the match posted by people, hehehe.

Craig Hickman said...

Thanks, Graf_sampras

oddman said...

Congrats to Andy, and may I say how nostalgic I felt when I saw your pic of him with his cap on backwards - old memories.

He should wear it like that more often.

MMT said...

May I ask what it is that we don't like about Stepanek?

MMT said...

And by "we", I mean, Craig :-)

Craig Hickman said...

Everything, MMT.

tangerine said...

I'm very happy with Andy's win this weekend. Some people scoff that it's a mickey mouse tournament but he beat some good players to win it. If it were that easy, he would've won the title the past 7 years he's entered. It's taken him that long to nab his second Memphis title. Well done!

And I love that picture you used, Craig. He looks very young in it, like he was 18 all over again.

But 18 no more, now he's a Middle Aged Ball. Here's to 27 more career titles for Andy. :)

b said...

Craig you have got to see what happened with Radek and Roddick and the trophy - it was too funny....

I like Radek actually - esp compared to Roddick - would you forgive me for admitting that I was rooting for him (Radek) to win or will I be banned from the board? :o)

Craig Hickman said...

Funny, b. Funny.

Graf_sampras said...

finally == YouTube highlights of the finals!

Graf_sampras said...

i like Stepanek's playing. among players today it certainly is one of the most challenging to solve for players because he has a much wider vocabulary of shots and does them well and he's no slouch in the power department at all.

and he has been playing very well these past 2 weeks. Andy wasn't facetous when he said Radek "has been playing the best tennis over-all these 2 weeks".

And this was a highquality match won by andy.

Graf_sampras said...

I don't think it's a useless trivia that Andy is one of few players that have won at least one title for 9 consecutive years.

That IS part of the summary of the career and reflects that consistency of world-class playing by a particular player.

There is a good article by Steve Tignor on Andy Roddick...after the usual notes about weaknesses, etc...which Tignor seems to not want t0 dwell on..he talks about a pattern in andy: that everytime andy gets a new coach -- he WINS - and that it seems to be a case of andy being the kind of person that needs the "confidence" confirmation from a "new face"..and that somehow this motivates him. and in the end - the article says: if there's anything that "ANDY IS MOST EXEMPLARY is that HE IS NOT A QUITTER".

and through his disappointments , through the huge expectation and challenges...he has shown this with 9 years consecutively of being in the top ten or top five , and at least one title per year.

that's more than the majority of players can boast of.

Graf_sampras said...

and in the article , Tignor made a point that "yes -- Memphis is not a grand slam...but it IS a 500 tournament" - that andy won against a player , stepanek, "that is a problem for any player".

Graf_sampras said...

ANDY RODDICK is someone President Barack Obama would be very proud of to give an aware to in the White House -- as a dignified, hard-fighting, determined and talented american champion that gives his all to his chosen sport.

President Obama said:

"we are not quitters"?

ANDY RODDICK is a proud example of that.

Graf_sampras said...

Who are Radek Stepanek's TWO "favorite players to watch?"

Favorite Players To Watch: "I like to watch Roger because it seems everything very easy. And I like to watch Roddick's matches."

Graf_sampras said...

from this article (excerpted) with interview:

Radek Stepanek has spent the first two months of this season climbing back into the top 20. He spends his offseason going downhill fast.

The 30-year-old Czech is an avid downhill skier who scaled a personal summit on the court by reaching a career-high rank of No. 8 shortly after surging into the Wimbledon quarterfinals in July of 2006. Stepanek was on a high, but a neck and back injuries sidelined him for much of the second half of that season and threatened his career.

Stepanek bounced back to win the 2007 Los Angeles tittle and is off to the best start of his career this year. Stepanek, who has celebrated some of his biggest wins in recent weeks with his distinctive worm dance on court has wiggled back into the top 20 and is intent on heading even higher.

He has reached the final in three of his five tournament starts this season, dispatching Fernando Verdasco, 2-6, 6-4, 6-3 to open the season by winning the Brisbane title, then scoring successive victories over defending champion Andy Roddick and Mardy Fish to capture his second title of the season at the SAP Open in San Jose earlier this month.

The fifth-seeded Czech knocked off Juan Martin del Potro in last week's Memphis quarterfinals and extended his winning streak to nine matches before bowing to Roddick, 7-5, 7-5, in a high-quality final. Stepanek can be a maddening player to face because of his ability to alter the pace and abruptly change tactics in the course of a point and he threw a variety of different looks at Roddick before bowing. Stepanek has posted a 16-3 record in rising to No. 16 in the rankings. He will lead the Czech Republic when it hosts a formidable French team featuring Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, Gilles Simon, Gael Monfils, Richard Gasquet and Michael Llodra in next weekend's Davis Cup first-round tie in Ostrava.

The son of a policeman father and librarian mother, who was born in Karvina, a mining town in the northern Czech Republic near the Polish border, Stepanek has has remained true to his Czech roots. One of Stepanek's best friends is fellow Czech Jiri Novak, he has won two doubles titles with countryman Martin Damm, he dates compatriot Nicole Vaidisova, cites Hall of Famer Ivan Lendl as one of his tennis heroes, he has been coached by compatriot Tomas Krupa and credits Petr Korda with providing the insight that helped him make significant strides on the ATP Tour in 2002.

Relying on a strong serve (Stepanek is currently sixth on the ATP Tour's ace leader list with 133 aces), Stepanek is an all surface threat, who is particularly potent playing on fast indoor surfaces. His 11-3 record on carpet last season was the second-best record on the surface.

Stepanek captured his first career tournament title on hard court in Rotterdam in February, 2006, reached the Tennis Masters Series-Hamburg final on red clay in May and advanced to the Wimbledon quarterfinals on grass in July of that year. He owns career wins over Gustavo Kuerten, Goran Ivanisevic, Juan Carlos Ferrero, Fabrice Santoro, Novak Djokovic, Nicolas Kiefer, Rainer Schuettler, Max Mirnyi, Xavier Malisse, Fernando Verdasco, Marcos Baghdatis, Jose Acasuso, Feliciano Lopez and Ivan Ljubicic.

Tennis Week contributing writer Scoop Malinowski caught up with Stepanek for this Biofile interview.

Height: 6-foot-1 Weight: 167 pounds.

Graf_sampras said...

Craighickman may not like Stepanek .............

But RODDICK is one of Stepanek's Favorite Players...hehe...