What’s wrong with Roddick?

What’s wrong with Roddick? Andy Roddick can boom the serve and hit big forehands; but that does not appear to be enough to win any major titles. He just lost to young Andy Murray at Wimbledon in a match, in my opinion, he should have won. So what’s wrong?

I think the MAJOR flaw in his game is hitting the big serve – especially wide to the add court – and having his opponent just block the ball back, floating to Andy’s add corner (like Federer has done in beating him).
Then Roddick backs up 5-10 feet behind the baseline, and moves to his left; so that he is now hitting his ‘favorite’ inside-out forehand standing behind the alley or even to the left.

His opponent then has all the options open to him: drop shot on the deuce side, drive the ball down the line and make Roddick hit a running forehand, stay back/ or come in to put pressure on Andy to make the pass, etc. He needs to stand his ground after his serve and/or come to the net often enough to not let his opponent get comfortable just floating the service return back.

And he says he has ‘really been working on his volley’; but it is still not a sure shot for him. He is one of those players who would really benefit by playing doubles to sharpen his net game. Look at doubles specialist Max Mynri and how well he can serve and volley. That is who Roddick should try to emulate – not Jim Courier, who had a great run-around, inside-out forehand; but who worked really hard to recover and cover the full court.

What do you think?

Photo ©Reuters / K. Lamarque

7 thoughts on “What’s wrong with Roddick?

  1. He is too robotic and should of NEVER fired Gilbert, who may be Murray’s next coach


  3. I think the major weakness in Roddick’s game is his backhand groundstroke. For a while he was successful with his strong serve & forehand, but his backhand is weak and a major flaw that all the tour players who play him now tend to exploit. If you carefully watch his backhand he tends to hit the two-hander too far away from his body, and the result is an awkward stroke. However, the dilemma is that he has no choice unless he changes his backhand grip (according to Nick Bolleteri’s instruction video which suggests the grip determines the location of contact). If he changes his grip, that would be a major departure from the stroke he has been using for years, and that would set his game back for an (unknown) period of time, and I’m not sure he would be willing to take such a draconian step.

  4. Bruce – yes, he needs major retooling, which will take time. Tiger Woods took a year to redo his swing and got even better than he was before!

  5. Watching Murray beat Roddick and then Baghdatis winning over Murray – it tells the story.

    Roddick just does not have the fluid movement, the anticipation of the ball, the all around court sense of players like Baghdatis, Murray and other top players. Roddick’s return of serve is weak because he does not see or anticipate the ball as well as these players.

    And I am not sure these weaknesses can be addressed through better coaching or training. I don’t think it’s a temporary “mental” problem or confidence problem with Andy. I just think he lacks the physical skills (coordination, vision, natural movement) to stay with the top 10 players of today.

    I wish it were not true. I like Andy and think he really brings excitement to the sport. But I think Blake has more potential with his movement and to stay in the top 10 for the next few years.

  6. I agree with Mark that Roddick comes up short on return of service. I belive that he could still win a major if he hires the right coach. His serve alone should carry him if his draw is favorable.

  7. All good comments. I would like to add a few.

    1) Roddick consistently gives up too much of the court geometry by playing too far behind the baseline or too far off to the add side. By the “geometry of the court” I refer to the specific degree of angle required or available to successfully land a shot in a target spot, and the amount of time it takes for the ball to get there. By staying back so far and off to the sides so much, he significantly reduces his allowable margin (laterally) for successfully executing each shot while allowing his oponent more time to get to the ball, less turf to defend, and more turf to play into.

    2) Opponents know that to beat Roddick you have to block his big serve back and then play his backhand side or bring him in to the net. Rodick needs a practiced, reliable “plan B” to counter that game plan, ie: serve and volley, slice and attack, etc. He has added a defensive backhand slice to his game, but is not using it to his advantage other than to keep the ball in play.

    3) I agree with Mark and Jack (above) that Roddick seriously needs to get better on returning serves. I think part of his issue there is that he is not a confident all court player. Patrick Rafter and Federer are good examples of how blocking the ball back and then playing out the points can be an excellent strategy if you have the game to back it up. Agassi and Davenport are good examples of agressive first strike returns. Roddick is a good example of not having a clear, consistent service return plan that works. Perhaps it is a physical deficiency (relatively speaking) as Mark sugests, but it is an area Roddick must work on.

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