WHOA. John Isner d. Andy Roddick 7-6 (7) 6-4.
I don’t really know what to say you guys- this match-up always kills me. It doesn’t matter the outcome, the quality of play, or the circumstances- I always feel a bit like death for a few minutes after this match. CAN’T THEY BOTH WIN?
I wouldn’t be a tennis fan, I wouldn’t be a tennis tweeter or blogger or writer or whatever-the-hell-I am, if it wasn’t for these two guys. Andy Roddick is the reason I got into tennis back in 2001, and Isner’s run to the finals in Legg Mason in 2007 is what solidified me as a 24/7/365 crazy-person fan. He’s from my hometown, around my age, and it’s just impossible not to root for the guy.
This match was strange. Roddick was the better player for much of the first set, but Isner played a superb tiebreak and, in his words, got a bit lucky. “I was flat out just luckier than him in the first set.” Isner told the press afterwards. Roddick went up an early break in the Second set, but Isner immediately got the break back and steamrolled from there.
Roddick didn’t play his best tennis, far from it, but he stayed composed throughout the match and looked healthy mentally and physically, which is a big deal after the year he’s had. His game just feels a few degrees off- he’s still playing too defensively, and he’s not aggressive enough on the second serve anymore. When his first serve breaks down, like it seems to 2-3 games per match these days, he’s in big trouble. He has spoken recently about a grip issue with his serve, and it seems that he loses focus throughout the match and reverts back to his old grip.
It was my first ever Roddick post-loss press conference, and I must admit I was a bit nervous after hearing some old stories, but he was fairly upbeat and positive after this loss. All week you’ve been able to feel the relief rolling off of him as he strung together three wins in a row, something he’s only done once since February.
Isner, meanwhile, has just continued to build on the confidence he gained when he won Newport at the beginning of this summer, a win he credits with turning his year around. He had an aggressive game-plan and admitted in his presser that was something he needed to do more often.
It’s been a rough year for both guys and it was nice to see them play a fairly high-quality semifinal match. I think in the end it works out for the best- Roddick gets to beat the hurricane to New York and get settled up there. Considering he loves the city and is used to getting to New York a good week before the Open starts, I think at the end of the day that will be a relief to him.
The Greensboro native John Isner gets to prolong his stay at home a couple of more days, and it’s clear the time sleeping in his bed and getting fed by his Mama is good for him. He has already decided to delay his travel plans to New York until Monday since the bottom half of the draw won’t start until Tuesday or Wednesday (and he sounds confident he can get a Wednesday start). A true Southerner at heart, he said that was just fine for him. “The city stuff isn’t for me.”
And who knows, he might even make the flight with a new trophy!