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Monday, July 6, 2009

Roddick too pained to discuss defeat

Photo Titled Roddick reflects
Andy Roddick in reflective mood after his loss to Roger Federer in the final.

For once a roomful of journalists were lost for words. There was nothing they wanted to ask Andy Roddick because every question felt too ghoulish. What did we need to know? Andy Roddick had played the greatest game of his life and had still lost. Roger Federer had broken his serve just once and he had still beaten him.

The last place Roddick wanted to be was sitting in front of the world’s media answering questions about a defeat that was so fresh it was only an hour old. The player with the most entertaining press conferences at Wimbledon 2009 had given so much on court there was nothing left to give.

Did you lose to the world’s greatest tennis player ever? “Yeah.” How would you describe what you did today? “I lost.” Does it hurt more though when you're that close and it's that long, 95 minutes the last set? How does this compare to the other ones? “Yeah, I think so. I think it's worse”. Is it crazy or is it a blessing in disguise that you're expected to play an indoor match on clay in four or five days? I don't know. I got nothing for you right now. To be honest, right now I don't really want to think about that.”

There was a lot of awkward silences at this press conference. There was a lot of staring at Roddick’s cap as he sat with his head bowed just wanting it all to end. The sixth seed was just unfortunate that his first Grand Slam final appearance in three years coincided with a man who was one victory away from a record 15 major wins and the title "greatest of all time".

“He just makes it real tough. You know, he was having trouble picking up my serve today for the first time ever. He just stayed the course,” Roddick said of Federer.

“You didn't even get a sense that he was even really frustrated by it. He kind of stayed the course and just toughed it out. He gets a lot of credit for a lot of things, but not a lot of the time is how many matches he kind of digs deep and toughs out. He doesn't get a lot of credit for that because it looks easy to him a lot of the times. But he definitely stuck in there today."

This is the beginning of Andy Roddick, not the end. By his own admission he had given himself a chance to win Wimbledon, just to reach the final he had beaten a former world No.1 and then the world No.3 in front of a parochial home crowd. He lost to a player who has won more Grand Slam titles than any other and who was appearing in his seventh consecutive Wimbledon final.

When Roddick was asked if he struggled to stay positive after losing the second set, he replied: “You know, at that point, like everything else, there's two options: you lay down or you keep going. The second option sounded better to me."

Roddick now has the choice to lay down or keep going. Given what we have seen these last two weeks, he is sure to take the second option.

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