The chronicles of Roddick redux
For almost 4 hours and 5 minutes, on a hot Sunday afternoon in London, Andy Roddick would not trade his place with anyone else in the World. For approximately the next 20 minutes, he would give any thing to be as far away from the Wimbledon Centre Court as humanly possible. Rudyard Kipling's famous words "If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster And treat those two impostors just the same"; etched at the entrance of the Centre Court, would be but a hollow consolation to him. Maybe a few years down the line, he may look back at them with a kind smile, but not today. He caught a fleeting glimpse of Triumph only to be overtaken by Disaster by a whisker.
For on 37 occasions he held his serve. For 14 service games, he held his nerve in the final set. He knew that one mistake and everything was lost. There was no chance of a come back. But he had been serving Federer with what seemed like an unsolvable Riddle. The riddle was appearing slightly easier to solve to Federer in the lengthening shadows. It was poetic injustice to a man, who had almost always lived in the shadow of Federer and Nadal, to be undone by the shadows of the Centre Court. And maybe a few in his mind as well.
Here was a man, who had seen two previous attempts at the trophy thwarted by his nemesis on the other side of the court. He was vanquished by the Champion pretty easily in both those meetings. The overall career record against Federer was nothing to write to Texas about. He had his own demons to slay before putting his hands on that trophy.
And this time he was all alone. The entire world seemed to be rooting for Federer. Everybody wanted history to be made. Legends were swooping down on the Centre Court to be witness the fairest of them all, making an official statement about his stature. Sampras, Laver, Borg with Mcenroe in the commentary box. No body gave him a chance in hell. If ever there was a Wimbledon singles final about just ONE player, it was this time. This time A-Rod was overshadowed by Roger Federer even before the customary toss of the coin. But this time, Roddick believed, was different. He had gone back to the drawing board, reinvented himself and the newer version seemed far better suited to handle the Federer threat.
The self belief wasn't publicised through statements in the press. Nor was there any aggressive body language on court. The burning intensity and the desire to win was expressed in his serve, his two handed backhand passing and his eyes. It was all there in his eyes. A 6-2 lead in the tie break, blown away by the Champion, would shatter his confidence, one felt. It was an 'only if' moment and would play on his mind for sure. But he held on. The match seeemed all but over when Federer took the 3rd in a tie break as well. But he held on.
For more than 4 hours Roddick held on. He matched Federer shot for shot and more. Despite Federer's Ace count being significantly higher, Roddick managed to break him twice. But Federer took his serving up a couple of notches in the final set. Roddick continued to be in an unbelievable zone on his serve. The match seemed unending. Both gladiators hardly giving a chance to the other on their own serve.
Federer's appointment with destiny could be delayed no longer and the Roddick serve was finally broken. And Roddick was finally broken! Roddick, who, like his serve had stood unassailable through out the final walked across to the net in a daze. His pain evident to even the most fanatic Federer fan.
Reams will be written about Roger Federer's record breaking 15th Grand Slam win at Wimbledon 2009. Andy Roddick will find an honourable mention in history books. The match will be talked about as an epic for years to come.
But one will personally remember Wimbledon 2009 as Roddick's Wimbledon.
Andy Roddick should read Kipling's 'If' some time in the near future. The following words will surely help him in his journey to become a Man.If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
But make allowance for their doubting too;
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,