I didn't know Andy missed the wedding.
But this is a nice article. The Net Post: all hail Andy Roddick, the nice guy of the ATP Tour who just keeps giving
It is about time that Andy Roddick's contribution to men's tennis in the past nine years on the ATP Tour received full and unequivocal respect and the Net Post does not mean it should happen now just because of the gesture, when he lifted the China Open yesterday - the 26th title of his career - to donate $25,000 of his prize money to those still suffering after May's catastrophic earthquake in the country's Sichuan Province. He has deserved his panegyric for a long time.
"I would really like to contribute a part of my money to those families affected, to those who lost everything they had, suffered painful injuries or lost loved ones in the earthquake," said Roddick, who defeated Dudi Sela of Israel, 6-4, 6-7, 6-3. "It is my great honour to be in Beijing to work with Chinese Tennis Association to assist those kids who are in need. It is an athlete's privilege and responsibility to give back."
One would expect nothing more from Roddick who is 26 now, has been a grand slam champion, the world No1, has inspired his country to win the Davis Cup, has withstood the slings and arrows of being, at various times, the "Next Big Thing", the "It Man" and the "When Is He Going To Win Another Major?" guy of American tennis, and done it all with a sense of duty and humour that often goes either ignored or misinterpreted.
He has ridden the good times and the not so good and maintained a view of the life he enjoys with more wise sense than people twice his age. No-one has had more reason to take at face value Kipling's words about triumph and disaster that look down upon him every time he enters Wimbledon's Centre Court. His record at the All England championships is played 36, won 28, he has lost in two finals (both to Roger Federer) and one semi final (also to Federer). He wants to win it very badly indeed.
* The Net Post: questions need answering after Davis Cup exit
* End of the world for Britain in Davis Cup
* Murray forced to carry flag alone
This year, Roddick was beaten in the second round on Centre Court by an inspired Janko Tipsarevic of Serbia, to which his response was profound. The Net Post quotes him verbatim: "I literally, you know, any chance I got I pretty much choked it. That's tough to deal with, and that's not something that you really want to do. It's not an easy thing to say, but it's pretty much what happened. I could sit here and try to dance around it all night but you guys watched it. It was what it was. It's like you want something so bad you almost squeeze too tight."
If he is guilty of anything, it has perhaps been that he has wanted too badly. It was true when he was a junior - the first time the Net Post came into contact with him was when he won the US Open boys in 2000 - and found losing very hard to cope with. It takes some time to rationalise that that may not happen, because you tell yourself you can be the best, there is that "American" thing of bolder, brasher, bigger, you have a huge serve and a thumping forehand and everyone else should bend their knee.
Well, Roddick has had to bend his for some time now but he keeps coming back for more. No quitter he. Catching snatches of his performance for the US against Spain's David Ferrer in the opening day singles of the world group semi final in Madrid last week (a match he lost 8-6 in the fifth set) one was reminded of Roddick's courage and resilience, of his attempt to navigate his way to a victory when the odds were stacked against him, of the regard in which he is held by his team-mates and captain.
He has had his share of intrigue with coaches, Tarik Behabiles, who was his first as a professional, Brad Gilbert, John Roddick, his elder brother, Jimmy Connors and now as he searches for someone else to help him stay at the top (he has been ranked inside the top ten player but all but eight weeks since January, 2003), it is clear he does not see the end of the road by a long shot.
Typical of Roddick that he arrived in Beijing a little saddle sore, both from the defeat to Spain and the long haul flight to China but immediately requested to the tournament that he did not need the four bodyguards they had assigned to chaperone him around the player areas of the tournament, which reflects how much respect he has for the other guys on tour. That he has won his two biggest events this year, in Dubai and Beijing when he was pretty much out on his feet, speaks to his character traits. His ambition for the rest of the year is to reach a fifth Masters Cup - with his victory in China he leap-frogged Ferrer into sixth spot in the ATP Race - and there is no doubt that the sport and especially our American cousins want him there too, because without him, tennis in the United States would take an awful lot of selling.
Roddick could have had a nice, cosy weekend, sipping champagne, living the good life. One of his best friends on the tour, his fellow American Mardy Fish, was married yesterday and Roddick would love to have attended but his playing schedule just didn't allow it, that he had spoken to Fish about it and his friend understood. As well he should.