Happy Birthday, Andy!

Today is a veeeeeeeery special day. On this day, in a town east of Omaha (Bob Seger, anyone?) Andrew Stephen Roddick was born. Twenty-nine years later, here we are.

The number represents his level of awesomeness - in a 1-100 scale.

For the top-ranked American for many many years, and the last Yank to top the rankings, no words make a fair tribute. So I decided – alongside my friend and biggest fan of A-Rod I know, @cacwhere – to put together 29 Andy Roddick facts for you – and, even more important, for him.

There we go. Be ready to take a fucking bow to the man who was the GOAT before the term came into popular use and still is, up to date.

 

1- Grand Slam title, the ’03 US Open

2- Miami titles (2004/2010). He’s also won the Cincinnati shield twice (2003/2006)

3- Times a Wimbledon finalist, in 2004, 2005 and 2009

4- Continents on which Andy Roddick has won a title: America, Europe, Asia and Oceania

5- Masters Series titles.

6- Titles in 2003 – his most prolific year: St. Poelten, Queen’s, Indianapolis, Montreal, Cincinnati and the US Open

7- Ranking of Carlos Moyá, Andy Roddick’s very first opponent as the leader of the ranking, at the ’03 Masters Cup; Roddick won, 6/2, 3/6, 6/3

8- Finals reached in 2003 and 2004 – best marks of his career; Roddick went 6-2 in 2003 and 4-4 in 2004.

9- Consecutive years with a top-10 year-end ranking. Only Roger Federer, among actives, has a similar record

10- Titles outside the United States: Queen’s (4x), Brisbane, Lyon, Dubai, St. Poelten, Montreal and Beijing

11- Consecutive years winning at least one singles title: He’s one of two active players to do so; this is the 5th longest streak of all-time

12- Decisive Davis Cup wins – the clinchers; Also his US Open participations completed in 2011.

13- Weeks as #1 – from 13.11.2003 to 01.02.2004, ranking him as the 15th all-time.

14- Year-ending ranking in 2001 – his first full year as a pro; He had finished 2000 at #158

15(5) – Miles per hours, his fastest serve – an ace struck at a Davis Cup tie v. Vladimir Voltchkov, from Belarus. For years to come, this was the fastest service ever recorded

16- Age on 17.05.1999 – date of his first professional match, at the Vero Beach F4; He lost to then-512 Nicolas Todero from Argentina, losing 3/6, 3/6.

17- Years when turned pro, in 2000

18- Years old – his age when beating a top-10 for the first time: #4 Pete Sampras at the 2001 Miami Masters; Roddick was also 18 when won a title for the first time, at ’01 Atlanta.

19- Matches won between Montreal and the US Open, in 2003 – his longest winning streak.

20- Titles won in the United States: Memphis, San Jose, Houston, Washington (3x), Miami, Cincinnati, Indianapolis (2x), Atlanta and the US Open

21 – Wins shy of his 600th career triumph, ranking him second among active players.

22- Player to ever top the ATP rankings since the introduction, in 1973.

23- Tournaments played in 2003 – still his record for most events played in a single season.

24- ATP 250/500 titles.

25- Ties played for the United States Davis Cup team – with 18 wins.

26- His age in April/2009 – when married actress and model Brooklyn Decker

27- Matches at Challenger level – with an outstanding 23-4 record, three titles and one final.

28- Years-old – Andy’s age when he won Memphis earlier this year – his 30th career title.

29- candles blown by the birthday boy today. Happy birthday, Andy! And please, never ever change.

 

"What? Me? Nah, I'm just relaxing."

30 Days of Tennis Challenge – Epilogue

So, it’s over. Exactly third days (or maybe thirty-one) gone since the day I was fascinated by David’s post on Tumblr, I finally finished it.

I really enjoyed selecting all the players, stadiums, tournaments, clothes for the respective days. Of course, some days demanded more time and others were a bit boring, I can’t deny it.

But the fact is, Daily Scores had never been so visited before the Tennis Challenge. The blog set twice a new record for most pageviews – both times on a Sunday. I have also averaged a below-average number of daily views throughout ALL the days, when the challenge was up.

And for this I thank you very much. I like to write, yes, but to know, this feeling of having your pieces read by other people, that makes me keep going.

I also invite you to stay here. Daily Scores will keep going, maybe not with daily posts, but hey, it is bigger than the challenge, right?

The complete list of the days/respective posts and a direct link to them follow.

 

Prologue and explanation

Day 1 – Favorite men’s playerAndy Roddick

Day 2 – Favorite women’s playerKim Clijsters

Day 3 – Favorite doubles team – Max Mirniy/Daniel Nestor

Day 4 – Least favorite men’s player – Rafael Nadal

Day 5 – Least favorite women’s player Justine Henin

Day 6 – Most memorable match 2011 Australian Open final

Day 7 – First player you became a fan of Roger Federer

Day 8 – Earliest tennis memory2000 Roland Garros final

Day 9 – Favorite retired men’s playerGoran Ivanisevic

Day 10 – Favorite retired women’s playerElena Dementieva

Day 11 – A player nobody would expect you to loveBethanie Mattek-Sands

Day 12 – A player that you aren’t a fan of but you respectCaroline Wozniacki

Day 13 – Favorite Grand Slam tournament Wimbledon

Day 14 – Favorite non-Slam tournamentATP 250 Queen’s

Day 15 – Most attractive women’s playerDaniela Hantuchova

Day 16 – Most attractive men’s player Marat Safin

Day 17 – Favorite women’s outfit – Victoria Azarenka’s Nike White Dress (2011)

Day 18 – Favorite men’s outfitJurgen Melzer’s Adidas white and green kit (Indian Wells 2009)

Day 19 – Who were the #1 the day you were bornJim Courier and Monica Seles

Day 20 – Favorite men’s Slam championJohn McEnroe

Day 21 – Favorite women’s championMartina Navratilova

Day 22 – Favorite umpireCarlos Bernardes

Day 23 – Favorite mixed doubles teamAlizé Cornet/Marcelo Melo

Day 24 – Favorite tennis couple Tomas Berdych and Lucie Safarova

Day 25 – Favorite tennis WAG Brooklyn Decker

Day 26 – A match that makes you happy2010 Miami Masters final

Day 27 – A match that makes you sad – 2011 Roland Garros R64

Day 28 – The Grand Slam you would most like to go toUS Open

Day 29 – Your favorite tennis surfaceGrass

Day 30 – Your favorite tennis related picYoung Mikhail Youhzny & Igor Andreev

30 Days of Tennis Challenge – Day 30: Favorite tennis related pic

It’s done. It’s over. It ends today. Oh my God, I will miss it, but hope the readers and friends the Tennis Challenge brought to Daily Scores will remain. Life goes on, friends.

Finishing it, here’s my favorite tennis related pic.

There’s no much to say about it. It was, in fact, the first post of Daily Scores history. I will quote here what I said there:

 

“As the soon-to-be Major, Mikhail fondles Igor’s hair, I can totally see on his face that expression, that says: “Roughly two decades from now I will be the biggest bad-ass on the circuit”.

As for Andreev, I totally read on that childish smile of his:  “I will be a good player. But one day that little Maria girl will grow up and become a gorgeous woman, and she will be the one fondling my hair, and that’s okay and totally enough for me, because who needs to play high level tennis when you share the bed with a grown up MaKiri?”

Oh, those future tennis stars from the post-Soviet Russia of the 1990s…”

 

Thanks for sticking around, fellas. A goodbye post will follow.

Not pretty. But works.

I digress. It’s amazing how, even though there are some players out there who really made me feel for them – in good and bad times – I have realized I only write posts like this one about two of them. Andrew S. Roddick and Kimberly H. Clijsters. What does it mean? Don’t know. Maybe I like them more than I like the others – and sometimes I’m not sure I can self-proclaim as a Roddick fan, with guys like my buddy @cacwhere out there. But the truth is, constant posts like this one, just about them. Make of it what you will.

YES, it is a backhand. AND no, it is NOT a slice. #Progress

HE IS BAAAAAAAAAAAACK. That’s a player worth the hyperbole, or whatever you could call this. But my point is, HE IS BAAAAAAAAAACK! For the first time since Wimbledon – and with some glimpses at the Davis Cup and, 37 days later, Cincinnati, with catastrophic results – I can say Andy Roddick is back to business.

Maybe falling out of the top-20 was the last warning he needed. I don’t care, not a bit at ALL, but it IS working.

Making an analysis of his style, it is, in its deepest essence, the 2.011 version of Andy Roddick software. The big serve? Hell, still there, up and running, the beating heart that pump blood through his veins – and brains. The backhand? “404 Error”, Google’d say, but that’s understandable. He is back into flat groundies, instead of the annoying and useless slices (yo, Andy, you are no Petzsche, glad you finally realized it).

Even better, Roddick has finally learned he must MIX IT UP. This means, slices ONLY WHEN NECESSARY. Back in the dark days of the Australian Open and Indian Wells, his revolutionary push-and-volley style only earned him frustrations. Him and his fans, let’s make this clear.

Clutch. As always.

Also another fact is, his game is ugly now, for whatever reasons: a physical decline, injuries, he’s aging. It has mostly come to this: He serves. Most of the times, the return will go out. If it doesn’t, then rally – on his backhand, of course – and he either eats the winner or makes the opponent eat up an UFE.

But hey, I said it before: it IS working. He played so far three guys he should beat. And he did it, easily: 2 and 4 over LL Vasselin, 1 and 3 over Giraldo and 1 and 4 over Monaco. Roddick also didn’t face a single break-point. This means his game is like the ’00 Ravens: No offense, but who cares, since your defense and the special teams are doing the job? Ugly, but successful.

Another point that deserves note, his temper. Roddick has not lost it so far this week. The ease with which he won his matches certainly helps, but we know Roddick. We know how a foot-fault could just unleash the beast inside him and spread mayhem. Instead, he is focused, shouting loud-but-respectful-and-contained ‘Come On’s after winning the big points. And moving on, after missing break-points and wasting opportunity points, like a 0-30.

I have already said it here before, and usually train went off the tracks after I did, but hell, I will buy another ticket and go for it again. I’m truly enjoying Mr. A.S.R. this week. How far can he go? This week, all the way to the title seems a reasonable guess – though it won’t be easy to get past Big John Isner tomorrow. At the US Open? With the positive draw he has – Russell, Sock/Gicquel, Benneteau/Almagro likely in third round – it’s not a distant dream to think he can at least improve from his last year’s performance. In an eventual R16 match up, the highest seed he could face is David Ferrer.

But heee, hold on to your knickers there, peeps. One step at a time, right?

30 Days of Tennis Challenge: Day 29 – Favorite surface

Feels like home, doesn't it?

Short and simple:

Clay is like progressive rock; Hard Courts are like hard rock; Grass is raw heavy metal.

And that, my friends, is enough said.

 

Useful:

Prologue and explanation

Day 1 – Favorite men’s player

Day 2 – Favorite women’s player

Day 3 – Favorite doubles team

Day 4 – Least favorite men’s player

Day 5 – Least favorite women’s player

Day 6 – Most memorable match

Day 7 – First player you became a fan of

Day 8 – Earliest tennis memory

Day 9 – Favorite retired men’s player

Day 10 – Favorite retired women’s player

Day 11 – A player nobody would expect you to love

Day 12 – A player that you aren’t a fan of but you respect

Day 13 – Favorite Grand Slam tournament

Day 14 – Favorite non-Slam tournament

Day 15 – Most attractive women’s player

Day 16 – Most attractive men’s player

Day 17 – Favorite women’s outfit

Day 18 – Favorite men’s outfit

Day 19 – Who were the #1 the day you were born

Day 20 – Favorite men’s Slam champion

Day 21 – Favorite women’s champion

Day 22 – Favorite umpire

Day 23 – Favorite mixed doubles team

Day 24 – Favorite tennis couple

Day 25 – Favorite tennis WAG

Day 26 – A match that makes you happy

Day 27 – A match that makes you sad

Day 28 – The Grand Slam you would most like to go to

Getting it done.

Still [insert sentence in English that express a superlative feeling of happiness here], I write these words. It’s my first non-Tennis Challenge post in a good while and, heck, Julien Benneteau just won an epic [my words] three-set match vs. Igor Andreev to reach Winston-Salem quarterfinals.

Could not find a pick from Winston-Salem, so, this one. From Cincy, last week.

Seems like no big deal for all of you, Nole, Rafa and Fed-fans. But hey, for Jules – who’s naturally a top dog, but whose circumstances caused him to drop out of the top-100 – it IS a big deal. Benneteau played today his sixth match in five days – having beaten Verryth and Sajous on Saturday, Roger-Vasselin on Sunday (and that match earned him a Main Draw spot), fellow qualifier Ricardo Mello – whom he steamrolled over – on Monday for a first-round win – seeded player Igor Kunitsyn – whom spoiled him the Eastbourne semifinals [personal note: Still don’t know how] – on Tuesday, and finally, today Mr. Kirilenko in the 3rd round.

As if Jules needed a PR guy (I would TOTALLY do the job) or you needed a match report, but shortened: He got totally overrun by Igor in the 1st set, 2/6. By the end of the set, as @linzsports / @racquetrequired (who is on site doing a great report) tweeted, Benny was having long monologues in the mother tongue, storming at ballkids and blaming random people walking by the sidewalk for his frustrations.

But that just unleashed the beast, and Jules found his classy self again, rebounding for a second set breadstick and a break-up advantage in the third set – soon squandered. He kept holding (and missing chances, like a BP with Andreev serving 4/4 and a 0-30 lead on 5-all) until the tie-break.

I then intentionally walked away from the notebook, and return to behold, in grace, the final result: 2/6, 6/1, 7/6 (7-5). Not bad, huh? In fact, it’s awesome – the awesome Lindsay herself told me Andreev was showing some really fine display of tennis.

In the next round, J.F. Benneteau will play 9th seed and “defending champion” Sergiy Stakhovsky, who pretty much schooled fellow Ukrainian Nikolay Davydenko, four and four. Tough? Yeah. But ‘feel fear’ as opposed to ‘inflicting fear’ is not a featured word on Julien Benneteau’s tennis dictionary.

F.F.F. No, not Fédération Française de Football, or Federation of Fly Fisher, neither Fight for Freedom (Megadeth, anyone?). But yes, Fear (the) Flawless Fantôme.

And you stay classy, Jules. I still want you to play next Saturday.

#AllezJULES

30 Days of Tennis Challenge – Day 28: The Grand Slam you would most like to go to

Only two days left. In the end, I’m gonna miss the Challenge after it’s gone. Or, at least, the visits it brings to my blog. Of course, you will stay with me, right? Daily Scores (The blog) won’t end after the Challenge. I just hope it helped me captivating more readers. I shall stop digressing now.

The difference between this topic and “Your favorite Grand Slam tournament” is probably the same than between “A match that makes you happy” and “A match you will never forget” or something.

That’s why, even though Wimbledon is my favorite Major to watch through a TV, sitting on my couch and eating Doritos (and drinking Pepsi, though it’s played in the morning, local time, which makes a pretty awkward breakfast), the Grand Slam I would most like to go to is…

 

The US Open. Of course. Because tennis is life. And life is tennis and more.

I’m thinking beyond tennis here. There is no other place in the world I would like to visit more than the United States of America. Therefore, Flushing Meadows would make the perfect opportunity for it. And since the complex is in the Queen’s, I could take some time off tennis and go visit my baseball team, the beloved New York Mets, and watch as they slump, giving six or seven runs in the late innings to lose the ballgame. I would also love to watch them getting mercilessly crunched by the Phils.

(Even though they suck, I still love them)

That and many more. And that’s why. The US Open is my pick. And this post ends.

 

Useful:

Prologue and explanation

Day 1 – Favorite men’s player

Day 2 – Favorite women’s player

Day 3 – Favorite doubles team

Day 4 – Least favorite men’s player

Day 5 – Least favorite women’s player

Day 6 – Most memorable match

Day 7 – First player you became a fan of

Day 8 – Earliest tennis memory

Day 9 – Favorite retired men’s player

Day 10 – Favorite retired women’s player

Day 11 – A player nobody would expect you to love

Day 12 – A player that you aren’t a fan of but you respect

Day 13 – Favorite Grand Slam tournament

Day 14 – Favorite non-Slam tournament

Day 15 – Most attractive women’s player

Day 16 – Most attractive men’s player

Day 17 – Favorite women’s outfit

Day 18 – Favorite men’s outfit

Day 19 – Who were the #1 the day you were born

Day 20 – Favorite men’s Slam champion

Day 21 – Favorite women’s champion

Day 22 – Favorite umpire

Day 23 – Favorite mixed doubles team

Day 24 – Favorite tennis couple

Day 25 – Favorite tennis WAG

Day 26 – A match that makes you happy

Day 27 – A match that makes you sad