Thursday, June 29, 2006

Jimbo for Roddick?




Much to my surprise, Andy Roddick actually won his first-round match at Wimbledon yesterday, but we all know how successful his partnership with his big brother turned coach, John, has been. Now comes (the rather intriguing) word that Andy has been in contact with someone else who knows a thing or two about tennis, Jimmy Connors.

"We've talked on the phone a couple of times," Roddick told reporters at Wimbledon after his hard-earned first round victory over Janko Tipsarevic. "Nothing's going to happen here but we're both intrigued by the prospect of working together. We've bounced the idea off of each other. It's positive. But there are a lot of details that go into it."

When Paul Gilbert started coaching Roddick the first thing he told him was to lose the visor. Something tells me that the first thing Jimmy Connors will do is tell Andy to grow some bangs ...

(Reuters)

1 comment:

baig said...

As I am commenting after the U.S. Open, it would seem Andy’s association with Jimmy has helped him. I don’t know if Jimmy’s effect has been greatest on tactics (Mac the mouth’s constant referencing to the “down-the-line” backhand was nauseating. I remember Jimbo using it against Mac often and being highly successful with it. Still haunted by it Mac?) or with self-confidence but it was nice to see Andy playing near his potential throughout the summer.

But my expectations of Andy’s potential are high. I fail to see why someone with such a vicious serve, good forehand, height and reach, and athleticism is not serving and volleying. If his game is to beat his opponents from the baseline, he better have more tricks in his bag than what he showed. He doesn’t have a plan B, let alone C or D, and his record for the past 12 months, including this summer, shows it. He is a player with a good serve and an okay forehand but not much else.

He needs to develop more diversity on his strokes and improve his mental game, the tactics and shot selections that vary throughout a match. The first is easy and the second may not be possible. Paraphrasing a former player, Tracy Austin, “Physical mistakes can be corrected through hard work and practice. Correcting mental mistakes may not be possible and will keep you from becoming a top player.” I’ve been watching tennis since 1976 and Tracy is the only player I’ve seen who never tanked a match. I have seen all of the top players from then to now go through the motions during at least one match, putting in a face appearance, but not her. She wasn’t much of an athlete but she was extremely tough mentally. At the U.S. Open final in 1981, she was smoked by Martina 1-6 in the first set but came back to win sets 2 and 3 by 7-6, 7-6. Andy could learn a lot from Tracy’s mental toughness, drive, and hard work. I hope he can do it because I see the potentials and possibilities there.

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