This article is the third in a series which talks about how the players fared in the 2009 season...
Amongst the likes of Federer, Rafa, Murray, Nole, Davydenko and Del Potro; Andy Roddick would stand out. These players might have won Masters' events and tournaments, a trio even managing to grab and bifurcate the four slams between them, but yet, Roddick holds his own place in their midst.
The season might have started off as being Murray and Rafa centric, deviating towards Federer in the middle of the season and later on towards Nole, Del Potro and Davydenko but when it comes to Roddick, it can be said that he has been steadily consistent throughout the season—more often than not maintaining a very low profile, before injury claimed him as its victim.
Starting right off from Doha in January until Montreal in August, excluding the slams, Andy's performance bracket veers mostly either as a semifinalist or as a finalist; not to mention the fact that post his victory at Memphis, he became the only active player along with Federer to have won at least one ATP tour title for nine consecutive years.
And the win in 2009 is something that needs to be highlighted more than anything else because of the metamorphosis that he underwent from being an one-dimensional player to a multi-dimensional player.
His efforts to improve upon his physique did pay off well as he was able to tackle rivals who had bested him before and almost came closer to toppling Federer in his own backyard for what could and would have been the second year running.
And this aspect is actually a food for thought; the Andy Roddick in January who was mercilessly thrashed in the semifinals down under, was just inches away from bringing his arch nemesis to heel in the thriving grass court of Wimbledon.
Until the 30th game of the record fifth set, Federer wasn't able to break Roddick once—the American set a record of holding 37 straight service games. That's definitely something to go by.
Improvement in the short span of six months, overriding every ounce of psyche barrier is something Andy Roddick managed to do and which is perhaps the most positive crux of his 2009 season.
And if he did well in the grass courts, he did himself proud in the red dirt as well, upping his own previous best at Roland Garros by reaching the fourth round and reaching the Quarterfinals at Madrid before succumbing yet again to Federer.
Winning in places that a player is quite comfortable with, isn't exactly surprising but when a player overcomes his Achiles's heel in a more than satisfactory manner, then it becomes a matter of celebration.
But to mar his consistency factor, the US Open was the only slam where he wasn't able to do justice to his ranking and reputation, falling to fellow American Isner in the third round after a hard fought five setter.
However, his 2009 itinary was constantly plagued, hampered and finally cut short by injuries; a right ankle twist forced him to withdraw in his SF at Queens while a hip injury sustained after Wimbledon kept him out of action for about five weeks.
The final straw, however was the right knee injury which ruled him out of active tennis playing for almost the entire indoor season.
This injury also cut short his run at the China Open where he was the defending champion and then at Shanghai where he lost in the opening round. Post this loss, Roddick was forced to withdraw from playing at Valencia, Paris Masters and the year end finals at London.
For all his heroics and efforts, Roddick has been able to maintain his top ten rankings for the eighth consecutive year; this time though with a lot more variety and gumption than ever before.
And, to say that he owes the boost and the thrust of his 2009 career graph to Larry Stefanki would be just covering one side of the story. A coach and his protege has to tick, that's very very important, but at the same time one has to understand that, a coach can contribute only partially to a player's success.
The active adapting and execution of the coach's directives is done by the player on the field—where and when it actually matters; which in Roddick's case, he has very well managed to accomplish.
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