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Tale of the Tape

Does Roddick stand a chance of upsetting Federer?

Posted: Sunday September 10, 2006 1:07AM; Updated: Sunday September 10, 2006 1:24AM
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NEW YORK -- The last time Andy Roddick beat Roger Federer, Arnold Schwarzenegger was not yet a governor, Steve Bartman was not yet a villain, and Saddam Hussein was not yet captured.

Things certainly look bleak for the top-ranked American. He is 1-10 lifetime against the world No. 1 and would be lucky if he won a set. (Federer has only conceded one, to James Blake, so far.) Still, Roddick refuses to be intimidated.

"If the guy plays too well, then he plays too well," Roddick told reporters on Saturday. "But I'm not going to back down."

No question Roddick is playing some of his best tennis since hooking up with Jimmy Connors, but Roddick will have to summon an even greater effort if he has any chance at upsetting the guy who's already taken two out of three majors this year. What are the odds of that, you ask? Let's turn to the tape to see if we can't get some answers:

Andy Roddick Roger Federer Advantage
Last Won the Open In 2003 Every year since Federer, who is 4-0 against Roddick in Grand Slam finals
Likely Strategy "Throw it all at him." "Make it a war." Breathe air, step on court, pick up ball, strike with racket. Federer, God among mortals
Will Probably Start Sweating If Federer breaks him in the first set. If the earth's core temperature rises another thousand degrees. Federer, who brushes aside pressure with the same indifference he does the stray strands of hair on his forehead during matches.
Plays Best When Serve is clicking Sun has risen Federer
Almost Lost It After beating Lleyton Hewitt to advance to the semifinals. Near tearful celebration of 6-3, 7-5, 6-4 triumph seemed two rounds too early. When Rafael Nadal was still lurking in the draw. The Spaniard fell to Mikhail Youzhny in the quarterfinals, spearing Federer from a third Grand Slam meeting with Nadal. (Rafa holds a 6-2 overall series lead.) Federer, who dodged a very big bullet.
Easy Parallel Tony Stewart Michael Jordan, Tiger Woods Federer, whom Blake suspects might already be "the best athlete of our time."
Animal Act Brought tension to a post-match press conference when, after a reporter had asked for an accounting of his improved play "from the horse's mouth, he suggested the reporter "go buy a horse." Brought a Beanie Baby to Saturday's post-match press conference. Proceeds of racket-wielding, bandana-wearing "Feder-bear" benefit UNICEF. Federer, who prefers to do his intimidating on the court, not in the pressroom.
Act of Heroism Two years ago helped fellow guests to safety after a fire broke out at a luxury hotel where he was staying in Rome. Three years ago started eponymous foundation to help disadvantaged children in his mother's native South Africa. Deuce. Both acts were all class.
Vogue Fans Five guys in the upper deck with t-shirts that spell out "Go Andy." Anna Wintour in the players' box. Roddick. At least he didn't sell out for a glossy spread. (Dealing with the devil, Fed?)
Likely Spent the Night Before Carbo-loading on hotel room service while Texas-Ohio State blared on the TV. Thumbing through a little Sun Tzu between bites of foie gras. The Parker Meridian, which likely made a tidy coin off both guests.

And there you have it: Roger wins in a landslide, 7-1. How does that translate to Sunday's action? Roddick loses in four, and the Tape goes 2-0.