Ending on a high note
Catching up with Roddick, who's looking for rebound
Posted: Friday November 9, 2007 12:21PM; Updated: Friday November 9, 2007 6:50PM
Andy Roddick is a few weeks away from ending a solid, if not spectacular 2008 season.
With two titles, a semifinal and two quarterfinal Grand Slam appearances, Roddick will look to punctuate his year with strong showings in Shanghai and the upcoming Davis Cup final.
Roddick is the only American who qualified for the eight-man field at the season-ending Masters Cup in China, which kicks off Sunday. Then, on Nov. 30, Roddick leads the U.S. against Russia in the finals of the Davis Cup in Portland, Ore. The U.S. is looking for its first title since 1995.
Andy's currently in Shanghai getting ready to open the Masters Cup on Monday vs. Russia's Nikolay Davydenko. Then he'll face off with Roger Federer for a 17th time. I caught up with him over e-mail.
SI.com: Reflect on your year -- what were the highs and lows?
Roddick: I think I had an OK year. I played my best tennis of the year at the Slams, but ran into some tough luck. If I'm being honest, I expected more of the year. The lowest part was losing that match at Wimbledon [a fifth-set tiebreaker epic against Richard Gasquet in the quarterfinals]. That really took a lot out of me mentally, maybe even more than I realized at the time. I didn't do a great job of moving on, and it might have bled over into the summer a little bit.
On the bright side, I played some of my best tennis during the U.S. Open and against Roger. I also played two of my best matches in our Davis Cup semi in Sweden. It's never easy playing Davis Cup, but I have found a certain comfort level doing it, which is a plus
SI.com: With James Blake failing to qualify, and with the Bryan brothers withdrawing due to Mike's elbow injury, you're the lone American in Shanghai. Is that a disappointment?
Roddick: I definitely wish there were more Americans here. James just missed out, which is tough because he played amazing here last year. It's unfortunate that the Bryans are not here as well, but selfishly, I'm glad that they're making their health a priority before the final.
SI.com: This makes five straight years that you've qualified for the Masters Cup. What does that accomplishment mean to you?
Roddick: It's nice to have qualified for the Masters Cup for five straight years. With the exception of Roger and Rafa Nadal, I have been as consistent as anyone else on tour as far as ranking and results for the last five. It's nice to have something to validate that. Hopefully I have five more ahead of me. This year, I'm healthy and have actually been hitting the ball great since the Open, so I'm very optimistic. The first match will be very important for me.
SI.com: What does the Davis Cup mean to you?
Roddick: Davis Cup means so much to our whole team. This is my eighth year being a part of the team, which is kinda scary and makes me wonder where the time has gone. Some of the best memories of my career are from Davis Cup. I love my team and feel blessed to be a part of this journey with them.
SI.com: How excited are you for the final and what would a win mean to you?
Roddick: I had four ultimate goals when I turned pro that were beyond my wildest dreams: winning the U.S. Open, finishing No. 1, winning Wimbledon and winning the Davis Cup. This is another opportunity for me to accomplish a dream. The fact that I have the chance to do it with guys I love and respect would make it that much sweeter.
SI.com: I know how much your charity, the Andy Roddick Foundation, means to you. How successful has this year been in that regard?
Roddick: The foundation is doing great, and we are well on our way to having our best year ever. Just a couple of weeks ago, we had an event with Elton John that raised more than $1.5 million in profit for local Austin [Texas] children's charities. Our goal is to flirt with the $3 million figure for the year, which would be amazing and would really help a lot of children who could use it. It's probably the most humbling thing I'm involved in and I'm so excited to see what more we can do.
SI.com: Looking forward to '08, what are your thoughts and what are you looking forward to?
Roddick: It has to be a big year for me. I need to play consistently better than I did this year, and bring it every week. I'm very focused on making a move and am highly motivated to make it my best year yet!
Former ATP pro Justin Gimelstob writes for SI.com on alternate Fridays.