The tennis in the men's draw at the U.S. Open continues to astound. There have been riveting five-setters and shocking upsets. In contrast, last night's quarterfinal between Roger Federer and Andy Roddick lasted only the minimum three sets and the result was as expected; however, the quality and drama that played out was nothing short of incredible.
Roddick, now 1-14 lifetime against Federer, has been a man on a mission over the last few years. With both Roddick and Federer clad in black during last night's contest, there was an unintentional visual illustration of their history. Federer moves about the court producing sublime tennis, while Roddick mirrors and chases him like a shadow, doomed to never catch up.
Roddick's longing to beat Federer is tangible; so too is the failure that follows. His intenions raw and obvious, Andy Roddick lit his frustration, desire, talent and pride like gun powder last night. He fired bomb after bomb towards Federer, playing as well as he possibly could for two solid sets. The effort was focused yet desperate, as if Roddick were a man fighting for his very soul against some immortal god. To add insult to injury, Federer was ice cool and never lost his composure, always maintaining an agonizingly razor thin edge in securing the first and second sets via tiebreak. Ultimately, Federer defeated Roddick 7-6, 7-6, 6-2.
Brash though he may be on-court, particularly since hiring Jimmy Connors as a coach, it's impossible not to feel badly for Roddick in the aftermath of another defeat at the genius hands of Federer. It's also impossible not to admire Roddick for his continued desire to be more than Federer's whipping boy and his willingness to lay bare his soul in the process. We relate, because it is a surrender that all mortals must ultimately make when their time comes. --Wyman Meers