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Archive for the ‘sports’ Category

Top 10 Tuesday (rain delay): Andy Roddick Matches

In sports, writing on 09/05/2012 at 14:51

I was going to post this yesterday before Andy’s 4th round match vs. Juan Martin del Potro was interrupted by rain at the start of the first set tiebreak. Unfortunately it looks like the match might not resume at all today, so I figured I would post these anyways.

Roddick getting into his ninth US Open quarterfinal would put him in very good company, tying him with Roger Federer and leaving only Ivan Llendl, Jimmy Connors, Pete Sampras and Andre Agassi ahead of him. It’s hard to see him getting beyond that (see: Djokovic), so let the tributes keep coming while they can!

10. 2009 US Open 3rd Round Isner def. Roddick 76(3) 63 36 57 76(5)
One of only two losses to make my list. This match came just a month or so after the 2009 Wimbledon final. Roddick did rebound from that loss eventually, going on to reach back to back Masters finals in 2010 (winning Miami), but the hangover was still present as he exited the USO before the quarterfinals for the first time since 2005. But the loss came to the future of American tennis in Isner, was played at a high level from the first point through a fifth set tiebreak. Like the Wimbledon final, Roddick dropped serve only once. Watch Isner discuss his victory here.

9. 2009 Australian Open QF Roddick def. Djokovic (3)67 64 62 21 ret.
Roddick came into the 2009 season with a new coach, a new look and renewed ambition. He reached the Chennai final to open the season and came into the Australian Open quarterfinals against defending champion/world number 3 Novak Djokovic in stellar form. Djokovic took the opening set tiebreak, but from then on it was all Roddick, who literally out hustled his opponent in some of the hottest conditions the tournament had ever seen. Court temperatures exceeded 100 degrees, forcing Djokovic to retire, while Roddick looked content to play a few more sets.

Novak melts

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Top 10 Tuesday: Summer Olympic Sports

In sports, TV, writing on 09/04/2012 at 19:19

The Olympics, near and dear to my heart, already seem like a pleasant memory. I’ve compiled here a list of ten of my favorite events from the Summer Games. In truth I’d be hard pressed to come up with ten Olympic sports I don’t enjoy, so plenty of my favorites (Handball, Water Polo) have been left off.

10. Tennis.
I love tennis, post about it frequently, but it wasn’t that popular at the Olympics until 2004, dropping it to last on this week’s top 10. However in 2008 when Rafael Nadal, the absolute dominant player on tour, won gold (as well as Federer winning gold in doubles) tennis was suddenly a very legitimate Olympic contest. The 2012 Games upped the ante big time with Andy Murray winning gold (and silver) in front of his home crowd, one of the most magical moments of this year’s Olympics.
Andy Murray def. Roger Federer in straight sets

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SPORTS SUNDAY: Andy Roddick vs Fabio Fognini

In sports, TV, writing on 09/02/2012 at 17:33

It’s Sunday, and at Stahr Magazine that means one thing: sports.

This weeks entry will focus on what might be Andy Roddick’s last professional tennis match. He takes on talented but inconsistent Italian Fabio Fognini.

AR

Casual tennis fans might have Roddick penciled in for a fourth round meeting with Juan Martin del Potro, but an early exit is likely for three reasons. Firstly, Roddick hasn’t played well this year. Despite two titles and having just played his best tennis in a long while vs. Bernard Tomic in the second round, Roddick has been rough around the edges and can lose to anyone at any time, retirement or not.

Second, Roddick and Fognini met just over a month ago in Eastbourne. Roddick won, going on to take the tournament, but narrowly edged the Italian 7-5 in the final set. That was on grass, Roddick’s best surface.

Lastly, tennis fans remember Andre Agassi’s last US Open, where in the second round he got past a young, talented opponent (Marcos Baghdatis) 7-5 in the fifth set. He then, almost by choice, ended his career against unheralded Benjamin Becker. Will Roddick be satisfied with his second round performance, and embrace retirement? Or is he dead set on matching up with the top talents in today’s game?

Find out now, as the match is just underway. STAHR MAGAZINE will be live tweeting the entire match.

Boston Celtics ready to deliver

In boston, sports, TV, writing on 08/31/2012 at 17:21

With the Boston Red Sox laboring through a forgettable 2012 campaign, the New England Patriots preparing to put another disappointing Superbowl loss behind them and the Boston Bruins trying to figure out what the heck has gotten into Tim Thomas (not to mention a sad first round playoffs exit), the Boston Celtics once again occupy the most hopeful position in the New England sports world.

2013 Celtics

As always, that hope is beleaguered by a thousands ifs, buts, and what ifs?

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Andy Roddick, the most literary character in sports

In fiction, sports, TV, writing on 08/30/2012 at 23:08

No “continue reading” here. I want this to be seen in full, whoever stumbles across this.

Moments ago Andy Roddick announced this year’s US Open would be his final tournament.

As a writer and an avid tennis/basketball fan, I find the circles I travel in to be quite varied. My athletic friends don’t often read great literature, and my literary friends usually don’t understand the appeal of sports, marginalizing whatever contest to the basics: bats, balls, helmets, etc.

It’s unfortunate, because the literary world and the world of sports intersect on a regular basis.

AR

Look no further than Andy Roddick, the epitome of the everyman American trying to survive in a market that got more global every day.

Roddick grew up watching the greatest generation of American tennis; Pete Sampras, Andre Agassi, Jim Courier and Michael Chang—men who accounted for 27 grand slam titles, hundreds of weeks at number one and several Davis Cup titles.

As he grew up, Roddick became a man who was no longer admiring the accomplishments of his forefathers, but who struggled mightily under the public eye as he tried to emulate their achievements. Make no mistake, Andy never flinched in the spotlight, never begrudged his unfavorable position of bearing the burden of American tennis, nor that he was born into a generation featuring the two greatest players the sport has ever seen: Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal.

AR

In 2003, when—in the grand scheme of things—Roddick was still a child (21 years), Roddick won the US Open to the delight of a home crowd. The future looked bright, like it does to all 21 year olds. From then on out, though, tangible achievements were hard to come by.

With Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal combining to win all but two major tournaments from 2004 Wimbledon through the 2011 Australian Open, Roddick never won another major. He did, however, reach four additional finals, including the 2006 US Open. He was stopped by Roger Federer every time.

Roddick’s successes came in subtler, less advertised forms. While not only being the top ranked American for the better part of a dozen grueling seasons, Roddick spent most of that time inside the top 10. As he said in his press conference, of all the players who hit the tour around the same time as he did, only Federer is still playing well. Indeed, Roddick outlasted all of his contemporaries in terms of consistency.

Roddick, like a true literary hero, lost the big moments—but took away smaller treasures; in 2007 his stalwart position as Davis Cup captain paid off with a victory over Spain, and a childhood dream was realized.

Over the years Roddick’s 32 titles (third amongst active players), 610 wins (second amongst active players) and 2003 year end ranking of #1 have been glossed over as the American media berated Roddick into shaping his game into what they believed would win him another major. Roddick ignored the criticism and continued developing his game in the way he saw fit, manifesting most notably in a semi-surprise run to the 2009 Wimbledon final, where he infamously lost 16-14 in the fifth set to Federer, one of the greatest matches ever played.

AR

The most literary qualities Roddick possess are also the most admirable. While he could be volatile and downright bratty during matches, Roddick has never ducked out of the chance to do good in the world, playing countless charity events and starting his own foundation, which he plans to focus on after his tennis career wraps up. Roddick was also undoubtedly the hardest worker of his generation. While Nadal is often lauded for his tenacity, it is easy to be fearless when you are the best player in the world. Roddick held that title only very briefly, and was able to give a thousand percent even after the most brutal losses or stretches of lackluster results.

In short (hah!) Roddick’s career would translate into a book we would describe as “the next great American novel.” Perhaps I am the writer for the job, but I fear I’d not do justice to the tall, accomplished and venerable figure Roddick cuts. And that’s my whole point: Roddick’s literary story was told day in and day out since he was a young boy hitting tennis balls off his garage, dreaming of winning the big matches on the biggest stages. It was not written in the sense fiction writers/readers are used to, but it was a great read nonetheless.

Lance Armstrong responds to “heinous” USADA ruling in open letter

In sports, writing on 08/30/2012 at 17:02

Last week former cyclist and seven time Tour de France winner Lance Armstrong responded to the USADA’s charges against him in a very candid, open letter, where, among many other assertions, Armstrong declared he was still a seven time champion, something the USADA could never take away from him. And he wasn’t bluffing.

Lance!

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Laura Robson ends Kim Clijster’s career at the US Open

In sports, TV, writing on 08/30/2012 at 16:57

Wednesday night’s lineup on Arthur Ashe Stadium featured two British players, world number three Andy Murray and eighteen year old Laura Robson, who paired to win the mixed doubles silver medal in front of a home crowd at the 2012 London Olympics. The two found themselves in polar positions Wednesday night, with Robson a huge underdog against the twenty-third seed and three time champion Kim Clijsters, while Murray was heavily favored over inconsistent Croat Ivan Dodig.

Clijsters, Robson

Laura Robson, however, went on to post arguably the biggest win of her singles career.

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John Isner, America’s number one guy

In sports, TV, writing on 08/30/2012 at 15:43

American players are, as always, under the most scrutiny in New York, where this year there is a new face atop the men’s game.

For the past eleven seasons, excluding a handful of weeks where James Blake and Mardy Fish dawned the crown, Andy Roddick has been not only the top ranked American male tennis player, but the only American player relevant at big tournaments.

Roddick turns thirty this Thursday, and the new era of American tennis has begun to emerge.

John fucking Isner

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Andy Roddick eases into 2012 US Open as 30th approaches

In sports, writing on 08/28/2012 at 19:28

For the second year in a row, Roddick played a rookie compatriot early in the US Open. Last year in the second round he handled Jack Sock in straight sets, and this year looked to deliver NCAA star Rhyne Williams the same fate. Williams, ranked 283 in the world, needed a wild card just to make the qualifying draw where he won three matches, while Roddick finds himself at one of his lowest rankings in a decade—still good enough for the tournament’s 20th seed.

Andy

Like sixteen year old Victoria Duval the night before, it’s exciting to watch such a young, homegrown athlete make their grand slam on Arthur Ashe stadium.

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LLWS: Where to draw the line?

In sports, writing on 08/20/2012 at 12:41

As I predicted, with the Olympics and Shark Week having fully run their courses, summer TV hit a real rut; shows that started in May/June have wrapped up, new seasons don’t begin for a month at least, and my preview HBO subscription has run out!

Which leaves us with one of the more peculiar American traditions: the Little League World Series.

LLWS

Founded in 1947, LLWS is not a cultural flash in the pan, but an institution that rivals the Olympics in American history and crushes Shark Week by a cool 40 years. But the intensity with which the tournament is covered, along with the increasingly globalized competition, makes one wonder if maybe Little League baseball has gotten too big for the little kids who play it. Read the rest of this entry »