In this article we will take a quick look at the Andy Roddick Biography and then move on to break down his game.
Born in 1982, Andy was a very good junior player even though it was actually his brother John that showed the most promise as a young tennis player in the family. Unfortunately, John got injured and never came through on the pro circuit. He now runs a tennis academy in Texas.
Andy finished his junior career as
number 1 in the world in the year 2000!
That year he won the US and Australian Open junior championships. He also finished that year as the youngest player in the Top 200 in the world. 2001 he already finished inside the Top 20. He won the US Open in 2003, reached the semis in the Australian Open four times, and the finals at Wimbledon three times.
Let’s have a look at Andy’s game in the context of the four areas of Tennis (Technical, Tactical, Physical, Mental)
In this video you can see how much topspin Andy creates on a relatively easy ball inside the baseline by rotating the forearm over a lot.
This massive forearm rotation can often result in too much topspin which makes it difficult to end points for him!
Overall Andy’s forehand is a a technically sound shot. He swings inside-out (check technique section for more info) and uses his body well to generate power.
The good swing comes with an extreme forehand grip though. Andy?s index knuckle is on 4.5 on the grip and this extreme grip gives him trouble when he wants to flatten out the ball. The result is that he loops the ball too much too often and cannot keep points short enough. His opponents then find his weaker backhand and he loses control of the point.
I believe that Andy possibly would have won another major or two with a less severe forehand grip!
It is well-known that Andy’s weakness is his backhand. For years people in the game have been disussing what he can do about it and why it is so weak.
The root of the problem with his backhand is that he swings outside-in rather than inside-out!
This means he does not swing away from the body and therefore cannot generate enough pace. Next time you look at his backhand pay attention to how far away his arms are from his body when he starts to swing forward to the ball!
The grip is certainly part of the problem here as well. His right hand is too far over towards a forehand grip. People always say it looks like he muscles the ball and that is exactly what is happening. He is a great athlete and he still manages to hit solid backhands a lot of the time. They are good enough to beat 99.9% of all tennis players but they are not good enough to beat the other top guys from the baseline.
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Andy has improved his slice a little bit over the years it seems like to me. Especially since he started working with Larry Stefanki. Unfortunately, there are some technical issues with his slice though. He often starts extremely high with the racket and his grip is once again too far over towards a forehand grip. This forces him to swing down too much and the slice will float rather than go through the court.
Like almost any player Andy’s backhand volley is very similar to his slice. The racket face is too open in my opinion and he swings down too much. This makes it difficult to stabilize the racket head on contact. His forehand volley is definitely more stable; the racket face is not as open and he swings forward more rather than down.
Andy Roddick has one of the biggest serves ever in the history of the game. He regularly serves over 140 mph and he has dominated many matches with that serve in his career!
One of the reasons Andy can serve so big is that he has great range of motion or flexibility in his shoulder. This shoulder flexibility results in a deeper racket drop position than what most players can achieve. A deeper racket drop essentially means a longer acceleration phase for his racket!
A fluid arm movement from right to left behind the head/body is a key characteristic of great servers!
Looking at Roddick’s serve you could think that he does not have a fluid arm action because it appears like he has a stop in his motion.
If you take a closer look at it though you can see that he stops his racket way off to the right side of his body and not behind his body. Essentially Roddick starts his swing at that point and then continues with a fluid arm action behind and around his head.
Check out Andy Roddick’s serve in slow motion!
Were you able to see the deep racket drop position ?
Roddick also has a rather unique stance with his feet close together. This certainly has some influence on his serve but it is not one of the essential key body positions that are necessary for a great serve.
To Learn more about the key body positions check out the Tennis Video Instruction page on this website!
I rank Andy Roddick as weakest on the tactical side for several reasons.
The combination of having the biggest serve in Tennis and a relatively weak backhand makes it necessary for him to be aggressive with his forehand, come forward and keep points short in my opinion.
Unfortunately, Andy has not managed to do that enough throughout his career!
Too often he battles from behind the baseline hitting heavy topspin forehand shots. His severe forehand grip makes it more difficult to flatten out the shot of course, yet I believe it is possible and at certain times in his career he has managed to do so very successfully.
Technique and tactics are closely related. Federer with his almost flawless technique has a lot more possibilities on the court than Roddick for example. Playing the net is another issue for Andy. Even though I think he has improved at the net, he could do a lot better. Volleys are by far the easiest shots in Tennis from a technical standpoint. With his size and overhead skills it is very difficult to lob Andy and that should allow him to play very close at the net. He certainly has made some positive developments with Larry Stefanki and hopefully he can continue to improve!
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Andy Roddick is known to be one of the hardest workers on the men’s tour.
He is in excellent shape and I believe this work ethic is a huge part of his success!
Andy is also a fighter on the court which I think is strongly related to his physical abilities. If you are in excellent shape it is a lot easier to fight as hard as you can for every point out there.
One other important factor why I rank him as being strongest in the physical area is his serve. Through scientific studies we now know that shoulder flexibility and strength are a huge part of developing a big serve. Flexibility allows for more pre-stretching or a longer path to accelerate the racket. Now it is difficult for me to say whether Andy was born with this or if he developed it through physical training. My guess is a combination of both.
Great servers get the racket very deep in the so-called racket drop position. Sampras was incredible at this and so is Roddick. More information on serving technique will soon be available in the technique section!
I believe that the physical and mental part are often quite related. Only rarely will you find someone that has trained very hard and is physically very fit with mental problems on the tennis court. That is not to say that it does not happen of course; I just think it is rare.
Andy is a great competitor and will always give his absolute best in every match!
He manages to stay positive on the court and keeps fighting hard for every point even when things are not going his way. Amongst the Top 10 players I would probably rank only Rafael Nadal higher in regards to the mental aspect of Tennis.
I would rank Andy Roddick’s skills in the following order:
I think Andy Roddick could significantly improve his game at this late stage of his career. The first thing would be to work on his backhand. I would change the grip on his right hand toward bevel number 2. This will allow him to develop more of an inside-out swing pattern and could significantly improve his backhand.
Of course making such a change is not easy at this stage of his career but I believe he would feel improvements with that grip in a very short period of time. Also with his results as of late he does not have much to loose.
The next point is that Andy needs to play a lot more aggressive with his forehand. Earlier in his career he was able to hurt people with that forehand but in recent years he hits the ball with too much spin and too loopy. Once the rally is going he needs to take charge of the point and keep points short. Flattening out his forehand in the right situations I believe is the key for that.
Last but not least Andy needs to improve his volleys. His game should be big serves, big forehands, keeping the points short and then coming in to the net. A strong net game would make this overall game plan a lot easier for him!
So that was it for the Andy Roddick Biography as well as his game analysis!