Andy Roddick’s short temper makes him walk from Beijing presser – The Friday Five

By Maud Watson

Short Fuse

The fuse that ignites Andy Roddick’s temper seems to be getting shorter and shorter these last few months, and that was certainly the case earlier this week in Beijing when Roddick walked out of a press conference after being asked about retirement following his opening round loss to Kevin Anderson. Roddick’s anger and annoyance are understandable. He’d just lost in straight sets to the talented but unheralded South African after putting on a performance that he himself labeled as “unacceptable.” There’s also the frustration that stems from tennis pundits and journalists often being too quick to shove top stars out the door the second their form starts to dip. And had Roddick finished the press conference after wryly commenting that the reporter who asked the question should be the one to retire – a response that garnered some laughs – everything would have been fine. But it’s the fact that he walked out that should draw some criticism. It was obvious listening to the reporter that he didn’t have the greatest command of the English language, which may have contributed to how bluntly the question came across. Then there’s Roddick’s own past comments that may have warranted the line of questioning. He admitted he nearly left the game three years ago when he wasn’t happy with his form and suffered an early exit at Wimbledon, and there’s no doubt that his present-day results are subpar at the biggest events. It was also made public a remark he’d made to Donald Dell, saying that if he ever fell out of the top 15 (he’s currently ranked 15), he’d seriously consider retiring, as he didn’t want to hang around the tour for the sake of hanging around. No one should rush Roddick out the door, as he’s paid his dues. But he’s not the first player to be fielding these questions, and there was no excuse for going all Paris Hilton on the press.

Andy Roddick

Breakthrough

The saying goes that it’s better late than never, and that seems to be the case with Janko Tipsarevic. At age 27, he’s on the latter end of what many consider to be the prime years for a tennis player, but last weekend he secured his maiden ATP singles title. He’d previously lost four other finals, including two earlier this season. Spurred on by the success of his countryman Djokovic and his best Grand Slam singles result this year in New York, Tipsarevic may finally be hitting his stride. With him, it’s always been a question of how much he wants it, because the game is there. If he’s ready to totally commit, he’s going to be one to watch heading into 2012.

Paying Dividends

After a plethora of low points, many fans were wondering if Ana Ivanovic had any hope of reclaiming the form that took her to the top of the women’s game. Since hiring Nigel Sears, she has seen her game improve in leaps and bounds and appears headed back towards the upper echelons. Just this week, she defeated Svetlana Kuznetsova and Vera Zvonareva, with the latter win marking her first victory over a top-five player since 2008. She’ll need to post these types of results on a more consistent basis to truly be considered back in the mix, but she’s well on her way. We’ve also witnessed the long-awaited emergence of Donald Young. Several months ago he’d hit rock bottom, but since mending fences with the USTA and accepting their guidance, his game has done a 180. Last week he earned a victory over Gael Monfils before being crushed by Murray in what marked Young’s first ATP final appearance. As with Ivanovic, we’ll need to see more of these runs to know whether he’s a legit top 50 player, but he’s certainly in a better place.

Show Me the Money

A few short decades ago, the Australian Open was the red-headed stepchild of the majors. Today, it’s pushing hard to be top dog. In 2012, the season’s first major will boast the largest amount of prize money in Grand Slam history, with the men’s and women’s singles winners taking home $2.2 million USD, and $25 million in total prize money. The Hawk-Eye technology will also be extended to a third show court. Props and thanks are in order for all the folks at the Australian Open and Australian Tennis for turning this into a first-class event that is a favorite among players and fans alike.

A Real Pity

Hopes may have been high when rumors began circulating that Martina Hingis would be stepping out of retirement to play mixed doubles with Roger Federer at the Australian Open in preparation for a mixed doubles gold medal bid at the 2012 Olympics later in the summer. While Hingis will be playing the new Legends event, she has nixed the notion that she’ll be playing with her fellow Swiss compatriot. And while not impossible, it’s looking more doubtful the pair will team up for the London Olympics. Hingis would have to secure a high enough WTA doubles ranking, submit to the drug testing program, and play Fed Cup to be eligible. It’s a real shame, because you’d be hard pressed to find a pair gifted with as much court craft and guile, which would have been entertaining to witness, win or lose.