Monday, February 15, 2010

My, how times have changed

The year was 2002, and playing in the finals of the indoor tournament in Memphis was James Blake--making his ATP final debut--and Andy Roddick, already a perennial top tenner at that point. Roddick won in three tight sets, but it was like a breath of fresh air for U.S. men's tennis.

Now, eight years later, these two are playing in the first round of the same event, where Roddick is the top seed and Blake enters outside the top 50. The years since that final-round matchup have been interesting ones for the two: a slam win, top 10 ranking finishes, a Davis Cup title, double-digit titles for both and millions in the bank. And it's great to see both of them still going at it out there.

But it's also a way different indicator for the future of U.S. men's tennis than it was back then. As I mentioned, Blake's out of the top 50 and if you know a way that he can break back into the top 20, seeing as how he's going to be matched up against top guys early on in draws, you're a much better tennis prognosticator than I am! As for Roddick, he still has some top-10 tennis left in him, and I hate to say this since I'm a fan, but I don't know how he's going to add to his Slam haul.

I guess I shouldn't be too doubtful: After all, Blake did bang it out with Juan Martin del Potro at the Aussie this year, and Roddick is coming off a final-round appearance in San Jose over the weekend. And I hope they have a great match here. It's still the mark, though, of a different direction in their careers and a far cry from that Memphis final all those years ago.

(Photos: Andy Roddick, AP; James Blake, Getty Images)


Taf said...

Ah memories. Shame Blake has fallen so far back.. i didn't realize he was out of top 50 but getting Andy in first round should have been a clue. I'm surprised actually as Blake has really been more patient in his play as of late and I know the rushing he does when he's mad at himself has been his major downfall! C'mon James!!! I miss the J-Block action!

van said...

Hey Taf! That's a nice win he had against Dent. You know, his results haven't really shown it, but he's played some guys really tough this year so far. I'd like to see him have a great run in Delray Beach.