Some thoughts on two American originals, Andy Roddick and Bill Clinton, while still being stunned that the greatest of all time, Roger Federer, was sent packing from the U.S. Open Wednesday night…
Andy Roddick retired from tennis Wednesday. His career and lasting legacy is hard to sum up in a few hundred words, but I’ll try.
First, let’s start with the good. He was unquestionably the best American tennis player of the last 10 years. He took the torch from the greatest generation of U.S. stars, guys like Agassi and Sampras and Courier and Chang, and pretty much carried it by himself. He won one Grand Slam title (that’s him at the ’03 Open, above, and damn doesn’t he look young?), reached three Wimbledon finals, and I would say, vastly overachieved in his career.
The kid had a big serve, a big forehand, and hustle. That’s pretty much it. And he managed to stay in the top 10 for so many years on those weapons and his desire.
He also, it must be said, gave tremendous amounts of time and money to charity through his foundation. And he was often hilarious in press conferences, rarely taking himself too seriously.
Now, the bad: In big moments, he never was able to step up and finish. The ’09 Wimbledon final, one of the best matches I’ve ever seen, he just couldn’t quite do enough to put away Roger Federer.
But the bigger black mark for me, and why I wasn’t rooting for Roddick yesterday, was his deplorable on-court behavior. He was awful in yelling at umpires and linespeople, often humiliating them in front of millions. Take a look at this, or this, or even this. When he was a 20-year-old kid, OK, maybe you can chalk it up to immaturity. But when he was still acting like a spoiled baby on-court a few months ago, well, that speaks to character.
So I watched yesterday with mixed emotions. I thought Roddick’s opponent, Juan Martin del Potro, showed true class, and Roddick was graceful and emotional in defeat. It was a hell of a career; I just wish Roddick could’ve been more of a sportsman and a grown-up all these years.
**Keith O’Dell Jr. is 5 years old. He’s really good at playing pool. Watch this, and then watch out for this kid stealing your money at your neighborhood pool hall (do they even have those anymore?)
**Finally, Bubba Clinton’s speech last night. Man oh man was he fantastic. I’d vote for him again right now, even knowing what a sleazebag he is/was with women. Of all the wonderful turns of phrase our last two-term Democratic President used last night (and his “arithmetic” line was brilliant), what I thought was most important was him calling out the GOP for their lies about health care and about Medicare.
Ole’ Bill was in Southern Preacher mode last night (has anyone in human history loved the spotlight as much as he does?) and he connects with an audience like no politician I’ve ever seen. Great to see he and Obama on stage at the end together; going to be hard for Obama to top Clinton’s speech last night.
And MSNBC, please, can we stop with the “Hillary 2016″ stuff? Let’s get this election won first. Thank you.