TV View: Andy Roddick shines through
As the drama at Wimbledon unfolded former finalist puts on his best display
Novak Djokovic of Serbia celebrates beating Switzerland’s Roger Federer in the men’s singles final at Wimbledon. Photograph: EPA.
The one crushing disappointment about Wimbledon this year is that it ended, other than that it was a fortnight that bordered on the positively perfect, yesterday’s final a rather handsome full-stop on the whole shebang – although, it would have been marvellouser if Novak Djokovic hadn’t been thoughtless enough to halt it early.
Far too many highlights to list, of course, although up with the finest was Andy Roddick having his best Wimbledon ever, this time doing a bit of talking for the BBC, rather than losing to Roger Federer in a final.
“I watched 50 aces go by me in the ’09 final and I don’t think Roger served as well as he’s served today – and I really hate admitting that,” he said of the Swiss man’s other-worldly display against Andy Murray in the semi-finals, so other-worldly you feared for Novak.
Roddick, though, argued that experience was overrated, again noting that it didn’t do much for him when he was Federer-ized on three separate occasions in Wimbledon finals, although Tim Henman was good enough to remind him, in a “there, there” kind of way, that he only lost 14-16 in the fifth in 2009, which was a half-decent effort. Still, he was deliciously self-deprecating, a rare enough trait in his line of work, and argued that having no Grand Slam final experience at all might actually stand to Muguruza, because she’d be unaware of the hell about to be unleashed upon her.
He wasn’t wrong. She was fearless, and we had ourselves a gem of a final.
“I can’t believe there’s a match still being played,” hollered John McEnroe when Muguruza, having looked done and dusted, fought back to 4-5 in the second, almost a “you cannot be serious” moment.
But, ah, Serena.
When he lost to Federer, Murray, highly graciously, reminded us that we were lucky to be of this earth at a time when Serena and Roger (and Novak and Rafa Nadal) are doing their thing, which is true, but of the quartet, Serena’s the one who hasn’t quite been showered with affection or appreciation, the New York Times even producing a gobsmacking article on the eve of the final focusing on her physique rather than her ability, as if femininity is defined by pearly white blondes the shape of pencils.
The more they malign her, the more Grand Slams she’ll win, so they should hold their whist, really. The Serena Slam sorted, then, on to the lads. With a celeb-jammed audience watching on.
“And when John McEnroe gets around Rod Laver, it’s like a 13-year-old girl at a Justin Bieber concert,” Andy told us, prompting his colleagues to almost literally crack up.
Then BBC poll time. Who’d win? Roger 72.3 per cent, Novak: 27.7. “I absolutely respect the opinions of the people watching,” said Andy, “but if you think Djokovic is a one to four underdog you are outside of your mind.”
For a while, though, it looked like they might be spot on, and when Roger took that second set tie-break, which was epically wondrous, you sensed . . . no. Not to be.
McEnroe, as ever, was excellent craic, even if he has still to learn that it’s not a crime against humanity to take a breath while in the commentary box.
Before the women’s final Sue Barker and Chris Evert were reminiscing about the last time they played each other.
“I remember that day, you were having your engagement party in the morning,” said Sue.
McEnroe: “Which one?”