Andy Roddick hugged Andy Murray, saluted the Centre Court crowd, smiled, waved and cheerily accepted the plaudits as he left the scene of his triumph. Finally, on the steps to the All England Club locker room, when he thought the television cameras had shifted their gaze, he wept.
Roddick's outpouring of emotion might seem premature given that he still has an immovable object - sorry, Roger Federer - to defeat before he can claim a second Grand Slam title to follow his 2003 U.S. Open win. However, regardless of the outcome of Sunday's showdown in west London, this tournament can now be identified as a potential turning point in Roddick's career.
By his own admission, there were many times over the past two years when the American wondered if he would ever get another chance to play for a Slam trophy. The game was catching up to him, with young talents such as Murray, Novak Djokovic and Juan Martin del Potro threatening to leave him in their wake and Messieurs Federer and Nadal already off into the distance.
Roddick, it seemed, had been exposed as a one-trick pony. That booming serve, while still ferocious, was no longer enough to compensate for his patchy ground game and widening midriff.
With tens of millions in the bank and a swimsuit-model wife to keep his attention, it would have been easy for Roddick to take a back seat this year. Instead, he has applied himself to tennis like never before, shedding 15 pounds of fat with an exhausting preseason workout regimen and hitting the practice courts with a vengeance.
The payoff came on Friday afternoon, as he and Murray traded blows for a touch over three hours. In the end, Roddick's fitness was superior and his serve awesome, yet it was the intelligent way in which he picked his spots to attack which proved to be the difference.
Such careful point planning will be crucial if he is to stand any chance of delivering what would be a monumental upset of Federer on Sunday. Federer has won 71 of his past 72 grass-court matches and 18 of his 20 encounters with Roddick - including the 2004 and 2005 finals here.
Quite simply, Roddick has rarely looked like he believed he could beat him. But if he is ever going to do it when it matters, surely it will be now.
Wimbledon's convoluted ticketing system has severely damaged the chances of regular fans getting to see the final sessions of play. Tickets have been sold at a premium for thousands of dollars with the blessing of the All England Club, sadly ensuring that the wealthy elite hold a monopoly on prime tickets.
Roger Federer continued his majestic charge through the men's field, brushing aside Tommy Haas in straight sets to secure his spot in a seventh straight Wimbledon final. Federer now has the chance to atone for his loss to Rafael Nadal in last year's final and looks very much back to his best.
Game of the day
The match everyone wanted to see was a personal triumph for Andy Roddick and a massive disappointment for the home nation. However, the showdown between Roddick and Andy Murray produced some outstanding play and more drama than the forgettable first semifinal.
Bryan/Bryan beat Nestor/Zimonjic 3-1
Williams/Williams beat Stosur/Stubbs 2-0
Photo courtesy of Getty Images
- Andy Roddick
- Roger Federer