For as rough a year as 2010 has been for Andy Roddick, it will end on a positive note. By virtue of a win on Thursday at the Paris Masters, the top-ranked American qualified for the year-end ATP World Tour Finals, to be held in two weeks in London.
It's not a grand achievement for a player who has qualified for the event for the past eight seasons, but considering that Roddick was ranked No. 13 just three months ago, it's a nice recovery.
Roddick won his season-opener in Brisbane and also took home the trophy this past spring in Miami. Other than those two tournaments, though, his 2010 resume reads like a list of missed opportunities:
-- Australian Open: L in quarterfinals to No. 14 Marin Cilic (five sets -- was down two sets and forced fifth)
-- Indian Wells: L in finals to No. 26 Ivan Ljubicic (straight sets -- lost in tiebreaker in both)
-- French Open: L in third round to No. 114 Teymuraz Gabashvili (straight sets)
-- Queen's Club: L in third round to No. 63 Dudi Sela (straight sets)
-- Wimbledon: L in fourth round to No. 82 Yen-Hsun Lu (five sets -- the serve that propelled Roddick to the final in 2009 failed Roddick in the final set, when he appeared to have all the momentum. He later called the loss "an impossiblility."
-- Washington D.C.: L in third round to No. 33 Giles Simon (straight sets -- Roddick was never in the match)
Roddick had some great wins in 2010. He beat Rafael Nadal in Miami and Robin Soderling and Andy Djokovic back-to-back in Cincinnati. But, until a loss to Roger Federer last week in Basel, every loss he suffered during this season was to a player ranked lower than him. That shows that Roddick was playing well enough to beat the best in the world, but wasn't consistent or focused enough to take care of the players he should have beaten with ease.
He won't have a similar worry in London, as the World Tour Finals consist of the top-eight players in the world. Nadal, Federer, Djokovic, Andy Murray, Soderling, Tomas Berdych and David Ferrer will join Roddick at the year-end championship. There's no chance to get upset by a guy like Yen-Hsun Lu there.
If Andy can somehow get to the knock-out round, it will end his 2010 on a positive note. His ego and game could use a boost before the six-week break prior to the commencement of the 2011 season in Australia. If he's ousted in the round robin portion of the tournament, no sweat off his back. One month ago, it seemed like a longshot he'd even be playing in the WTF. Making it was half the battle.