We very nearly could have had exactly the same winners on the ATP tour this week as last week, if Andy Roddick had not carelessly (or probably carefully, actually) got in the way. I don't know how often this happens, but I'm going to venture 'not often'. And this week it was not to be.
Nicolas Almagro and Robin Soderling completed the first two points of the triangle - I am very glad that Soderling won in Marseille, by the way. If my beloved Nico M is going to get beaten, I would rather it was by some dude who's genuinely excellent than anyone else. And the Prince of Clay, Nicolas Almagro... well, he's making good on the nickname, and that is for sure.
Anyway. So we had Almagro (check) and Soderling (check) but Raonic, who would have made it a three-from-three, went and lost to Roddick. Three sets it took - though it easily could have been two either way, as the first two were pretty intense breakers - but Roddick it was who came out on top. Yoda I am talking like today. I am, oh yes.
I feel a bit bad about it, as I probably should be rooting for the underdog, but I'm glad Roddick came out on top today. Even though it is, as I said yesterday, like a spaceship with jet thrusters rather than a bandwagon, I'm just not on board with Milos Raonic yet. Probably the spaceship is going too fast for me to catch up on. If Raonic was to add a top ten scalp to his already growing bag of scalps - a scalp that is not the questionably mohawked scalp of Fernando Verdasco, that is - then I don't know if I could deal.
Roddick represents order in the tennis world. He's a top ten fixture. He exists in my world to place regular beatdowns on the guys ranked below him and to get shellacked by Roger Federer. He's the intermediary between the two worlds - the gateway, if you like. If you beat Roddick, then something serious is going down. It's not like beating Verdasco or one of the other top ten ne'er do wells - I'd place players like Berdych, who is (I think) ranked higher than Roddick in this category. Roddick is consistent. Roddick has been in the top ten for about a hundred years and stayed there. If you beat Roddick - especially if you start beating him regularly - well then, you could be launching an assault on the top guys. Or at least getting some wins against them.
Milos Raonic isn't there yet. The Roddick door is closed to him. And for me, maybe this is good. If he's going to get on board, I need his bandwagon to go a little slower.
2 months ago