There was this poll on another tennis blog that I thought asked one of the best questions I've seen in a long time. It was heading into the women's quarterfinals at the upset-plagued BNP Paribas Open and asked not who was going to win the tournament, but who really needed to win the most for their career. I think I voted for Agnieszka Radwanska, because what has she done big-time in her career so far? Anyway, a great poll.
That got me thinking about who was left in both draws and who needs it most, and one name outweighed them all for me: Andy Roddick.
It's been a looonnng time since he's won an ATP 1000 tournament--Cincinnati 2006, to be exact. Outside of the Slams, these are the only tournaments that you're likely to see 95 percent of the top 20 players at, therefore the level of competition is pretty high, to say the least. Coming out on top of a field like that would show that he still has the goods.
Not to say that he doesn't because he's still racking up titles and top 10 finishes like it's nobody's business. But the tour--whew, the tour--is so tough right now. You have the regular Slam winners (Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal), the true contenders (Novak Djokovic, Andy Murray and Juan Martin del Potro) and the consistent Slam quarterfinalists that are under 25 (Gael Monfils, Marcos Baghdatis, Robin Soderling, Jo-Wilfried Tsonga). What group does Roddick fit into? His own of being a Slam finalist, quarterfinalist, semifinalist who might be able to beat one or two of those guys in a Major but has no chance of beating everyone?
Even here at Indian Wells, he's really only beaten players that he's had no trouble with in the past. The first test will be against Soderling, which is going to be tough, and I don't know if he can win it. But he really needs to and take the final, too, to show he can win an event with all the big names there--even if he didn't take them all out himself.