Andy Roddick, who won the Stella Artois Championship three years straight (2003 to 2005), has just provided us with an excellent lesson on the importance of balanced, competitive temperament.

He was up again 23 year old Alex Bogdanovic, a British unknown who was playing the better all round game today, constantly hitting the ball up against the tram lines or deep to the base line, and always making it difficult for Roddick to return. In contrast, Roddick was having a really bad day at the office. His game not only lacked any spark but by constantly playing the ball back to Bogdanovic and hardly ever making him stretch, he was almost actively putting his opponent in the driving seat. Where Roddick had the clear edge however, was in his service game. He was firing accurate rockets for serves, ending his service game in minutes, often with love score. He knew that this could be enough to get through the day. Roddick lost the first set after losing a service game, but he didn't crumble under pressure. He wasn't enjoying it one bit and you could see the struggle he was going through, but he continued to fight in a controlled manner, not letting his emotions get the better of him. Roddick won the second set after a tense tie-break, and then went on to break Bogdanovic late in the third set for a victory. Roddick rightly said of the game, 'I was lucky to get out of there today'.

So many times I have watched the likes of Tim Henman and Andy Murrary crumble in the face of adversity, often looking to externalise their problems by blaming poor line calls or other factors as soon as things stop going their way, and it was a real joy to see Andy Roddick deal with his poor game play with maturity. He knew he could win if he persevered (he had the edge where it counted) and that's exactly what he did. It was a joy to watch and a valuable lesson.





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