Classic Rivalries: Roddick vs. Djokovic

AP Photo/Andrew Brownbill

Classic Rivalries: Roddick vs. Djokovic

One of the rivalries I find most interesting in the Open Era is that of Andy Roddick and Novak Djokovic. Many people forget how great Andy Roddick was for so many years. Unfortunately for Andy, he matched up awfully against Roger Federer, posting a dismal 3-21 record against him. If it wasn’t for Roger, Andy would have won at least two Wimbledon titles. His lack of success against Roger doesn’t take away his great success against one of the all-time greats – Novak Djokovic. Andy posted a winning record against the Serb at 5-4. Although they only played a total of nine times, they played in the biggest stages and had some classic matches.

Let’s take a look at some of the stats. These guys met four times in Masters 1000 hard court tournaments, with Andy posting three wins against Novak’s one win. In Grand Slam events, Novak beat Andy in the quarters of the US Open in 2008 and a few months later Andy returned the favor in the quarters of the 2009 Australian Open.

Of course, this rivalry wouldn’t be any fun without any fireworks, and fireworks there were. Before their 2008 quarterfinal match, Andy joked in a press conference about Novak’s penchant for injuries, jokingly stating that he may ailments such as bird flu, anthrax, the common cold and others going into their match.

In the on-court interview after beating Roddick, Novak addressed those comments directly in front of the crowd. He said that it had a pleasure beating Andy in his favorite tournament in front of his home fans. He sarcastically mentioned the lack of the 16 ailments, to the displeasure and boos from the crowd. This is where it gets even more interesting. According to Roddick, he threw Djokovic against a locker after the whole fiasco but restrained himself due to Novak’s trainer large frame. Drama!

Andy would get is chance again though, and it would come a few months later the 2009 Australian Open quarters. This match is famously remembered for Novak’s withdrawal because of heat exhaustion. Funny how Novak ended up retiring due to an “ailment.” Nevertheless, these guys have nothing but great things to say about each other. One thing is certain, this was a fun rivalry to watch!

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