Taking a look back at Andy Roddick's career, the first thing that comes to mind are missed opportunities. Since winning the US Open in 2003, Roddick has been to four Grand Slam finals and five Masters Series finals, including this past Sunday, of which he only has one title to show for it. Many would argue that Roddick would have four to five Grand Slam titles, instead of just one, had it not been for Roger Federer. The most memorable of these
losses to Federer came at last year's Wimbledon final. Roddick won the first set and was up 6-2 in the second set tiebreaker, when he blew four set points to then lose the set and eventually the match. At the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells this past Sunday, with a chance to win his first Masters Series title since Cincinnati in 2005, the trend continued.
Roddick had the good fortune of being dealt a dream draw at Indian Wells this year. In his trip to the final, he did not have to beat any of the top six ranked players. Roddick's draw included 108th ranked Yen-Hsen Lu, 78th ranked Thiemo de Bakker, and Jurgen Melzer and Tommy Robredo whom Roddick owns a combined 19-0 lifetime record against. Roddick also seemed fortunate enough to face 31 year old Ivan Ljubicic in the final, whom he owned a 7-3 head-to-head advantage.
Unlike with Roddick, the road to the Indian Wells final was a lot more difficult for Ivan Ljubicic. Ljubicic had to beat No. 2 ranked Novak Djokovic in the fourth round and No. 3 ranked Rafael Nadal in the semi-finals. Though the Croat had reached a world ranking as high as No. 3 in August of 2006, he had never won a Masters Series final before. On Sunday it was Ljubicic that took advantage of every opportunity as he served big on all of the important points and had complete control over their two tiebreakers, winning 7-3 and 7-5, respectively. After 127 minutes, Ljubicic had won his first Masters Series title. A real amazing feat at 31 years of age.
Whether Roddick will have another opportunity to win a Masters title, let alone a Grand Slam title, is not clear. The one thing that is clear is his window to win a big title is slowly closing and it is very unlikely that he will ever be given a draw at a big event as easy as the one he was given this past week in southern California.