Roddick's demise, at the hands of Gilles Muller, strengthens my conviction that sheer power, or one single weapon based on that power, like Roddick's serve, is no longer enough to win titles. It helps, make no mistake. And Roddick also seemed to be let down against Muller by his backhand. But an over-reliance on a single tool, which has always been dangerous in cases when it falters, is now more so because of the range of physical and technical skills found throughout the Tour.
Muller showed when he upset Nadal at Wimbledon that he is capable of excellence, and even if his post-Roddick crumble against Robby Ginepri here was an anticlimax, he had sent another message about assumptions of superiority.
Andre would have made no such mistakes before his second-round match on Thursday with Ivo Karlovic, another player, like Roddick, with one big weapon. At 35, Andre's too much of a professional for that, and the job he did on Karlovic was utterly professional. He patiently soaked up the pressure of 30 Karlovic aces - at up to 142mph - and then, when it was his turn to serve, he dominated the court, moved the giant Croat all over the place and whipped down-the-line winners and blistering passes at will. In the three tie-breaks, his all-round class was simply more reliable than Karlovic's missiles.
With perhaps a year at most left in his career, you might expect Andre to start raging at the dying of the light. It won't happen. You only have to see him with Steffi [Graf] and his kids to know that. His life after tennis, including work with his charitable foundation, is waiting. He's a contented man. A man who knows where he's going, and happy with it. And that makes him dangerous as hell.
At the other end of the age spectrum, we've been lucky to see a group of tremendous teenagers this week, including Nadal, Murray and Richard Gasquet.
Nadal's footwork is incredible. His serve is strong, his groundstrokes can be awesome. He knows no speed except full tilt, and has a reservoir of stamina to maintain that throughout matches.
One concern with Nadal here is that he is still inexperienced at Grand Slam tennis. I would advise, if asked, that Nadal, or indeed any player at his stage of development, should not be playing tournaments every week. Sure, you're young, you're invincible, it's a blast, there's no pain to feel. But adequate, quality rest time, at the right times, is as important to top-level athletes as training.
I was there on court to see Murray's first senior US Open match, against Andrei Pavel on Tuesday, and I don't recall witnessing any British player like him in more than 50 years of studying and coaching tennis.
He does not have any of the usual British approach: classic strokes, serve-volley or genteel demeanour. To be blunt, he really is not a pretty player. But he is the kind of player I like. A lot. He reminds me of Jim Courier, the ultimate worker, and that's a huge compliment.
Murray's a fighter. He doesn't go out there worrying about the beauty of his technique. He goes out there to win. He enjoys himself. He pumps up the crowd. He gets pissed off and then channels his anger.
New York took an instant shine to this guy who one minute was spilling his guts - literally - on the court, and the next was digging deep and finding the mental toughness and shots to get through a draining five-setter that was made harder by heat and line-call distractions. A memorable occasion, not just for him.Reuse content