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By Richard Pagliaro | Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Roger Federer, Andy Roddick

Andy Roddick points to one quality that distinguishes Roger Federer from others.

Photo credit: Wimbledon Facebook

Graceful movement, remarkable racquet skills and all-court acumen are all assets of Roger Federer's game.

Andy Roddick experienced the Swiss stylist's virtuosity from across the net on the game's greatest stages.

Del Potro: Day I Lost Fear Of Federer

Roddick says there's one quality that makes the 37-year-old Swiss truly special.

His humanity.

"On tour, there were many people who were not as accomplished as Roger and [do] little things like you're changing your racquet grips, and you leave it on the floor, or there's a sweaty towel in the training room and you let someone pick it up," Roddick told told KVUE TV. "Never for a day did he ever do anything like that. He walks into every locker room and knows the names of the attendants, 'Hi, how are you? You have two children, right?'

"Just the human element of what he brought to the table, even with his stature in the game, is something that I always admired from afar."

The rivals reunited in Austin, Texas last night in a chat hosted by Mary Carillo. Proceeds from the event benefit the Andy Roddick Foundation.

The 2003 US Open champion, who remains the last American man to win a Grand Slam singles title, collaborated with Federer in a final for the ages at Wimbledon.

In the epic 2009 Wimbledon final, Federer fought off Roddick, 5-7, 7-6 (6), 7-6 (5), 3-6, 16-14.

The most agonizing defeat of Roddick’s career denied him his Wimbledon dream, but earned him respect for the class he displayed in the aftermath after squandering four set points in the tie break that would have given him a two-set lead.

Reflecting on that match, Federer said he respected Roddick's willingness to push competitiveness to the limit without crossing the lines of integrity.

"For me, personally, the respect for Andy is unbelievably high," Federer told KVUE. "Always when I looked across the court I felt I saw someone who tried everything to beat me or to beat anybody, but fair and square. Tough, sure, he would go to the edge of the rules, but for that you have umpires to keep you in line. But I never felt he was unfair.

"I felt like Andy was one of those guys who had no regrets. That's the thing I admire so much about Andy and of course we can go into epic matches. The 2009 epic final at Wimbledon was where I feel I share that Wimbledon victory with Andy because it was just such a fantastic match for both of us."

Standing shoulder-to-shoulder with Federer, Roddick replied: "Wish you shared the check with me."

"Still in the mail," joked Federer, who won 21 of 24 meetings with the ballistic-serving American.

Stress management sets Federer apart among elite players, including Roddick himself who concedes the intensity that fueled his own success also wreaked emotional havoc making him "a mess" before matches. Roddick said Federer was at the opposite end of the coolness spectrum before matches.

"But physicality aside, I'll tell anybody the part where I was the most jealous of Roger was how laid back he'd be before matches," Roddick said. "I was a mess. I was nervous. I was tense. I was tough to be around, and moody and that takes a toll on you as well as the physical stuff.

"How [Federer is] able to kind of compartmentalize, 'Okay, I'm relaxed up until I'm playing and then I'm focused.' And Pete kind of had the same thing. That's probably the part I'm most envious of and I think that's why he's still competing at the highest level."


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