September 03, 2010

Best foot forward

Whatever else happens, I believe Andy Roddick is a fine tennis player. In any other era except the Federer-Nadal one, I think he would have won more than the one Grand Slam he has won (US Open, 2003). And even in this era, he's had his chances. Example: if he had made an easy volley at set point in the 2nd set of the '09 Wimbledon final against Federer, he might just have gone on to win that title.

But never mind. Much is being made of his meltdown at the US Open, where he allowed himself to get distracted by a foot-fault call and lost to an always dangerous player, Janko Tipsarevic. In truth, that call had no real bearing on the match: he was behind already and the foot-fault did not push him any further behind.

Except that he allowed it to get to him. Not because it was wrong -- it was not -- but because the lineswoman told him it was his right foot that went over the line (wrong, it was his left foot that just touched the line, clear from that clip). For reasons known only to him, Roddick spent the next 15 minutes telling her he never has dragged his right foot over the line while serving.

But what interests me about this whole thing is that some tennis pundits have suggested that it is "physically impossible" for a righty to drag his foot over the line. (Again, that same page says exactly that).

Why? Boris Becker's serve was famous for his legs' scissor action, his right foot crossing over and landing in the court first. In fact, here's Roddick himself, imitating Becker's serve, and if you look carefully, he crosses that right foot so it goes in front first (the opposite of his own service action).

Not that Roddick did this against Tipsarevic, but clearly it is NOT physically impossible for a righty to foot-fault with his right foot. Why do some folks (not Roddick) make out that it is? I'm puzzled.

1 comment:

hari said...

Maybe because, it is only a foot fault if your feet touch the line or touches any part of the court beyond the line, but it can cross the pane in the air and not a fault.

So the scissors kick action will only be a fault only if the server lands without hitting the ball (or whiffing the serve).

Does that make sense?