The moment Andy Roddick announced an impromptu press conference at last week’s US open, most people thought Andy would be withdrawing from the tournament, but what he actually did shocked us all. On his 30th birthday, the former US Open champion announced he would be retiring from the game of tennis. Roddick is the 2003 US Open champion, 3 time Wimbledon runner up and returned to the US Open finals in 2006. In his 4 finals appearances, all were against Roger Federer. The two rivals had one of the greatest matches of all time in 2009 when Federer won 16-14 in the fifth set. Andy’s serve was broken just one time that day, in a match that lasted 4 and a half hours. Matches like the 2009 final reminded the world just how great this man is, something that seemed to elude most Americans brains for the majority of his career.
American tennis fans got spoiled with players like Sampras and Agassi. Fans were so used to Americans winning Grand Slams in that generation, that when Andy couldn’t capture a second title, he was labeled a bust. In reality he’s a first ballot Hall of Famer without even second guessing it. He has the third most wins in American tennis history behind only Sampras and Agassi. He is also the most consistent American tennis player of all time by staying in the top ten for thirteen years.
When Andy announced he was officially retiring from the game, it was the first time in 5 years that the American fans truly appreciated him. They realized how spoiled they were to take a great champion like Andy for granted. Every match Roddick played at the Open this year was electric, channeling his best Jimmy Connors impression, Andy had the crowd going wild. Andy has been a true hero to so many people over the years, he has inspired us all, and the crowd told him that after every point he played at this years Open.
If Andy was born in another generation, we’re probably looking at a 5-7 time Grand Slam champion. But Andy’s career is not one of “what ifs” or disappointment, rather it’s one of a guy who gave it his all every single day and got the absolute most out of his career. Andy has left a permanent dent on the game of tennis, completely changing how it was played with his huge forehand and having the biggest serve of all time.
Andy eventually lost to Juan Martin del Potro in the round of sixteen in a tough 4 set battle 7-6 6-7 2-6 4-6. In his final matches Andy finally played the tennis we all knew he had in him. For Andy, this is the best possible way to go out. American fans finally appreciate how great Andy Roddick really is. Don’t expect Andy to comeback or pull a Brett Favre. Roddick is 30 years young, healthy, wealthy and married to the beautiful Brooklyn Decker. I’m sure he’ll enjoy retirement just fine.