The 2003 U.S. Open champion and former number one ranked player in the world announced his plans to retire in a news conference held Thursday night at Flushing Meadows on his 30th birthday.
In typical Roddick fashion, his press conference was short and to the point. “I’ll make this short and sweet: I’ve decided that this going to be my last tournament,” said Roddick. He discussed the decision with his wife Brooklyn Decker, coach Larry Stefanki, and trainer Dough Spreen, but after his win Tuesday night he knew it was time to call it quits.
“I just feel like it’s time. I don’t know that I’m healthy enough or committed enough to go another year. I’ve always wanted to in a perfect world, finish at this event. Roddick added, “I think I wanted an opportunity to say goodbye to people as well.
Roddick will take to Arthur Ashe Stadium Friday night and has no idea what to expect. I don’t know how it will go. “I could come out and play great, or it could be the worst thing you’ve ever seen.” I hope it goes well, and I’m sticking around.” Roddick second round opponent is the young Australian teenager Bernard Tomic.
In Roddick’s 13 years on tour, he compiled 32 singles titles, including one Grand Slam, and has won a title every year for the last two years. The only other man to do accomplish that feat over that same time period is Roger Federer. Roddick was the next great American hope in professional tennis after the retirements of Pete Sampras and Andre Agassi, and he did not disappoint.
Roddick was the last American man the U.S. Open and a Grand Slam singles title. In addition to winning the U.S. Open in 2003, Roddick played in four other Grand Slam Finals; three at Wimbledon and one at the U.S. Open. He lost to the 17-time Grand Slam champion Roger Federer each time.
Though his greatest achievement came at the U.S. Open, the lasting image of Andy Roddick will be how he handled his 16-14 defeat in the fifth set to Federer at the 2009 Wimbledon Championships. Roddick gave everything he had in that match and the fans saluted his effort by chanting his name after the match concluded.
One of the most celebrated American players known as “A-Rod” has been always known for his lighting fast serve and powerful forehand. He held the record for fastest serve ever recorded on the ATP Tour at 155 mph, set on a hard court during the Davis Cup semifinals in Charleston, S.C. in September 2004. Ivo Karlovic broke the record in March of 2011.
Roddick has been injury prone over the last couple of seasons on tour. He does not want to disrespect the game that has given him so much by just playing and not giving his all out effort, while his ranking continues to drop.
“With the way body feels, with the way that I’m able to feel like I’m able to compete now, I don’t know that it’s good enough,” Roddick explained. ‘I don’t know that I’ve ever been someone who’s interested in existing on tour. I have a lot of interests and a lot of other things that excite me. I’m looking forward to those.”
Roddick did things on his terms and his retirement was no different. Roddick is as honest a player on tour as there is and if he does not like something he will let you know it. Most notably how Roddick and the other players handled the situation last year at the U.S. Open when Hurricane Irene damaged the court. Roddick led the charge to make sure player safety was the main priority. He believes tennis needs a union to for fight for their rights like other sports do.
Roddick mentioned that he would like to focus on his radio show and the youth tennis and learning center his foundation being built in his hometown of Austin, Texas. Considering Roddick is known for expressing his opinion on and off the court, a second career in sports media would be the perfect fit for him.
We do not know when Roddick’s last match will be at the U.S. Open, but we do know Roddick has left a great mark on American tennis for many years to come.