Andy Roddick announced yesterday on his 30th birthday that the US Open would be the final tournament of his 13 year professional tennis career.
“I don’t know that I’m healthy enough or committed enough to go another year,” Roddick said at a press conference at Flushing Meadows yesterday.
“I’ve always wanted to, in a perfect world, finish at this event.”
After all, it is the US Open that holds much nostalgia for the American for it is was this tournament where he won his one and only grand slam back in 2003 in his total 32 career titles. It was then that he had also achieved the pinnacle ranking of number one in the world come the end of the same year.
It was his consistently hard and powerful serve that, quite ironically, ‘served’ as his greatest weapon over the years, posing as the ultimate challenge to his opponents who fought with difficulty to return the ball rocketing down speedily from the other side of the net. Roddick served the 155 miles per hour (251 kilometres per hour) record breaking serve in a Davis Cup match against Vladimir Voltchkovon on September 24, 2004; a record which held for a commendable number of years until it was broken by Australian Sam Groth just earlier this year.
Very much renowned for his preference towards the hard court surface, he has taken victory in 76% of his total matches played on hard courts. His success upon this surface only faltered at the heightened competition posed by the almighty Roger Federer and the successive rise of more versatile players such as Nadal, Djokovic and Murray. Together they significantly raised the bar, setting a new standard for men’s tennis.
Roddick sustained a battering track record of injuries throughout his career including hamstring, shoulder, back, neck, foot and knee problems. He did not however allow this to fatigue his play until more recent times as he held a top 10 year-end position for nine consecutive years between 2000 and 2009.
Roddick is rather benevolent and passionate in his charity work. He formed the Andy Roddick Foundation (ARF) in 2001 where his focus was very much on the organisation’s objective in “Serving Children Today for Tomorrow” and he has since raised over $9 million for charity.
He also went on to establish the Andy Roddick Youth tennis program which has given disadvantaged kids in San Antonio, Texas the opportunity to play the sport that he holds so dearly close to his heart, as well as the potential to take part in a scholarship program.
“Andy is one of the greatest competitors this game has ever seen, and his presence at the top of the men’s game for more than a decade is a testament to his talent and determination,” ATP executive chairman and president Brad Drewett said in a statement in light of Roddick’s decision to retire.
Roddick is presently set to face Australian youth Bernard Tomic in the second round of the US Open but regardless of whether or not this match will be his last, when the time does come for him to leave the stadium for the last time, he will leave an American tennis legend who will be remembered for many years to come for his admirable contribution to the sport of tennis.