August 30, 2012 by kujhawk
It is the end of an era in American tennis. Today, on his 30th birthday, 2003 U.S. Open champion Andy Roddick announced that he will retire after this year’s U.S. Open.
The announcement came after Roddick called a press conference this afternoon after his workout.
“I didn’t see it coming this quickly, I’m going to miss him,” ESPN analyst Mary Joe Fernandez said.
For almost a decade, Roddick was the top-ranked American man. He was a Davis Cup team member from 2001-2009 and in 2011; leading the team to victory in 2007. He is also the last American man to win a grand slam championship – the 2003 U.S. Open title which he won over Juan Carlos Fererro at just 21 years-old.
“I have decided that this is going to be my last tournament,” Roddick said. “I don’t know if I’m healthy enough or committed enough to continue another year.
Roddick was very calm during his announcement. Surprisingly so, he told reporters.
“I think I used up all the tears earlier,” he said.
Now, young players like John Isner and Ryan Harrison will have to lead the next wave of American talent on the tennis court.
“John, he’s ready,” Roddick said. “Ryan will continue to get better, and I still live four miles from him, so I’ll still kick his ass,” Roddick said with a laugh.
It seems that Roddick is going out on his own terms – not wanting to see his ranking and level of play fall as he gets older and struggles with injuries.
“I don’t know if I’m healthy enough or committed enough to continue another year,” Roddick said “For 13, 14 years, I was invested fully. … I have been pretty good about keeping my nose to the grindstone. I feel like I’ve won a lot of matches by being consistent.”
It was that consistency that helped Roddick end 2003 as the number one ranked player in the world – the last American to hold that distinction. It also helped him reach five major finals in his career. He was a three-time finalist at Wimbledon in 2004,05 and 09, and was a finalist at the U.S. Open in 2006 after his title there in 2003.
Roddick’s tennis resume certainly seems to be hall of fame worthy, but the debates can come later, Roddick is still in the tournament. Roddick said he hopes he can make a run this year like the run Jimmy Connors made in 1991, when the 39 year-old made it all the way to the semifinals.
“I wish I had a choice,” Roddick said when asked if he thought he could make a deep run. “I hope I’m sticking around.”
Roddick plays Bernard Tomic of Australia tomorrow night on Arthur Ashe court in Flushing Meadows, New York. If it does turn out to be his last match, lets hope it’s a good one.
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