Tennis' Andy Roddick Says Good Bye At Age 30
Andy Roddick left behind the professional tennis court for the last time Wednesday, having lost his match to Juan Martin del Potro( 6-7, 7-6, 6-2, 6-4), but he hasn't lost his place in the history of great American tennis players. It's true that Roddick never lived up to his potential as he retires at age 30—old age in the world of tennis. He won only one Grand Slam, the U.S. Open in 2003. Many say he had the talent to win many more.
They forget he was cursed to come of age at the same time as Switzerland's Roger Federer, the man many consider the best in the game. Roddick would often find himself in the final of a tournament with Federer, only to have his hopes dashed repeatedly. The worst disappointment was at Wimbledon in 2009 when Roddick took Federer to the then-record 16 sets only to lose in a tear-jerker. Most people who know him, say Roddick never got over the shattering career disaster.
This did not mean Roddick did not have a slew of trophies. In 12 years, he won 612 tour singles titles, was in four Grand Slam finals, and he played Davis Cup every year he was uninjured and won that team competition for the USA in 2007.
He was well-liked by his fellow players, despite his punk debut when he was a teenager.
The New York Times quotes Andre Agassi as saying, "In my own eyes I see Andy as a multiple Slam sinner. He's obviously come along in the golden age of tennis and he's had to deal with that, but at the same time, he also has made his own impact. He's created some incredible memories."
One sure memory is his amazing serve, a powerful weapon that is the fastest serve on record (153 mph, recorded at a Davis Cup match).
He knew what a great resource his serve was and took pains not to wear out his shoulder. Yet it was his shoulder that felt like, as he said, "hamburger meat" when he finally succumbed to Del Potro on Wednesday.
This writer immediately gravitated to Roddick at the beginning of his career because he brought excitement to the game. His rocket serve, his fast mode of play, even his early fashion foibles were fun to watch. Later when his then-coach Brad Gilbert calmed him down and nixed the spike hairdos and backward visors, Roddick was still a zooming, lightning flash presence on the court. In an age when Agassi was on his then downward spiral (remember the Brooke Shields era?) and Pete Sampras was, well, boring, Andy was something to watch.Continued on the next page