Andy Roddick made his 30th birthday a memorable one with the announcement of his retirement, sending shockwaves around the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center.
After 12 years in the professional circuit, 31 titles, the No. 1 ranking and a Grand Slam title, Roddick believes that he is not “healthy enough or committed enough to go another year” according to Associated Press via ESPN.
Roddick has been the most consistent American man in the last decade, carrying much of the expectations. His career will be defined by his hard work and effort both on and off the court.
Let's look back at the 10 most memorable matches Roddick was a part of as another chapter in American tennis closes.
This was a battle of young guns with Lleyton Hewitt, a top 10 player, and Roddick, emerging onto the tennis scene having won the 2000 US Open junior title. This match featured massive hitting from the baseline and Roddick was trying to come back after being down two sets to one.
However, an overrule by the chair umpire in the ninth game of the fourth set caused Roddick’s emotions to give the match away to Hewitt.
The two would meet on 13 other occasions, with a head-to-head at seven apiece.
Roddick came into the 2009 Australian Open with a new coach, new body (dropping 15 lbs over the break) and new determination after a subpar 2008 season.
It certainty showed against defending champ and No. 3 seed Novak Djokovic, storming back after dropping the opening set. Djokovic retired with heat exhaustion after losing the next two sets, giving Roddick his first semifinal appearance at a Slam since the 2007 Australian Open.
Although Roddick would lose to Roger Federer pretty convincingly in the next round, this match was foreshadowing the 2009 resurgence Roddick experienced.
Roddick was the Davis Cup hero for the American team during the 2000's, with a 33-12 win/loss record. He was dubbed by his teammates as “The Closer.”
Roddick’s hard work was rewarded in 2007 when the U.S. clinched the Davis Cup for the first time in 12 years, largely because of Roddick's presence.
Going into this Master Series quarterfinal against Roger Federer, Roddick had won one match out of their 16 meetings. With the loud American crowd behind him, Roddick defeated Federer for the first time since 2003.
Five years later, Roddick reignited the same magic in Miami, defeating Federer in three sets, in what is most likely their final meeting.
As the 2006 summer hard court series began, Roddick knew he needed to regroup after falling outside the top 10 for the first time since 2002. He had just been ousted early at Wimbledon by a young Andy Murray (who was at the time being coached by Brad Gilbert, Roddick’s former coach), and needed some wins before the US Open. Roddick hired Jimmy Connors and saw success in Cincinnati, winning his second title there.
Avenging his early US Open loss from a year ago, Roddick stormed through the draw defeating old foes, Fernando Verdasco, Lleyton Hewitt and Mikhail Youzhny to reach his second US Open final. Roddick played with his firepower, however, still succumbed to Federer in four sets.
The stage was set. Under the lights of Arthur Ashe stadium was a blockbuster and rematch of the 2006 final, Roddick vs. Federer.
For the majority of the match, Roddick could not have played better tennis. He gave all he had, taking his big serves, forehands and volleys to Federer, but couldn’t catch a break. Federer also played his best that night, stopping Roddick in straight sets.
Roddick looked down and out against David Nalbandian on a Super Saturday that had already seen American great Andre Agassi bowing out to Juan Carlos Ferrero.
Roddick was down two sets and match point to Nalbandian, but somehow dug himself out winning the tiebreak and the next two sets convincingly. That match propelled Roddick to his first and only Slam.
The fifth set that kept on going; Roddick and Younes El Aynaoui battled it out in the hot Australian night for five hours. Roddick came out the winner at the end, 21 games to 19.
The fifth set lasted more than two hours, and after a long rally, both winded players handed their racquets to the ball kids, where they went on to play a point, giving Roddick and El Aynaoui time to recover. A lot of respect was shown during this match, and the two embraced in a hug once the match was over.
This match later became a breakthrough for Roddick, reaching his first major semifinal.
A backhand volley is what separated Andy Roddick from a Wimbledon title. Overhitting that ball let Federer back into the match and denied Roddick a two sets to love lead.
The other amazing stat of the match? Roddick had the misfortune of being broken only once, at 14-15 in the final set, giving Federer his 15th Grand Slam title.
However, Roddick won a lot of fans that day in both the U.S. and Great Britain, as his name was chanted several times during the trophy ceremony.
Ultimately, this is what Roddick will be remember for, his Grand Slam title. It came at a time when a new generation of players were emerging along with Roddick, including Roger Federer, Lleyton Hewitt and Juan Carlos Ferrero.
Roddick shined in his first major final, dispatching Ferrero after narrowly escaping David Nalbandian in the semifinals. Fittingly, match point was an ace down the “T.”
All and all, Roddick had the summer to remember in 2003, winning the North American double in Montréal and Cincinnati, in addition to his first US Open title, something Federer has failed to achieve.