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Following a tearful goodbye earlier in the year at Wimbledon, Andy Roddick formally announced his retirement on Thursday.
For many, the announcement that Andy Roddick would be retiring did not come as a surprise. Not only did the recent injury history, lack of success and declining skill hint at a retirement, but when he teared up and bowed to the fans at Wimbledon, everyone pretty much knew what was coming.
There is a lot that can be and has been said about Roddick and his career. Some say he is a failure, having only won one major. Others say he is one of the best tennis players from the U.S. Some still claim he was born into the wrong era, and that had Federer not existed, he would have won at least four majors in his career.
Say what you want about the 30-year-old American—who tastefully chose his birthday to make the big announcement—but what can't be denied is what he meant to an American generation longing for a successor to greats like Andre Agassi and Pete Sampras.
Marked with some controversy and no doubt fiery passion for the sport he so loved, Roddick will probably also be remembered for the pressure that was on him.
For years, he carried the hopes and dreams of an entire nation squarely on his shoulders. As a result, his every move was scrutinized. Had there been other Americans winning Grand Slam titles at the time, maybe Roddick wouldn't have taken so much heat for just being able to win one in 12 years.
At the Davis Cup, he was a U.S. hero and perhaps one of the best of all time to ever play the event. His record of 30-0 in singles and 12-0 in clinching matches was part of the reason why his American teammates looked to him. Whether they were younger or older, Roddick was the guy. He was American tennis.
Bruce Jenkins of Sports Illustrated reported that Roddick explained why he was retiring. Roddick said:
I don't know if I'm healthy enough or committed enough to go another year. Just the way my body feels, the way I'm able to compete, I don't feel it's good enough. Whatever my faults have been, I've always felt like I've never done anything halfway. I don't want to disrespect the game by coasting home.
Love him or hate him, tennis is losing a great competitor, personality and ambassador of the game with Roddick's retirement.