Andy Roddick lost to Juan Martin del Potro in the Round of 16 at the U.S. Open on Wednesday, putting an end to his illustrious career.
The American was defeated 7-6, 6-7, 2-6, 4-6 on Arthur Ashe Stadium court at Flushing Meadows in New York.
Roddick, who declared last Thursday that he would be retiring from tennis after this year's U.S. Open, is the last American male tennis player to win a Grand Slam singles title. In fact, since his 2003 U.S. Open title, he and Andre Agassi are the only American male players to even appear in the finals of a slam.
Roddick finishes with a 612-213 career record, including 32 singles titles and four doubles titles. He went 23-16 this season as the No. 22 player in the world.
More on Roddick's emotional sendoff and farewell to fans, from the New York Post:
[Roddick] sat in his changeover chair, covering his face with a white towel, after sailing a running forehand long on the last point. He choked up during an on-court speech at Arthur Ashe Stadium, telling the crowd, “Oh, wow. For the first time in my career, I’m not sure what to say.”
“Since I was a kid, I’ve been coming to this tournament. I felt lucky just to sit where all of you are sitting today, to watch this game, to see the champions that have come and gone,” Roddick told the fans. “I’ve loved every minute of it.”
Last Thursday's press conference sent shockwaves throughout the tennis community and came as a bit of a surprise. He is retiring at just 30 years of age. On the other hand, he hadn't advanced past a Grand Slam singles quarterfinal since being ousted by Roger Federer in the 2009 Wimbledon final. Federer, Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic have won 29 of the last 30 Grand Slams.
Roddick will always be known as a warrior who battled the greats of this era after following American legends such as Jimmy Connors, John McEnroe, Pete Sampras and Andre Agassi. Despite winning just one Grand Slam singles title, he advanced to the finals at Wimbledon three times and the semifinals of the Australian Open four times.
Roddick also battled back from a series of injuries throughout his career, garnering the respect of the tennis world and showing his dedication and passion for the sport. His commitment, combined with his sense of humor, made him a favorite on the ATP Tour.
The one Grand Slam singles title doesn't tell the story of how much of an impact he truly made on tour in over a decade. The impression he made and the challenges he gave the greats of his generation will never be forgotten.
We can only hope that an American emerges into the upper echelons of men's tennis the way Roddick emerged after his American predecessors.
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