US Open Tennis 2012: What Andy Roddick's Retirement Means for American Tennis
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Instead of celebrating his 30th birthday on Thursday, Roddick surprised the tennis world by announcing his impending retirement after his exit at the 2012 U.S. Open.
Roddick's legacy seemed like it was predetermined as he was thrust into the spotlight in 2003 and forced to follow the two most decorated champions in American men's tennis history in Pete Sampras and Andre Agassi.
Reality of Andy Roddick's retirement could have come as early as Friday, when he faced Australian Bernard Tomic, however, retirement has to wait another day as Roddick sent the youngster packing in a 6-3, 6-4, 6-0 clinic.
Love him or hate him, Roddick's imminent departure from American men's tennis is sure to leave a big void that will not be filled immediately.
The weight of his retirement means a few different things for American tennis.
American's effort of play won't be the same
For a guy who was forced to live in the shadow of Sampras and Agassi, Roddick was the headliner of American tennis in the effort category.
He always played with 120 percent effort, and despite the fact that he was sometimes outplayed by more talented opponents, he was never outworked or outhustled.
If there were championships given for exuded effort, Roddick would be king.
He eloquently highlighted the importance of effort in his press conference as he explained why he would be stepping away.
"I've always felt like I've never done anything halfway. … I don't know that I wanted to disrespect the game by coasting home."
His desire and intensity to win was always unmatched and is something that tennis fans aren't likely to see from Americans in a long time.
Who's going to always be there now?
Roddick was constantly ridiculed by the media for winning only one major in his career, but often overlooked, is that he spent nine consecutive years in the top 10.
No American male out there today can say that they are even close to equaling that feat.
With a clear understanding that he was a victim of a great era in men's tennis, Roddick was humble in his longevity of solid play.
"I was pretty good for a pretty long time."
Post-match interviews will never be the same
Sometimes, Roddick's best performances were saved for the media.
His wit and charm enabled him to have the capability and impulsiveness of being endearing, funny, angry or sarcastic at the drop of a hat.
For as many memorable moments he gave us between the lines, he has just as many indelible ones in his post-match interviews.
Roddick's retirement means that American's relationship with the media will never be as entertaining as it was with him.
Check out Roddick's funniest moments outside the lines.
Ultimately, Andy Roddick leaves American tennis in the unstable hands of guys who haven't proven themselves worthy of carrying the American torch.
John Isner has just cracked the top 10 for the first time this year, Ryan Harrison and Jack Sock still have a lot of developing to do, Mardy Fish is a veteran with a laundry list of injuries and Sam Query can't sustain great tennis for any significant amount of time.
One thing is certain, the next man to put American tennis on his back will have a lot less to live up to than what Roddick had to undertake after being the successor to Sampras and Agassi.
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