Australian Open 2012: Andy Roddick Retires with Injury in Second Round

Andrew Kulha@@AKonSportsSenior Analyst IIIJanuary 19, 2012

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - JANUARY 19:  Andy Roddick of the USA is looked at by medical staff before retiring in his second round match against Lleyton Hewitt of Australia during day four of the 2012 Australian Open at Melbourne Park on January 19, 2012 in Melbourne, Australia.  (Photo by Quinn Rooney/Getty Images)
Quinn Rooney/Getty Images

Andy Roddick is no longer a major factor in the sport of tennis.

It’s time to officially point that out, accept it and move on.

Is he still a big name? Yes. Is he still going to be a big draw as somebody that even casual fans will recognize and tune in for? Yes.

He’s still the United States’ biggest male tennis name and representative for the time being, and he’s still marketable, but you’d be deceiving yourself if you believe he still has what it takes to hang with the elite of the game.

He’s no longer in that category, and his latest bow out from the Australian Open would suggest that his career is fading away sooner rather than later. ESPN.com reports that Roddick had to retire after three sets in his second-round match with Lleyton Hewitt:

Andy Roddick retired after three sets of his second-round match against Lleyton Hewitt at the Australian Open on Thursday.

Australian wild-card entry Hewitt was leading the contest between two former No. 1-ranked players 3-6, 6-3, 6-4 when Roddick called for the doctor and trainer in the break after the third set.

Roddick had fallen to the court during the first set but continued despite being in obvious pain. The nature of Roddick's injury was unclear.

This very well could be the beginning of the end for the American—who will turn 30 this year, mind you.

The rest of the men’s tennis world is getting younger and more powerful, while he is getting older and weaker.

It’s not a good combination, but it’s a reality that Roddick is going to have to face, as will his fans.

At least, if anything, he'll most likely still be a very entertaining press conference, but that's what he is being reduced to.

Consider that the world’s current No. 1 player, Novak Djokovic, is only 24 years old, and his greatest competitor and fellow superstar, Rafael Nadal, is just 25.

These two aren’t even scratching the surface of the primes of their respective careers yet, and they are already dominating the game.

One of the biggest storylines in tennis in the past year or two has been the drop off of Roger Federer due to his age, and many have considered him to be the best tennis player in the world.

It’s rather obvious that even Federer is having issues struggling with the young and athletic stars of the game, so imagine the challenges that Roddick is facing.

The new faces of tennis continue to get younger, stronger and more talented. As the new guard takes its place, the old guard must give up theirs.

It’s not a thing of disrespect; it’s just the reality of sports.

As they continue to get better, Roddick will continue to slip away.

This is just a reminder of that fast-approaching reality.

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