The 2012 U.S. Open marked the end of the road for America’s number one tennis star, Andy Roddick. Having cruised through the first three rounds of the tournament, the former world champion fell prey to Argentina’s Del Potro in the fourth round.
Roddick began playing tennis at a very young age and never stopped. He was a quick learner, and by the time he reached high school, Andy decided that he wanted to go into professional tennis. Having won several junior titles by the end of the decade, he became world number one in the junior rankings. With 13 junior world titles under his belt, Roddick was ready to enter the professional circuit.
In 2000, Roddick entered the world of professional tennis and, soon enough, the wins started to come his way. Beating former champions and high-seeded opponents, Roddick climbed up the ladder to success rather quickly.
Roddick’s major breakthrough though came in the 2003 U.S. Open. After being two sets and a match point down in the semi-finals against Argentinian David Nalbandian, Roddick came back in the game by breaking Nalbandian, winning the third set and, eventually, the game. After that there was no looking back. He then went on to win the tournament, becoming the youngest American, at age 21, to hold the title of number one.
In the 13 years he spent playing professionally, Roddick played and defeated some of the greatest players the game has ever seen, including Andre Agassi, Pete Sampras, Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal, and Roger Federer.
Roddick ended his career in Flushing Meadows, the same place he won his first (and last) Grand Slam title. Like most other players, Roddick got extremely emotional while speaking his heart out to the crowd after the match. Several times he had to stop talking for a couple of seconds in order to control his outburst of emotion.
The American audience was showing its encouragement by constantly applauding him through his speech.
With tears in his eyes, he choked, “Playing the last five games was pretty hard. Once I got down a break, I could barely look at my [guest] box. I’m a little overwhelmed right now. I normally feel like I can grasp things pretty quickly and clearly. I certainly don’t feel that way right now.”
Even though he saw some pretty rough times in his career, Roddick never let things get to him. He always persevered and found his way back to the top. Recently, however, many believe that he was getting out of shape with several injuries and losing confidence owing to upsetting losses. Roddick seemed to put all this behind him and also reinforce the spirit of the game when he remarked, despite his rough times, “I’ve loved every minute of it.”
When asked about his thoughts on Roddick’s retirement avid tennis fan John McMahon ’15 said, “He was one of the best players I had seen. His serves especially were nearly unbeatable. I don’t know if we’ll be able to find a replacement for him that easily.”
America has lost one of its greatest sportsmen. His absence has definitely left a void in U.S. tennis, one that hopefully will be filled by rising talents in the years to come.
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