11/30/12 7:42 AM | Ricky Dimon
The 2012 season saw the end of the road for several prominent ATP players. Tennistalk first bids farewell to former world No. 1 Andy Roddick.
Andy Roddick wasn't exactly contending for Grand Slam titles like Bjorn Borg, but he was still relatively near the top of the game when his retirement announcement came in abrupt fashion during the U.S. Open. Roddick won two of his last seven tournaments, capturing titles on the grass courts of Eastbourne and the hard courts of Atlanta. But the 30-year-old American was not willing to put in 100 percent--as he always did--for the entirety of another year; not when his best was never going to be good enough for the next generation.
A look back at Roddick's career:
Career-high ranking: 1
Grand slam titles: 1
Grand slam finals: 5
ATP titles: 32
Biggest win: 2003 U.S. Open final (d. Juan Carlos Ferrero 6-3, 7-6(2), 6-3)
Roddick was ranked seventh in the world during the first week of August in 2003. He finished it at No. 1 in the world. The rapid ascension can be attributed mostly to his first and only Grand Slam title. Another rain-delayed U.S. Open allowed Ferrero to face a worn-out Andre Agassi in the semifinals, paving the way for the Spaniard's berth in the final. Although Ferrero climbed to No. 1 following the U.S. Open, he was a heavy underdog on a fast hard court against America's rising star. Roddick took care of business before breaking down in tears after striking a clinching ace.
Most heartbreaking loss: 2009 Wimbledon final (l. to Roger Federer 5-7, 7-6(6), 7-6(5), 3-6, 16-14)
Roddick had already finished runner-up to Federer twice at Wimbledon, in 2004 and 2005. His 2009 loss would have been devastating enough even without being cloaked in such a haunting context, but the circumstances made it almost unbearable for even the most conservative of Roddick fans. Leading by a set, the underdog had a sitting backhand volley at 6-5 in the second-set tiebreaker. Roddick botched it, lost his chance to lead by two sets, and eventually went down after a gut-wrenching fifth set that required 30 games to complete.
Last match: 2012 U.S. Open fourth round (l. to Juan Martin Del Potro 6-7(1), 7-6(4), 6-2, 6-4)
After announcing his retirement, Roddick scored two emotional wins at the Billie Jean King National Tennis Center--site of his greatest triumph. He crushed Bernard Tomic, won a far more entertaining affair with good friend Fabio Fognini, then tried his best for what would have been a minor miracle against Del Potro. Roddick won the first set in a tiebreaker, but after losing the second in another 'breaker, a body that was already breaking down could stand up to an in-form Argentine. Del Potro, who also ended Marat Safin's career in 2009, sent Roddick off into the sunset with a four-set victory.
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