Giving tennis more than a shot

Andy Roddick Is Retiring: Tribute To A Colourful And Outspoken Player (with many videos)


This gesture Andy Roddick made after losing to David Ferrer at Wimbledon finally took his real significance, as the American announced his retirement from professional tennis (Photo: Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)


At Wimbledon, many questioned why Andy Roddick made the gesture he made when he left the court, after losing to David Ferrer. Of course, rumours of retirement were quick to appear, but I remember writing that we should never retire a player until he is ready to do so himself.


Yesterday, Andy Roddick was ready. Calling a press conference on his 30th birthday, everyone was questioning, wondering. From just to be presented a birthday cake to withdrawing from the tournament (he’s had various physical issues for a bit, after all) to retiring altogether from tennis, everyone was talking.


At a little past 18:00 in New York, the Nebraska native announced what some hinted for over a year he would, with a very simple sentence:


“I’ll make this short and sweet.  I’ve decided that this is going to be my last tournament.”


Then, of course, came the inevitable question: why?


” I just feel like it’s time.  I don’t know that I’m healthy enough or committed enough to go another year.  I’ve always wanted to, in a perfect world, finish at this event.  I have a lot of family and friends here.  I’ve thought all year that I would know when I got to this tournament.  When I was playing my first round, I knew.”


Did he know, after that Wimbledon last match? In a sense…


“On some big moments this year, I think I’ve known.  You know, walking off at Wimbledon, I felt like I knew.  Playing here, I don’t know what it was.  I couldn’t imagine myself being there in another year.”


Feeling like he couldn’t follow anymore, this fierce competitor has decided to call it quits on his terms, at home, in the same location where he won his only Grand Slam title, back in 2003, when he was but a lad of 21.



Roddick will face Aussie Bernard Tomic in the second round of the U.S. Open tonight, on the Arthur Ashe Stadium, and many, including his great rival Roger Federer, are hoping that he will win and play yet another match.


Many reactions

The announcement of the former World n° 1’s retirement came as a semi-surprise for everyone, and the reactions and comments from fans, journalists, and fellow players were quick to follow.


Before and after his second-round match against Bjorn Phau, current World n° 1 Roger Federer, who had a great (albeit one-sided) rivalry with Roddick, was one of those who had the best words to say about the man from Austin.


From the “I hope you guys are going to make it tough for Tomic” he directed at the Ashe Stadium crowd, to the “He’s got the last laugh, he beat me in Miami this year”, Federer rained compliments on the American, his competitive spirit, his never taking his matches against him for granted because he knew how fierce a competitor he is.


He’s not the only one. Many expressed their sadness at seeing a great champion go, but what came out of it is really not to be sad, but to celebrate Roddick’s accomplishments and what he brought to tennis over the course of his career.


So I decided to celebrate a colourful tennis player, amidst my sadness about seeing him go.


A few numbers

Andy Roddick has been World n° 1 for nine weeks at the end of 2003 and the beginning of 2004, just before the reign of Roger Federer.


Throughout his career, he won 32 singles titles, including the 2003 U.S. Open, and one Davis Cup (2007), but one of his great accomplishments, to me, was his winning at least one title in each of the last 11 years, including two this year.


Something very fitting, in my mind, is Roddick winning his first and last career title at the same tournament, in Atlanta, on clay in 2001 and on hard this year.


What kept him from winning even more titles, especially at Grand Slams, was, I believe, because he is a contemporary of Roger Federer, and then of Rafael Nadal, and now of Novak Djokovic as well. Despite that fact, he’s always had a tremendous relationship with the Swiss, as shows the laughs they had after their exhibition match at the Madison Square Garden last March:



In fact, I don’t think Roddick had a bad relationship with many of his fellow players, which is something we cannot say of everyone.


Colourful and outspoken

As a fan, I admit that Andy Roddick was never a favourite of mine. However, I’ve always admired him for his personality, his sarcasm, his outspokenness, his humour, as well as the entertainment he could bring into a tennis match, although not always for the right reasons.


Of course, his powerful serve remains legend, but his fierce competitive sense was really what marked me the most.


Who can forget his rants at the umpires when things were not going well? In my view, whoever rants at the umpires nowadays have lessons to take from Roddick, a worthy heir of John McEnroe in that regard:



That was really my favourite Roddick rant and tirade, although I really liked his asking permission before breaking a racquet in Madrid last year, as well as Mohamed Lahyani’s reaction to it:



Roddick has also always been very sincere and outspoken with the press, never using any form of “cassette talk”, which made for very interesting and often funny moments, as is depicted in this “best of” video:



I also have some personal favourites, like this press conference in 2008 when Roddick was told of what Novak Djokovic was suffering from and decided to add physical issues to those the journalist was giving him, which never fails to make me laugh:



However, along with all this, I will remember Andy Roddick for that incredible championship point in Memphis, last year, his most spectacular point:




Yes, there is a however, and I will repeat myself: I hope that tonight will not be Andy Roddick’s last match, and that he will go on to get to at least another round in New York.


At least, contrary of Fernando González and Ivan Ljubicic, we are sure to see his last match, which is a big comfort.


Side note

To my count, Andy Roddick is already the ninth ATP player to retire this season, following Fernando González, Ivan Ljubicic, Arnaud Clément, José Acasuso, Juan Pablo Brzezicki, Rainer Schüttler, Conor Niland, and Lionel Noviski.


I’m sad to think that there may be quite a few more at the end of the season, especially considering that those are the players of the same generation as me, and whom I’ve been following for years.


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  1. Carol Carol
    31 August, 2012    

    I think he was a good, hard-working player, but I’ve never thought of him as great. I certainly have never liked him. Scheduling this press conference while play was still happening didn’t make me like him any more, since it’s obvious this would dominate over everything that was going on.

    Despite this, I am hoping that he starts doing commentary, as his intelligence and outspokenness means he wouldn’t be as likely as many current commentators to just cheer for everything an American player does (not that Americans are alone in fawning over their own players — *cough*Raonic*cough* — but they have perfected the artform and we tend to get their broadcasts).

  2. 31 August, 2012    

    Well, at least you have one Canadian here who isn’t fawning over Raonic, for one.

    For two, Roddick isn’t the kind of overly-partisan guy when it comes to analysis. He has a great sense of analysis, which could, if he chooses to pursue in that way, be something really awesome to hear on the air.

    But since you really dislike him, I don’t think that whatever I tell you will change much.

    Just be careful when you put all the eggs in the same basket, though. 😉

  3. Carol Carol
    31 August, 2012    

    I know you aren’t fawning over Raonic. :)

    And I did say that I hope he does some commentary, despite disliking him. Maybe I’ll like him a lot more as a commentator if he chooses to become one. I’d much rather like him than dislike him, or anyone.

  4. 1 September, 2012    

    Seeing Roddick in a commentator’s booth is something I really would like to see, too. Actually, him and Rusty Hewitt as a commentators team, when Rusty hangs his racquet, would just be so nice to listen to!

  5. Carol Carol
    2 September, 2012    

    Oh, there’s a thought!

  6. 2 September, 2012    

    Yeah, and I’m sure they’ll be much better than those who were doing the Fish vs Simon match last night. Never been that disgusted with a team of commentators in my life.

  7. Carol Carol
    3 September, 2012    

    I’d ask what happened — I haven’t been able to watch any matches for the past couple of days due to moving my son back to school — but I don’t want to traumatize you by making you remember it.

  8. 3 September, 2012    

    Don’t worry, I’ve been talking about it with a French journalist, who was as disgusted as I was about it.

    The commentators (don’t know all of them, only Gimelstob on court – so not talking much – and Courier) were talking about Simon’s serve, saying that the “apparently had an injured shoulder”, when it was not “apparently” and he does have an injured shoulder (pulled out of Cincy because of it, and went at the USO because it’s a Slam), which made him serve way below par (90 mph average).

    Then, later in the match, they came back on Gilles’s Wimbledon comments, making snide remarks about if Serena were watching that match, she would be saying to herself, “My second serve is much better than his first serve.” and some such things.

    They really were disgusting and unprofessional.





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