Andy Roddick, possibly the wittiest tennis player of the past decade or so has called it quits. Without any drama or effect, he announced few days before, “I will make this short and sweet. I have decided that this is going to be my last tournament”.
They say that Roddick is a player who never lived up to his potential. They even say that he is the greatest underachiever of the recent past. But, what Andy Roddick was, is a simple case of bad timing.
The year was 2003. American Tennis fans had another reason to celebrate. The then 21-year old Andy Roddick won his first Grandslam tournament at the Flushing Meadows. Just a few weeks after that, Roddick became the first American other than Pete Sampras and Andre Agassi to become the World No.1 since 1993.
Just 13 weeks after Andy Roddick became the World No.1, the ranking was taken by Roger Federer who held to it for an amazing four and a half years! Ever since then, only Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic have had the distinction of holding that tag. It is going to be 10 years! Only three World No.1′s in ten years tell you a story – A story of domination, a story of a golden era and sadly, the story of Andy Roddick.
Ever since that 2003 US Open finals, 35 Grand Slam finals have been played. 32 of them have been won by the trio of Federer, Nadal and Djokovic. In that 35, Roddick made it to the finals four times, and lost each time to the genius of Roger Federer.
Andre Agassi puts it very diligently,
“I feel very bad for anybody that’s come along in the era of arguably the three greatest tennis players of all-time,”
“Certainly in my opinion, one of them is the greatest player of all-time. You could certainly make some comprehensive arguments across the board that history will judge this era as the Golden Age in tennis. That’s quite a standard to live up to in quite an era of tennis.”
Andy Roddick, in my opinion, should not be remembered for what he was not. Roddick won 32 ATP titles, more than 20 Million dollars in prize money, he dated Maria Sharapova and married Brooklyn Decker.
And quite frankly, he was not that bad in the tennis court. People who remember Andy Roddick will remember that 2009 Wimbledon Finals. It was probably his greatest chance to win a Wimbledon trophy. Roddick was not outclassed, he was not outplayed, he simply lost. The way in which he stood there, holding his serve and fending off Federer was nothing short of heroic. He lost, but he didn’t moan. He kept his chin high. He always did.
Andy Roddick may not be the greatest player of this generation but he was self possessed, he was sure of himself and had the quickest of wits that tennis conferences have ever seen. People asked him if he had any regrets with his career, Roddick replied “Hey, I got to play.”
And as Phil Taylor of Sports Illustrated puts it, “Andy Roddick, You’re 30 yrs old, healthy, wealthy and married to Brooklyn Decker. You haven’t retired. You’ve gone to heaven.”