Andy Roddick of the USA ends his career with a four-set loss to Juan Martin del Potro at the U.S. Open. Fitting, perhaps, as Roddick was the last U.S. man standing at the majors so often in the last decade.
Roddick, who announced last week that this would be his final tournament, fell to the 2009 U.S. Open champ in four sets, 6-7 (7-1), 7-6 (7-4), 6-2, 6-4.
He didn’t have quite enough against the 23-year-old del Potro, who picked up his game in the second set and showed too much firepower for the 30-year-old Roddick.
The match was suspended Tuesday night by rain at 1-1 in the first-set tiebreak. Roddick
Roddick had battled injuries throughout the last few years, saying in his retirement announcement he didn’t believe he could put in the work required to stay at the top of the game, and that he “didn’t want to coast home.”
The emotions began to flow for Roddick late in the fourth set, as the end neared. Andy they did for Roddick’s wife, model and actress Brooklyn Decker, who was crying behind her sunglasses.
At the end, after a Roddick forehand on match point sailed wide, Roddick embraced del Potro at the net, got a pat on the head from the umpire, soaked up the applause of the crowd, and then headed into retirement.
Roddick won the U.S. Open juniors in 2000 and soon the brash-talking, big-hitting Nebraska native was rising the ranks and showing off a quick-step firepower on serve few had encountered before.
A year later Roddick beat Juan Carlos Ferrero of Spain in the U.S. Open final and finished the year atop the rankings.
Sampras retired in 2003, and Agassi played on until 2006. But it was clear by mid-decade it was Roddick’s show — and he put on a good one.
He battled the likes of Marat Safin, Lleyton Hewitt, Rafael Nadal and mostly Roger Federer, his longtime nemesis. Federer beat him in the 2006 U.S. Open final and three more times at Wimbledon (2004-05, ’09), the last a 16-14 fifth-set defeat.
The loss was devastating, but public appreciation for the no-nonsense, hardworking Roddick reached a new high.
Detractors will point to the obvious — Roddick will finish up his career with one Grand Slam title.
But the body of work is hall-of-fame worthy: four other major finals, the year-end No. 1 ranking (2003), a Davis Cup championship (2007), nine consecutive years in the top 10 (2001-2009) and 12 years running with at least one ATP Tour title.