Andy Roddick has announced that he will retire after the 2012 U.S. Open.
The American tennis star made the announcement at Flushing Meadows on his 30th birthday, telling reporters, "I'll make this short and sweet: I've decided that this is going to be my last tournament.''
The winner of the 2003 U.S. Open and the standard bearer for American men's tennis after Pete Sampras and Andre Agassi left the game, Roddick defeated Rhyne Williams in his opening match in Queens. Ranked 22nd in the world according to the ATP and seeded 20th in the tournament, Roddick is set to face Bernard Tomic in a second-round match on Friday night.
"I think I wanted an opportunity to say goodbye to people, as well," Roddick said during the press conference. "I don't know how tomorrow's going to go, and I hope it goes well, and I'm sticking around."
As noted by Matt Cronin of Tennis.com, Roddick has won two small tournaments this season but fared poorly at the larger tournaments. Novak Djokovic throttled him in the second round at the London 2012 Olympics just weeks after coming up short against David Ferrer in the third round at Wimbledon.
During the press conference to announce his impending retirement, Roddick referred back to his thoughts at the All-England club after that loss to Ferrer.
"Walking off at Wimbledon I felt like I knew. I couldn't imagine myself being there another year," Roddick revealed.
Perhaps Roddick's most memorable match occurred on the grassy surface at Wimbledon in 2009 when he played an all-time classic against Roger Federer. The epic, see-saw final culminated in a 16-14 fifth set that went to Federer. It was the third time that Roddick would lose in the final at Wimbledon, all of those losses came to Federer.
Noting that the "casual fan may regard Roddick an underachiever," Jon Wertheim of Sports Illustrated pointed out the bad luck of the hard-serving American as he had to share so many draws with likes of Federer, Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic.
Not long after his triumph at the '03 U.S. Open, Roddick became the youngest American to attain the No. 1 ATP ranking, per his official website. Barring a win at the Open, which the crowd in New York will certainly be hoping for, Roddick will retire with 32 career titles.
With his high-speed serve and fast wit, Roddick endeared himself to fans and media. Of course, chair umpires may have felt differently, due to his not-so-infrequent disagreements with their decisions. Roddick hosted "Saturday Night Live" and remained a prominent personality on the ATP Tour even as his forays into the later rounds of the grand slams became less frequent.
"If I do run into some emotions tomorrow or in four days, I don't want people to think I'm a little unstable. Or more unstable," said Roddick on Thursday during his announcement, poking fun at his penchant for outbursts "So that's why I came to this decision."
Enrico C. Meyer