By Richard Pagliaro, Tennis.com
Andy Roddick announced on Thursday that he'll retire after the U.S. Open. With that in mind, we looked back at the American's career for his five most memorable moments:
In a powerful performance that saw him surrender only six first-serve points, Roddick rolled over reigning Roland Garros champion Juan Carlos Ferrero to claim the U.S. Open crown in his first Grand Slam final.
Slamming successive aces to reach triple-championship point, Roddick reached back and ripped his 22nd ace of the day that served as an emphatic exclamation point to a Grand Slam declaration.
The 2000 U.S. Open boys' champion joined Stefan Edberg as only the second man to sweep singles titles at the U.S. Open as a junior and adult, and fulfilled a vow he made as a nine-year-old fan visiting the Open for the first time -- to move down from the cheap seats and be a part of the action.
“I came to this tournament so many times when I was a little kid and just watched from way up there,” said Roddick, whose eyes welled with tears. “I’m in disbelief now, to be honest."
Red, white and blue confetti rained down on the American squad -- a patriotic Portland shower -- while fans chanted “USA! USA!” after Roddick and teammates James Blake, Mike Bryan, and Bob Bryan led the United States to its record-extending 32nd Davis Cup championship with a 4-1 victory over defending champion Russia.
Roddick posted an undefeated record during the 2007 Davis Cup season to help the Americans recapture the Cup and fulfill a dream he set as a 10-year-old kid: Back then, he waved a miniature U.S. flag while cheering the “Dream Team” of Andre Agassi, Pete Sampras, Jim Courier, and John McEnroe to victory in the 1994 Davis Cup final over Switzerland in Fort Worth, Texas.
“To be here and bring the Cup back to the States is an amazing feeling. But more important, just to share the journey with these guys, it's just been so much fun,” said Roddick after joyous teammates doused each other with beer inside the arena. “For us to have our moment, I feel like we really do deserve it. We've been the ultimate team, and it's just been a blast and it's been an honor to be a part of that.”
The most agonizing defeat of Roddick’s career denied him his Wimbledon dream, but earned him respect for the class he displayed in the aftermath.
The second-ranked Federer broke a resolute Roddick for the first time all day in the last game of the longest-ever fifth set of a Grand Slam final. Roddick nearly took the racquet out of Federer's hands in an imposing serving display that saw the American hold serve an astounding 37 straight times. Throwing down thunderous serves, Roddick, who entered the match with a 26-4 tiebreak record on the season, held four set points in the second-set tiebreaker for a two-set lead. On the fourth set point, Roddick, catching his opponent leaning slightly to his left, attacked behind a forehand down the line and was in prime position to knock off a volley for a two-set lead. Then, in a moment the American may rue the rest of his days, he botched a backhand volley well wide, and with it went his best chance of the day. Moments later, Federer erupted in a lion's roar, snatching the second set after his sixth consecutive winning point.
“We're human. We're not Cyborgs,” Roddick said summing up his lost opportunity. “At that point, like everything else, there's two options: you lay down or you keep going. The second option sounded better to me.”
4. 2003 U.S. Open semifinals: Roddick d. David Nalbandian, 6-7 (4), 3-6, 7-6 (7), 6-1, 6-3
A resilient Roddick fought off a match point in the third-set tie breaker and rode a then career-best 38 aces to stage a furious comeback and reach his first major final.
Down 5-6 in the breaker, Roddick unloaded a massive 138 M.P.H. service winner, then ripped a 136 M.P.H. ace to take a 7-6 lead before sealing the set on a forehand volley. Nalbandian tamed some of tennis’ top servers in successive victories over Wimbledon finalist Mark Philippoussis, Wimbledon winner Federer, and Australian Open quarterfinalist Younes El Aynaoui en route to the semifinals, but Roddick refused to go down.
"I thought I had a little bit more in the tank than he did because to his disadvantage, he’s had to play a couple more matches in the last couple days than I have," Roddick said. "So I tried to keep fighting. The crowd was awesome."
Years before John Isner and Nicolas Mahut obliterated tennis’ longevity record, Roddick and El Aynaoui produce a five-hour epic for the ages in what was the longest match ever played at the Australian Open.
A war of wills escalated in the 10th game of the final set, when El Aynaoui earned a match point, but the American boldly blasted an inside-out forehand winner to save it and extend his stay. Exhaustion turned to exhilaration when Roddick finally triumphed to earn a spot in his first Grand Slam semifinal. When it was over, the players engaged in an emotional embrace in a mutual show of respect.
“I’m humbled by this victory,” said Roddick, who showed his sense of humor under pressure in handing his racquet to a ball kid to play a point while he took a break late in the match.
The effort from both players is even more remarkable considering both prevailed in gripping fourth-round marathon matches. Roddick rallied from a two-set deficit to defeat Mikhail Youzhny, 6-7 (4), 3-6, 7-5, 6-3, 6-2, and the 31-year-old El Aynaoui upset top-seeded Lleyton Hewitt, 6-7 (4), 7-6 (4), 7-6 (5), 6-4.