Thursday, September 6, 2012
Roddick said goodbye to tennis after losing to Delpo at US Open
Andy Roddick was beaten 6-7 (1), 7-6 (4), 6-2, 6-4 by Juan Martin del Potro in the fourth round of the 2012 US Open.
This was the American´s last professional tennis match as he announced a few days ago that he was retiring.
"If we do badly, then it costs us something; if we do well, we get great things. This was about something bigger. It wasn't about ranking points or paychecks or anything else," Roddick said. "This week I felt like I was 12 years old, playing in a park. It was extremely innocent. That was fun. I enjoyed it."
Roddick received a standing ovation at the end of the match by the fans and del Potro, who joined in, rising from his changeover chair to applaud.
The Argentine showed great respect for Andy and the crowd as he didn´t want to say much after the encounter giving the microphone to the 2003 champion allowing him to enjoy his last moments with his local fans.
"Playing the last five games was pretty hard. Once I got down a break, I could barely look at my (guest) box," Roddick said. "I don't know what the emotions are. I'm a little overwhelmed right now. I normally feel like I can grasp things pretty quickly and clearly. I certainly don't feel that way right now."
During an on-court address to the crowd, Roddick got choked up, particularly when making a reference to his longtime agent, Ken Meyerson, who died last year.
He began by saying: "Oh, wow. For the first time in my career, I'm not sure what to say."
"Since I was a kid, I've been coming to this tournament. I felt lucky just to sit where all of you are sitting today, to watch this game, to see the champions that have come and gone," Roddick told the fans. "I've loved every minute of it."
"It's been a road of a lot of ups, a lot of downs, a lot of great moments. I've appreciated your support along the way," Roddick told the crowd. "I know I certainly haven't made it easy for you at times, but I really do appreciate it and love you guys with all my heart. Hopefully I'll come back to this place someday and see all of you again."
Roddick won a junior title in New York, then the 2003 men's trophy at age 21, allowing him to end that season No. 1 in the ATP rankings.
Roddick finished with a record of 612-213. He won 32 tournament titles and led the United States to the 2007 Davis Cup championship.
"People always try to beat him up: 'You should have won more.' No, he got the maximum out of his game," said Roddick's coach, Larry Stefanki. "He's a man of his word. A phenomenal competitor. He got all the hard work in. He prepared. He was a true professional. And he learned a lot over the years. He did it the right way. He's a first-vote Hall of Famer, no doubt in my mind. He can downplay that all he wants, but it's not even close, in my opinion."
Roddick resumed the match, which was suspended the night before because of rain, by taking the opening set in the tie break.
The second set also went into a tie breaker but del Potro took control of it to level the match in one set apiece.
The Argentine broke to begin the third set, he then broke again for a 3-0 lead and never looked back.
Roddick felt behind 3-2 in the fourth and the rest of the way was a chance for fans to salute a guy who always wore his emotions on his sleeve while being the best U.S. men's tennis player for about a decade.
"It was tough," admitted Roddick during the press conference. "Once he kind of got up there in that match it was a different set of circumstances than my previous matches. Then you start thinking about how real it is and a lot of thoughts go through your head.
"You're thinking about matches you're playing when you're 12 or I was thinking about my mom driving me to practices all over the place. You just think about a million things. Then all of a sudden you have to play a point against one of the best players in the world. It certainly was a mixed bag there at the end."
One of tennis’ strongest personalities, Roddick also joked about the significance of his final press conference and reminisced on his colourful relationship with the journalists throughout his career.
"I made a joke when [the media staff] came and got me," he said. "I was walking out of the locker room, and I said, 'Man, I think I have more expectation of this press conference than I did the match today.'
"So I think it's at the point now where I look back on rough moments fondly in these rooms. I hope you all do, too. There have certainly been some good ones; there have been some fun ones. There have been some horrible ones both ways, but it wasn't boring."
Del Potro will next play Novak Djokovic, who advanced when Stanislas Wawrinka retired because of illness and fatigue while trailing 6-4, 6-1, 3-1.