When the emotional end came to Andy Roddick’s tennis career, it happened with tears in his eyes, childhood memories in his thoughts and a crowd chanting his name at the site of his greatest triumph.
A week past his 30th birthday and his announcement he would retire after the US Open, Roddick’s career concluded on Wednesday when Argentina’s Juan Martin Del Potro defeated the US 20th seed 6-7 (1/7), 7-6 (7/4), 6-2, 6-4 in the fourth round.
“I’m a little overwhelmed,” Roddick said. “I normally feel like I can grasp things pretty quickly and clearly. I certainly don’t feel that way right now.”
Roddick saved a match and career point on his serve in the penultimate game, wiping away tears before firing a service winner. “You kind of have to wrestle your thoughts and the task at hand because it’s not done until you’re actually done, so it was challenging,” Roddick said.
“You start thinking about how real it is and a lot of thoughts go through your head. You’re thinking about matches you played when you were 12. I was thinking about my mom driving me to practice 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.”
Roddick said his final event was fun because “I felt like I was 12 years old playing in a park” and that when it came to his decision to retire, “saying it out loud was the hardest part for me.”
His parents and wife, actress-model Brooklyn Decker, were in tears as the end came after three hours, 15 minutes when Roddick sent a
“Playing the last five games was pretty hard,” Roddick said. “Once I got down a break I could barely look at my box.”
His voice cracking, Roddick paused to collect himself. “Lot of ups, lot of downs, lot of great moments,” Roddick said. “I have appreciated your support along the way. I know I haven’t made it easy for you at times.
“Hopefully I will come back to this place someday and see all of you again.” —