Thursday, August 30, 2012

Birthday Boy: Andy Roddick

It's already been quite an eventful day for professional tennis player Andy Roddick. Not only did he celebrate his 30th birthday, but he also shocked the tennis world by announcing his retirement after the US Open.

Following in the footsteps of Kim Clijsters who ended her singles tennis career yesterday, 2003 US Open champion Roddick will end his career where he won his first (and only) Grand Slam trophy. While unfortunate enough to go up against the likes of Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal at their primes, Roddick has cultivated a Hall-of-Fame career with 32 titles (third best among active players) and reaching five Grand Slam finals. He was ranked #1 player in the world for 13 weeks and led the United States at a Davis Cup championship. For the better part of a decade, he was the face of American tennis. He was brutally honest, famously stubborn, naturally brash, totally dedicated, and impressively tenacious.

Many may remember his outbursts while others his booming serves, but I think many more will always think back to his last Grand Slam final, the 2009 Wimbledon final against Federer. Roddick had everything against him going into that match. His head-to-head with Roger was a dismal 2-18 and 0-7 in Grand Slams and Federer, winning the French Open earlier that summer, had history and the people behind him. But Roddick was not to be fazed as he won the first set and continually pushed Federer throughout. Heading into the final set, Federer had not broken Roddick's serve. And so they played on and on... and in the 77th game of the match Federer finally broke Roddick's serve and eventually won 16-14. To say this was Roddick's best and closest chance to win a Wimbledon title would be an understatement. He gained many more fans after that amazing performance, me included.

Happy birthday and godspeed Andy Roddick!

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