FLUSHING MEADOWS, NY – Note to the press covering the US Open: You won’t have Andy Roddick to kick around anymore.
Or maybe he kicked us around.
The smart, quick-witted face of American Tennis since Andre Agassi retired, announced that this US Open will be his last tournament.
“I just feel like it’s time,” he said. “I don’t know that I’m healthy enough or committed enough to go another year. I’ve always wanted to, in a perfect world, finish at this event. I have a lot of family and friends here. I’ve thought all year that I would know when I got to this tournament.
“When I was playing my first round, I knew.”
It’s always good for an athlete to know when to get out. And if his heart isn’t into it, then there is no reason to play. He made his money and has a good life with wife Brooklyn Decker.
And he ends a champion winning the 2003 US Open, but also losing three Wimbledon Finals and the 2006 US Open Finals to Roger Federer.
In that way, he is more like the Patrick Ewing Knicks, who couldn’t beat Michael Jordan.
But still, it’s all special. And frankly it’s too early for Roddick to tell what his greatest achievement has been.
“I don’t view it in a scope of where you had your best win,” he said. “I’ve had a lot of different memories. I’ll certainly look back. I feel like I’d be cheating the other memories if I said one was the highlight.
“You know, I feel like I’ve been very lucky. That’s certainly not lost on me.”
Maybe the toughest was the 2009 Wimbledon Finals which went to five sets and Federer beat him 16-14 in the fifth set.
It was the one that got away for Roddick but it also shows the type of player he was.
On Tuesday, he discussed the game after his first round match and said he thought the reason why he lasted so long was his ability to make adjustments. When he started the game was less physical but became more of a power match over the last five years.
“The game completely changed,” Roddick said. “I was able to kind of recognize it. It’s funny, because the things I feel like I get criticized for have kept me around a lot more than my contemporaries.
“Let’s say I came up with Marat and Ferrero and a couple other guys. Obviously everyone points to Roger, but we can all point to Roger all day. If that’s the comparison we’re drawing, then we’re going to end up with the stories we have had.
“I saw the way the game was going. You have to get stronger and quicker. I don’t think there was much room for a plodder who could hit the ball pretty hard.”
“It was a conscious effort at times, and I feel like that’s added to longevity a little bit.”
Now at 30, it’s time to move on. Roddick will close out his career either tomorrow or sometime next week as he looks to put a capper on one of the more interesting eras in American tennis history.
And what’s next?
“Well, immediately we announced yesterday or the day before we’re building, with my foundation, a youth tennis and learning center in Austin,” he said “I’d like to be hands on with that and not see it periodically. I’d like to be kind of on‑site every day. There’s some other projects, kind of side projects, that I’ve been doing.
“Those excite me a lot right now. So I’m looking forward to it.”