US Open Last For Roddick

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.”

Wickmayer Enters The Radar

FLUSHING MEADOWS, NY – With all the press Melanie Oudin received at this Open, Yanina Wickmayer has flown under the radar.

Yet, like her American counterpart, this Belgian has surprised everyone at Flushing Meadows and now is on the verge of the Finals.

“It has surprised me in one way,” she said. I have been feeling really well the last few weeks. I’ve been playing a couple of great matches, and I’m really playing under a lot of confidence.

“So coming here I was feeling pretty good, and physically and mentally I was feeling really strong. So the first couple of matches, yeah, of course you’re always a little bit surprised of winning great matches in a Grand Slam.

“For sure if it’s the first great Grand Slam you’ve played, because before this my best result was second round. So of course when you get to the third, fourth round, you start surprising yourself. But actually, I’ve been staying pretty calm. I’ve worked really hard for this.”

She defeated Kateryna Bondarenko today, 7-5, 6-2, to earn a date with Caroline Wozniacki. The 19 year-old is very confident, mainly because the bad bounces are now going her way.

“The last couple of weeks I lost some tight matches to the top players,” she said. I lost 6-4 in the third, 7-6 in the third. So it was always like those few key points that I lost.

“I guess now those key points I just feel more concentrated physically and mentally. I feel stronger on the court. I’m sure that those two points has helped me a lot this few weeks.”

It’s been a long road for Wickmayer, who moved to the United States to learn at the Saddlebrook Academy back in 1999. Her mother Daniella passed away from cancer and she convinced her grieving father Marc to move away from Belgium and her family.

“I lost her in ’99, and I just started playing tennis a few weeks or a few months before that just to get my mind off things,” she said. “I guess I just decided as a little girl to get away from home and put my memories and thoughts to something else, so we moved to Florida just to, yeah, my dad and me, just to get things off, just to, yeah, focus ourself on other things in life and try to move on.”

And move on she has. Although she will never forget her mother, the bond she developed with her father is unbreakable. Wickmayer now is realizing her dream. Never past the second round before – she made it past the first at Roland Garros this year – the young rising star is now on the verge of the spotlight.

How she will shine is anyone’s guess, but Wickmayer is ready for Wozniacki, a person she played back in juniors.

“I’ve not really watched her play a lot, so I’m going to watch a little bit on TV today,” she said. “But like I said before, every match I play, I just go on the court and play my own game.

“Sometimes I’ll adjust a little bit during my match, but not really a lot. I just go out there, have fun, and do everything I can.”