05 September 2012

What is Andy Roddick's legacy?

With today's loss to Juan Martin del Petro in the fourth round Wednesday 6-7, 7-6, 6-2, 6-3, Andy Roddick's tennis career has come to a close. Six days ago, the 30-year-old announced that the 2012 US Open would be his final tournament. So what is Roddick's legacy?

Some may consider Roddick's career to be somewhat of a disappointment. Roddick when he was younger was America's next great hope in tennis, the man to take Andre Agassi's role as the elite American in the sport. When he became the number one ranked player in the world after winning the 2003 US Open, the youngest America to get that ranking to boot, it was thought that the world was in front of him, on pace to dominate the sport. It never happened.

But here is why Roddick's career is not a disappointment. The reason why Roddick never really dominated was because he came up with Roger Federer, who is arguably the greatest tennis player ever. Federer took the top ranking from Roddick in the spring of 2004 and held it for a record 237 weeks until 2008. Federer bested Roddick in four Grand Slam finals, and who could forget that epic Wimbledon final in 2007, which Federer won with a 16-14 in the final set. Then when Roddick was getting into his prime, Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic jumped to the top of the rankings and were the stars of the sport, with Federer still very much in the mix. That's some poor luck for a guy like Roddick to have his stars be aligned with three guys like those.

And Roddick still put up a pretty darn good career. 32 ATP World Titles. Four Doubles' crowns. Won one U.S. Open and was the finalist in four Wimbledon Championships. The Texan will also go down in history for one of the hardest serves in history, regularly coming in between 130-150 mph and resulting in many an ace. Plus Roddick has great selection in women, originally dating this and then marrying this and that counts for, something.

So while Roddick certainly was in the shadow of Federer during his career, he still had himself a heck of a career. And now he leaves a hole for American tennis players, one that has to be filled with somebody.

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