Andy Roddick retires
Published: Wednesday, September 12, 2012
Updated: Wednesday, September 12, 2012 11:09
On Sept. 5, 2012, the most underappreciated and underachieving star was removed from the Tennis world. Andy Roddick, the man who has carried American Tennis on his back since 2001, retired quietly following his defeat by Juan Martin Del Potro.
The real question surrounding Roddick, however, is can we truly feel sorry for him. Surely he had an incredibly star-crossed tennis career. After storming into and winning the 2003 US Open, the United States as a whole was willing to claim Roddick as their newest Tennis messiah, following in the footsteps of Pete Sampras and Andre Agassi, who combined for 22 major championships in the previous decade.
American Tennis needed that new star; and Roddick seemed ideal for the job as he climbed to the top of the Association of Tennis Professionals (ATP) rankings. However, Roddick’s pinnacle was short-lived. In 2001, another future star was also just beginning to make a name for himself.
That man was Roger Federer, who is arguably the greatest Men’s Singles player of all time. Roddick, no matter how hard he tried, did not have the physical or mental gifts to compete with the unbridled talent of Federer. Roddick was labelled by the American media as an underachiever and Tennis fans across the world harassed message boards with personal attacks on a man who just never could quite live up to the lofty expectations.
Can we pity Andy Roddick? The man lived a professional and public life, which led to him being one of the most hated and harassed men in the United States for the better part of a decade. Yet, with the spotlight came great rewards. According to the CBC, Roddick’s career earnings, not including endorsement deals (which he stylishly signed with Lacoste), were $20,367,390 U.S.
Roddick also used the lavish lifestyle of celebrity to meet his wife, Brooklyn Decker. Decker, as many Sports Illustrated readers may know, was the cover model of the Sports Illustrated swimsuit edition in 2010.
How did they meet? Roddick instructed his agent to contact hers, and they were engaged a few years later. How many men who were not multimillion-dollar athletes would be able to achieve that?
Roddick epitomizes the ultimate question for sports fans. Is it possible for us to feel sorry for a man who has gained so much from our interest in their performance? Many Tennis fans have ridiculed Roddick throughout the years. Roddick himself has changed his attitude, and stated many times how he has had trouble mentally overcoming his inability to reach the top again.
Yet at the same time, the man who we scream at collects millions of dollars each year and can retire at the age of 30. Those fans perhaps have a right to scream, as they continue to plod through their day jobs until they can reach their own, hard-earned retirement.
Roddick left Rolling Meadows on Sept. 5 with the applause of the crowd and the recognition that he had longed for his entire career. Sports media everywhere were labelling him as something he had rarely seen throughout his troubled career: invaluable to American Tennis. In the case of Andy Roddick, perhaps what was needed was a step back in order to drive off into the sunset; even if you are sponsored by Lexus.