Andy Roddick is going out on ‘his terms’ after the US Open–the last major of the year, ends September 9th. Over the course of nine years at the professional level he’s only won one major,and has only been ranked number one one time. Suffice to say I couldn’t help but let out a small chuckle as the media has now been quick to call him the ‘face’ of US men’s tennis. Well, not to be blunt but if Roddick is the face of men’s tennis then I say it’s high time for a ‘new look’ and his retirement couldn’t have come soon enough.
The US men’s tennis scene has been dormant since Andre Agassi’s departure. There were high hopes for Roddick, but powers outside his own held back what perhaps should’ve been a more illustrious career. Besides being beseiged with injuries, Roddick’s timing couldn’t have been any worse he broke in the same time as Roger Federer; and through what would’ve been his ‘peak’ years was when Rafael Nadal began his reign of dominance over Federer. So all and all Roddick and US Men’s tennis in general has been stuck in its own personal dark age. After a slew of quick exits, most recently quite a few 1st round exits to boot, Andy has continued to flounder and being that he is a familiar face and popular name the sub-par matches just seemed to shine a spotlight on just how serious the dearth of male tennis pros is.
With Andy Roddick’s departure can the US finally begin anew and send forth a wave of youth tennis pros both male and female to try and regain our dominance? And while both Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal are in their career primes, the time couldn’t be more perfect in getting our young players groomed to take on the world’s best. Roddick’s retirement spells the end of an era that never was what we hoped it would be as the US men’s tennis scene has been all but relevant. But with almost a decade long drought till now maybe we can look towards the future with glints of optimism. Tennis is penetrating into the urban scene and not just a ‘rich kid’ game, it’s becoming more and more mainstream and the interest is only increasing so maybe it’s safe to say in a way Roddick’s exit will be just the wake up call US Tennis so desperately need.s