Thu Sep 02 12:05pm EDT
An ironic moment happened on Thursday morning, when I flipped open my laptop and went to this here site. An advertisement from Lacoste ran across the right side, featuring Andy Roddick, and the advice, "Keep your focus Andy and just take it one game at a time."
Focus. That wasn't the only thing that the top American tennis player lost on Wednesday night under the lights of Arthur Ashe Stadium, where a loss to Janko Tipsarevic meant a whole lot more than the general public being without their favorite American for the next 11 days. It meant the end of a run at Grand Slams for Roddick that can view his career in one of two ways.
The first is simple; Andy was an underachieving tennis player that failed to cash in on multiple finals appearances at both the U.S. Open and Wimbledon, always running into that pesky, selfish (kidding) Roger Federer. Along with his failed attempts when he made it through these big tournaments, Andy seemed to duck out early at a lot of Grand Slams, losing in the second round on Wednesday for the first time in his career at the U.S. Open.
As a huge Roddick fan for most of my 20-something life, I got to the point where I knew when Andy was going to be the first to shake the chair umpire's hand. He'd start moping around on the court, and he'd fail to hit anything resembling an aggressive passing shot. After the first set on Wednesday, when Andy did what Andy does to open matches, all the wind quickly extinguished from his sails, and as mightily as he tried to find some momentum, it wasn't there anymore.
The second point might not be as well received, but needs to be brought up. Maybe Andy was just one of those tennis players good enough to win one Grand Slam, and even winning one was an impressive feat for a guy with a shaky, shaky backhand and a poor net game. Maybe him taking the 2003 U.S. Open is something he should be proud happened, and not disappointed that the top level of his trophy shelf will only be inhabited by one piece of metal. For all the talk of Andy's huge, powerful serve, it seemed to fail him more than it didn't when he needed it the most.
Andy is now 28, with nearly $20 million in career prize money on the tennis court and countless more Benjamins from his sponsors. He's married to one of the most beautiful females this side of Angelina, and he has always seemed like the kind of guy that won't be scared to walk away from the game when he knows he can't do it anymore.
While people will look back at this match as one where Andy screamed countless times about a foot fault, a signature move for Roddick throughout his career, it might have just been Andy letting it out of his lungs one last time in a match that mattered.
Before 2010 started, I wondered aloud to a friend of mine if this was his last run at any big win. It was, and while myself and countless fans of his are proud to root for him for years on end, it is now time for another American to step up and alleviate Roddick of his civic duty.