His last trip to Memphis was supposed to be the start of a late-career renaissance. This year's early exit will be used as evidence that the long decline is only beginning.
Defending champion Andy Roddick was ousted from the Regions Morgan Keegan Championships in Memphis on Wednesday, losing his first-round match to world No. 75 Xavier Malisse, 7-6 (8), 7-5.
The loss was Roddick's earliest exit in 12 Memphis appearances and drops the 29-year-old to 2-3 on the young season.
Roddick was unable to convert two set points in the first, then was broken in his final service game of the second. It was his first career loss to the Belgian in nine meetings.
Since winning this tournament in 2011 on a diving shot against Milos Raonic, Roddick has seen his ranking drop from No. 8 to No. 27. He's advanced past the quarterfinals of just two tournaments, making no finals. Appearances at Wimbledon and the Australian Open ended before the first weekend.
The 500 rankings points earned during last year's win came off the books last week, precipitating Roddick's drop in the rankings.
Roddick has battled various injuries this season. A hamstring problem forced him to retire in Melbourne and he sprained his ankle last week in San Jose. He refused to blame the ailments on the loss.
"I hit the ball okay, I just didn't hit it well when I had to," Roddick told reporters after the match. "I had nine, ten years of a pretty clean bill of health overall. I think for me to feel too sorry for myself now, it probably wouldn't be okay."