So Long, Andy

If he’s really sure about this retirement thing, Wednesday was the last day for Andy Roddick as a professional tennis player. If it really was his last day as a pro, he went out in a classy way.

(For those of you who don’t know, I’ve been playing tennis since I was a kid and love the sport, so don’t mind me as I get into some tennis terminology here!)

Roddick won the first set in his 4th round US Open match but then dropped the next three to Juan Martin del Potro. It wasn’t meant to be on this day for Andy but he still fought hard, right down to the last point he won, a great put away volley to hold serve and force del Potro to earn the victory with his serve.

After the match,  you could see the emotion on Roddick’s face. Heck, you could see it before it was over…and I think that’s cool. I like seeing people who care enough about what they do to get emotional about it.

In his post-match remarks, Andy thanked his parents and everyone on his ‘support team’ for all they did for him. He also said something that made me smile:

“Since I was a kid, I’ve been coming to this tournament. I felt lucky just to sit where all of you are sitting today, to watch this game, to see the champions that have come and gone. I’ve loved every minute of it.”

That’s really neat. To leave the game when you’re still playing at a high level and to be humble and show some ‘real person’ feelings and let everyone know that in the end, you’re a big fan of the game just like us. I like it.

Meanwhile, kudos to del Potro for being very gracious in victory and yielding the court to Roddick after the match was over. Thumbs up for the way he handled what was no doubt a less than comfortable situation. After all, he ended the best American tennis player in recent memory’s career – on his home turf! I thought he handled it well. Hooray for sportsmanship. It’s not something you see every day in professional sports.

Andy, I wish you well as you leave the professional tennis circuit. Thanks for being a good role model for the young tennis players out there. You played hard and carried the torch well for American tennis. If a guy named Federer hadn’t been playing at the same time you were, I have no doubt there would be a few more Grand Slam trophies with your name on them.

But something tells me that doesn’t matter to you right now. You mentioned the people you’re going home to and how happy you are to be doing that, and that’s what it’s all about. Happy retirement.

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