Having been a consistent top 10 player for 9 years, Andy Roddick’s ranking has started to head south. He’s currently ranked number 29 in the world, and there have been increasing calls for his retirement over the last 6 months.
He last made a Grand Slam final in 2009 (Wimbledon) and he hasn’t won a Slam title since 2003 (US Open).
If it wasn’t for a certain Swiss Federer, Roddick would probably be a 3 time Wimbledon winner and legend of US tennis, but even this would not stop the onslaught of retirement calls as his ranking slides (as Sampras can attest to).
While British no.1 Murray is touted as possible the best player in history not to have won a Slam title, you could equally argue that Roddick could be the best grass court player never to have lifted the trophy on the grass courts of Wimbledon.
To be honest it’s pretty unfair to push a player into retirement, particularly as Roddick has carried the flag for American tennis for a decade, and if he enjoys the game he should be allowed to pick when he retires.
Also, it’s not like he has had a string of debilitating injuries, and we should not forget Ivanisevic came out of the tennis wilderness to win a first Wimbledon and Grand Slam title at the age of 29 (Wimbledon 2001). While an Andy Roddick future Grand Slam victory may seem like an extreme long shot, the same could also have been said of Ivanisevic before the 2001 Wimbledon Championships. Indeed his ranking was so low he had to rely on a wildcard to get into the draw, and he’s been quoted as saying he could hardly even hit the ball properly at the Queens warm up tournament.
However, given Roddick’s feisty competitive nature (he probably argues with more match officials than any other player), perhaps media calls for his retirement may spur him on to reverse his current slump.
After being asked by a local reporter at the China Open whether he is considering retiring, an irritated Roddick replied: “I think you should retire.”
Although Sampras was a different class of player, we should also not forget that the media who had written headlines like “For Pete’s Sake Retire”, ended up with egg on their faces after he came back and won the 2002 US Open. Seeded 17th, he broke a run of 33 tournaments without a victory.
With a huge vacuum of US players at the summit of the world game, people should perhaps be careful what they wish for. On the contrary, lets hope a Roddick resurgence is just round the corner.