Tennis: Andy Roddick Announces Retirement
Andy Roddick celebrated his 30th birthday on Thursday by announcing his retirement as Roger Federer, the great Grand Slam tormentor of the American, eased into the third round at the US Open.
Roddick, a former world number one who won his only major title in New York in 2003, admitted his level was struggling to match tennis’ big three of Federer, Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic and he will quit once the US Open is over.
“I have decided that this is going to be my last tournament,” said Roddick, who is guaranteed an emotional reception on Arthur Ashe Stadium on Friday night when he plays Australia’s Bernard Tomic for a place in the last 32.
“I feel it is the right time to do it. These other guys have gotten really, really good and I’m not interested in just existing on tour. I don’t want to disrespect the game by coasting home.”
Roddick, whose ranking is now down at 22 in the world, lost to Federer in the Wimbledon finals of 2004, 2005 and 2009.
That last All England Club defeat, an epic match which ended 16-14 in the fifth set, was Roddick’s last memorable campaign and he has not got beyond the quarter-finals of a Grand Slam since.
Top seed and five-time champion Federer reached the last 32 with an easy 6-2, 6-3, 6-2 win over Germany’s Bjorn Phau and next faces Spain’s Fernando Verdasco, whom he has beaten four times in four matches.
Federer, bidding to become the first man to win six New York titles in the Open era, clinched the 90-minute match with his 15th ace after also firing 44 winners past the 32-year-old Phau, the world number 83.
“Andy’s a great man,” Federer said. “I had some great battles with him for a long, long time and all the Wimbledon finals come to mind. We had some epic battles over the years.
“But he got the last laugh — he beat me in Miami this year.”
French fifth seed Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, who reached the quarter-finals in 2011, became the highest seed to fall when he slumped to a shock 6-4, 1-6, 6-1, 6-3 defeat to unheralded Slovak Martin Klizan.
The flamboyant, shot-making Frenchman had come into the final Grand Slam event of the season in a fog of injury and form worries, summed up by having to skip the Cincinnati event after cutting his knee on a fire hydrant.
“Today I was not in good shape. I didn’t play good tennis,” said the 27-year-old Tsonga.
“It seemed like I couldn’t hit the ball hard enough to put my opponent out of position. I’m not a machine. Sometimes I’m tired; sometimes not. Sometimes in good shape; sometimes not.”
Left-hander Klizan, the world 52, progressed to the third round of a Grand Slam for the first time and will tackle 32nd seed Jeremy Chardy of France.
Three-time women’s champion Serena Williams won her 60th match at the US Open, advancing to the third round with a 6-2, 6-4 victory over Spain’s Maria Jose Martinez Sanchez.
Williams, the Wimbledon and Olympic champion, will next face Russia’s Ekaterina Makarova, who beat her at the Australian Open this year.
Second seed Agnieszka Radwanska, who was Wimbledon runner-up to Williams, almost suffered a fourth successive second-round exit before fighting back from a set and 3-1 down to beat Spain’s Carla Suarez-Navarro 4-6, 6-3, 6-0.
Radwanska goes on to face Serb 30th seed Jelena Jankovic, the 2008 runner-up, who made the third round with a 6-4, 6-2 win over Spain’s Lara Arruabarrena-Vecino.
But the 23-year-old Pole endured a roller-coaster afternoon on the Grandstand court, slipping to a set and 3-1 down before reeling off 11 games in a row to take a victory.
“This is a Grand Slam, so you fight until the end. You’re not giving up,” said Radwanska.
Men’s sixth seed Tomas Berdych eased past Estonia’s Jurgen Zopp 6-1, 6-4, 6-2 and faces America’s Sam Querrey next.
Spanish 11th seed Nicolas Almagro fought back to beat Philipp Petzschner 6-3, 5-7, 5-7, 6-4, 6-4 with the German’s challenge undone by 62 unforced errors.
Japan’s 17th seed Kei Nishikori also made the third round with a 6-2, 6-2, 6-4 win over American qualifier Tim Smyczek.
American 23rd seed Mardy Fish, a quarter-finalist in 2008, beat Russia’s Nikolay Davydenko, a semi-finalist in 2006 and 2007, in a gruelling five-setter.
His 4-6, 6-7 (4/7), 6-2, 6-1, 6-2 win was the 10th comeback victory from two sets-to-love down in the men’s tournament this year.
Later, two-time champion Venus Williams faces sixth seed, and 2011 semi-finalist, Angelique Kerber, just a month after the German knocked her out of the Olympics.
Kerber has won a tour-leading 54 matches in 2012 and also ended Serena Williams’ 19-match win streak with a victory in the Cincinnati quarter-finals.