If you’re a 90′s baby or a recent fan of tennis, the odds are you can only name one US male. For those who’ve come to the sport too late to have watched Agassi and Samprass, you’ve been subjected to the darkest period in US men’s tennis. The sheer domination of Roger Federrer, Rafale Nadal, and (of more recent vintage) Novak Djokovic has kept the United States completely at bay. With one notable exception: Roddick.
Andy Roddick has been the torch-carrier for the United States since Samprass and Agassi retired. He’s been the US star of the Davis Cup for over a decade. He made it to four Grand Slam finals in addition to his 2003 US Open victory. He was the last American male ranked #1 in the world. He has the record for fastest serve on nearly every professional court in the circuit. And the beauty of it all is this: the last American standing, the last one to matter, set the league ablaze and he did it in the most American manner possible.
Andy Roddick was power personified. Until later in his career, Roddick’s backhand was laughable and the idea of Roddick trying to win a match or even a point via serve-and-volley tactics was enough to leave one in fits. Roddick was going to hit the ball at you as hard as he possibly could and more often than not, the opposing player would merely wilt under his brute force.
Roddick also made a name for himself for his personality. Young, brash, and hotheaded, Roddick was prone to berating umpires or linesman, an attribute not altogether foreign to American tennis (see: McEnroe, Connors, Serena Williams, etc.). While fiery and often obnoxious on the court, Roddick’s also earned a reputation as witty, charming, and engaging off it. He and Djokovic have earned reputations for impersonating other players form and for being one of the best quotes on the tour.
He was engaging, young, brash, powerful, good looking, EVERYTHING an American hero should be. Most importantly, he was the only ray of light in the darkest of periods in US tennis. Andy Roddick was the only reason Americans had to tune in. Watching Roddick flourish with the weight of his country (and not just any country but the USA) on his shoulders was awesome to watch. If not for the misfortune of playing against Roger Federrer in his prime (Federrer beat him in four grand slam finals), Roddick would have a trophy case full of grand-slam trophies.
Far more impressive than any of Andy’s accomplishments is that of my own. I’ve written a full article about Andy Roddick and haven’t once mentioned his wife; until now.
You want to talk about being the perfect American idol? Try being married to a Sports Illustrated Swimsuit cover girl. A stunning, voluptuous blonde who’s been in playboy and was on Sports New York to discuss the 2010 NCAA tournament. Yup, that’s Roddick’s wife. Not much you can criticize there…
Here’s the long and short of it. American Tennis is in serious trouble. Donald Young and John Isner are the next best things we’ve got…chew on that for a minute. If not for Serena Williams’ utter domination of the women’s side, Americans would have given up on tennis he way they’ve given up on boxing. The only saving grace was Andy Roddick and now, his career is over.