2017 Year in Review:
Roddick Finds Fame
Mark Preston | December 12, 2017
Love-15: As 2017 draws to a close, USTA.com is taking a look back at the top 15 storylines, headlines and highlights from the year in American tennis. Up now: Andy Roddick is inducted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame.
For the better part of his 12-year professional career, Andy Roddick was the face of American men’s tennis. A U.S. Davis Cup stalwart, Roddick played in 25 Davis Cup ties, compiling a 33-12 singles record; those 33 wins second-best all-time behind only John McEnroe. He was a member of the last U.S. team to win the Davis Cup in 2007. In 2003, he claimed his only career Grand Slam singles crown, beating Juan Carlos Ferrero in the final to win the US Open. That same year, he ascended to No. 1 in the world.
All in, Roddick won 32 career singles titles at various tournaments in all corners of the globe. ADVERTISEMENT And this past July, on a hot, sunny Saturday afternoon in Newport, Roddick took to the stage to claim the final – and most significant – title of his career: Hall of Famer.
Headlining the 2017 International Tennis Hall of Fame Induction class, which also included Kim Clijsters, Paralympian Monique Kalkman-van den Bosch, tennis writer and historian Steve Flink and the late tennis coach Vic Braden, Roddick met the momentous moment head-on, entertaining the crowd with a moving acceptance speech that was equal parts entertaining, humorous and poignant, reflecting Roddick’s understanding of his role in carrying the flag for the U.S.
“American men's tennis was my greatest responsibility,” he said. “The toughest thing about my career was following the giants of American tennis. But it motivated me to work as hard as I possibly could in their very, very long shadows. I took the responsibility of taking the torch that they tried to pass, and take very seriously what they built every day of my career. I was never going to live up to those guys, [but] I'm thankful for their successes because it was directly responsible for any success that I had.”
Roddick certainly had the game to win more than the one major title on his resume, but he also was hampered by playing in an era that featured the likes of Pete Sampras and Andre Agassi, and later, Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray. Ironically, his brilliant five-set loss to Federer in the 2009 Wimbledon final may well be remembered as his finest four-plus hours. In that epic 5-7, 7-6, 7-6, 3-6, 16-14 loss, Roddick was in full gladiator mode, and even in losing, won legions of new admirers for the grit and guts he showed on London’s most famous lawn.
"I'm not the best of all time. I'm not going to win Wimbledon. I'm not the best of my generation,” Roddick said in taking his place among the game’s all-time greats. “I'm certainly not the most well-behaved or the most polished. But I'm also never going to take this honor for granted.
“I may not be a lot of things, but from this day forward, I'll never be anything less than a Hall of Famer.”