Tennis won’t have too many contemporary nominations to enter the men’s side of the Hall Of Fame in Newport, Rhode Island over the next several years because of Federer, Nadal and Djokovic’s domination.
Since Roger Federer won his first Grand Slam title at Wimbledon in 2003, only four other players besides the ‘Big 3’ have won a Grand Slam event , Andy Roddick being one of them. He took the very next one, the U.S. Open in that same year of 2003.
The question now, in the wake of Roddick’s recent announcement that he plans to retire once he is eliminated from this year’s U.S. Open, is will Roddick be a Hall of Famer?
For a short time, Roddick was number one in the world. At age 21, he was the youngest American to be ranked number one.
He didn’t hold the position long though because the greatest player of all time was closing in on realizing his full potential. In fact, Roddick would take direct hits from Federer on three separate occasions at a Wimbledon Final.
Still, all and all, Andy Roddick has had a terrific career.
There were plenty of tour titles along the way. And Roddick probably will make the Hall Of Fame for his consistently high level of play, and the dearth of great players able to break through during this recent era of brilliance and dominance by three players.
Plus, Roddick’s personality is quintessential American. It is raw, but ultimately likable. It’s given him a niche, made him memorable.
He’s funny, yet crude sometimes. For the most part, he tells it like it is. He got upset and disgusted with himself and the press, often. But he also had many notable quips and was able to parlay his banter with the media into a radio sports talk show that he does for Fox Sports Radio.
On the court, Roddick was and is a showman. He knew the moment and played to the crowd. He was gracious in losing and never lost his sense of humor.
He learned from the greats. Roddick was mentored some by Andre Agassi and coached by Jimmy Connors. He knew the game is meant for entertainment purposes, as another Andy struggles to demonstrate.
Andy Murray is a bore and does virtually nothing to get the sports fan excited. He looks like he plays for himself and not the crowd, though he finally showed some signs of life at the Olympics.
The game will lose a great one in Roddick when he retires after this year’s U.S. Open. They don’t make them like him as often anymore.
He retires as he played, keeping it real. He says he can’t keep playing just to win here or there because he got used to playing near the top of the rankings for more than 10 years.
Roddick will enter the Hall proudly in the company of greats like Michael Chang, another American to win only one Major tournament while making multiple finals of other Majors.
Does Roddick have one surprise left in him? Can he make a run to the quarters or semis to top off the career?
Kim Clijsters couldn’t do it and so few athletes can do much after announcing retirement. But it does makes the rest of the tournament more sentimental and fun to watch.
Fun to watch? Fitting. Because that’s what Andy Roddick has been for his entire career.
Howard Alperin is Managing Editor of AmericanizeSoccer.com