Dear Andy Roddick,
I feel as though I have watched you grow up. You were going to be "the next great American tennis player". You were designated at a very young age as the next Agassi, or the next Connors or McEnroe. You won your first Grand Slam at 21 years of age-when everyone was certain it was going to be your first of many. Unfortunately, that was not the case. But dare I say, that your hard work, dedication, consistent effort and positive attitude have been a model for what a professional athlete can be.
I remember when you first came on the scene-your serve was outrageous, the spin you could lay on your forehand was obscene. I couldn't believe how incredibly hard you could attack every shot that came your way. Your signature baseball cap always on, and your style of play became unmistakeable.
I was incredibly fortunate to have an opportunity to watch you at Wimbledon a few years ago. I became an even bigger fan after watching you in person. You were a gracious player, both with the fans as well as with your opponent. You have been forced over the years to become a gracious loser. After the incredible Federer final at Wimbledon in 2009, the graciousness you displayed after what had to be an incredibly painful loss, was touching.
The thing about you Andy Roddick, is you always, even at a young age, recognized how fortunate you were to get to do what you do. You got to play the game you love, earn an incredible living, while traveling the world and marrying the girl of your dreams. Not so bad. You always offered a touch of humor, an incredible work ethic on and off the court, were willing to work with different coaches and training methods and tried to improve every day.
American tennis is lucky to have Andy Roddick in our corner. Your love of tennis will hopefully work to develop younger players, to achieve the heights that you have sought. American tennis fans and fans around the world hope you remain a presence in professional tennis-you and McEnroe working the booth together maybe?
Andy, you have chosen the U.S. Open as your final tournament. Let's hope you make a heck of a run. We are all rooting for you, as we have been for so many years. Thanks for leaving it all on the court-day in and day out for so many years. Thanks for appreciating all you have achieved-and recognizing greatness is achieved in so many ways.
It has been a pleasure watching you, Andy Roddick. A real pleasure.