I was going to post this yesterday before Andy’s 4th round match vs. Juan Martin del Potro was interrupted by rain at the start of the first set tiebreak. Unfortunately it looks like the match might not resume at all today, so I figured I would post these anyways.
Roddick getting into his ninth US Open quarterfinal would put him in very good company, tying him with Roger Federer and leaving only Ivan Llendl, Jimmy Connors, Pete Sampras and Andre Agassi ahead of him. It’s hard to see him getting beyond that (see: Djokovic), so let the tributes keep coming while they can!
10. 2009 US Open 3rd Round Isner def. Roddick 76(3) 63 36 57 76(5)
One of only two losses to make my list. This match came just a month or so after the 2009 Wimbledon final. Roddick did rebound from that loss eventually, going on to reach back to back Masters finals in 2010 (winning Miami), but the hangover was still present as he exited the USO before the quarterfinals for the first time since 2005. But the loss came to the future of American tennis in Isner, was played at a high level from the first point through a fifth set tiebreak. Like the Wimbledon final, Roddick dropped serve only once. Watch Isner discuss his victory here.
9. 2009 Australian Open QF Roddick def. Djokovic (3)67 64 62 21 ret.
Roddick came into the 2009 season with a new coach, a new look and renewed ambition. He reached the Chennai final to open the season and came into the Australian Open quarterfinals against defending champion/world number 3 Novak Djokovic in stellar form. Djokovic took the opening set tiebreak, but from then on it was all Roddick, who literally out hustled his opponent in some of the hottest conditions the tournament had ever seen. Court temperatures exceeded 100 degrees, forcing Djokovic to retire, while Roddick looked content to play a few more sets.
8. 2010 Miami SF Roddick def. Nadal 46 63 63
During his aforementioned surge of good form in 2010, Roddick went into the Miami semis winning 17 of his last 21 matches. Roddick lost the first set to Nadal before changing tactics and converting both beak opportunities the Spaniard showed him, while saving the lone break point Nadal earned. After the defeat, Nadal went on to enjoy arguably the best season of his career. For Roddick, it proved to be one of his last significant wins.
7. 2007 Queen’s Club F Roddick def. Mahut 46 76(7) 76(2)
In a high-quality, old school match up, Roddick captured his fourth Queen’s Club final after saving match points against Nicolas Mahut. Roddick joined Lleyton Hewitt as the only four time champion at this prestigious Wimbledon tuneup. Check out the last set tiebreak here.
6. 2003 Montreal SF Roddick def. Federer 64 36 76(3)
Roddick’s most favorable head to head vs Federer, other than 0-0, came after this Canadian Open semi. Roddick went on to sweep the summer Masters double (Cincinnati and Canada) before capturing the US Open championship, and improved to 1-4 vs. Federer after dominating the Swiss shot maker in a deciding tiebreak.
5. 2004 Rome Roddick def. Hotel Fire
Roddick was touted as a hero after saving the life of fellow tennis players, their spouses and other guests as a fire that claimed three lives consumed a hotel they were staying at during the Rome Masters event. Too bad the heroics didn’t carry over to his clay form. Read about the fire here.
4. 2007 Davis Cup Final Roddick def. Tursunov 64 64 62
Roddick set the tone for a 4-1 drubbing of Russia in the 2007 DC Final. Roddick had no trouble whatsoever, setting up Blake for a classic win later that day and allowing the Bryan Brothers to clinch the tie, returning the Davis Cup trophy to the most decorated nation in its history.
3. 2009 Wimbledon QF/SF/F vs Hewitt/Murray/Federer
Three of the best matches Roddick has ever played came in succession at 2009 Wimbledon. People often forget the quarterfinal battle Roddick had to survive against veteran Hewitt, 63 (10)67 76(1) 46 64. After that epic victory, England was ready to wave goodbye to one Andy and usher their own into the Wimbledon final. Not so fast. Roddick went on to rebound wonderfully from his quarterfinal marathon, defeating Murray the day after America’s Independence Day, 64 46 76(7) 76(5) with the best tennis of later career. Roddick somehow raised his level to otherworldly for the final, but unfortunately so did Federer. Despite Roddick dropping serve just once in the longest Wimbledon final ever, Federer prevailed 57 76(6) 76(5) 36 1614.
2. 2003 US Open SF/F vs Nalbandian/Ferrero
Roddick’s most famous victory concluded with an easy victory over a gassed Juan Carlos Ferrero, who’d won the French Open that year. The greater challenge came in a semifinal clash against David Nalbandian, where Roddick found himself in a two sets to love hole and down match point before turning things around with a massive ace and winning in five sets, (4)67 36 76(7) 61 63.
1. 2003 Australian Open QF Roddick def. Younes El Aynaoui 46 76(5) 46 64 21-19
The definitive Andy Roddick, facing some of the most dramatic moments of his career at the tender age of 20, in his first ever Grand Slam quarterfinal. Roddick and El Aynaoui battled into the early hours of the morning. Before John Isner and Nicolas Mahut made history at Wimbledon, this was the longest single set in Grand Slam history. Roddick set the tone for the rest of his career with this victory: determined during the match, humble and respectful in victory. People often talk about 2009 Wimbledon as Roddick’s chance at a second slam, but if Roddick had managed to end this match in a reasonable fashion, he would have had a great chance at defeating 31st seed Rainer Schuttler in the semis and faced Andre Agassi in the final. Win or lose, who knows what might have happened after that?