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Del Potro Sends Roddick Into Retirement

New York, U.S.A.

Roddick, del Potro© Getty ImagesAndy Roddick played his final match against Juan Martin del Potro.

American Andy Roddick officially stepped into retirement Wednesday afternoon on Arthur Ashe Stadium, the site of his lone Grand Slam triumph, with a 6-7(1), 7-6(4), 6-2, 6-4 loss to another former US Open champion, Argentine Juan Martin del Potro.

“For the first time in my career, I’m not sure what to say,” said Roddick, addressing the crowd following the match. “Oh gosh, where do I start? Since I was a kid I’ve been coming to this tournament and I felt lucky to sit where all of you are sitting today and to watch this game, to see the champions that have come and gone. I’ve loved every minute of it.

“It’s been a road, a lot of ups, a lot of downs, a lot of great moments. I’ve appreciated your support along the way. I know I certainly haven’t made it easy for you at times, but I really do appreciate it and love you guys with all my heart. Hopefully I’ll come back to this place someday and see all of you again.”

Roddick came out blazing when the pair resumed their fourth-round clash following Tuesday night’s rain interruption, winning six of the first seven points to take the first set tie-break. The second set also went to a tie-break, but this time, a double-fault at the start proved costly for Roddick as del Potro proceeded to draw level.

World No. 8 del Potro carried the momentum into the 28-minute third set, breaking Roddick at love in the opening game before building an insurmountable 4-0 lead.

Roddick held two chances to break the Argentine in the second game of the fourth set, but was unable to capitalise. He then double-faulted in the fourth game to set up break point opportunity for del Potro and returned a forehand wide to concede the break.

The American saved one match point on serve in the ninth game and afterward received a standing ovation from fans on Arthur Ashe Stadium. To the chants of “Let’s Go Andy”, he returned to the court to begin his final game. With del Potro holding triple match point, Roddick sent a forehand long to see his career come to a close and walked up to the net where he and his opponent embraced.

“It was a really tough moment for me and for him, also,” admitted del Potro. “Last point of his life. The crowd was amazing for both players. I really enjoyed it in that way, but it wasn’t easy for me to play. I had to close the match with my serve. I was nervous, but he made some misses and it was easier for me. But anyway, it was an unbelievable match.”

As del Potro applauded from the sidelines, Roddick walked back to the centre of the court and acknowledged the fans on Ashe. He expressed his gratitude to all those who got him to where he is today, and had difficulty holding back tears with his final thank you to his late agent.

“I just want to say thank you to my family. To my mom, my dad, who are up here, who gave me every chance. Thank you,” said Roddick. “My support team who’s been there with me forever. One thing I’m not scared of about retirement is the people I go home to. They’re great and I appreciate it. And one final thought. I’d like to say thank you to someone who’s not with us anymore. To Ken Meyerson, thank you for everything. I love you and thank you guys.”

Del Potro advances to the US Open quarter-finals for the first time since winning the title in 2009, and next faces defending champion Novak Djokovic.

Roddick, the 2003 champion, finishes his career with a 612-213 match record and 32 titles.

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