The 2012 U.S. Open will be remembered for the two Andys — victorious Murray and retiring Roddick.
Andy Murray became the first man from Great Britain to win a major since Fred Perry in 1936, and he did it in dramatic fashion, outlasting Novak Djokovic in a 7-6 (12-10), 7-5, 2-6, 3-6, 6-2 marathon that lasted just short of five hours. Andy Roddick announced on his 30th birthday that he was retiring, leaving the game on his terms at the place he won his one and only Grand Slam title 9 years ago.
Critics might call him a one-Slam wonder. But those who follow the game closely know Roddick was an overachiever who got as far as he did because he worked harder than just about anyone.
He steps away having reached No. 1, and having won titles for 12 consecutive years (a feat only Roger Federer shares). He finished in the year-end top 10 for nine consecutive years from 2002 to ’10. He was a three-time Wimbledon finalist (2004, ’05 and ’09) and lost to Federer every time. The most memorable was 2009, when he lost 16-14 in the fifth set. He also entertained — and sometimes annoyed — reporters with his sharp wit. In a rare show of appreciation, the reporters at his final news conference gave him a round of applause, as they did for Andre Agassi in the past.
“For whatever my faults have been, I felt like I’ve never done anything halfway. I was pretty good for a long time,” Roddick said. “For 13 or 14 years, I was invested fully, every single day. I’ve seen guys tap out. I’ve been pretty good about keeping my nose to the grindstone. I’ve won a lot of matches by working hard.
“If you tell a 12- or 13-year-old kid that he’s going to win 30-some-odd titles and be No. 1 and have a Slam, you’d take that in a heartbeat. … There were a lot of tough moments but unbelievable moments. I mean, who gets to play in Wimbledon finals and who gets to play in an Open and who gets to be part of a winning team? Most people don’t get to experience that. I’ve said it a million times, but I realize the opportunities I had.”
This Open also reinforced Serena Williams’ dominance. Williams, who turns 31 in two weeks, displayed her fighting spirit and athleticism to pull off a three-set, come-from-behind victory over Victoria Azarenka in a women’s final watched by 17.7 million TV viewers — the biggest audience since 20.1 million watched Williams battle older sister Venus in the 2002 final.
• Kevin Spacey Red Foo Brooklyn Decker
Sean Connery Sir Alex Ferguson Judy
• Maria Sharapova Sasha Vujacic
• Never too old: South Florida is well-represented at the International Tennis Federation Super-Seniors World Team Championships in Umag, Croatia, this week. It is like the Davis Cup and Fed Cup, and participants range in age from 60 to 80-plus.
Among the players competing for Team USA are Donna Fales of Coral Gables (70-plus), Carol Clay of Fort Lauderdale (65-plus), Mary Ginnard of Fort Lauderdale (60-plus), Lucille Kyvallos of Fort Lauderdale (80-plus), Allan Carter of Boca Raton (70-plus) and Rudy Hernando of Fort Lauderdale (70-plus).
• Free tennis clinics: The U.S. Tennis Association is hosting Free Play Days all over the country in September in an effort to introduce the sport to new families. South Florida has 30 Free Play Days scheduled, including one from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. Friday at Douglas Park (2755 S.W. 37 Ave, Miami).