NEW YORK (Reuters) - Andy Roddick revealed the U.S. Open would be the last tournament of his career in a shock announcement on Thursday that overshadowed one major upset and set the scene for a rousing match against young Australian Bernard Tomic at Flushing Meadows on Friday night.
Roddick called a news conference to announce he would retire after the Open and said he knew after his Wimbledon defeat to David Ferrer this year that his days were numbered.
Making the announcement on his 30th birthday, Roddick, a former world number one and 2003 U.S. Open champion, said he realized during his first-round victory over Rhyne Williams that he had lost the desire to remain on tour.
”I just feel like it’s time,“ he said. ”I’ve always wanted to, in a perfect world, finish at this event. I have a lot of family and friends here.
”I thought all year I would know when I got to this tournament. When I was playing my first round, I knew.
“Playing here, I don’t know what it was. I couldn’t imagine myself being there another year.”
Roddick’s announcement came shortly after France’s fifth seed Jo-Wilfried Tsonga produced his worst match of the year to be the first big-name casualty of the men’s draw.
In the women’s draw, Serena Williams continued her march to a fourth crown but Wimbledon runner-up Angieszka Radwanska was less convincing.
Williams was a 6-2 6-4 winner over Maria Jose Martinez Sanchez but second-seeded Radwanska struggled before peeling off 11 straight games to finish strongly in a 4-6 6-3 6-0 defeat of Carla Suarez Navarro.
Tsonga was wildly erratic in his 6-4 1-6 6-1 6-3 loss to 52nd-ranked Martin Klizan in Louis Armstrong Stadium.
”It seemed like I couldn’t hit the ball hard enough to put my opponent out of position,“ said Tsonga. ”I don’t really know why it was like this today, but sometimes it happens with me. I don’t know.
“It’s tennis. I will tell you that. We have to play every week. I‘m not a machine. Sometimes I‘m tired. Sometimes not. Sometimes in good shape. Sometimes not. That’s it.”
American Mardy Fish attended Roddick’s retirement announcement after defeating Russian Nikolay Davydenko 4-6 7-6 6-2 6-1 6-2 to reach the third round.
Roddick and Tomic will be the first match of the prime-time night session at Flushing Meadows on Friday night.
“I feel clear about my decision,” Roddick said.
”If I‘m being honest, I would have bet against myself getting through this without tears today but I feel pretty good.
“For 13 or 14 years, I was invested fully, every day. You know, I was pretty good for a long time.”
Williams, the reigning Wimbledon and Olympic champion, said the news came as no surprise.
”I knew for a while,“ she said. ”I’ve known Andy for so many years, since we were 10 years old. He told me it would probably be his last tournament.
“I was hoping he would change his mind but I guess he didn‘t. He’s been so amazing for American tennis and really exciting to watch and I‘m sad to see another face gone.”
Editing by Gene Cherry