| By Steven Kaplan

Andy Roddick announced his retirement at the 2012 U.S. Open on Thursday, his 30th birthday. Roddick was the best male, American player of the last decade, and in this regard, he was in the right place at the right time as Sampras and Agassi were calling it quits. Roddick won the U.S. Open in 2003 and was ranked number one in the world. As the heir apparent, for American tennis, he carried the burden of high expectations and to his credit, he was earnest.

Roddick reached three Grand Slam finals thereafter. He was in the wrong place at the wrong time in 2009 when he lost to Roger Federer 16-14 in a thrilling fifth set Wimbledon finals. Roddick was brilliant on that day and would have beaten almost anyone else except for Pete Sampras and scare a few others.

I remember watching Andy as a young junior where he played like a bull in a china shop. I always loved his hustle, and his power was awesome. His game just didn't evolve perhaps because he didn't have a top American rival as McEnroe had Connors and Sampras had Agassi to push themselves and each other to greater heights.

Roddick stood alone in a lonely era of American tennis greatness.

Steven Kaplan

Steven Kaplan is the owner and managing director of Bethpage Park Tennis Center, as well as director emeritus of Lacoste Academy for New York City Parks Foundation and executive director and founder of Serve & Return Inc. Steve has coached more than 1,100 nationally-ranked junior players, 16 New York State high school champions, two NCAA Division 1 Singles Champions, and numerous highly-ranked touring professionals. Many of the students Steve has closely mentored have gone to achieve great success as prominent members of the New York financial community, and in other prestigious professions. In 2017, Steve was awarded the Hy Zausner Lifetime Achievement Award by the USTA. He may be reached by e-mail at StevenJKaplan@aol.com.