As a junior in college, I wrote a 20 page paper on the mental state of Andy Roddick for a sports psychology class. He was 22 at the time, and yes, that was as difficult a task as it sounds. But I chose him as the subject of my final project that year for one reason: He was one of the most entertaining athletes out there. Though his play has lost some of its luster since I labored over his psychological biography, his personality still shines bright in a sport that desperately needs a little spice. And while Roddick was hard to love at times (2010 U.S. Open foot-fault-gate anyone?), his unpredictability, intensity, and sense of humor added to his unique, irreplaceable aura. Now that he’s left the tennis court for good, the Andy lovers, haters, and love-to-haters can likely all agree that the game has lost someone special. As Roddick’s final match on Arthur Ashe Stadium slipped away thanks to some brilliant play from Juan Martin del Potro, cameras frequently panned to his box where stylish sunglasses did nothing to hide the emotions of his wife, Brooklyn (or Brooke, as Andy calls her). Roddick admitted he couldn’t look up at his coaches and loved ones once it became apparent the match would not go his way. When asked what went through his head during the final games of his tennis career, he struggled to sum it up. “You’re thinking about matches you’re playing when you were 12 or you’re thinking about you know, I was thinking about my mom driving me to practices all over the place,” he said. “You just think about a million things.” And, until the bitter (sweet) end, Roddick was still thinking of winning above all else. He managed to hold his last service game, even saving a match point, through misty eyes and what must have been overwhelming emotion. To viewers, the final points seemed a mere formality. To Roddick, as usual, the match wasn’t over until it was.
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