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Roddick: I kept my nose to the grindstone

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Originally published on: 02/09/12 00:00

When he announced his impending retirement in New York, however, the 30-year-old American said that it was his longevity at the top of the game that gave him most satisfaction.

“I was pretty good for a long time,” said Roddick, who was in the world’s top 10 for the best part of 10 years and has been in the top 100 since 2001. “For 13 or 14 years, I was invested fully, every day. I've seen a lot of people throughout that time be invested for a year, kind of tap out for a year, come back. I've been pretty good about keeping my nose to the grindstone. I feel like I won a lot of matches from hard work and persistence, even maybe when I had better options as far as shot_—•making.”

Asked if his US Open victory in 2003 was the highlight of his career, Roddick said: “I don't know. I don't view it in a scope of where you had your best win. I've had a lot of different memories. I'll certainly look back. I feel like I'd be cheating the other memories if I said one was the highlight. I feel like I've been very lucky. That's certainly not lost on me.”

Roddick, who has been dogged by injury in recent years, said he was retiring now because he did not know whether he would be fit or committed enough to play on the tour for another year.

“On some big moments this year, I think I've known,” he said. “Walking off at Wimbledon, I felt like I knew. Playing here, I don't know what it was. I couldn't imagine myself being there in another year. Whatever my faults have been, I’ve always felt like I've never done anything halfway.

“For probably the first time in my career I can sit here and say I'm not sure that I can put everything into it physically and emotionally. I don't know that I want to disrespect the game by coasting home. I had plans to play a smaller schedule next year.  But the more I thought about it, I think you’ve either got to be all in or not.”

Roddick said he would not be putting his rackets away. “There are a lot of players where I live,” he said.  “I don't think I'm one of the guys who won't pick up a racket for three years. I still love the innocent parts of the game. I love hitting tennis balls. I love seeing the young guys do well. I'll still have a lot of friends to watch. I'll miss the relationships probably the most. As time passes, I'll probably miss the tennis more. But immediately that's probably the thing that is toughest for me.”

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