NEW YORK — Andy Roddick’s tennis career will close at the U.S. Open, the site of his biggest triumph.
The 2003 champion at Flushing Meadows and former No. 1-ranked player decided to walk away from the sport whenever his U.S. Open ends, making the announcement at a news conference on Thursday, his 30th birthday.
“I’ll make this short and sweet: I’ve decided that this is going to be my last tournament,” said Roddick, wearing a black T-shirt and a cap with his clothing sponsor’s logos.
“I just feel like it’s time. I don’t know that I’m healthy enough or committed enough to go another year,” he said. “I’ve always wanted to, in a perfect world, finish at this event.”
The 20th-seeded Roddick is scheduled to play 19-year-old Bernard Tomic of Australia in the second round tonight at Arthur Ashe Stadium.
“I think I wanted an opportunity to say goodbye to people … I don’t know how tomorrow’s going to go, and I hope it goes well, and I’m sticking around,” Roddick said.
He was, by turns, in reflective and joking moods while speaking to reporters.
“If I do run into some emotions tomorrow or in four days, I don’t want people to think I’m a little unstable. Or more unstable,” Roddick said with a chuckle. “So that’s why I came to this decision.”
His title in New York nine years ago was the last time an American man won a Grand Slam singles title, and Roddick spoke wistfully about going to the U.S. Open with his parents as a gift when he turned 8.
He said he’s “been thinking about (retirement) for a little bit,” and knew for sure that now is the time after his 6-3, 6-4, 6-4 first-round victory over 21-year-old American Rhyne Williams on Tuesday.
“I’ve thought all year that I would know when I got to this tournament,” he said, “and when I played the first round, I knew.”
In addition to winning a U.S. Open, Roddick also played in four other Grand Slam finals — three at Wimbledon and one at the U.S. Open, losing each to 17-time major champ Roger Federer.
Buoyed by a booming serve — he used to hold the record of 155 mph — and big forehand, Roddick is 610-212 (a .742 winning percentage) with 32 titles.