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Like watching Picasso: Roddick reflects on a career spent in the shadow of greatness

Roger Federer and the rest of the ‘big four’ prevented Andy Roddick from adding to his lone slam win, but the American has no regrets.

Andy Roddick during his induction into the Tennis Hall of Fame
Andy Roddick during his induction into the Tennis Hall of Fame

UPON BEING INDUCTED into the International Tennis Hall of Fame, Andy Roddick says it was both fortunate and unfortunate that his career coincided with a period of extraordinarily talented players dominating the men’s game.

Roddick, still just 34, won the US Open and climbed to number one in the world rankings in 2003, but that remained his solitary major prize, the American losing three Wimbledon finals and a further decider at Flushing Meadows to Roger Federer, while he also exited the Australian Open in the semi-finals on four occasions.

Federer, who won his 19th slam by claiming a record eighth Wimbledon title at the age of 35 this month, was soon joined by Rafael Nadal at the peak of the sport.

The ascent of Novak Djokovic and current world number one Andy Murray then formed a ‘big four’ that has proven difficult to dislodge, with Juan Martin del Potro, Marin Cilic and Stan Wawrinka the only other slam winners since Marat Safin’s 2005 Australian Open triumph.

“I can’t believe the level of tennis that I got to see in my career,” Roddick said.

“The shots hit, the records that were broken, and the records that continue to be broken.

“The ‘Big Four’ guys really pissed me off most of the time, but I’m absolutely proud to have my life and career associated with such quality individuals.

“Thanks to Murray, Novak, Roger and Rafa for playing the game at a higher level than it’s ever been played.

“It sucked being in your vacuum a lot of times. I still consider myself lucky. I got to guard [Michael] Jordan, I went the distance with [Muhammad] Ali, I pitched to Babe Ruth.

“I feel like I know what it must have been like to watch Picasso. I saw it all.”

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