Privilege to play with big 4: Roddick

Former top-ranked players Kim Clijsters of Belgium and American Andy Roddick, both 34, waiting to be inducted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame in Newport, Rhode Island. Clijsters won four Grand Slam singles titles while Roddick was victorio
Former top-ranked players Kim Clijsters of Belgium and American Andy Roddick, both 34, waiting to be inducted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame in Newport, Rhode Island. Clijsters won four Grand Slam singles titles while Roddick was victorious at the 2003 US Open.PHOTO: REUTERS

Limited achievements frustrated him but he feels blessed to compete against the greats

NEWPORT (Rhode Island) • International Tennis Hall of Fame inductee Andy Roddick said on Saturday he was honoured to have played in the era of the Big Four, but also acknowledged that they caused him no end of frustration during his career.

Speaking in Newport, Rhode Island, where he was inducted with Belgian Kim Clijsters and Dutch Paralympic champion Monique Kalkman-van den Bosch, Roddick spoke about what it was like to compete with Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray.

"I can't believe the level of tennis that I got to see in my career," said the former world No. 1.

"The shots hit, the records that were broken, and the records that continue to be broken. Thanks to Murray, Novak, Roger and Rafa for playing the game at a higher level than it's ever been played. I still consider myself lucky. I feel like I know what it must have been like to watch Picasso. I saw it all."

He won his sole Grand Slam title at the 2003 US Open and was a losing finalist four times - all against Federer, three times at Wimbledon and once at the US Open.

Perhaps the most memorable of those finals was the 2009 Wimbledon classic that Federer won 16-14 in the fifth set.

However, Roddick said that he retired in 2012 with no regrets.

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Thanks to Murray, Novak, Roger and Rafa for playing the game at a higher level than it's ever been played. I still consider myself lucky. I feel like I know what it must have been like to watch Picasso. I saw it all.

ANDY RODDICK, former tennis world No. 1, on having to face tennis greats Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray regularly during his career.

"I'm not the best of all-time. I'm not going to win Wimbledon. I'm not the best of my generation. I'm not the most well-behaved. I'm not the most polished," the 34-year-old said.

"But I'm also never going to take this honour for granted. I'm never going to forget those who paved the way for us... I may not be a lot of things, but from this day forward, I'll never be anything less than a Hall of Famer. I thank you from the deepest parts of my heart."

He added that Federer was the first person to send him a congratulatory text on Saturday.

"He's just a great human," Roddick said of the 19-time Grand Slam champion.

In another piece of good news, the American also announced that his wife Brooklyn Decker is expecting a second child. They welcomed son Hank in September 2015.

"Hank will someday realise how lucky he is, and our daughter that's coming will also realise she has the best mother on Earth," he said.

Clijsters was inducted after capturing four Grand Slam singles titles during her career, three of which she claimed after coming out of retirement in 2009 following the birth of her daughter.

"This is really special not just for me but for all of my family," the 34-year-old said as her husband and three children looked on.

Kalkman-van den Bosch, 52, earned her place in the Hall of Fame by winning three Paralympic gold medals and four world championships in wheelchair tennis.

Before switching sports in 1986, she was a table tennis Paralympic champion.

REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 24, 2017, with the headline 'Privilege to play with big 4: Roddick'. Print Edition | Subscribe