Juan Martin Del Potro has ended Andy Roddick’s career to set up a quarter-final clash with defending champion Novak Djokovic at the US Open in New York.
Roddick spoke last week that he would retire at the end of the tournament whenever that would be, and following some early wins fans began to see a fairytale being written.
It was not to be for the American though as his hopes faded at Arthur Ashe Stadium, the scene of his greatest triumph in 2003 when he became US Open champion.
Del Potro lost the first set on a tie-break but recovered to level the match and went on to win with a degree of comfort by a score of 6-7(1-7), 7-6(7-4), 6-2, 6-4.
The Argentinian former US Open champion now proceeds to face Novak Djokovic in the quarter-final whilst Roddick looks to life after tennis.
Despite actually announcing his retirement last week, it was not any easier for the three-time Wimbledon runner-up to conceal his emotions on Arthur Ashe.
At the end of the game the 30-year old was in tears as he bid farewell to the raucous fans that have supported him best during his career for the last time.
“For the first time in my career I’m not sure what to say. I’ve loved every minute of it,” said the teary-eyed American.
“I love you guys with all my heart. Hopefully I’ll come back to this place someday and see you all again.”
Speaking later in a press conference Roddick said: “It was tough. Once he got up in that match it was a different set of circumstances than my previous matches.
“Then you start thinking about how real it is and a lot of thoughts go through your head. You’re thinking about matches you’re playing when you’re 12 or I was thinking about my mom driving me to practices all over the place.
“You just think about a million things. Then all of a sudden you have to play a point against one of the best players in the world. It certainly was a mixed bag there at the end.
“Playing the last five games was pretty hard. Once I got down a break I could barely look at my box. I don’t know what the emotions are. I’m a little overwhelmed right now.
“I normally feel like I can grasp things pretty quickly and clearly. I certainly don’t feel that way right now.”
Del Potro, who is seeking to repeat his success of 2009 in New York, was also quick to pay respect to a man he has faced many times on court and he told Roddick to enjoy life after tennis.
The Argentinian said: “It was a really tough moment for me and for him also. The last point of his life. The crowd was amazing for both players. I really enjoyed it, but it wasn’t easy for me to play.
“Of course it was an amazing moment for me also winning the match. But I think the words are enough for this moment. He has to enjoy his life and I would like to congratulate him because he made an unbelievable career.”
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