The new tennis season is fast approaching, and the best players in the world are busy training hard in preparation for another demanding and gruelling year on tour. But before we launch into 2013, we should take a moment to reflect on the careers and legacies of those who hung up their racquets for the last time in 2012…

Biggest ATP Retirement: Andy Roddick

Andy Roddick

On his 30th birthday, Andy Roddick called a press conference and revealed that the 2012 US Open would be his final competitive tournament. The decision caught everyone by surprise, but it seemed fitting for a man who, used to giving his all, knew that his body was no longer able to withstand a brutal training and playing regime.

Roddick had been his country’s number one player for most of the last decade. Blessed with one of the biggest serves in the history of the game, he regularly sent down unreturnable deliveries of over 220km/h, accompanied by his trademark compact swing and shotgun-like pop. He resembled an exuberant puppy on the court, pouncing on short balls and unleashing his formidable off-forehand with relish. Not the most naturally fluid of players, Roddick constantly strove to expand his arsenal of shots, and developed a very effective all-court game. Occasionally, his temper got the better of him, and umpires were often in his firing line, but he earned a reputation for being extremely gracious in defeat, and was a fan favourite wherever he played.

At the time, his 2003 US Open win seemed to herald the arrival of a new hero in American tennis, but Roddick’s main misfortune was to have shared an era with Roger Federer. He fell to the Swiss in four Grand Slam finals, including three at Wimbledon. The most heartbreaking was a 16-14 loss in the deciding set of the 2009 Wimbledon final, a match in which Roddick’s serve was broken only once. In all, he had a 3-21 record against Federer, and one wonders how much more decorated the Nebraskan’s career would have been without that perennial obstacle.

Biggest WTA Retirement: Kim Clijsters

Kim Clijsters

Kim Clijsters has the distinction of retiring for a second time in 2012. The Belgian originally called it a day in 2007, citing mounting injuries and her desire to start a family. The lure of competition proved too strong, however, and she returned to the WTA tour in 2009.
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Next champion to retire?

Juan Carlos Ferrero joins Andy Roddick, Kim Clijsters, Fernando Gonzalez, Rainer Schuttler, Arnaud Clement and Ivan Ljubicic as 2012 retirees.
Former No. 1 and 2003 French Open champion Juan Carlos Ferrero says he’ll retire after playing in his hometown Valencia Open next month.

“It was a complicated decision to leave a world you have lived in intensely. But I have had a tough year and you start to notice that you don’t have the same ambition and motivation.”

Next champion to retire?

  • Lleyton Hewitt (29%, 24 Votes)
  • Venus Williams (17%, 14 Votes)
  • Rafael Nadal (14%, 12 Votes)
  • Francesca Schiavone (11%, 9 Votes)
  • Tommy Haas (11%, 9 Votes)
  • Robin Soderling (8%, 7 Votes)
  • David Nalbandian (7%, 6 Votes)
  • Other (4%, 3 Votes)

Total Voters: 84

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The US Open Series is the seven-week summer tennis season linking 10 ATP and WTA tournaments together. The Series leads to the US Open. It is often referred to as the U.S. or North American hard court season.

It was organized in 2004 as a way to focus more attention on American tennis tournaments by getting more of them on domestic television. Until 2004, most summer North American tournaments were not on television, the exceptions being the highly televised ATP Masters events in Canada and Cincinnati.

Bonus Prize

Players earn points according to their results in the events.
The US Open series gives bonus money to the top three player in the US Open Series, depending on their results at the 2012 US Open and the 2012 US Open Series.

US Open finish USO Series 1st place USO Series 2nd place USO Series 3rd place
Champion $1,000,000 $500,000 $250,000
Finalist $500,000 $250,000 $125,000
Semifinalist $250,000 $125,000 $62,500
Quarterfinalist $125,000 $62,500 $31,250
Round of 16 $70,000 $35,000 $17,500
Round of 32 $40,000 $20,000 $10,000
Round of 64 $25,000 $12,500 $6,250
Round of 128 $15,000 $7,500 $3,750

Last year’s US Open Series winners were Mardy Fish and Serena Williams.

Schedule

Week Date Men’s event Winner Women’s event Winner
1 July 9–15 No event Stanford Serena Williams
2 July 16–22 Atlanta Andy Roddick San Diego Dominika Cibulkova
3 July 23–29 Los Angeles Sam Querrey No event
4 July 30–Aug 5 Washington DC Alexandr Dolgopolov No event
5 Aug 6–12 Toronto Novak Djokovic Montreal Petra Kvitova
6 Aug 13–19 Cincinnati Roger Federer Cincinnati Li Na
7 Aug 20–26 Winston-Salem New Heaven

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Here is our Best and Worst of June 2012. (Read here our Best and Worst of Roland Garros 2012).

Best:

Tamira Paszek:
5-3 down in the third set, she saved 5 championships point to win her first title since 2010, defeating Angelique Kerber 5-7, 6-3, 7-5, in Eastbourne. A few days later, she upset former number one Caroline Wozniacki in the first round at Wimbledon 5-7, 7-6, 6-4 in an encounter lasting 3 hours and 12 minutes.
After an easy second round win over Alizé Cornet, she defeated Yanina Wickmayer in another gruelling match 2-6, 7-6 (4), 7-5 in two hours and 40 minutes

Kim Clijsters:
Last Wimbledon for Kim who beat Jelena Jankovic, Andrea Hlavackova and Vera Zvonareva. Next opponent: Angelique Kerber.

Sania Mirza‘s reaction to the Indian Olympic team mess:

“As an Indian woman belonging to the 21st century, what I find disillusioning is the humiliating manner in which I was put up as a bait to try and pacify one of the disgruntled stalwarts of Indian tennis.”

“While I feel honored and privileged to have been chosen to partner Leander Paes, the manner and timing of the announcement wreaks of male chauvinism where a two time Grand Slam champion, who has been India’s number 1 women’s tennis player for almost a decade in singles and doubles is offered in compensation to partner one of the feuding champions purely in order to lure him into accepting to play with a men’s player he does not wish to play with! This kind of blatant humiliation of Indian womanhood needs to be condemned even if it comes from the highest controlling body of tennis in our country.”
Well said.

Tommy Haas:
German veteran Tommy Haas beat Roger Federer in Halle to capture his 13th career title, its first since 2009.

Andy Roddick:
Roddick ended a 16 months title drought by winning his 31th career title in Eastbourne. He entered the event as a wild card after losing his opening match at Queen’s Club the week before, a defeat that stretched his losing streak to six matches dating to mid-March.

Arnaud Clément:
Arnaud Clément is France new Davis Cup captain. He was hired to replace Guy Forget, who resigned after 14 seasons in charge.

Arnaud Clément

The WTA says NO to grunting, finally!
The WTA is developing a “sport-wide plan” to keep future players from grunting by educating them and instituting rule changes. USA Today reported the plan includes developing a device for umpires to measure grunting during matches, and a rule to set limits on how much noise is acceptable.

Maria Sharapova

ATP says NO to blue clay:
ATP President Brad Drewett has announced blue clay courts will not be allowed at tour events next season.
He said that while the new color, in place of the traditional red clay, “may have offered better visibility on television, there were clearly issues with the quality of the courts in Madrid this year, which were not acceptable.”

Tournament winners:

Bad Gastein: Alizé Cornet
Birmingham: Melanie Oudin
‘s-Hertogenbosch: Nadia Petrova, David Ferrer
Queen’s: Marin Cilic
Halle: Tommy Haas
Eastbourne: Tamira Paszek, Andy Roddick

Worst:

David Nalbandian: disqualified at Queen’s and ousted by Tipsarevic in the first round at Wimbledon.

Venus Williams:
For the first time since her debut appearance at the All England Club 15 years ago, five-time Wimbledon champion Venus Williams failed to get past the first round of Wimbledon. She was beaten by doubles specialist Elena Vesnina 6-3 6-1.
I must say I don’t get why she keeps playing. Perhaps retirement is the best option right now.

Gilles Simon:
He totally has the right to express what he thinks about women’s tennis and equal money, but offence people and say stupid thing like there was 20 spectators attending the women’s Rome final, it’s simply stupid.

I really liked Bartoli‘s reaction:

He should wake up earlier (to have a practice court)

and Sloane Stephens comments:

“Whatever he says means nothing to me. He hit me with a ball when I was ball kid for the first time. He hit me right in my chest because he lost a point and set he turned around and slammed the ball and it hit me,”

Stephens told a small group of U.S. reporters.

“Whatever he says, that means nothing to me. We had discussion about it on the court last year because he was trying to kick me off the practice court in Estoril and I’m like dude you don’t have this court. His coach was nice and he asked me, ‘Why don’t you like him?’ and I said because when I was 10 he hit me with the ball and he didn’t even say sorry and kind of walked off. So I was like, ‘I don’t like him.”

And for all of you who have no idea who Simon is, that’s him:

2012 French Open adidas outfits

Flavia Pennetta:
The first seed eliminated at Wimbledon was No. 16 Flavia Pennetta, who fell 6-4, 6-3 to fellow Italian Camila Giorgi. With the recent achievements of Sara Errani and Francesca Schiavone, nobody remembers that in 2009, she became the first female Italian player to reach the top 10.

The whole Indian olympic team mess, Paes, Bhupathi and co: none of them deserve a medal

Rome is a gr8 tournament. Only complain is that it can be hard to focus when there is naked guys around the court:

Follow Sofia on Twitter: @Sofia_Arvidsson