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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Andy Murray, Andy Roddick, Juan Carlos Ferrero, John Isner, Nicolas Almagro and Alejandro Falla are taking part this weekend to the first annual Miami Tennis Cup exhibition.

Here are a few pics (credit: Getty Images) and day 1 results:

Nicolas Almagro def Alejandro Falla 6-4 6-1:

Almagro:

I’m quite happy with how I’m playing at the moment and I’m glad to be in the warmth of Miami for the first year of the Miami Tennis Cup. Hopefully the crowds were treated to an enjoyable game

 

John Isner def Juan Carlos Ferrero 7-6 6-3:

Isner:

I’m happy to be competing in the Miami Tennis Cup. It’s a good crowd with some top players competing. I’m looking forward to seeing Andy Roddick play Andy Murray and hope to meet one of them in Sunday’s final.

 

 

Day two of the Miami Tennis Cup features the tournament’s headline match between the retired Andy Roddick and the reigning U.S Open and Olympic Champion, Andy Murray, currently ranked number three in the world.

US Open champion and 2012 Olympic Gold Medalist Andy Murray will face the recently-retired Andy Roddick on a white court at the 2012 Miami Cup.
The event will feature six of the top-ranked ATP professionals, including Murray, Roddick, former number one Juan Carlos Ferrero, Nicolas Almagro, Alejandro Falla and top-ranked American, John Isner. All matches played throughout the three-day tournament will take place on the stadium court at Crandon Park and will be broadcast live by ESPN3.

Friday, November 30th, 2012
7:00pm: John Isner vs. Juan Carlos Ferrero
8:30pm: Nicolas Almagro vs. Alejandro Falla

Saturday, December 1st, 2012
5:00pm: Winner of John Isner vs. Juan Carlos Ferrero to play Andy Murray
6:30pm: Winner of Nicolas Almagro vs. Alejandro Falla to play Andy Roddick

Sunday, December 2nd, 2012
5:00pm: Final on Stadium Court
7:00pm: Trophy presentation on Stadium Court

On Saturday, December 1st and Sunday, December 2nd, a USTA sanctioned 12 and Under tournament will take place, starting at 8:00am until 3:00pm, as part of a weekend-long Family Day series of fun-filled activity, taking place on courts one and two.

Miami Tennis Cup has formed an inaugural partnership with the non-profit charity organization Shake-A-Leg Miami and a portion of all proceeds from tickets sales will be donated to Gulliver schools.

Tickets for the first annual Miami Tennis Cup, taking place November 30th – December 2nd, at Crandon Park Tennis Center in Key Biscayne, FL., are now available through Ticketmaster starting at $50 (general admission). A three-day pass starts at $118 (300 Level – general admission).

More details on Miami Tennis Cup website and Facebook page.

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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At 21, Andy Roddick was the hottest player in the game, having won four of his previous six tournaments. No one in the world was performing with more confidence, intensity and unbridled.
But the number 4 seed Roddick had a serious problem in his semifinal against David Nalbandian. Roddick was down match point at 5-6 in a third set tiebreak. Roddick possessed the biggest serve in the game and he released a crackling 138mph serve winner to Nalbandian’s backhand and carved-out a five sets comeback victory 6-7 3-6 7-6 6-1 6-3, for a place in his first Grand Slam final.

American fans had eagerly anticipated a Agassi-Roddick showdown in final, but the top-seeded Agassi faced reigning French Open champion Juan Carlos Ferrero and couldn’t disrupt his adversary’s unerring ground game, bowing in four sets. That set the stage for Roddick to methodically serve his way past the Spaniard to capture his first major.

Since then, he has never passed the quarterfinals at Flushing Meadows.