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Kim Clijsters and Andy Roddick

Kim Clijsters and Andy Roddick

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by Federico Coppini

In 2003, the fates of two tennis players were entwined in a rather strange manner. Kim Clijsters was playing her fellow Belgian, Justine Henin, for the US Open title. On the other side of the competition, local hero Andy Roddick was taking on Juan Carlos Ferrero in the final.

Roddick left New York as US Open champion, while Clijsters suffered a stinging defeat at the hands of her bitter rival. Both would go on to have more successes on Tour, though Roddick would never again know the honor of lifting a Grand Slam title.

Clijsters, of course, would return triumphant to Flushing Meadows years later. It is then perhaps appropriate that both will end their career at this tournament that has meant so much to them. For Kim, it will be a familiar feeling.

In 2007, at the tender age of 24, Clijsters retired for the first time. But it only lasted two years, and she was soon back on court. Ironically, her rival Justine Henin did the same thing.
However, this time Clijsters says it's for real.

She cannot handle the injuries anymore, and is calling it quits for good. It's hard to imagine her ending it anywhere but here. She won three of her four Slams in the Big Apple, and is well loved by the countless tennis fans in the city.
It is sad that she couldn't make one last run at a title, but with her loss to Laura Robson, the tennis world has been introduced to an exciting new contender - one who might just follow in her footsteps.

For Roddick, it will be the first and last time he retires. For many, his career will always be remembered for lost opportunities. Three times he lost to Roger Federer in the Wimbledon final, and once here in New York.

But for one missed volley during that second set tie-break in their last Wimbledon match, we might be talking very differently about his legacy.
Alas though, it was not to be, and Roddick will likely not go down as one of the greatest players the sport has ever seen.

But that doesn't mean he didn't have a superb career. He was in the Top 10 for a decade, and won at least one event every year for even longer than that - a truly astonishing feat.
He also managed to reach number one on 3 September, 2003, and the 32 trophies he won speaks of a man who knew what it takes to win on a tennis court.
 In the end though, both Clijsters and Roddick will forever be defined by the players that they played against, rather than for their own careers.

Clijsters unfortunately played during the same era as the Williams sisters, while Roddick suffered under Federer's rule for years. With Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic, the next generation of tennis greats ascended to the top, leaving Roddick behind.
But we will always be thankful for what these two have done for the game, and the many hours of joy they gave us.
Fare well, Kim and Andy.

May you find as much success in your new life as you had in your tennis careers.
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