Andy Roddick celebrated his 30th birthday on Thursday by announcing his retirement as Roger Federer, the great grand slam tormentor of the American, eased into the third round at the US Open.
Roddick, a former world No.1, who won his only major title in New York in 2003, admitted his level was struggling to match the big three of Federer, Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic and he will quit once the US Open is over.
“I have decided that this is going to be my last tournament,” said Roddick, who is guaranteed an emotional reception on Arthur Ashe Stadium on Friday night when he plays Australia’s Bernard Tomic for a place in the last 32.
“I feel it is the right time to do it. These other guys have gotten really, really good and I’m not interested in just existing on tour. I don’t want to disrespect the game by coasting home.”
Roddick, whose ranking is down to No.22, lost to Federer in the Wimbledon finals of 2004, 2005 and 2009.
That last All England Club defeat, which ended 16-14 in the fifth set, was Roddick’s last memorable campaign and he has not gone beyond the quarter-finals of a grand slam since.
Top seed and five-time champion Federer reached the last 32 with an easy 6-2 6-3 6-2 win over Germany’s Bjorn Phau and next faces Spain’s Fernando Verdasco.
Federer, bidding to become the first man to win six New York titles in the Open era, clinched the 90-minute match with his 15th ace after also firing 44 winners past Phau.
“Andy’s a great man,” Federer said. “I had some great battles with him for a long, long time and all the Wimbledon finals come to mind. We had some epic battles over the years.
“He could have gotten that title,” said Federer, whose streak over Roddick also extended to the 2006 US Open final.
“That’s what I said about him in 2009. He deserves this title as well. In my mind, he is a Wimbledon champion, a wonderful ambassador for the game.
“I am thankful for everything he has done in the sport here in America. It’s not been easy after (Andre) Agassi, (Pete) Sampras, (Jim) Courier, (Michael) Chang, (Jimmy) Connors, (John) McEnroe – you name them.
“But he got the last laugh – he beat me in Miami this year.”
French fifth seed Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, who reached the quarter-finals in 2011, was the highest men’s seed to fall when he slumped to a shock 6-4 1-6 6-1 6-3 defeat to unheralded Slovak Martin Klizan.
“Today I was not in good shape. I didn’t play good tennis,” said the 27-year-old Tsonga.
Left-hander Klizan, the world No.52, progressed to the third round of a grand slam for the first time and will tackle 32nd-seeded Frenchman Jeremy Chardy, who eliminated Australian Matt Ebden 6-4 6-2 6-2.
Men’s sixth seed Tomas Berdych eased past Estonia’s Jurgen Zopp 6-1 6-4 6-2 and faces America’s Sam Querrey next.
Spanish 11th seed Nicolas Almagro fought back to beat German Philipp Petzschner 6-3 5-7 5-7 6-4 6-4.
American 23rd seed Mardy Fish, a quarter-finalist in 2008, beat Russia’s Nikolay Davydenko in a gruelling five-setter.
His 4-6 6-7 (4-7) 6-2 6-1 6-2 win was the 10th comeback victory from two sets to love down in the men’s tournament this year.