Andy Roddick Says Goodbye

The American tennis player gave an emotional speech at the U.S. Open as he left the game for good.

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Andy Roddick waves to crowd at Arthur Ashe stadium after losing to Juan Martin Del Potro in the fourth round of the US Open.

One U.S. Open title. Four more Grand Slam finals reached. And after losing on Wednesday in a rain-delayed match to Juan Martin Del Potro in four sets, Andy Roddick said goodbye.

Almost as soon as the match ended, a microphone was thrust at Roddick and the tennis player had to switch his mindset from trying to eke out a win to trying to graciously sum up his career in front of the crowds at the U.S. Open.

“Since I was a kid I’ve been coming to this tournament and I felt lucky to sit where all of you are sitting today and to watch this game and to see where champions have come and gone and I’ve loved every minute of it,” he said to cheers from the crowd. “Hopefully I’ll come back to this place someday and see all of you again.”

And now, here comes the legacy debate. As TIME’s Sean Gregory put when the American tennis pro announced his intentions to retire after this week’s tournament:

He had the talent and the work ethic. He was just brash enough to keep you glued to the set, but not cocky or mean enough to turn you off. In the post Sampras-Agassi era, he’d carry American tennis.

Then came Roger. And Rafa. And Novak Djokovic.

As for Roddick, he doesn’t appear just quite ready for the discussion. When the question of how he’d like to be remembered was posed to him by a reporter at post-game U.S. Open press conference (view that interview here) he just brushed it aside.

“I want everyone to look back and think that I was awesome,” he said. “I don’t know.  That’s for you all to decide.  You know, again, it’s tough for me to be objective and kind of look outside in.  You guys will do a fair job of expressing it, I’m sure.”

MORE: Andy Roddick Retires: How He Helped American Tennis