As 2012 comes to a close, we say goodbye to four champions who made an indelible mark on the tennis world. Fortunately, these standouts will be remembered not only for their titles and victories but for their impact as unique and distinctive players.
A 2003 Australian Open finalist and former top-five player, Scheuttler announced his retirement, citing an extenuating groin injury and fitness problems. Known for his grit and tenacity on the court, Schuettler won four career titles on the Association of Tennis Professional World Tour because of his outstanding determination and fitness.
He said, “I am not two meters tall, so I didn’t have a big serve like Roger [Federer] or [John] Isner. I had to work for my points and of course my base was always my fitness. I worked hard to not get tired and remain aggressive from the baseline.”
The relentless approach he puts forth on the court makes it easy to see why Schuettler was widely admired and respected by fans around the world.
Gonzalez will undoubtedly be remembered for having the single most lethal and powerful forehand in tennis history. Gonzalez’s most notable Grand Slam achievement occurred during the 2007 Australian Open, where he stunned many by bludgeoning his way through to the final before succumbing to Federer. But Gonzalez may be remembered mostly for his remarkable performances representing Chile at the Olympics. In 2004, Gonzalez won the bronze medal in singles and the gold medal in doubles, teaming with partner Nicolas Massu. In 2008, Gonzalez captured the silver medal in singles, losing the gold to Spain’s Rafael Nadal in the gold medal match.
Gonzalez, who cited a lack of energy as his cause of retirement, played his last professional match in March at the Sony Ericsson Open against Nicholas Mahut.
Juan Carlos Ferrero
Former world number one and 2003 French Open champion, Ferrero — nicknamed the Mosquito for his speed and slender frame — is going to hang up his racket after his final tournament next week. Ferrero was known for his sensational ball striking abilities and fierce will, grounded in physical fitness and a sound state of mind.
The 32-year-old Spaniard will retire with 16 career titles, and he has the potential to add a 17th when he plays his final professional tournament in Valencia, Spain.
The greatest American tennis player of what I’ll coin as the “post-millennial generation,” Roddick has decided to throw in the towel after 13 years of professional tennis. Famous for his deadly serve and remarkable consistency, Roddick’s career is as decorated as they come. In 2003, Roddick captured his first and only Grand Slam at the U.S. Open, defeating Ferrero in the final. He also soared to the top of the bird’s nest, claiming the world’s top ranking on Nov. 3, 2003.
As a testament to his dogged consistency, Roddick won at least one title every year from 2001 to 2012, a truly marvelous accomplishment to say the least. Roddick also sealed a spot within the top ten of the Year End ATP Rankings every season from 2002 to 2010.
Roddick admitted, “With the way my body feels, with the way that I’m able to feel like I’m able to compete now, I don’t know that it’s good enough.”
A version of this article appeared in the Wednesday, Oct. 17 print edition. Nicholas Nemeroff is a contributing writer. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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