Posted: Sat September 1, 2012 2:51PM; Updated: Sat September 1, 2012 5:00PM
Jon Wertheim
Jon Wertheim>TENNIS MAILBAG

Roddick's timing, the support for Venus, TV coverage and more mail

Story Highlights

Andy Roddick's timing of his impending retirement after the Open was awkward

Venus Williams felt like an American at the U.S. Open for the first time

Jeff Blake may be the next player to announce his retirement

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Andy Roddick
Andy Roddick announced he will retire after the U.S. Open.
Leslie Billman/Landov
U.S. Open 2012
Day 15
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NEW YORK -- Nice way for Andy to go out, but would have been more graceful if he announced his retirement after he actually played his last game. Makes for good television, but doesn't he sort of get the advantage over the next guy in his next match(es) with the crowd support? Not quite an even playing field.

-- David, Honolulu

I don't disagree that the timing was awkward. But it's not as though Roddick spent months choreographing this. From what I could piece together, he's felt alternately lousy and OK lately, depending on the day. (His shoulder has been so problematic that he's been stringing his racket ten pounds lighter than he normally did, just to give it some rest.) He always wanted to retire at the U.S. Open. He sees the schedule, sees Tomic lurking and thinks: "If my shoulder is lousy, or I just flat lose, I get back in the locker room, everyone is gone and then what? If I announce this a day early, I can say goodbye to everyone properly. I can come out for a night session and soak it in. If I win, great. I'll be the sentimental favorite. If I lose, I get a royal sendoff."

As Bruce Jenkins eloquently put it, these things are rarely completely clean.

Hey Jon, I wrote you before and you were kind enough to print my comments about the Williams sisters and race a few years back. I had remarked that race certainly plays a role when Oudin grabs the spotlight and when the Williams sisters do not. I was reminded of this when this quote came out last night: "I know this is not proper tennis etiquette, but this is the first time I've ever played here that the crowd has been behind me like that. Today I felt American, you know, for the first time at the U.S. Open. So I've waited my whole career to have this moment and here it is." This is Venus Williams last night at the US Open where she played for the first time FIFTEEN years ago. Please forward this to the rest of the readers and hopefully this ends any discussion on her race playing a role. Thanks

-- Aris Winger, Washington D.C.

Done. Also read Drew Lawrence's piece on Venus.

Jon, This may be ironic timing, but just saw this at atpworldtour.com. Don't think these guys would have been too happy with best of three sets in the early round of Grand Slams.

-- Pete Glews, Newton-le-Willows, England

•Defenses. Are. Weakening.

Jon, when you write your farewell piece on Roddick, please don't forget to mention that he was the best interviewee of the last 15 years. I feel fortunate having watched his last interview on ESPN: wit, charm, and wisdom all throughout, as always.

-- Alex Gorbounov , Cary, NC

Good point. The interview room won't be the same without him.

Turned on the ESPN coverage of the US Open this week, only to see an endless stream of interviews break out. Ended up watching a re-run of Storage Wars.

-- John Grace, Aberdeen, MD

Was it the episode in which Brandi got the trunk from San Antonio flea market?

Again, there are so many ways to watch the tennis -- Tennis Channel (for whom I also work); USOpen.org; the various ESPN platforms -- you have no excuse these days if this main match is lousy. Remember a few years ago, USA bailed on the middle Sunday night match in favor of pro wrestling? That would never happen today because there are just too many ways to consume programming. (Discussion for another day: What happens to the fat TV revenue when you can watch everything streaming?)

Because I'm sure that the question of the day will be 'What are Andy's HoF chances?'. I'm curious to know who you think will be the next of this generation to retire?

-- Zac, LaCrosse, Wi

This is like the Career Death Pool. Most aging players have a variation of the same theme: One day you wake up and feel good as ever. (If you're Roddick, you beat Federer in Miami; if you're Blake you tune Granollers at the Open.) You wake up the next day and your shoulder prevents you from lifting your arm over your head. So it's mostly a question of whether the good days can outnumber the bad ones and how much tolerance you have for the icing and rehab and the grind and frustration of competing at less than 100 percent. Logically, Blake is next. But who knows?...

No sooner had I written this then I got this from Emily M, Red House, West Va.:

Hi Jon - Still reeling from Roddick's announcement but thinking, too, of James Blake today. I watched him play Kei Nishikori at Cincy earlier this month and reported to my husband, "Remember how Blake used to just drill his forehands? He was doing that again today!" Then when he lost the match, I thought I must've had sunstroke, or else that I was too amateur to know what I was looking at. Really vindicated -- and happy for James -- when the ESPN commentators said basically the same thing yesterday. Turning back the clock indeed! Just great to see him playing so well.

Whoa, way to go, American men! There are 13 (!) American men left in the men's doubles draw after the first round -- including Donald Young (!!) and the Steve Johnson/Jack Sock team that knocked out the first seeds (and your pick to win it all)!

-- Ujio Irvine, Calif.

Right on!

Shots, Miscellany:

Press releasing: Several of the world's top tennis players stopped by Madison Square Garden to check out progress on the second phase of the Arena's extensive, top-to-bottom three-year Transformation. Tennis World No. 1 Victoria Azarenka, Wimbledon champion and Olympic gold medalist Serena Williams and Olympic bronze medalist Juan Martin del Potro, were on hand to announce the 6th annual BNP Paribas Showdown. The players will be joined by former World No. 1 and 11-time Grand Slam champion, Rafael Nadal, for another great night of tennis at The Garden on March 4, 2013.

More fun stuff: Redfoo from the hit music group LMFAO and his Party Rock brand have agreed to title sponsor the Party Rock Open, a Women's $50,000 USTA Pro Circuit tournament taking place in Las Vegas Sept. 23-30, tournament organizers have announced. The Party Rock Open will make its debut at the Darling Tennis Center, formerly the host site of the Tennis Channel Open. The move to Darling, which is owned in part by ATP player and Las Vegas resident Sam Querrey, will accommodate night matches on the 3,000-seat stadium court, as well as a Party Rock atmosphere featuring regular deejay sets throughout the tournament.

Prince extended its deal with John Isner.

Helen of Philadelphia: "A thought: For future 'going to the slam' recommendations, you might also want to add, 'download the app'. Yes, the paper program is nice, but you can get the info you need and save a tree by pulling up info on your phone. Plus, it's updated when players pull out and matches are moved. And whether at the slam or not, the WatchESPN app is great. I watched the last few points of the final Clijsters match on my phone while waiting at the train station. Yes, the phone screen is small, but the video quality is surprisingly good, and hey, I got to SEE it."

Daniel of Switzerland: "I don't know if this one has been done before, but I would label Philipp Petzschner and Bradley Cooper as long-lost siblings."

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