The Comeback Kid

Updated: September 11, 2006, 2:19 PM ET
By Pat Smith, Jr. | Special to ESPN.com

Signature Match
Sept. 6, 2003 - On the verge of losing in straight sets, Andy Roddick staged an amazing comeback in the semifinals at the U.S. Open. After dropping the first two sets to Argentina's David Nalbandian, Roddick rallied to win, 6-7, 3-6, 7-6, 6-1, 6-3.

"If this would have happened a year ago, I probably would have freaked out that I was down, gotten upset," the fourth-seeded Roddick said. "I tried to keep it pretty even keel."

Down 6-5 in the third-set tiebreaker, Roddick saved match point with a service winner against the 13th-seeded Nalbandian. He then won the tiebreaker, 9-7.

"The turning point was the third-set tiebreaker," Roddick said. "To come through like that gave me a bit of new life. I was pretty much almost down and out, so I didn't really have much pressure on me. I just decided to go for it."

Roddick set a career high with 38 aces in the 3-hour match.

The next day, Roddick defeated Juan Carlos Ferrero in straight sets to win his first Grand Slam title.

Odds 'N' Ends

  • Roddick took his first tennis lesson at age four in Austin, Tex.

  • Among Roddick's tennis pals while growing up in Austin were future San Diego Chargers quarterback Drew Brees and Los Angeles Lakers center Chris Mihm.

    At Boca Prep in Boca Raton, Fla., he played varsity basketball along with future Davis Cup teammate Mardy Fish.

  • Andy's older brother John was a three-time All-American at Georgia (1996-98), but a deteriorating spinal disk ended his career as a player.

  • In 2000, Roddick was the world's No. 1 junior, winning the junior titles at the Australian and U.S. Opens without losing a set.

  • He was the first American junior to win the Australian Open since 1959 when Butch Buchholz prevailed.

  • Roddick underwent arthroscopic knee surgery in April 2000. He made his return at the French Open and reached the quarterfinals.

  • In 2001, Roddick served 37 aces against Michael Chang in a second-round duel, setting a French Open record. Roddick won in five sets.

  • In 2001, Roddick won three ATP tournaments to become the first teenager since Pete Sampras in 1990 to win at least three events in one year.

  • He started the Andy Roddick Foundation in 2001 to help children better their lives through positive values - "Respect for family, education and morality." His mother Blanche is the foundation's chairman.

  • Roddick reached the quarterfinals of the U.S. Open in 2001 and 2002, losing each time to the eventual champion, Lleyton Hewitt and Pete Sampras.

  • When Roddick finished 2002 ranked No. 10, he became the youngest American to do so since Michael Chang in 1992.

  • After winning a tournament in August 2003, Roddick took his coach, Brad Gilbert, skydiving.

  • Roddick and Boyd Tinsley of the Dave Matthews Band hosted a tennis clinic for kids in Central Park in New York before the 2003 U.S. Open.

  • Two months after winning the U.S. Open, Roddick became the first male tennis player to host Saturday Night Live.

  • In 2003, the 21-year-old Roddick became the second youngest, behind 20-year-old Lleyton Hewitt in 2001, to be No. 1 since ATP rankings started in 1973.

  • After winning five tournaments total in 2001 and 2002, Roddick won six in 2003. Only Roger Federer, with seven, won more events.

  • On May 1, 2004, in a fire at the Parco dei Principi Hotel in Rome, where Roddick was staying during the Italian Open, he helped evacuate guests to the roof. Three died in the blaze.

  • Elton John wrote a profile of Roddick in Interview magazine in 2003.

  • Roddick was chosen by People magazine as the sexiest athlete on the planet in December 2003.

  • Roddick broke his own record for fastest serve with a 153-mph ace on June 11, 2004. It was the third time in 2004 he improved the record. He had a 150-mph serve in a Davis Cup match against Austria and a 152-mph serve in Davis Cup play against Sweden.

  • In 2004, Roddick compiled a 74-18 record and won four titles. But he failed to win a Grand Slam event, an Olympic medal and lost both his singles matches at the Davis Cup final against Spain on the slow red clay.

  • In 2005, Roddick dropped to third in the ATP rankings and suffered early-round defeats at the U.S. and French Opens.

  • In the summer of 2006, Roddick dropped out of the Top 10.

  • Two months later, Roddick rebounded to reach his second U.S. Open final, but lost in four sets to Federer. It was Roddick's 11th defeat in 12 matches against Federer.

  • Roddick's favorite movie is The Shawshank Redemption.

  • His favorite group is the Dave Matthews Band.

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