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Top 10 Players of the Decade - Men (Part 2)

In the first part we talked about five of the most talented tennis players of the past decade, who, despite their astonishing achievements, missed the cut for the top five spots in our list. Gustavo Kuerten, Marat Safin and Pete Sampras were some of those names, who only managed to grab spots in the bottom half of the countdown. Today, we discuss the BEST of the BEST, as the competition only gets stiffer with every single rank passing.

5 - Andy Roddick

Picking up the top male tennis stars of the decade was no baby task as we had to take into consideration several factors- number of Grand Slams won, weeks spent at No.1, total title wins, and if this wasn't enough, head-to-head record between players came out as the next available option to grant them a rank. Keeping those parameters in mind, we found American superstar Andy Roddick to be on the fifth spot of our top 10 list. Andy Roddick first broke into tennis scene as a junior when he won both Australian Open and U.S. Open Boy's singles titles to become the No.1 player in the world. Roddick created quite a stir in his debut in a Masters Series event in Miami, where he beat some of the most established players in the circuit before losing to compatriot Andre Agassi. Roddick continued his thrilling form in several other tournaments, most notable of which was the tier-I event in Washington, where he again lost to Agassi in the quarterfinals. With such immense talent, it did not take long for Roddick to win his first ATP title in Atlanta. More success came in the American's way when he captured two more titles in Washington and Houston to become the youngest player to enter the top 20 since Pete Sampras in 1990. The season was highlighted by Roddick's wins over Sampras & Rios (Miami) and Sheng Schalken, whom he beat to reach his first ever Grand Slam quarterfinals. The following year, Roddick added two more titles to his tally and reached the QF of the U.S. Open for the second consecutive year, where he lost to eventual champion Pete Sampras. As a result, Roddick ended the year ranked among the top 10 players in the world. The year 2003 turned out the be the most successful season in the American's career, when he won a whopping six tour titles including two Masters Series wins (Cincinnati & Toronto) and a much deserved Grand Slam at Flushing Meadows, where he beat French Open champion Juan Carlos Ferrero in the finals. The victory helped Roddick reach the pinnacle of the sport with the yearend No.1 ranking, ahead of Federer and Ferrero. With a major title under his belt, Roddick started the 2004 season with a QF finish in Melbourne, and found his best form on the sunny courts of Miami where he won his third Masters series title. The claycourt season turned out to be quite dismal for the American after which he won his first grasscourt title at the Queen's Club in England. Roddick was seen as the biggest threat to Federer's title defense at Wimbledon and as expected, both players met in the finals at the All England Lawn Tennis Club, where Federer reigned supreme. Roddick maintained his World No.2 status with consistent performance in the next three Grand slams and returned to the finals in 2005, where he again lost his battle to Roger Federer. The year also saw Roddick pick a total of 5 titles in Lyon, Washington, London- Queen's, San Jose and Houston. Roddick then suffered early round exits in the next four Grand Slam events including a shocking 1R loss in New York. However, he regained his momentum at his beloved Flushing Meadows in 2006 where he reached the fourth slam final of his career. His rivalry with Federer continued and saw him lose another match to the Swiss maestro. Roddick only managed to win one title this year at the Cincinnati Masters. The following year did not solve Roddick's problems as persistent injuries kept him out of action for several weeks. Roddick successfully clinched titles in London-Queen's and Washington, but failed to make the final of any Grand Slam event. His best performance that year was a semifinal finish in Melbourne where he again lost to eventual champion Roger Federer. The 2008 season came as a relief for the American who grabbed three titles in Beijing, Dubai and San Jose, thereby becoming one of the most consistent players of the decade. Although, Roddick's only remarkabe result at a major level was his QF finish at the U.S. Open. Roddick did qualify for the ATP Masters Cup at the yearend, however an injury forced him to retire from the Round Robin stages. The year 2009 turned out to be a season of comeback for the American, who...........................................

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