Andy Roddick's Comeback Stymied By Drug Test

By McCarton Ackerman 07/31/14

The former No. 1 tennis player in the world is furious over a drug testing requirement that won't allow him to compete in the US Open.

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Andy Roddick’s dreams of a US Open comeback have been dashed over a drug test that he never even failed.

The former 2003 US Open champion and world No. 1 wanted to take a wild card into the men’s doubles draw of the final Grand Slam of the year with close friend Mardy Fish. Fish, a former Top 10 player and silver medalist at the 2004 Olympics in Athens, hasn’t played a tournament since last summer due to a heart ailment and has been reportedly been struggling with post-tennis life. Thinking one last swan song at the US Open would be cathartic for Fish, Roddick agreed to come out of retirement and requested a wild card.

However, that request was denied because players who come out of retirement have to be in the drug testing program for at least three months. An angry Roddick explained in a FOX Sports Live podcast that had he not formally dropped himself from the rankings and simply stopped playing, like John McEnroe and Jimmy Connors did, he could have entered the tournament.

“I passed 14 years of tests during my career,” he said. “By doing the right thing and actually filing my retirement papers and not letting [my rankings] just fall off, I kinda got fucked in the end of this thing, which I’m not really thrilled about. It makes no sense whatsoever…If I’m going to do performance-enhancing drugs and make a comeback, I promise you it’s not going to be for one doubles tournament at the US Open.”

Roddick was a vocal proponent of increased drug testing in tennis throughout his career, but the sport has still had its share of controversies. In 2010, Wayne Odesnik was caught with eight vials of human growth hormone, but only served seven months of a retroactive two-year ban. Spanish player Nuria Llagostera Vives retired after last year’s US Open after testing positive for methamphetamine, while Canadian Simon Larose retired after testing positive for cocaine in 2005.

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McCarton Ackerman is a freelance writer and editor living in Portland, Oregon. He has been a contributor for The Fix since October 2011, writing on a wide range of topics ranging from medical marijuana in Colorado to the world's sexiest drug smugglers. Follow him on Linkedin and Twitter.