Howard Fendrich

NEW YORK: By turns a bit wistful and at his wisecracking best, Andy Roddick let the tennis world in on a little secret he kept for a couple of days: This U.S. Open will be the last tournament of his career.

Roddick made the surprising announcement at a hastily arranged news conference Thursday, his 30th birthday, at Flushing Meadows, the site of his biggest triumph the 2003 championship, the last time an American man won a Grand Slam singles trophy.

I just feel like its time, said Roddick, a former No. 1-ranked player who is seeded 20th. I dont know that Im healthy enough or committed enough to go another year. Ive always wanted to, in a perfect world, finish at this event. I have a lot of family and friends here. Ive thought all year that I would know when I got to this tournament. When I was playing my first round, I knew.

He is scheduled to play 19-year-old Bernard Tomic of Australia in the second round tonight at Arthur Ashe Stadium.

Roddicks impending departure was by far the biggest news of Day 4 at the years last major tournament, overshadowing some otherwise noteworthy on-court developments in the afternoon.

There was the loss by fifth-seeded Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, the 2008 Australian Open runner-up, against a man ranked 52nd.

And there was a spate of victories by American men, two who are Roddicks contemporaries and good pals (32-year-old James Blake and 30-year-old Mardy Fish), and two who have been viewed as possible successors as the best the country has to offer in the sport (19-year-old Jack Sock and 24-year-old Sam Querrey).

I saw the press conference just before I came out here. I had a feeling, thought it might be, because hes someone who puts heart and soul into every match. It gets tougher as you get older, and I dont think he could keep doing it the same way, said the 115th-ranked Blake, whose 6-1, 6-4, 6-2 upset of No. 24 Marcel Granollers of Spain was stunning for its ease.

No. 23-seeded Fish came back to beat two-time U.S. Open semifinalist Nikolay Davydenko 4-6, 6-7 (4), 6-2, 6-1, 6-2.

Roger Federer, a 17-time major champion, moved into the third round with a routine 6-2, 6-3, 6-2 victory over 83rd-ranked Bjorn Phau of Germany.

Naturally, he was asked about Roddick, a guy Federer beat in all four Grand Slam finals they played against each other, including one at the U.S. Open and three at Wimbledon.

Oh, man. Hes a great man, Federer said. Ive had some great battles with him for a long, long time.

Although few seemed to have an inkling that Roddick would say farewell during these two weeks, 14-time major champion Serena Williams, for one, was not taken aback.

Indeed, after beating Maria Jose Martinez Sanchez of Spain 6-2, 6-4, Williams said she knew this was coming.

I mean, he told me awhile ago last year that this would be it, she said.

We were talking about it. I was just thinking, Change your mind, Andy. Change your mind. But I guess he didnt.