After a memorable decade for American tennis during the 90s, the most prominent tennis nation needed fresh blood to carry on where Pete Sampras, Andre Agassi and others left. The Omaha native Andy Roddick was the first pick, cracking the top-100 in April 2002 at 18 and winning five ATP titles at home in the USA in 2001 and 2002.
In 2003, Roddick grabbed six ATP titles and finished the season as the year-end no. 1 player, becoming the last American to achieve that. Despite excellent results, Andy had to wait until the end of May to claim the first title of the year in St.
Poelten. He added more trophies to his collection at Queen’s and Indianapolis before embracing the best month of his life. The American conquered the Canada Open, Cincinnati and the US Open to become world no. 2 and take the ATP throne two months later.
A week before Montreal, Roddick lost in the Washington semi-final to Tim Henman and used the next couple of days to rest before heading to Montreal as the 6th seed. Andy defeated Xavier Malisse, Juan Ignacio Chela, Sebastien Grosjean and Karol Kucera to set the semi-final clash against Roger Federer.
He toppled the Swiss in the deciding tie break despite trailing 4-2 in the final set to propel himself into the second straight Canada Open final, losing to Guillermo Canas a year ago. Another Argentine and Andy’s coeval wanted to add the first Masters 1000 crown to his tally.
David Nalbandian set the final clash against Roddick on August 10. Twelve months earlier, Roddick defeated Nalbandian 6-3, 6-2 in the quarter-final in Toronto. He had the upper hand again to deliver a 6-1, 6-3 triumph in 63 minutes for the most one-sided final at this event since 1989 when Ivan Lendl took down John McEnroe.
Andy was the dominant figure on the court, dropping 11 points in eight service games and suffering one break from two chances offered to the Argentine. On the other hand, David barely hit any winner and counted almost 30 unforced errors to ruin his chances.
Andy Roddick claimed the first Masters 1000 title in Montreal 2003.
Nalbandian gave away over half of the points in his games and got broken five times from eight opportunities that Roddick created. The American had a clear advantage in the shortest points up to four strokes thanks to his booming serve and the first forehand.
In addition, he outplayed Nalbandian in the mid-range exchanges and those rare beyond the eighth stroke. That made him a deserved winner and the fourth American champion in Canada since 1990 after Michael Chang, Andre Agassi and Chris Woodruff.
Interestingly, Andy experienced a break point in the encounter’s first game, saving it with a service winner and blasting two more for a vital hold. It became even more significant when he broke in game two after David’s half-volley error to open the gap.
Roddick served well in game three to cement the advantage and open a 3-0 gap with four winners. With no free points from the serve or the ability to pass Andy from the baseline, David suffered another break in game six when his forehand landed long.
He fell further behind and allowed Roddick to grab the set with a service winner a few minutes later. They traded breaks at the beginning of the second set, and Nalbandian lost serve again at 1-1 to move closer to the exit door.
The American delivered another comfortable hold for a 5-3 lead and broke Nalbandian in game nine following his rival’s backhand mistake. Thus, Andy celebrated the first Masters 1000 crown and the last for the Americans at this event.