As far as retirements go, all the focus on this year’s US Open has been on Serena Williams, but Sam Querrey announced that this will be his last ride in Queens as well. Querrey has not had as illustrious a career as Serena, and didn’t make it to the fabled 40 as a few athletes these days are doing, but he had a solid career that was lived almost entirely in the Top 100. And now, after a first round loss to Ilya Ivashka, Querrey is moving on to his next endeavor.
Sam Querrey Signs Off
The relaxed and genial Californian got his start very young, actually getting his first ITF ranking just a day before he turned 16 years old in 2003. He turned pro three years later, and almost immediately set the tone for what the rest of his career would look like. By the end of the year he was near the Top 100, and crossed the line at the very start of the next season. He then camped out in the Top 100 for nearly the next fifteen years, rising as high as #11 in the world, and spent most of that time inside the Top 50, and much of it inside the Top 20.
Querrey’s success followed his huge serve, which was still dangerous over these last couple of years as his career began to wane. Perhaps the most fun stat to come off the racket of the 6’6” American is that he once served ten aces in a row. Ending Novak Djokovic’s four-Slam win streak at Wimbledon in 2016 is probably the most notable feat he accomplished–and he followed it up by beating Andy Murray and reaching the semifinal a year later. On top of that, he won ten singles titles and five doubles titles. But the consecutive aces record is pure Querrey.
Querrey’s serve was followed by a powerful, whipping forehand and a strong two-handed backhand. The big man had a surprisingly quick first step for his size, and his small muscle-group mechanics allowed him finer touch than a 200-pounder would normally have. This blend of power and touch served him well on his most accomplished surface, hard court, while also propelling him to a title on grass at Queen’s Club in 2010.
While Querrey’s career was largely and thankfully injury-free, one of the moments for which he is most remembered was a freak accident. While in Bangkok in 2009, at the age of 22 and with his career onthe rise, Querrey sat on a glass table to tie his shoe and fell through the table, cutting his arm badly. The glass nearly sliced a nerve in his arm, which would have ended his career, but thankfully the actual toll was relatively minor. Rehab went well and the following season was a good one for Querrey, and it actually seems fitting that, for a man with the quirky personality of Sam Querrey, even his lone major injury was odd. (And just to further justify the quirkiness of Querrey’s personality, I have to mention his appearance as a bachelor on the TV show The Millionaire Matchmaker.)
Sam Querrey didn’t make many big waves on the ATP tour, but he did make a lot of small ones, and put together a very solid career. He leaves tennis without having watched his body fall apart or having overstayed his welcome, and he seems eager to move on to the next challenge in his life. And since Querrey never really searched for the spotlight in his career, and never particularly had it on him, maybe it’s fitting that he goes out with the spotlight on someone else.
Sam Querrey just played his last professional tennis match here at the #USOpen.
We hope he’s gonna go party in his own…special way. pic.twitter.com/Iv98tCaEGl
— Racquet (@racquetmagazine) August 31, 2022
Main Photo from Getty.