At the scene of his greatest professional triumph, Andy Roddick played his final competitive tennis match today. A four-set loss in the Round of 16 to Argentina’s Juan Martin del Potro in the U.S. Open ended a career that often went underappreciated and overshadowed in a golden age of men’s tennis.

Last Thursday, the day he turned 30, Roddick announced that this year’s Open would be his last tournament. Since then, he beat Bernard Tomic and Fabio Fognini, but he couldn’t get past del Potro, the 2009 champion, in a match that started Tuesday night before rain forced its postponement.

Roddick won the 2003 U.S. Open and finished that year with the No. 1 ranking. Then Roger Federer fully bloomed, beating Roddick in the 2004 Wimbledon final. Three other times Roddick would reach a Grand Slam final, and three other times he would fall to Federer. (Roddick finished 3-21 against Federer in his career.) The most heart-wrenching of those matches was at Wimbledon in 2009, when Roddick lost 16-14 in a decisive fifth set. (For those not familiar with tennis, sets are normally played to six games, so that final one lasted the equivalent of 2 1/2 sets.) Federer has said he considers Roddick a Wimbledon champion, but the ledger shows only one grand slam.

To some, that stat will mean Roddick was an underachivever and a disappointment. But if not for Federer, he would likely have multiple grand slam titles. Roddick helped win a Davis Cup for the United States in 2007 and never shirked his responsibilities when it came to playing for his country. He played with Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic and made the most of a game in an impossibly difficult era. Roddick should be remembered for what he was, a charismatic and entertaining top-five player who was always full of good sound bites. If people want to worry about what Roddick wasn’t, that’s their loss.