Andy Roddick has been the best American tennis player on the Tour since Andre Agassi.
But after the 28-year-old hard server's loss to Spaniard Feliciano Lopez, 7-6 (2), 7-6 (2) on Centre Court, on Friday, things are not looking good for the Wimbledon-fan favorite.
Roddick took off last month's French Open to rest his sore shoulder, and probably because he knew he had no realistic shot of over-achieving on clay. Skipping the French, and losing in the Third Round to a relative unknown, makes this year's early exit seem particularly distressing.
It was only two years ago that Roddick gave one of the best performances of his life. He took second-seed Roger Federer to five sets and lost in a heartbreaking final set 14-16.
The 2009 Final marked the third time he had advanced that far, and it now seems that it will be his last unless Roddick can dig deep and turn his career around. Two straight third round Wimbledon exits is a sign that major changes need to be made.
In a sport dominated by players in their mid 20s, Roddick is by no means an elder statesman of the game. He can certainly make adjustments to improve.
However, in order to overtake some of the stars on the tour, Roddick will need to avoid injuries and slumps, and that's a very tough task. He continues to have a great serve and forehand, but they are not the weapons they once were.
At the moment, Roddick is ranked tenth in the world, and is actually behind 29-year-old, and fellow American, Mardy Fish.
Roddick has always been a fierce competitor, and has been a good face for American tennis, but the sport is dominated by three players right now: Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic, and Roger Federer. Even Andy Murray, who is the premier fan favorite in London, and ranked fourth in the wold, is consistently an underdog to those three players.
It will be difficult for Roddick to reach a Grand Slam while players like Nadal are still on their game.
For now, Roddick might want to look back at his style and form in 2009 and go back to over-powering opponents with his forehand, while maintaining his athleticism.
Roddick still believes his game hasn't gone south.
I have probably played like shit in third rounds and won before, too, Roddick said. The thing you guys have to understand is there's no script. Some days you're going to play well and lose and some days you're going to play like crap and win. What do you do? You keep moving forward until you decide to stop. At this point I've not decided to stop so I'll keep moving forward.
Roddick has too much heart and pride to roll over like he has recently, so his words don't ring hollow. He is as resilient as it gets.
A comeback is in order, Andy.