Sunday, October 1, 2023

Best Magazine Reads: Andy Roddick opens up about his tennis career

It’s hard to believe it was more than 20 years ago that I sat on the bleachers, mere feet away from the action, watching Andy Roddick play doubles at Washington D.C.’s then-named Legg Mason Tennis Classic. Besides the incredible power of his shots, what I remember most was that I was close enough to overhear him whispering to his partner to just let Roddick return everything to their opponents.

It’s equally hard to believe, as a new GQ feature on Roddick notes, that it’s been 20 years since Roddick or any man from the U.S. has won the U.S. Open. Here are some other great nuggets from that article about one of my favorite tennis players of all time:

  • He has thrown away nearly all his trophies.
  • He lives near Charlotte, North Carolina and has a “lodge-like getaway in Cashiers, North Carolina, a remote village in the Blue Ridge Mountains.”
  • Roddick co-owns a whiskey brand named Sweetens Cove, with Peyton Manning.
  • He has a bulldog named Bob Costas.
  • Of course that one major he won was mainly due to the poor timing of his career. He was at #1 for 13 weeks before losing that spot for good to upstarts Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal, and Novak Djokovic. Without the arrival of those big three, commentator Jim Courier says there’s no reason to believe Roddick, had he played a few years earlier, couldn’t have had another five major championship wins.
  • Roddick and Chris Evert remain the only two tennis players ever to host Saturday Night Live. How in the world is John McEnroe not on that list?
  • Speaking of legends, in 2006, Roddick’s ranking had dipped to #10 when he hired the reclusive Jimmy Connors as his coach. Conners got him back up to #3 in the year-and-half they worked together.
  • His only regret was not winning Wimbledon, which he really wanted. Connors, too, really wanted Andy to win Wimbledon at the end of their run together and was said to have been seen bawling his eyes out in the locker room after Roddick lost there when he was coaching him.
  • He is excited about the major chances of great young U.S. players now like Frances Tiafoe and Taylor Fritz. But he doesn’t think he’ll coach any of them since he has a lot of other things going on, such as his Tennis Channel commentating gig, the virtual healthcare business he’s cofounded called ViewFi, and the Andy Roddick Foundation focused on helping low-income Austin kids through summer and after-school programs.

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