What is it like to spend two weeks with Andy at the US Open? (A driver's POV)
"What's It Like to Spend Two Weeks with Andy?" By: Sarah Alvanipour
What is it like to spend two weeks with Andy at the US Open? I wish I knew.
But since I brought up the question, I should at least attempt to give an answer, so a couple of weeks ago, I had an interesting conversation with someone who could tell me just that. This person could give me the inside scoop on what Andy did behind the scenes and off-court where he was in the secret confounds of his trainers and coach.
Who is it? Andy's driver at the Open. And you could call him Andy's new friend.
"The Fast and Furious Driver," as he likes to be called, was personally selected by Andy and his coach, Brad Gilbert, to drive Andy to and from practices and matches for the duration of the US Open, a request that is not generally not granted by tournament personnel. But, for the US Open champion, they were willing to make an exception.
Enter Marvin Coleman, a slender version of the charismatic American Idol Ruben Studdard, who dabbles in the world of music and entertainment by running Stick and Move Entertainment, the music division of Deluxe Star Media. Coleman is an event planner, specializing in celebrity bashes and corporate events. A master of "catering to others," Coleman is not easily star-struck. Besides Andy, he has driven a slew of other celebrities including Hank Aaron, Robin Givens, Ben Affleck, Taye Diggs, Serena and Venus Williams, Billy Jean King, Jennifer Capriati, and Lleyton Hewitt.
So how did Andy compare? Coleman could not find enough words to complement his new favorite tennis player. He described Andy as very "down-to-earth," and focused and described a conversation in which Andy was asking his opinion on which charities he thinks he should donate to. "Some people are talking about what type of diamonds they should buy and he is asking about what charities he should give money to," he recalls.
"Andy is very dedicated to the sport of tennis. His personality didn't change before and after his victory. He had a personal touch with his fans and had a very down-to-earth attitude," Coleman adds. As a driver for the US Open for the past three years, Marvin has seen the good, the bad, and the ugly, but just tries to "make it work as best as possible." No problems this year since the only player he dealt with was Andy and his small but very present entourage of two trainers and the man behind the man, Brad Gilbert.
Armed with a 2004 black Lincoln Navigator and an All-Access pass, Coleman became an unofficial member of team Roddick as he and the rest of the squad made their way through the streets of New York in the sleek and fully loaded SUV. Queue the soundtrack from the latest 50 Cent album and you've got one "P.I.M.P." ride to one classy event.
During their daily commutes Marvin and Andy, who chilled in the front seat while BG, Ciscero and Mo were seated in the back, would chat it up on the way to practice. Andy liked to talk and listen to music-his favorite for the tourney was Maroon 5-to get pumped up for practice. En route to matches, the music was still bumping but it was Brad Gilbert that was doing the talking, reviewing strategies and plays and trying to keep Andy in great mental form before each and every one of his matches.
Speaking of matches, what about the final? Brad, Cicsero, Mo, and now Marvin were nervous but "[Andy] was so calm, it was crazy." Everyone felt the energy that day and Marvin simply "knew he would pull it off."
That didn't prevent anyone from sitting on the edge of his seat during the short final, nor did it keep cool Marvin from pacing back and forth outside of the stadium. Once Andy had secured his victory, Marvin's cell phone rang and on the other end of line was BG, letting him know that Andy would be coming out soon and how they were going to make their exit in a well-orchestrated series of events, making most world leaders envious of such an organized security detail.
The rest of the afternoon became a blur, but Andy managed to slow down long enough to give Marvin a rare souvenir from the 2003 US Open, the pair of shoes he had worn during the final.
Later that evening, Andy personally invited Marvin to his victory celebration.
"The celebration was very exciting. We went to a beautiful restaurant is the East Village. Everyone was treated to filet mignon. From there we went to Club Lotus and had a very exciting time. Jennifer Capriati was at the party also, [and] she partied like a rock star."
How does Marvin rate the experience? "The two weeks were fun, surreal, one of the top ten experiences of my life!"
Like father, like son
"For seven and a half years I've worked alongside President Reagan. We've had triumphs. Made some mistakes. We've had some sex...uh...setbacks."
George H.W. Bush, 1988
"I know how hard it is for you to put food on your family."
George W. Bush, 2000
15.5 - 40.5 ...
2,1,1 demolition job
(fan club spots are still open! )