Roddick has star quality, if America would notice [Archive] -

Roddick has star quality, if America would notice

11-15-2003, 02:59 PM
Nice article from Palm Beach Post. More about the sad state of affairs for tennis in the US, but interesting nonetheless.

Roddick has star quality, if America would notice

By Karen Crouse, Palm Beach Post Staff Writer
Saturday, November 15, 2003

HOUSTON -- Sport in America is like a box of chocolates. There are so many divine athletes to satisfy every taste and craving, it's easy to gorge on a few and push aside the rest.

You see people relishing Ricky Williams, delighting in Nomar Garciaparra, sampling LeBron James, savoring Mario Lemieux, reveling in Lance Armstrong. Meantime, one of the more appealing confections in the whole grab bag of athletics is getting barely a nibble from the sporting public.

Andy Roddick has a sweet, solid center and his tennis game right now is second to none. He clinched the world No. 1 ranking this week and he remains alive in the ATP's version of the Final Four this week, so you wouldn't have thought there'd be a shortage of tickets for his matches this week.

The reality hit us with the force of one of Roddick's serves. Hey, the truth can sting.

There are people loitering outside the entrance to the Westside Tennis Club, but instead of selling you scalpers' tickets to the Masters Series Cup they're telling you, "Thanks for coming."

That's messed up. It's the American public that should be thankful for having a marvelous player and personality like Roddick to call its own.

Some people get it. On Friday afternoon people lined up two-and-three deep around practice court No. 5 to watch, well, nothing. They weren't moved by the fact that Carlos Moya and Rainer Schuettler were putting on an entertaining show on the stadium court a hundred yards away.

The word had spread on the grounds that Roddick was due on Court 5 to warm up for his must-win match later in the day against Guillermo Coria. So people wandered over and a good many of them waited him out.

Judging by the murmurs of the crowd, Roddick didn't disappoint. "He makes it fun," one middle-aged woman said to her friend as the 21-year-old kibitzed with fellow Huskers fans between serves.

Unless you have a thing against perceptive, princely, proficient players, it's hard not to like Roddick, who extended his season at least another day with a 6-3, 6-7(4), 6-3 defeat of Coria. He'll play Roger Federer in the semifinals today, and Andre Agassi will play Schuettler.

Roddick's personality was able to rise above the schlocky material he was served last week on Saturday Night Live. But there evidently exists a glass ceiling for tennis players in the U.S., even on the outdoor stadium court here, and Roddick would appear to have hit it.

The Boca Raton resident has played in front of more empty seats this week than Michael Jordan ever did. Or, for that matter, Jammal Lord, the quarterback of Roddick's beloved Nebraska Cornhuskers.

Build status and they'll come? Evidently not when the venue is a tennis court in the U.S. The foreign press, which outnumbers U.S. media members here 4-1, is gobsmacked by the disinterest in this event shown by America's journalists and sports fans.

"Americans don't know what you've got until it's gone," asserted Neil Harman, the tennis writer for the London Times. He said if Roddick were a Brit, he undeniably would be the second-biggest sports story in the country after soccer star David Beckham.

As it is, Roddick, the youngest U.S. player to finish a year No. 1 and the first American to do so since Andre Agassi in 1999, is somewhere below David Carr on the local radar.

"It's sad," said Roddick's agent, Ken Meyerson. "Disappointing" and "unfortunate," he added.

"To be fair," said ESPN commentator Mary Carillo, who's broadcasting on a delayed basis to an audience numbering in the tens of thousands, "he only won a major a few months ago."

Yes. But since his U.S. Open victory in September, Roddick has been the anti-David Blaine, commandeering publicity by thinking outside the box. He has done the television talk-show circuit, fashion shoots and, of course, the SNL gig. It's not Roddick's fault if you need binoculars to locate tennis' profile.

Andre Agassi might have told Roddick: If you try to raise tennis' profile in the States, all you get are tired arms. In the late 1980s and early 1990s Agassi went to great lengths (remember the denim tennis shorts and streaked hair?) to try to keep the audience that bad boys Jimmy Connors and John McEnroe had built.

Growing his profile stunted the growth of his game. Agassi can see that clearly now. "I think in my case there were many times where I looked for excuses to be distracted," Agassi said. "I didn't need to look very hard because there were a lot of them. But I was still choosing that. I could have managed it with more skill."

Agassi eventually came around. The pity is the American sporting public continues to look for excuses to be distracted from tennis. If Roddick doesn't grab its attention, who will?

11-15-2003, 10:28 PM
"To be fair," said ESPN commentator Mary Carillo, who's broadcasting on a delayed basis to an audience numbering in the tens of thousands, "he only won a major a few months ago."

I agree with Mary. It took a while for audiences to discover Agassi. It will take a while for people to discover Andy, too.

It just sucks that tennis is considered a non-event in the US. :mad: How can Americans be so interested in freakin' golf (the most boring 'sport' ever created) but not tennis where you actually have to be an athlete?

J. Corwin
11-16-2003, 12:38 AM
It's sad for tennis, but hopefully the sport will turn around and become popular again.

11-16-2003, 04:44 AM
People don't realize how difficult tennis is. It's one-on-one. To win a tournament you have to go out there and play what can often be 5 matches in 5 days or whatnot, you can't have ANY contact with your coach or anyone else, you only make money for winning pretty much (aka no hugee 5.6 million dollar contracts just for being on the team), etc. etc. When I tell my friends about it and really explain it them they're always like "wow.... I never thought about that." If only everyone could be impressed by tennis.... unfortunately a lot of non-fans I know find it boring :(

11-21-2003, 04:56 PM
I think that right now there is only one King who is definitely Federer! Agassi is too old to be the ruler, another has never been qualified to be the world NO.1 and perhaps will never be, as he might have been born without the brilliance which Federer can easily show no matter how much he try or hire a new coach.

11-21-2003, 05:07 PM
why did you even bother coming in here to post? you are more than welcome here even if you aren't an Andy fan, but don't bring in other players and say they're the king of tennis:rolleyes:. i admit you didn't say anything bad about Andy, but this kind of post belongs in a Federer fan zone:wavey:

11-21-2003, 11:06 PM
Naldo, just ignore. If they have no audience, they will not come.

11-25-2003, 08:03 PM
Aah, NOW I get the Elton John connection! I had wondered how they knew each other. But I just came across this interview Andy did for INTERVIEW magazine back in July. I had never seen it before. (and he likes John Mayer, cool :yeah: ) So I'll post it here for anyone else who may not have seen it either......

Andy Roddick: the two stadium-packin' headliners--one a legendary tunesmith, the other, tennis's next legend in the making--talk work and play.(Elton John interviews tennis player)(Interview)

Interview, July, 2003, by Elton John


ANDY RODDICK: How are you?

EJ: I'm good. I'm happy to be interviewing you. You know, I identify with tennis players because they live the kind of existence I did--out of a suitcase, hardly ever going home. How do you deal with that?

AR: It's okay. In the juniors it's not really like that. You're two months at home and then you go play two weeks. But [now that I'm in the pros] I'm dealing with it, I guess. [laughs]

EJ: Do you like traveling?

AR: It's not so much that I don't like traveling, it's just that I love being home. I love being able to spend time with my friends.

EJ: That's why I come home after shows, now that I'm at an age where I can afford to come home every night on a plane. But you can't do that in a tennis tournament.

AR: No, you have to stay with the group.

EJ: So what do you like to do when you go home? Do you just go out for a few beers?

AR: I just, you know, do a whole bunch of nothing. [laughs] I go home and hang out, watch movies.

EJ: Yeah, the greatest luxury for me is going home and watching six episodes of Six Feet Under on DVD--then I'm very happy.

AR: Exactly. Go home, check the TiVo and catch up on your TV. [both laugh]

EJ: So how's the season going so far? Have you been happy with your form?

AR: I started out well in Australia [in January]. But I've been battling injuries here and there since then. I feel like I haven't really gotten started.

EJ: It's tough, because [once the season starts] you don't really have time to get over an injury unless you take a lot of time off.

AR: Exactly, because the sport is so repetitive. You play every week, so you just have to play on injuries sometimes.

EJ: What kind of injuries have you had?

AR: I had a wrist [problem] after Australia, and then I turned an ankle, and then I've been battling some knee tendinitis.

EJ: [sarcastically] Oh, you're fine.

AR: [laughs] Yeah. Other than that, I feel great.

EJ: What are your goals for this year? I'm sure you've got your eye on Wimbledon, right? I think the grass at Wimbledon is such a good surface for you.

AR: It should be. I don't really play on grass that often. There are only [roughly] three weeks a year on grass [during the men's pro circuit].

EJ: Obviously you'd like to win a major, right?

AR: That's the big goal. But the day-to-day goal that I'm focusing on is making the Masters Cup [in November].

EJ: Which consists of the top eight players?

AR: Yeah. If you make that, you're kind of with the best of the best.

EJ: Who do you take on the road with you? Do you have a big entourage?

AR: No, no. I normally just have my coach and my trainer [with me].

EJ: What do you do after you play?

AR: Get some dinner. Chill in the [hotel] room. Listen to some tunes.

EJ: Who are you listening to?

AR: I just got a new CD a couple of days ago -- this guy named Jason Mraz. I'm kind of getting into that a little bit. I love John Mayer.

EJ: He's great. He's a friend of mine. I've been championing him for a long time.

AR: I started listening to him like a year and a half ago. I met him last year, and I'm a big fan.

EJ: You're about as tall as he is.

AR: Yeah, he's big.

EJ: Probably taller than you.

AR: I wasn't expecting him to be that big.

EJ: Don't give him any lip, he'll beat you up. [Roddick laughs] So do you like practicing?] hate practicing.

AR: Well, you don't need to! [both laugh]

EJ: I do. I get rusty before a tour starts. On some songs I haven't played for a while, I forget the words. But you have to practice every day, right?

AR: There are some days when you wake up and you're not feeling great and practicing is the last thing you want to do. But [usually] I don't have a problem getting up for practice.

EJ: You must do routines--volleying, serving, whatever. I haven't got the patience for that. [Roddick laughs] That's why I'll never be any good at tennis. So there are a few good Americans now, like James Blake and Robby Ginepri. Ginepri's had quite a year.

AR: He has been playing well so far. There are a bunch of young Americans coming up right now, which is pretty exciting.

EJ: Well, that's good because American tennis never gets a fair shake on TV.

AR: When we're in the U.S. hard-court season, we'll get on ESPN daily. But [we get less coverage] when we're in a foreign country. I would love to see the exposure of tennis go up. It would create more interest because there are a lot of neat personalities [in the game right now].

EJ: Bight now you've got the Williams sisters, Andre Agassi, Pete Sampras, and yourself. America has the best tennis players in the world, more or less.

AR: The list goes on and on and on. I think we have a good, fun group of young guys.

EJ: Are you friendly on the road with other players, or do people keep to themselves?

AR: What's so cool about our group of young Americans is that we all grew up together. I played Robby for the first time when we were 11 years old, and Mardy Fish lived in my house [during my] junior year of high school.

EJ: That must help when you're on the road.

AR: It really does. For selfish reasons, I'm really glad that they're starting to do well because now I have people to hang out with. [laughs]

EJ: Is Pete Sampras your idol?

AR: I had six or seven guys that I really looked up to. I grew up watching Pete and Andre [Agassi], and [Jim] Courier and, at the end of their careers, [John] McEnroe and [Jimmy] Connors.

EJ: What do you think of women's tennis?

AR: I think it's great. The one thing I don't like about it is there's just not a lot of depth to it. You can pretty much pick eight players, and six of them will be in the quarterfinals.

EJ: Why is that?

AR: It's tough for little girls to play the Williams sisters, who are these powerhouse athletes. What makes men's tennis exciting is that you don't know the outcome before you go in.

EJ: I've always loved women's tennis because of all the great players--Billie Jean King, Martina Navratilova. What do you think about Martina winning the mixed doubles championship at this year's Australian Open at the age of 46?

AR: I think it's amazing. The coolest thing about Martina is that, even with all the success that she has had, when she walks into the players' lounge, she wears beach shorts and just hangs out.

EJ: Very few people still love to play at that age. Billie lean King is a good friend of mine, and she is still 100,000 percent into tennis.

AR: Oh, Billie Jean is amazing. She's so passionate about tennis.

EJ: If she sees a kid playing well, she gets excited about it.

AR: I remember when I was first coming up, Billie Jean would come up to me [and say], "Oh, it's great what you're doing!" I'm like, "You've done everything [I've done], times 10."

EJ: What other sports do you like?

AR: I played basketball in high school, and I love watching sports--I'll watch everything except maybe hockey.

EJ: Obviously you like playing basketball because you're tall.

AR: Well, you definitely need the body to play basketball. You're not going to see a lot of 5-foot-8, 5-foot-9 guys being too successful.

EJ: Shaquille O'Neal once gave me a pair of his shoes. I think they were about size 24.

AR: I met [7-foot-5 Houston Rocket] Yao Ming earlier this week. [laughs] I mean, he could flick me like [makes flicking noise]. It's amazing.

EJ: How tall are you?

AR: About 6 foot 2.

EJ: I used to think that was tall. So do you think being tall in tennis is an advantage?

AR: As long as you're still athletic, it's an advantage. But there's a reason you don't see 7-footers playing tennis, because [players need] mobility.

EJ: You've got to get down for those volleys.

AR: I think there's a happy medium. Andre [Agassi]'s 5 foot 11, and he's been playing well. He moves better than most guys who are 6 foot 4.

EJ: Agassi is someone who's just an unbelievable player as far as I'm concerned.

AR: It's ridiculous, the stuff that he's doing now.

EJ: He's becoming a better player.

AR: Exactly! He did it, and he's still doing it.

EJ: So where's your home base?

AR: Boca Raton [Florida]. It's all right, it's good for training. You can train [all year-round] and they have all surfaces [to practice on], so it works.

EJ: A lot of American players come out of Florida because it's just so conducive to playing outdoors.

AR: It's true. In Florida the conditions are so severe with the heat that if you can train well there, it's almost a cakewalk [anywhere else].

EJ: The Australian [Open] is the most brutal tournament out of the majors, right?

AR: I don't know. Winning a slam on [the French Open's] clay takes its toll on the body. But as far as pure heat conditions [Australia] gets pretty tough.

EJ: So are you going to play the French [Open]? That's a hard tournament to win.

AR: Oh, for sure. There are so many guys who grew up on clay.

EJ: Where do you see yourself in five years?

AR: I'd love to [help the U.S.] win a Davis Cup title, and I'd love to win a grand slam.

EJ: What do you have to work on most in your game at the moment?

AR: I think I have a lot of room for improvement. My serve is okay, but I need to work on a lot of things: return, transition game, backhand.

EJ: Well, listen, good luck.

AR: Thank you very much.

EJ: By the way, how's [singer-actress] Mandy [Moore, Roddick's girlfriend] doing?

AR: She's doing great. She says hello.

EJ: Well, give her a big kiss for me. It's great that you two are going together.

AR: Yeah, she's awesome.

EJ: She's a great girl. I really love her.

AR: Are you going to Wimbledon this year?

EJ: I don't know what my schedule is, but I'll catch up with you somewhere along the line.


11-25-2003, 08:09 PM
I just found this, too. See, this is why the USO was bending over backwards to accommodate Andy's matches. HE'S the big draw. Hee hee! :devil:


Internet audience measurement company Hitwise has discovered that the most popular tennis player web site throughout the course of the Wimbledon tournament is that of fifth seed Andy Roddick.

The most visited web site can be found at and is currently the sixth most visited tennis web site. The official Wimbledon web site at has risen 95 places in the past two weeks and was the eighth most visited site in the entire sports category with 1.87% of all traffic.

J. Corwin
11-25-2003, 08:42 PM
lol i'm not surprised his site gets so many hits

11-25-2003, 10:14 PM
Thanks tangerine, for the Elton John interview. I really enjoyed that! :) :cool:

11-26-2003, 12:20 AM
wow what a great interview! More proof of the gayness I guess ;) Sorry, I couldn't resist. Anyway I'd been dying to read that for a while so THANK YOU Tangerine! :hug:

11-26-2003, 01:20 AM
i thought you guys had for sure read that already. i would urge you to go and visit, where all the latest things can be found (photos, magazine scans, articles, interviews, video clips even, etc.) it's a really awesome site. oh and i think it was REALLY cool that Elton John was the guest interviewer, now he has a freakin famous as hell fan

J. Corwin
11-26-2003, 01:31 AM
lol. I read the interview before so I was too lazy to read it again. Roddicknroll in someways is better than the official site.

11-26-2003, 01:48 AM
Thanks Dream!! That was great. Elton is such a great positive kind of person.

11-26-2003, 01:56 AM
oh yea I go to RnR all the time but I never went and read the way older stuff

11-26-2003, 02:21 AM
wow what a great interview! More proof of the gayness I guess ;) Sorry, I couldn't resist. Anyway I'd been dying to read that for a while so THANK YOU Tangerine! :hug:

Why don't they just sleep together and get it over with? ;)

11-26-2003, 02:40 AM
What do you mean?????

The interview was recorded in Elton's bed. :)

11-26-2003, 02:42 AM
What do you mean?????

The interview was recorded in Elton's bed. :)

Oh, so it was the AFTERGLOW that I was picking up on... ;)

11-26-2003, 02:44 AM
Yup. :)

11-26-2003, 03:10 AM
LMAO! How did all these threads completely regress all at once?

11-26-2003, 03:12 AM
LMAO! How did all these threads completely regress all at once?

YOU started it! hehe ;)

11-26-2003, 03:13 AM
damnit so I did *hangs head*

11-26-2003, 03:55 AM
YEA for regression!!

More regression! More!

11-26-2003, 04:03 AM
LOL ALRIGHT! :woohoo:

11-26-2003, 05:30 PM
"Gay" is the magic word. If you say it, they will come. ;)
:haha::haha::haha: good one:yeah: