OU men’s tennis: Roddick more than just his brother’s name
by Garrett Holt
October 15, 2012
Photo by Heather Brown
OU men’s tennis coach John Rodddick at Gregg Wadley Tennis Pavilion. Roddick led the team to a Big 12 championship last year.
Oklahoma men’s tennis coach John Roddick is used to his last name garnering attention from those in the tennis world.
His younger brother, Andy Roddick, is the former No. 1-ranked player in the world and is one of the most famous tennis stars to ever come out of the U.S.
“It helps recruiting internationally quite a bit,” John Roddick said. “If it’s a player from another country who may not know who the coach is, it helps for them to have at least some idea of who I am. It definitely helps me get my foot in the door.”
Those international players should think twice, though, if they are under the impression that all John Roddick is offering is a famous last name.
John Roddick has had an impressive run as coach of the Sooners.
Two years ago, OU reached the Elite 8 in the NCAA Tournament, beating third-ranked Texas in the Sweet 16. Last year, Oklahoma captured the Big 12 title by beating Baylor.
This success has endeared John Roddick to his players, who are loyal supporters.
“It’s been pretty great,” senior Lawrence Formentera said. “Once he took the job, we had a really big boost in the rankings. We all really improved, and even recruiting has gotten better. Everything has been better with him taking over the job.”
Similar to the players, the assistant coaches also have nothing but praise for John Roddick.
“I played for him at Georgia from 2000 to 2004,” assistant coach Bo Hodge said. “That’s one of the reasons why I took the job, because of him along with the program.”
This enthusiasm, plus the return of sixth-ranked singles player senior Costin Paval, has the Sooners positioned nicely to have yet another successful season under Roddick.
The team’s mood is one of confidence and experience. The Sooners are ready to head into this year with one of the best seasons in OU tennis history already under their belts.
“I have pretty high expectations for the team,” Formentera said. “We won the Big 12 last year, and we’re one of the teams to beat now.”
Roddick wants to make this season the best of his career as the Sooners’ head coach.
“Our goals are always to win the conference, first and foremost,” Roddick said. “Then in the NCAA tournament, we want to make a run to the Elite 8 or Final 4. We want to put ourselves in the position to be in the later stages of the tournament.”
Roddick has proven he has what it takes to lead a team to the pinnacle of the college tennis world, and his achievements far outstrip his relation to his brother and their history together.
“We’re like normal brothers,” Roddick said. “Honestly, we don’t talk that much tennis anymore, especially now that he’s retired. I doubt that he’s picked up a racquet since the U.S. Open.”