ANDY RODDICK - MEMORIES ARE MADE OF THIS
Aug 31, 2012, 4:17:47 AM | by
Andy Roddick finally declared what many have been asking him for some time. He announced his retirement. At Wimbledon, when he lost, he turned and looked over his shoulder as he left Centre Court and it signalled to...
Andy Roddick finally declared what many have been asking him for some time. He announced his retirement. At Wimbledon, when he lost, he turned and looked over his shoulder as he left Centre Court and it signalled to all who saw it that retirement was on the cards. Roddick denied it and suggested too much was being read into it. But on his 30th birthday, the day before he was due to play Bernard Tomic in the second round of the US Open, where he celebrated his biggest and most important trophy, he made the announcement saying “I’ve always wanted to, in a perfect world, finish at this event”. I got to know Andy to some degree over the six years I worked for him contributing to his website but there was still a bit of a barrier. He wasn’t much different to the person the general media and the public would see on a regular basis. He was always very swift with a one liner but he was also someone that didn’t want to get stopped to do things he didn’t want to. It was earlier this year that we stopped our working relationship. I really don’t think it bothered him; he was probably quite pleased not to be stopped or bugged by me to do things for his own website. We certainly disagreed on a few occasions and we argued about Davis Cup issues and in my opinion his views were wrong and I told him so. One such argument was at the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells. In an irritated manner I told him I’d like to debate the Davis Cup topic with him because he was wrong. There were some raised voices that amusingly raised a couple of eyebrows from those in the vicinity as one or two people moved away quickly. His response: “I need a debate with you Gabriel like I need a punch in the balls.” I responded: “That can be arranged as well.” Minutes later he was doing his interview with me for his website and we were discussing the current book he was reading. Andy is someone who doesn’t mind being challenged, it’s stimulating for him. Speaking of books … I know he loves books written by James Patterson but it was I who put him on to the Stieg Larsson series, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo etc., which were a publishing sensation. I bought him the first one and he was hooked. Often we’d discuss where he was in any of the three books and that was fun. There was the prankster in him. One year just before Wimbledon began I went over the house he was renting to do some videos for the website. He was in the lounge just in a pair of white shorts. Ice packs were on his right shoulder, leg and ankle. He soon dressed and sat through three recordings. It was then time to do a couple of interviews with his brother John who was travelling with him. We were sitting in the internal courtyard when suddenly we were getting pelted with scraps. He thought it was hysterical. Just when we thought it was quiet he called down to us from a balcony and as we looked up, with camera rolling, he dropped his shorts. He thought that was way too funny. There was no doubt Roddick spoke his mind and he was not afraid to confront a journalist if something irked or angered him. When he led the USA to the Davis Cup in Portland there was a story written in a very prominent sports magazine that left Roddick very unhappy. He sort of felt betrayed because the team had worked so hard to win the Davis Cup. Three months later he asked to meet up with the writer in Miami and told him he had so much respect for his writing but here he was very upset with what had been written. I was listening and at the end, the matter was over. Roddick was not holding a grudge as can be the case with some players. You have to respect a person who is man enough like that. Certainly we will miss him on the circuit, that acerbic wit, the explosive tennis and the fingernail biting as he considered a response.