Articles, Blog

FOCUSED – Andy Roddick

December 13, 2019


♪ >>Andy Roddick: TENNIS IS DIFFERENT. THERE’S NO HOME TEAM. YOU KNOW, YOU’RE HAVING AN OFF NIGHT, YOU CAN’T PASS THE BALL OFF. YOU CAN’T HUSTLE HARD ON DEFENSE TO MAKE UP FOR WHAT YOU’RE NOT DOING ON OFFENSE. YOU KIND OF HAVE TO MAKE YOUR OWN WAY. IF YOU WANT TO BE THE BEST, YOU HAVE TO WAKE UP AT 5:30, NOT SURROUNDED BY 11 OTHER PEOPLE THAT ARE PUSHING YOU. IT IS A FASCINATING GAME THAT I PROBABLY APPRECIATE MORE LOOKING BACK ON IT. ♪ >>I’VE LEARNED A LOT OF PRETTY GOOD LIFE LESSONS FROM TENNIS. IT WAS NORMAL, I GUESS, WHEN I WAS IN THE MOMENT, BUT LOOKING BACK, IT’S KIND OF A CRAZY EXISTENCE. ♪ >>AS YOU MENTION, THERE’S A LOT OF PRESSURE, A LOT OF STRESS. AND YOU’RE DOING IT YOURSELF IN PROFESSIONAL TENNIS. I DON’T THINK A WHOLE LOT OF PEOPLE ARE AWARE OF THE JUNIOR TENNIS, THERE’S A LOT OF PRESSURE, A LOT OF STRESS.>>YEAH, I MEAN, IT’S, YOU KIND OF HAVE TO MAKE YOUR OWN WAY. YOU KNOW, TRAVELING THE WORLD WHEN YOU’RE YOUNG AND TRYING TO GET TO THE NEXT STEP. AND YOU’RE NOT TRAVELING AN HOUR ON A BUS. YOU’RE TRAVELING TEN HOURS ON A PLANE TO GO TO A DIFFERENT COUNTRY TO TRY TO GET ENOUGH POINTS TO KIND OF ETCH UP THE LATTER OF JUNIOR TENNIS. AND THOSE ARE ALL PART OF THE STEPS TO GET TO SOMETHING LIKE THE U.S. OPEN WHERE PEOPLE MIGHT SEE YOU FOR THE FIRST TIME. BUT IT IS CRAZY TO THINK WHAT THE MARGINS ARE AND HOW SMALL THEY ARE FROM, “YOU KNOW WHAT? I’M PROBABLY NOT GOING TO BE A PRO PLAYER.” TO ALL OF A SUDDEN, YOU’RE LOOKING AT TWO YEARS LATER, YOU’RE TOP, YOU KNOW, 14, 15 IN THE WORLD AND PLAYING THOSE NIGHT SESSIONS AT THE U.S. OPEN. ♪ >>Narrator: A TRULY VOLATILE GAME, PROFESSIONAL TENNIS. IT IS A PURSUIT IN WHICH THE MAJORITY OF PLAYERS VOLLEY BACK AND FORTH IN THE WORLD RANKINGS. A SOLITARY ENDEAVOR THAT REQUIRES ITS ELITE TO SYNCHRONIZE WORLD CLASS CONDITIONING, EXTRAORDINARY SKILL AND UNBREAKABLE MENTAL TOUGHNESS. IT’S NO WONDER ONLY A SELECT FEW EVER ARE EVEN ABLE TO EBB TO A CONSISTENT HIGH LEVEL OF SUCCESS. FORMER WORLD NUMBER ONE ANDY RODDICK WAS SUCH A PLAYER. THE FINAL LEDGER ON HIS HALL OF FAME CAREER INCLUDES MORE THAN 30 SINGLES TITLES AND A GRAND SLAM WIN AT THE 2003 U.S. OPEN. AND YET, HIS PATH TO THE PRO CIRCUIT WAS ANYTHING BUT SMOOTH.>>A LOT OF GUYS GO INTO PRO SPORTS, COME OUT OF COLLEGE AND GO INTO A PROFESSIONAL SPORT. YOU GUYS DID IT AT A VERY YOUNG AGE, ALMOST TO THE POINT WHERE YOU ALMOST QUIT.>>THIS STORY GETS TOLD AND IT GETS — THE WORDS GET TURNED AROUND A LITTLE BIT. I THINK I ALMOST QUIT ON THE DREAM OF PRO TENNIS. I KNEW THAT I WAS GOOD ENOUGH TO GO TO COLLEGE. AND I DON’T KNOW THAT I WOULD HAVE EVER SKIPPED THAT EXPERIENCE. OBVIOUSLY, GETTING A COLLEGE SCHOLARSHIP IS A HUGE DEAL AND I KNEW THAT I COULD PROBABLY GO PLAY WHERE I WANTED TO. BUT, I REMEMBER I LOST TO THIS GUY WHO LOOKED LIKE — WE WERE PLAYING AN 18 AND UNDER TOURNAMENT, AND HE WAS A LITTLE OVERWEIGHT AND HAD A BIG BEARD AND NOT SOMEONE THAT YOU ENVISION YOURSELF LOSING TO IF YOU WANT TO GO PRO. AND I REMEMBER I TOOK ALL MY RACKETS AND WE WERE ON A PRACTICE ONE DAY, THEY WENT OVER THE FENCE, I WENT HOME, THAT WAS IN ENGLAND, AND I WENT BACK TO THE STATES WITH NO RACKETS IN MY BAG, NO NOTHING. AND SO, I KIND OF CALMED DOWN FOR A WEEK. AND THE COACH SAID, “YOU HAVE TWO MONTHS BEFORE YOU WOULD HAVE TO START THINKING ABOUT WHERE YOU’D WANT TO GO TO SCHOOL. WHY DON’T WE JUST MAKE THE MOST OF THAT TWO MONTHS AND SEE WHAT HAPPENS.” AND THEN SIX MONTHS LATER I WAS THE NUMBER ONE JUNIOR IN THE WORLD. ♪ >>Narrator: RODDICK TOOK OVER THE TOP SPOT OF JUNIOR TENNIS. THREE AND A HALF YEARS LATER, HE WOULD RISE TO THE SAME PERCH OF THE SPORTS PREMIER TOUR. RODDICK’S CLIMB TO THE TOP INCLUDED A WIN OVER AMERICAN LEGEND AND THEN WORLD NUMBER FOUR PETE SAMPRAS, AS WELL AS WHAT HAS TO BE HIS MOST MEMORABLE MOMENT ON A TENNIS COURT.>>THE U.S. OPEN, YOUR VICTORY. WHAT’S THAT LIKE?>>IT’S STRANGE. YOU KNOW, EVERY TIME I WALK PAST THAT TROPHY STILL, IT’S A LITTLE BIT WEIRD. ♪ >>I USED TO SNEAK INTO THE STADIUM WHEN I WAS EIGHT, NINE YEARS OLD. MY MOM WOULD BRING ME UP TO NEW YORK. I REMEMBER SNEAKING INTO CONNORS’ MATCHES IN ’91 WHEN HE MADE THAT RUN TO THE SEMIFINALS AND HE WAS JUST SHY OF 40-YEARS OLD. AND THEN, YOU KNOW, ALL OF A SUDDEN, I WAS PLAYING A U.S. OPEN FINAL IN 2006, AND JIMMY CONNORS WAS MY COACH. AND SO, THE CONTEXT, I DON’T THINK, IS EVER REAL TO ME. IT’S LIKE TWO SEPARATE LIVES. YOU KNOW, MY FANDOM OF WHEN I WAS A CHILD AND THEN ACTUALLY WINNING THE U.S. OPEN. SPENDING A SIGNIFICANT TIME WITH U.S. OPEN HEROES. I THINK THERE’S A HUGE PART OF IT THAT’LL ALWAYS BE VERY SURREAL FOR ME. LISTEN, I WAS — WASN’T EVEN CLOSE TO GETTING TO THAT MT. RUSHMORE, BUT GETTING HALFWAY UP SERVED ME WELL. I’M VERY HAPPY WITH WHERE IT’S TAKEN ME. ♪ ♪ ♪ >>Narrator: THERE WAS A TIME, AND IT WAS NOT SO LONG AGO, THAT THE STARS AND STRIPES HAD A STRANGLEHOLD ON TENNIS COURTS ACROSS THE WORLD. FROM THE 1990 U.S. OPEN THROUGH THE 2003 AUSTRALIAN OPEN, JIM COURIER, ANDRE AGASSI, AND PETE SAMPRAS CAPTURED OVER HALF OF THE 50 GRAND SLAM SINGLES TOURNAMENTS PLAYED. ON JANUARY 20, 2003, AGASSI’S AUSTRALIAN OPEN WIN WAS THE LAST MAJOR TITLE FOR THE TRIO, THE END OF AN ERA. ANDY RODDICK’S VICTORY AT AUTHOR ASHE STADIUM, AT THE END OF THAT YEAR WAS THE SPARK THAT LED HIM TO BECOMING THE NEW TORCH BEARER OF AMERICAN TENNIS.>>WAS IT A LOT OF PRESSURE ON YOU, ALL OF A SUDDEN, SAMPRAS AND AGASSI ARE GONE?>>SURE.>>AND NOW IT’S UP TO YOU TO CARRY THE LOAD FOR THE UNITED STATES.>>YEAH, THE WORD PRESSURE GETS APPLIED A LOT. I USE THE WORD RESPONSIBILITY. OBVIOUSLY, FOLLOWING THE GREATEST GENERATION EVER FROM ONE COUNTRY AND, YOU KNOW, I GOT TO SEE WHEN I WAS A KID THE END OF CONNORS AND MCENROE. AND THEN SAW THAT MELTON TO ANDRE AND PETE AND JIM COURIER, WHO ONE FOUR SLAMS, AND MICHAEL CHANG, WHO WAS A GRAND SLAM CHAMPION, AND NUMEROUS OTHERS WHO KIND OF FILLED THE TOP TEN. IT WAS A HUGE SHADOW. I DON’T KNOW THAT ANYONE WAS EVER GOING TO FILL THAT VOID SINGLE HANDEDLY. BUT, YOU KNOW, I TOOK A VERY SIMPLE APPROACH. I WOKE UP EVERY DAY AND WORKED HARD AND TRIED TO DO WHATEVER I COULD THAT DAY. I DON’T KNOW THAT I WAS TRYING TO WIN 14 SLAMS LIKE PETE IN A DAY, AND I DON’T KNOW THAT I EVER WAS GOING TO DO ANYTHING BUT COME UP SHORT OF WHAT THOSE GUYS DID AHEAD OF ME. BUT, I TOOK THE RESPONSIBILITY OF AMERICAN TENNIS VERY, VERY SERIOUSLY. HAD SOME REALLY GOOD MOMENTS. HAD SOME TOUGH MOMENTS. BUT, YOU KNOW, STAYED IN THE TOP TEN, MAYBE SOLD SOME TICKETS AT SOME TOURNAMENTS FOR A LONG TIME, WHEN IT WAS NEEDED, AND I HAD A BLAST. ♪ >>Narrator: THAT RODDICK NEVER REACHED THE HEIGHTS OF HIS PREDECESSORS IS PARTIALLY DUE TO TIMING. FROM 2001 THROUGH 2012, ANDY MET ROGER FEDERER, WHO MANY CONSIDER THE BEST TENNIS PLAYER OF ALL TIME ON 24 OCCASIONS. ALL BUT THREE OF THOSE HEAD-TO-HEADS OCCURRED IN THE QUARTER FINAL ROUND OR LATER. AND FOUR OF THEM WERE IN GRAND SLAM FINALS, INCLUDING ONE EPIC 4 HOUR, 17-MINUTE MATCH, AT THE ALL ENGLAND CLUB. ♪ >>TOUGHEST GUY YOU PLAYED AGAINST?>>OH, IT WAS ROGER. YOU KNOW, HE KIND OF RUINED MY TENNIS LIFE FOR ABOUT A DECADE. BUT, LISTEN, I GOT TO DO IT. NOT A LOT OF PEOPLE GET TO WALK OUT ON A SUNDAY AT WIMBLEDON AND PLAY A FINAL. YOU KNOW, TENNIS, THERE’S SKILL AND THERE’S HOW GOOD YOU ARE AND THEN THERE’S MATCH UPS. AND THE MATCH UP WITH ROGER, FOR ME, WAS JUST REALLY TOUGH. ANYTHING I DID PLAYED RIGHT INTO HIS POCKET. ANYTHING HE DID WELL WAS VERY TOUGH FOR ME. SO, I ALMOST HAD TO CHANGE GAME PLANS OUT OF MY COMFORT ZONE AND THEN EXECUTE THE GAME PLAN I WASN’T VERY GOOD AT TO PERFECTION AND I DID IT A COUPLE TIMES AND STILL CAME UP SHORT. AND, YOU KNOW, ROGER, IF THERE’S ANYONE YOU HAD TO GO DOWN TO, IT’S A HUMAN LIKE HIM. ON TOP OF BEING A GREAT PLAYER, I HAVE NOTHING BUT RESPECT HOW HE CONDUCTS HIMSELF AS A PERSON, HOW HE TREATS OTHER PEOPLE. NOT EVEN JUST PEOPLE THAT HE VIEWS AS MAYBE ASPIRATIONAL. EVERY PERSON, THE LOCKER ROOM ATTENDANTS, EVERY — IT’S PLEASE AND THANK YOU WHEN HE GOES. SO, I’VE NEVER BEGRUDGED HIM IN ANY OF HIS SUCCESS.>>WHAT DO YOU THINK OF IT NOW, AMERICA’S TENNIS, MEN AND WOMEN?>>WELL, I’M GLAD YOU SAID MEN AND WOMEN, BECAUSE MOST PEOPLE JUST ASK THAT QUESTION AND SAY, “WHAT HAPPENED TO AMERICAN TENNIS?” I SAID, “WELL, THE AMERICAN WOMEN NEVER WENT AWAY.”>>THAT’S RIGHT.>>YOU KNOW, SO WE DO NEED TO SPECIFY BECAUSE THEY’VE BEEN DOING THEIR JOB. AND WHAT SERENA’S DOING AND THE COMPANY SHE’S KEEPING AS FAR AS GRAND SLAM TITLES IS JUST, SOMETHING I CAN’T EVEN FATHOM. BUT, YOU KNOW, AMERICAN MEN’S TENNIS, IT’S IN A CYCLICAL SPACE. IF YOU WATCH THE YANKEES, EVEN THEY’RE NOT GOOD SOMETIMES. YOU KNOW, SO SPORTS IS CYCLICAL. I LOVE THE GROUP OF YOUNG AMERICANS WE HAVE. IT’S NOT JUST ONE. IT’S NOT JUST, YOU KNOW, ONE GUY WHO’S GOING TO HAVE TO CARRY ALL THE PRESSURE AND IT’S EITHER GOING TO MAKE OR BREAK HIM. YOU KNOW, THEY HAVE 10 OR 12 YOUNG PROSPECTS UNDER, YOU KNOW, 20-YEARS-OLD. A LOT OF THEM ARE ALREADY IN THE TOP 200. THEY’RE GOING TO HAVE COMPANY, WHICH I THINK WILL HELP, AND I ALSO THINK IT’LL CREATE A HEALTHY JEALOUSY. SO, I’VE KIND OF TIPTOED AROUND THIS QUESTION. I GET ASKED IT ALL THE TIME. BUT, I SPEAK WITH A SENSE OF OPTIMISM NOW THAT I PROBABLY HAVEN’T HAD FOR 15 YEARS WHEN ASKED THIS QUESTION. SO, HOPEFULLY IN THREE OR FOUR YEARS, THE KIND OF THE GENERAL SENTIMENT AROUND THAT QUESTION WILL HAVE MAYBE A POSITIVE TONE AROUND IT.>>WITHIN THE RANKS OF PROFESSIONAL TENNIS, IS THERE A NATURALISTIC FEELING, FOR EXAMPLE, WE’RE THE UNITED STATES, YOU’RE AUSTRALIA? IS THERE A FEELING LIKE THAT?>>I THINK SO. I HOPE SO. THAT’S WHAT YOU WANT. I THINK WE NEED TO TAKE PRIDE IN THE LEGACY THAT THE PLAYERS FROM THIS COUNTRY HAVE CREATED FOR US. AND NOT VIEW IT AS THIS HUGE MT. RUSHMORE THAT WE CAN NEVER BE A PART OF. YOU KNOW, LISTEN, I WAS — I WASN’T EVEN CLOSE TO GETTING TO THAT MT. RUSHMORE, BUT GETTING HALFWAY UP SERVED ME WELL, AND I’M VERY HAPPY WITH WHERE IT’S TAKEN ME IN LIFE. SO, YEAH, I THINK THERE NEEDS TO BE SOME PRIDE AND I THINK THE YOUNGER PLAYERS DO NEED TO KIND OF VIEW IT AS A RESPONSIBILITY AND TO TRY TO DO THEIR PART AND IT’S NOT EASY. ANYTHING WORTH DOING IS HARD. NEW YORKER’S ARE PROBABLY THE MOST HONEST SPORTS FAN YOU’LL FIND. IF YOU GIVE THEM EVERYTHING YOU HAVE, THEY’LL SHOW YOU THEIR APPRECIATION. AND THEY WERE PRONE TO GETTING EXCITED. THEY WANTED TO GET BEHIND YOU. THEIR DISAPPOINTMENT WASN’T BECAUSE YOU WEREN’T VERY GOOD. IT WAS BECAUSE THEY WANTED AN EVENT. ♪ ♪ >>Narrator: ON A LATE SUMMER FRIDAY IN 2012, ANDY RODDICK MADE CLEAR HIS INTENTION TO RETIRE FROM PROFESSIONAL TENNIS WHENEVER THAT YEAR’S U.S. OPEN WOULD END FOR HIM. THOUGH HE HAD BEEN DISCUSSING IT PREVIOUSLY, FOR SOME TENNIS FANS, IT SEEMED AS SUDDEN AND ABRUPT AS HIS RECORD BREAKING SERVE. IT WAS NOT THE ENDING THAT MANY LOVERS OF THE SPORT IMAGINED FOR RODDICK AND YET IT ONLY MADE SENSE FOR HIM TO PLAY HIS FINAL POINT AT ARTHUR ASHE STADIUM.>>IS IT PLAYING IN NEW YORK YOUR FAVORITE PLACE?>>I THINK IT’S MY FAVORITE PLACE LOOKING BACK. YOU KNOW, THOSE NIGHT MATCHES ARE AMAZING. BUT, IT’S ALSO INCREDIBLY STRESSFUL IN THE MOMENT. YOU’RE THE HOME GUY. YOU WANT TO PERFORM. YOU KNOW THAT NIGHT SESSION OF THE U.S. OPEN IS THE BIGGEST STAGE IN TENNIS. SO, I LOOK BACK FONDLY. I REMEMBER, YOU KNOW, PLAYING THOSE MATCHES AND YOU’D HAVE TO WAIT AROUND ALL DAY LONG AND YOU’RE JUST BY YOURSELF WITH YOUR OWN THOUGHTS SAYING, “YOU HAVE TO PERFORM.” SO, THOSE WERE HONESTLY PROBABLY THE MOST STRESSFUL MATCHES AND MAYBE NOT MY FAVORITE IN THE MOMENT, BUT LOOKING BACK, I MEAN, YOU WOULDN’T TRADE THOSE MEMORIES FOR ANYTHING.>>WELL, PLAYING IN THE TOUR, NOT ONLY DID YOU HAVE TREMENDOUS TALENT, BUT YOU WERE ABLE TO DO SOMETHING NOT MANY TENNIS PLAYERS COULD DO. YOU HAD A PERSONALITY WHERE YOU WERE ENGAGED WITH THE FANS. FOR EXAMPLE, U.S. OPEN WEARS A LOT OF INTEREST. TELEVISION WANTS IT. THE FOLKS WANT IT. WHAT’S THAT ALL ABOUT.>>I DON’T KNOW. I DON’T KNOW WHAT THE SPECIAL SAUCE IS. I THINK NEW YORKER’S ARE PROBABLY THE MOST HONEST SPORTS FAN YOU’LL FIND. IF YOU GIVE THEM EVERYTHING YOU HAVE, THEY’LL SHOW YOU THEY’RE APPRECIATION. AND THEY WERE PRONE TO GETTING EXCITED. THEY WANTED TO GET BEHIND YOU. THEIR DISAPPOINTMENT WASN’T BECAUSE YOU WEREN’T VERY GOOD. IT WAS BECAUSE THEY WANTED AN EVENT. THEY WANTED TO SEE A SPECTACLE. BUT THEY WANT TO FEEL LIKE THEY’RE A PART OF IT. AND THEY CERTAINLY WERE AT THE U.S. OPEN. THEY CERTAINLY ALWAYS WILL BE AT THE U.S. OPEN. AND, FOR BETTER OR WORSE, I THINK I WAS HONEST WITH MY EMOTIONS. AND THEY MIGHT HAVE LIKED IT ALL THE TIME, BUT I THINK BY THE END OF MY CAREER, WE KIND OF HAD SOMETHING GOING.>>Narrator: RODDICK’S THEATRICS WEREN’T LIMITED TO UNDER THE LIGHTS AT AMERICAN TENNIS’ GREATEST SHOWCASE. OFF THE COURT HIS CHARISMA LED HIM TO BECOME A POP CULTURE ICON. THESE DAYS, HE CONTINUES TO ENGAGE FANS AT VARIOUS EXHIBITIONS ACROSS THE COUNTRY, INCLUDING THE FIRST EVER MATCH IN THE HISTORY OF THE BARCLAY CENTER AND THE FIRST MAJOR TENNIS EVENT IN BROOKLYN SINCE 1935.>>THREE YEARS AGO I SAW YOU IN AN EXHIBITION AT MADISON SQUARE GARDEN AND YOU WERE ENGAGED WITH THE CROWD. HOW IMPORTANT IS THAT IN THESE EXHIBITIONS?>>OH, THE EXHIBITIONS ARE KIND OF A GREAT PLATFORM TO ENGAGE WITH TENNIS FANS. YOU KNOW, NORMALLY WHEN WE’RE ON TOUR WE’RE PRETTY SELFISH. WE’RE ON OUR OWN SHOT CLOCK THAT EVERY FAN MIGHT NOT UNDERSTAND. WHETHER IT’S GETTING FROM PRACTICE TO THE LOCKER ROOM, YOU KIND OF WANT TO KEEP SOME CONTINUITY. BUT, EXHIBITIONS NOW WHERE IT’S — WE STILL WANT TO WIN, BUT THE WAY I CATEGORIZE IT, IS IF WE DON’T WIN, IT’S NOT GOING TO RUIN OUR DINNER. YOU KNOW, SO YOU CAN KIND OF SMILE AND LAUGH, ENGAGE A LITTLE BIT MORE AND I CERTAINLY ENJOY THAT SIDE OF THINGS.>>WE’RE IN BROOKLYN, NEW YORK RIGHT NOW. WHERE YOU’RE GOING TO PLAY SOME TENNIS. IS THE WORD BROOKLYN VERY IMPORTANT TO YOU? [LAUGHTER]>>YES, IT IS. OBVIOUSLY, MY WIFE IS NAMED BROOKLYN. SO, IT WAS REALLY AWKWARD WHEN WE LIVED IN BROOKLYN. BECAUSE THEN SHE BROOKLYN FROM BROOKLYN. SO, BUT WE’RE DOWN IN TEXAS NOW. SO, THERE’S NOT MUCH CROSSOVER. BUT, YOU KNOW, OBVIOUSLY, IT HELD SPECIAL MEANING.>>DO YOU THINK TENNIS BENEFITS WHEN THEY HAVE A GUY LIKE YOU WITH A PERSONALITY. BESIDES GOOD TALENT, A PERSONALITY, THAT PROMOTES THE SPORT, EVEN IF IT’S JUST ON THE COURT ITSELF.>>YEAH, ABSOLUTELY. AND NOT SAYING ABSOLUTELY TO ACT LIKE ME OR HAVE A PERSONALITY. BUT I THINK YOU HAVE TO HAVE SOMETHING TO SELL. YOU HAVE TO GET PEOPLE. YOU HAVE TO GET INTEREST. YOU KNOW, THERE’S SOME PLAYERS OUT THERE RIGHT NOW WHO ARE NUTS AND MAYBE DON’T DO THINGS THE WAY THAT EVERYONE WOULD LIKE THEM TO, BUT THEY STILL READ THE NEWS ARTICLES. YOU KNOW, I THINK THAT MODEL AS FAR AS JUST BEING ON PEOPLE’S MINDS AND KIND OF JUST FLOODING THE NEWS CYCLE, YOU KNOW, IT MIGHT EVEN BE ABLE TO GET YOU ELECTED PRESIDENT.>>WOULD IT BE EASIER IF YOU GUYS HAD LONG BREAKS? FOR EXAMPLE, BASEBALL ENDS, THEY HAVE A BREAK. BASKETBALL ENDS, THEY HAVE A BREAK. ALTHOUGH, THEY’RE GETTING SHORTER. WOULD IT HAVE BEEN HELPFUL TO TENNIS?>>I THINK SO. AND PEOPLE GIVE A LOT OF REASONS. BUT, YOU KNOW, I THINK WE HAVE TO GIVE FANS AN OPPORTUNITY TO MISS THE SPORT A LITTLE BIT. YOU KNOW, AND I UNDERSTAND — I THINK THE BIG PROBLEM IS THAT WHETHER IT’S THE USTA OR THE ITF OR THE ATB TOUR, THEY’RE ALL THESE DIFFERENT BRANCHES THAT HAVE LITTLE FRAGMENTS OF CONTROL AND NO ONE’S WILLING TO KIND OF GIVE UP THEIR PIECE OF THE PIE FOR THE GREATER GOOD. AND I WISH THERE WAS MORE OF THAT. I THINK THE PLAYERS WOULD BENEFIT FROM A TWO OR THREE MONTH OFF SEASON. I THINK THE FANS WOULD BENEFIT FROM A TWO OR THREE MONTH OFF SEASON. BUT, SOMEONE’S GOING TO HAVE TO GIVE A LITTLE TO GET A LOT. YOU KNOW, SO HOPEFULLY WE CAN KIND OF LOOK AT IT THROUGH A BIGGER LENS AT SOME POINT. I ASKED HIM WHAT HIS BIGGEST REGRET WAS. AND, YOU KNOW, FOR SOMEONE WHO HAS BEEN AS SUCCESSFUL IN THE NON-PROFIT SPACE AS HE HAS, I WAS SURPRISED TO HEAR HIM SAY THAT HE DIDN’T START HIS FOUNDATION EARLY ENOUGH. ♪ >>SO HERE WE ARE, MAN, THE 11 ANNUAL, ANDY RODDICK FOUNDATION GALA. ♪ >>WE ARE THE ANDY RODDICK FOUNDATION. OUR MISSION IS TO EXPAND OPPORTUNITIES FOR YOUNG PEOPLE TO LEARN PRIDE AND SUCCEED. WE ARE HERE TONIGHT AGAIN WITH YOU TO EMBARK ON FULFILLING THAT MISSION.>>Narrator: THE ANDY RODDICK FOUNDATION ENVISIONS A WORLD WHERE ALL YOUNG PEOPLE HAVE ENDLESS OPPORTUNITIES TO REALIZE AND ACHIEVE THEIR POTENTIAL. AND ARF, AS IT IS ALSO KNOWN, GOES ABOUT TRYING TO MAKE THAT A REALITY THROUGH AFTER-SCHOOL ACTIVITIES, A SIX-WEEK SUMMER CAMP, AND BENEFICIAL PARTNERSHIPS THROUGHOUT AUSTIN, TEXAS. SINCE 2000, THE CAUSE HAS RAISED MORE THAN $20 MILLION. BUT IT WAS A YEAR EARLIER IN 1999, THAT SAW THE GENESIS FOR THE FOUNDATION WHEN RODDICK WAS JUST 17.>>ANDY, YOU STARTED A FOUNDATION AT A VERY YOUNG AGE. WHAT WAS THE MOTIVATION?>>WELL, FRANKLY, ONE OF MY HEROES WAS ANDRE AGASSI. AND BEFORE I WAS A PRO PLAYER OF ANY STATURE HE WOULD USE ME AS A PRACTICE PARTNER. AND I WOULD FLY WITH HIM. WE’D GO TO FLORIDA AND WE’D TRAIN FOR A WHILE. THERE’S SOMETHING ABOUT THE PEOPLE YOU LOOK UP TO WHERE YOU’RE ALMOST SCARED OF THEM SOMETIMES AND SO WHEN I WAS WITH ANDRE AND TRAVELING WITH HIM, I WOULDN’T SAY MUCH, WHICH IS NOT MY NORMAL PERSONALITY TRAIT. WE WERE ABOUT HALF-HOUR FROM LANDING ONE TIME. AND HE SAID, “ALL RIGHT, KID, YOU GOT 30 MINUTES. WHATEVER YOU WANT TO KNOW, GO FOR IT.” AND I WAS LIKE, “OH, THIS IS AMAZING.” SO, YOU KNOW, I ASKED ALL THE QUESTIONS OF WHAT IT’S LIKE TO WIN A SLAM AND WHAT’S THIS AND THAT. AND I ASKED HIM WHAT HIS BIGGEST REGRET WAS. AND, YOU KNOW, FOR SOMEONE WHO HAS BEEN AS SUCCESSFUL IN THE NON-PROFIT SPACE AS HE HAS, I WAS SURPRISED TO HEAR HIM SAY THAT HE DIDN’T START HIS FOUNDATION EARLY ENOUGH. AND SO, WHEN YOUR HERO SAYS SOMETHING LIKE THAT, YOU KIND OF THINK ABOUT IT AND PONDER IT AND, YOU KNOW, SO I SAID, “OK, WELL, LET’S DO SOMETHING. LET’S NOT HAVE THAT SAME REGRET.” AND SO, WE DID AN EVENT IN A PARKING LOT WITH A TENNIS NET. I DON’T KNOW THAT WE RAISED MUCH, BUT AT THE TIME IT FELT LIKE A HUGE WIN FOR US. FROM THERE WE KIND OF JUST BUILT OUT WHAT WE ARE NOW, WHICH IS A PRETTY SIGNIFICANT FOUNDATION IN AUSTIN, TEXAS.>>YOU SEEM TO HAVE A NUMBER OF CELEBRITIES WHO SUPPORT YOUR FOUNDATION. HOW’D THAT COME ABOUT?>>ALL OF IT IS JUST FROM ME TELLING THEM WHAT IT’S ABOUT, THEM BELIEVING IN IT. AND WE’VE BEEN SO LUCKY WITH THE PEOPLE THAT HAVE KIND OF BELIEVED IN WHAT WE’RE DOING. WE’VE HAD DARIUS RUCKER AND JIMMY BUFFETT, AND LIONEL RITCHIE TWICE, AND JOHN LEGEND JUST PLAYED FOR THE SECOND TIME FOR US. HE’S A GOOD FRIEND OF OURS. AND ELTON’S PLAYED OUR GALA, OUR BIG FUNDRAISER FIVE TIMES NOW.>>NOTHING STRESSES ME OUT MORE THAN THE PROCESS OF ASKING JOHN TO COME HERE AND PERFORM. WE’RE FRIENDS. I HAVE LOVED THEM FOR SO LONG. THEY’RE SUCH GREAT PEOPLE. AND TO SAY — LISTEN. THEY’RE IN THIS INSANE BUBBLE OF FAME AND SUCCESS AND ACCOMPLISHMENT RIGHT NOW. AND ONE NIGHT DOESN’T SOUND LIKE MUCH. WHEN YOU’RE IN THEIR SCHEDULE AND WHEN YOU’RE IN THIS VACUUM THAT THEY’RE IN RIGHT NOW, ONE NIGHT IS A LOT. SO, WHEN HE SAYS, A YEAR AGO, “LISTEN, YOU HAVE MY WORD. I’M GOING TO COME.” AND WE’RE TRYING TO SCHEDULE IT. AND, YOU KNOW, HAVING FAITH IN THE PERSON THAT’S TELLING YOU THAT IS VERY IMPORTANT. YOU GUYS AREN’T HERE TO SEE ME PERFORM TONIGHT. YOU’RE HERE TO SEE JOHN PERFORM. SO, WITHOUT HIM, NONE OF THIS HAPPENS. SO, THANK YOU.>>THAT’S GREAT. I CANNOT GET YOU OFF THE STAGE WITHOUT TALKING ABOUT YOUR BEAUTIFUL WIFE. BECAUSE I KNOW YOU GUYS ARE A TEAM ON THIS ONE.>>THERE’S TYPICALLY A BIG DISCONNECT BETWEEN THE PEOPLE THAT ARE COMING AND FUNDRAISING AND THE CHILDREN THAT WE SERVICE. AND WHAT I LOVE ABOUT ANDY’S FOUNDATION IS THAT WE BRING THE KIDS OF THESE SCHOOLS OUT TO THESE EVENTS.>>MY NAME IS RUSSELL. I AM IN THE THIRD GRADE UP AT COSBRING. I HAVE BEEN WITH THE ARF SINCE THE BEGINNING WHEN I WAS A PINK FLAMINGO. EVERY SUMMER I AM EXCITED TO COME TO CAMP BECAUSE WE DO FUN THINGS LIKE GO ON FIELD TRIPS, MAKE ROBOTS.>>MAKE A SOLAR CAR, GO SWIMMING, LEARN ABOUT THE HISTORY OF OUR WORLDS.>>AND DO WORKOUT WEDNESDAY WITH COACH ANGIE AND COACH CASEY.>>I AM THANKFUL OF BEING AT THE ANDY RODDICK FOUNDATION BECAUSE IF I HAD NOT COME, I WOULD NOT GET TO EXPERIENCE THE NEW THINGS I HAVE GOTTEN TO DO. THANK YOU ARF FOR BEING MY BIG AWESOME FAMILY.>>YOU KNOW, WE SAY TALENT IS UNIVERSAL, BUT OPPORTUNITY IS NOT. IT’S JUST AMAZING THE WAY YOU KIND OF SEE A KID TRANSFORM, EVEN JUST THE WAY HE CARRIES HIMSELF. BUT ONE OF THE BIGGER THINGS ALSO IS HAVING THE PARENTS COME AND TALK TO YOU. A LOT OF THESE KIDS ARE FROM SINGLE PARENT HOMES. WHEN THEY COME UP AND SAY, “HEY, LISTEN. I CAN GET 20 HOURS MORE WORK A WEEK BECAUSE OF THE PROGRAM THAT’S IN PLACE AND KNOW THAT THEY’RE NOT ONLY TAKEN CARE OF, BUT ALSO ENRICHED,” THOSE ARE THE CONVERSATIONS THAT ARE STRIKING FOR ME.>>THANK YOU ALL FOR COMING HERE TONIGHT. WE APPRECIATE IT.>>AWESOME. LADIES AND GENTLEMEN, ANDY RODDICK. ♪ >>YOU’RE YOUNG. STILL YOUNG. DID YOU RETIRE TOO YOUNG?>>DEPENDS ON HOW THE QUESTIONS ASKED. COULD I HAVE PLAYED MORE TENNIS AND PLAYED WELL? I THINK SO. I DON’T REGRET IT FOR A DAY. WHAT — MY WIFE AND I ARE VERY HAPPY. WE HAVE A YOUNG SON. THE FOUNDATION’S DOING GREAT. OTHER BUSINESS OPPORTUNITIES ARE GOING WELL. THESE ARE ALL THINGS THAT GET NEGLECTED WHEN YOU’RE TOUR FOR 45 WEEKS A YEAR. SO, YOU KNOW, I WON TWO OUT OF MY LAST FIVE TOURNAMENTS SO I COULD STILL PLAY AND I KNEW THAT. BUT, WHEN IT STARTED FEELING LIKE WORK AND NOT AN EVERYDAY OPPORTUNITY AND THERE WERE OTHER THINGS THAT WERE KIND OF STEALING MY INTEREST AND I DIDN’T FEEL LIKE I COULD COMMIT 100%, IT WAS THE RIGHT TIME FOR ME. MAYBE NOT FOR EVERYONE ELSE, BUT IT WAS THE RIGHT TIME FOR ME. ♪

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