While some of his rivals are still competing, Andy Roddick is managing new schedules and different challenges. The former world No. 1 recently completed a lengthy stint with Tennis Channel as a weekly contributor.
You retired from the tour at 30 and jumped right into other pursuits. How were you able to make the transition look so easy, when we often see athletes struggle with saying goodbye?
I’ve certainly heard the horror stories. I think having a foundation and a real estate business already up and running as full-time entities helped. It was never a question of what I would work on when I was finished playing. I was excited to not have a schedule all the time, to spend time with [my wife] Brooke, and to have long dinners with wine. Going out on my own terms rather than an injury or a major ranking slip probably helped, too.
A retired tennis player goes from constantly being on the road to staying in one place for a long time. Did it take time to realize that your life no longer requires having every single detail planned out?
I’m a planner by nature; I just plan different things. If anything, the tour life is kind of planned out for you. The tournaments have their dates, and your job is to prepare, and show up ready to battle. Parts of the schedule were almost simpler. I don’t miss airports and long trips at all.
How does Andy Roddick 2.0 differ to the guy who was the face of American tennis?
Overall, I think I’m kind of the same. Having children and being a present husband help with being less selfish. I’m often playing by someone else’s rules and pacing now, which is much different than when my world revolved around my practices, schedule and matches. Also, my petulant fits don’t really happen anymore, and are thankfully not on TV.
Can you walk us through a typical “dad life” day at the Decker-Roddick household in Austin?
I try to wake up 45 minutes before the kids to enjoy some quiet time and coffee. From there, it’s the chaos of getting kiddos ready for school and drop-off. That’s followed by getting through the day’s business or foundation work. I try to get a sweat in daily. Unfortunately, it rarely involves tennis or weight training. I need to get better about that. I still usually travel a night or two a week for different business, but the trips are normally between an hour or two flight time, which is way better than what it used to be. Scheduling is a challenge for Brooke and me. She works so hard, and we try not to be gone on the same night for the kids.
How has becoming a family man influenced your perspective on the way your parents raised you?
You certainly appreciate the sacrifices a parent makes way more after being in it. My parents worked their entire lives to give me the best shot. I feel lucky and grateful. I wish my dad was still around so we could relate on a level that I probably couldn’t have before kids.
Besides your family, what motivates you to get out of bed and be the same straight-shooting, passionate guy who reached No. 1?
Just different challenges, really. It’s really fun for me to always try and make sure I’m one of the dumbest people in a room. My dad always told me to “surround yourself with smart people and ask a lot of questions.” I think that’s served me well post-tennis career. Tennis and business are similar in that you’re always trying to prove yourself again and again.
Before the pause, how often did you keep an eye on the tour?
I admittedly didn’t watch as much as I should. I check scores pretty regularly, and make time for my favorite tournaments.
Do you find yourself paying more attention to your former rivals, or focusing on who could follow them?
I’m definitely more curious about the younger players. I try to keep up with the young Americans. I obviously watch if any combination of Roger, Rafa and Novak are squaring off in a final, but I don’t watch those guys if they’re rolling through the early rounds. I’ve seen that enough now.