Retirement from tennis agrees with Andy Roddick

WTT cofounder Billie Jean King with new Philadelphia Freedoms mascot Annette "Nettie" King before the match with the Springfield Lasers.
WTT cofounder Billie Jean King with new Philadelphia Freedoms mascot Annette "Nettie" King before the match with the Springfield Lasers. (STEVEN M. FALK / Staff Photographer)
Posted: July 12, 2013

Ten months into his happy retirement, Andy Roddick said he finally felt something in his stomach watching Wimbledon this year.

Roddick is asked often if he misses the sport he walked away from last September at age 30. As if he must feel some regret after exiting with several serviceable years left.

"I think people are looking for a very dramatic answer about how tough the transition was," Roddick said Wednesday before his World TeamTennis match against the Freedoms at the Pavilion at Villanova, one of his few post-retirement playing appearances. "Maybe I just had reasonable expectations."

Roddick has stepped away with surprising ease from the game he played for 13 years. He expected tears when he announced his retirement at a news conference during the 2012 U.S. Open. They never came. He did choke up during an on-court farewell speech after his elimination from the tournament. But Wednesday, he seemed at peace with his decision and his career.

"I realize why I was stopping, and I don't have a quick-erase memory, if that makes sense," Roddick said. "It never felt like work to me."

Roddick said his life post-tennis has been busier than during his career. He cohosts a radio show. He works on his foundation. In a month, Roddick will begin cohosting the nightly program Fox Sports Live on the new Fox Sports 1.

He also became a minority owner of WTT and is now more than halfway through a stretch of five games in five days with the Springfield Lasers. Springfield split the first two games and beat the Freedoms on Wednesday, 23-20, in overtime. Roddick won his singles set and lost his doubles set, but came back to win the overtime game.

The Freedoms lost their first two outings of the season on the road, against the Orange County Breakers on Sunday and the Sacramento Capitals on Monday.

Roddick said he can enjoy playing again without missing the professional circuit. Before opening the match Wednesday with a set against Sam Groth, Roddick pleaded for mercy.

"Tone it down a little bit," he said from the baseline. "I don't even know how to play anymore."

Roddick still won fairly easily. He won nearly every point on his serve and shouted jokes throughout the match. He laughed often.

Only while discussing Wimbledon did Roddick sound wistful. It was the one time he sensed acutely that he was no longer playing.

"It seemed like a lot of stuff changes very quickly," he said. "Including Roger [Federer] losing."

Roddick laughed, but Federer's early exit was the cruelest twist for him. Federer had foiled Roddick three times in the Wimbledon finals. And this year, Federer had been upset in the early rounds.

As Roddick finished his news conference, he was asked where, exactly, he had watched the tournament.

"Where was I?" Roddick said, thinking. "I was back at home in the living room." He paused, thinking again.

"Like everyone else," he finished, and he smiled and walked away.


Contact Zach Helfand

at zhelfand@philly.com.

Follow on Twitter @zhelfand.

|
|
|
|
|