Faze sat down and chatted with Andy Roddick and his coach, former player Brad Gilbert
When Andy Roddick exploded onto the tennis scene in 2000, winning the junior Grand Slam in Australia as an 18-year-old, it was just the beginning of Andy’s unbridled on-court presence. Andy had to prove that he was better than the rest, and better than the best.
After losing the first round in Roland Garros (France) in 2003, Andy switched coaches and decided to go with former Andre Agassi mentor, Brad Gilbert, who has been credited with helping Andy take it to the next level. “When I first met Andy, I was struck by his great youthful exuberance and energy,” says Brad, “Andy has an amazing talent and phenomenal fire in his belly to win like nobody else.”
Yet having the best coach does not guarantee instant success, instead one must value the wisdom. This is not lost on Andy who says “Coaches and mentors are only trying to help, and some go about it better than others to get their point across so just try to take their advice for what it’s worth and look at the positive and try to fight off the negative,” he says.
In turn, Brad explains his coaching philosophy, “I am their friend when they need a friend, I give them their space when they need their space and I really believe in the power of positive thinking.” But it seems flexibility may also be the key. “No matter who you are coaching you need to adapt to them, not the other way around. I needed to adapt to Andy,” Brad says.
|ANDREW STEPHEN RODDICK
Birthday: August 30, 1982
Star Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Omaha, Nebraska
Residence: Boca Raton, Florida
Height: 6 ft. 2 in.
Fave Movie: Shawshank Redemption
Fave Bands: Dave Matthews Band, John Mayer
Total career prize money: US$20,637,390
Noteworthy: Was the first tennis player to hit a 150 mph (or 241.4km/h) serve, according to the Guinness Book of World Records.
“All athletes are different,” says Brad. “One thing I learned about Andy, and worked on with him, is that he would get a little too excited out there, a little too emotional all the time,”
Brad says about his early assessment of Andy, “I don’t want to take that away from him but we don’t need to ride a rollercoaster every single match.” Andy admits, “I used to panic when I got behind and got a little overwhelmed, but now I try to keep an even keel out there, and it took me a little longer to learn that than other players who are up and coming.”
Brad appreciates Andy’s effort and willingness to take advice: “Andy is trying to be a lot calmer out there, but there is naturally going to be some outbursts because that’s his personality and I don’t want to take away his competitiveness.”
Of his own experience as a coach, Brad says, “I learned that things happen over the long haul: hard work, dedication, desire, good habits, and provided they have the talent, that’s how they will get to the next level.”
Andy Roddick’s coach and former world #4, Brad Gilbert.