Andy Roddick Has the Secret Sauce: ‘It Was a Mix of Insecurity and Ego That Drove Me’

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Rav Carlotti for ONE37pm

Andy Roddick is one of the most famous and successful American tennis players of any generation with his 32 titles. He and Andre Agassi are the only Americans ever to finish the calendar year as world No. 1, and Roddick first surfaced there at age 21, the youngest world’s top-ranked player ever recorded by the modern tracking system.

The ride to the top was a dizzying one that demanded a singular focus and included a near-instantaneous ascent. At one moment he’s in Nebraska, wondering which college tennis program he might like to attend if his dream to be a pro doesn’t materialize, and within the span of a year, he’s in the top 20 on the ATP.

Roddick joined Gallery Media Group CEO Ryan Harwood—both climbed the tennis ranks together as young amateurs ("Ryan had a beard when he was 12," Roddick quips)—for ONE37pm's Live From the Bar Cart podcast to talk about the experience and what he’s distilled from analyzing his career now that he’s retired.

“Confidence is a crazy thing,” Roddick explains. “People talk about experience. I’ll take form and confidence over all the experience in the world. Give me some ignorance and confidence, and an athlete can show you something.”

Roddick goes on to detail climbing through the ranks, a grind unlike anything in sports—essentially an endless series of one-on-one matches, where you’re extremely isolated and have to dig deep within yourself to outmatch some of the best athletes and tennis players in the world. Roddick also tells the story of developing his serve, always a powerful shot as a youth but later would resemble a bazooka as a pro; it was a motion that he developed out of “pure petulance and frustration.”

Roddick also outlines some ways that tennis, a game he now has some distance from, has informed his worldview.

“I think ego matters,” Roddick says. “I had a healthy jealousy. I’m looking at the guys ahead of me, I’m looking at the guys my age, man I gotta beat that guy, come on! It was a mix of insecurity and ego that drove me.”

Roddick, who retired six years ago at 30, also describes his life after retirement and his work with the Andy Roddick Foundation

Listen to the full Andy podcast on: AppleSpotify | Google | iHeartStitcher | TuneIn

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