By Chris Oddo | @TheFanChild | Wednesday August 10, 2022
Andy Roddick has spent the better part of his career with a front row ticket to the Serena Williams show. The former World No.1 and 2003 US Open champion has known the Williams sisters from a young age, and was the perfect person to speak about their legacy on Tuesday as news of Serena’s impending retirement from tennis circled around the globe.
“You know it’s not going to go on forever but you are still kind of shocked by the news, not because the actual moment is surprising but because it means the end of something so fantastic and so important to this game of tennis,” said Roddick on Tennis Channel, where he is an analyst.
The American admits that he did not envision such earth-shattering success from Serena and Venus when he trained with them at the Rick Macci Academy as a pre-teen.
“I was lucky enough to have a front row seat to the Serena show when I was nine and ten years old at Rick Macci tennis academy and a lot of what we saw in the King Richard movie I was right there watching it,” the former World No.1 said. “Frankly a lot of us at the academy were like ‘You can’t become a professional without playing competitive matches in juniors – how ridiculous is that?’ Well, guess who was ridiculous, all of us who were second guessing Venus and Serena for their process.”
Andy Roddick on the retirement of his longtime friend Serena Williams, which comes 10 years after his own: pic.twitter.com/fAgixoJc2E
— Ben Rothenberg (@BenRothenberg) August 10, 2022
Or course the Williams, guided by their father Richard, were keen on blazing their own trail and shaking up the sport of tennis on their own terms. Despite the lack of junior careers, they hit the ground running on the WTA Tour, and really never looked back.
The sport has forever changed because of their influence, says Roddick.
“They innovated with this sport. Physically, with their competitiveness, the way they went about becoming two of the greats of all time. It had never been done before the way that they had done it, credit their father Richard for finding a way to give these two girls who became women and icons of our sport a chance to perform at the highest level,” Roddick said. “We’re all better for it. It’s weird I’ve been watching it for my entire life and I still hate that it has to end at some point, and I hate that I won’t be able to watch it any more.”
“I’ll miss her as a friend, I’ll miss watching her as a tennis fan, but I am happy that we do get a long goodbye, and we are going to be able to appreciate her greatness for the next month and celebrate everything that she and Venus have meant to this game, which can’t be overstated.”