From endorsement deals to philanthropic work through his own foundation, Andy Roddick — the wunderkind who at 21 won his first Grand Slam title at the 2003 U.S. Open — has kept busy since he retired from professional tennis in 2012.
Now, Roddick, a dog lover who lives in Austin with wife Brooklyn Decker and their aptly named French bulldogs Bob Costas and Billie Jean King, is currently partnering with Purina Pro Plan for the company’s “$1 Million Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show Bracket Challenge.” Think March Madness brackets, but with dogs and the chance to win $1 million.
Roddick is also excited about his upcoming induction into the International Tennis Hall of Fame in July, joining other tennis greats like Andre Agassi.
Roddick spoke with CBS News about his love of “man’s best friend,” the hall of fame honor and what he would tell his younger self.
I saw your two dogs have very recognizable names to tennis fans.
I know — it’s always fun to take them to the groomer and drop them off, and say, “I’m here to pick up Bob Costas.”
Have the real Billie Jean King and Bob Costas met their namesakes?
Billie Jean knows the real Billie Jean King. Billie Jean, the human, always checks in and wants pictures of Billie Jean, the dog. She thought it was pretty funny. Bob Costas did not know about our dog’s name until Mary Carillo sent him a picture. So, they’re both aware now.
So, in an alternate-reality dog world, are the canine Billie Jean King and Bob Costas offering commentary during the Westminster Dog Show?
Well — I’m not sure about that alternate reality, since they are both pretty lazy.
You chose a miniature poodle for Best in Show in your bracket. Why?
We had a mini poodle growing up, so that was part of my reason behind choosing that dog — if you are a sports fan, say FCS football fan, you might have an emotional attachment to some of the teams you choose in your bracket. I never thought my bulldogs would make it to Best In Show, for instance. They would fart too much.
We can’t not talk some tennis. Last month, it was announced that you would be inducted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame this July. How did it feel when you heard the news?
It was very surreal. It was something instantly bigger than me. I didn’t have a reaction right away — it was a little unbelievable. I wasn’t a shoe-in candidate like Roger and Serena being inducted. It’s such an honor. All of the people in the hall of fame affected me. Christine Evert was one of my mom’s tennis cards, and as I’m kind of looking through the other hall of famers, like her, I’m looking through my childhood in a way and it’s unbelievable that my career is in the same resting place, so to speak, as these other tennis careers. It’s nuts.
At age 21 when you made waves at the U.S. Open, could you have imagined yourself getting to a point when you’d be in the hall of fame? What is it like drawing a through line from then to now?
I don’t know if it’s something I would have ever dreamed of. You know, at 21, I was competing for Major titles. I was conscious of who was getting in what career numbers and tournament wins. I was a fan of the game; I knew what barriers to entry were for the hall of fame. I knew what had to be done. I had won the Grand Slam and been number one, but I didn’t know that it would lead to this.
If you could jump in a time capsule and give any advice to 21-year-old Andy, what would it be?
I’ve been asked about “regret” a lot since the news of the hall of fame. I’ve been known for tough losses as well as anything I’ve won. I always did the right thing, wherever that was in my life. I was diligent, I slept well and didn’t really stay out too late too often. I don’t know if I would want to get in the way of the process of my career. I think everyone has their own path and I don’t know if I made any huge mistakes away from the court. On the court is a lot tougher to say. I think that I would let it ride pretty much the way it did. I’m happy where I’m at with life.
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