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Roddick and Blake on Staying Competitive During Fatherhood

OTGT caught up with Andy and James at the Powershares' Tour stop in Brooklyn, NY and got their perspective on two key aspects of their current lives. 

What keeps you playing competitively on this tour?

Andy: It’s been a love affair with tennis since I was 6 years old so I’m thankful for something like this where I can continue. It’s a fun atmosphere to play in. It’s fun to play in front of the fans but tennis is not my daily priority anymore so it’s nice to have this kind of outlet and still kind of pretend sometimes.

James: This is a ton of fun for me.  It gives me a good reason to stay in shape, to keep working out. Most people don’t get a competitive outlet in their day to day life and they certainly don’t get to do it in front of 5,000 to 10,000 people or on tv so for me to get to do that and have fun with guys I really respect and care about makes it very special. One of the most pleasant surprises is how much I’ve really enjoyed it and how much these guys have enjoyed it. We have so much fun in the locker room beforehand, hanging out then going out and playing the matches, beating each other up during the match and then coming in and laughing about it.  There is a lot less pressure than there was on the main tour so we can be a lot more cordial and friendly and be a little bit more of ourselves instead of being so singularly focused on tennis. This has been a ton of fun so I’m probably not going to stop until they stop inviting me.

What’s the best thing about being a father?

Andy: Oh man, I don’t know. It’s one of those things. I think people overuse dramatic clichés and I normally don’t agree with them but I do think that most of them about parenthood are true. You don’t know until you know and it’s just so much fun seeing our little guy develop and seeing him kind of get a sense of humor and just all of those little moments, I don’t know how you choose one. It’s changed my life dramatically.

James: Oh wow. There are so many good things. It’s just the sense of pride you feel when they pick up something you’ve taught them.  When you teach them something and they learn. It’s just amazing. It’s tough to describe and so different than anything you do on the tour, on the court. You work hard, you do your best, you accomplish something but now you’re not doing it for any sort of selfish reasons. I’m not going to get any trophies or prize money for teaching my kid to ride a bike but it’s just so much more gratifying. To see them accomplish something and to see the look on their faces when they learn something new. It’s been an amazing experience and I really didn’t know how much it would change my life when I started and I can’t express that enough to first time parents and they wouldn’t believe me anyway. I didn’t believe what everyone told me but now that I’ve experienced it, it’s been life changing. 

 Interview and photos by Jennifer Knapp

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