Andy Roddick is gearing up for the 2012 Olympics in London where he will be competing in both singles and men's doubles. The 29-year old recently won on grass in June at the AEGON Eastborne Championships, giving him 600 singles match wins. Despite being knocked out of Wimbledon in the third round, grass courts are where Roddick plays some of his best tennis. The Olympics, being held at Queens Court this year, is definitely an advantage for the American.
The big three, Roger Federer, Novak Djokovic, and Rafael Nadal are all set to play in the upcoming Olympics as well for their respective countries. Roddick evaluated the state of US men's tennis and how they can match up to the three.
"I think it's healthy. We had two in the top 10 last year. Certainly was good with Brian Baker and Isner playing well earlier this year. The question is always a tough one for me to answer because we deal in the context of a
worldwide talent pool, which isn't the case with a lot of sports that the U.S. focuses on. It's going to take some great tennis to crack those top three. They're three of the best we've ever seen, and they're certainly playing to it right now."
A successful U.S tennis team in the Olympics could bring in more supporting fans for the sport and improve the game. "Well, it depends what you mean by 'improve the game.' As far as viewership, USTA memberships, sales of products, tennis is very, very healthy. It's as healthy as it's been for a long time," Roddick said.
He added, "But I think success at any pro tournament will obviously garner more attention. Obviously, the Olympics, you don't have to be a tennis fan to pick a side in the Olympics. I think we're all very motivated and it should be a lot of fun."
Playing in a Grand Slam tournament is very different than playing in the Olympics or Davis Cup. Instead of playing as an individual, you are playing for your country. Roddick compared the two by saying,
"It is a lot different. It took me probably three or four years of playing Davis Cup before I felt completely comfortable. It's a totally different dynamic. Normally when we're out there, like you said, it's a pretty selfish existence, all about us. It's about my ranking, my team, my tournament. That's kind of the mentality of a tennis player most weeks. Then you kind of flip a switch, at Davis Cup is about the team, at the Olympics it's about the country. It is a little bit different. I don't know there's a perfected way to go about it. I think you have to try to make the subtle little adjustments."
Shortly after the Olympics, Roddick will be in New York competing at the U.S. Open. When asked what he liked most about the U.S. Open, Roddick responded, "Well, you know, New York, I feel like it's a great fan base. They're going to give you whatever you give them. They certainly appreciate hustle. They like a bit of a show. You give them some energy, they're going to give it right back to you. I feel like it's a pretty clear-cut understood relationship, at least from my perspective. It doesn't get a whole lot better as far as atmosphere goes than a night session up there."
Recently, there was a new move by the ATP Players Council to get the tournaments to pay more out to the players. The top players are all extremely successful from these tournaments. When asked about the move Roddick said, "It's just a matter of comparing it to other sports. The NBA players were upset because they had to come down from a 57 percent revenue share. I think the research at the U.S. Open, we were down at 13 percent of revenue went back to the players. It just seems skewed in comparison to some of the other sports. We certainly realize how lucky we are, but I think we also realize that we're the product."
Roddick joins Ryan Harrison, John Isner and Donald Young on the 2012 Men's 2012 Olympic team.