Rick Macci Analysis: Andy Roddick
Oct 25, 2023
Legendary coach Rick Macci has been delivering succinct analyses of the games of several leading pros (past and present) through in depth interviews with Florida Tennis editor Jim Martz. Macci continues in this post with the last American male to win a Grand Slam tournament (2003). Macci worked with him as a junior and talks about what was special about Roddick.
First off, I love Andy Roddick. This guy was probably the best competitor that I ever taught of all the guys that I had. He was just beyond brutal, he was like a mosquito. He would keep coming back and bothering you. If he lost he said, “Rick, can I play him again?” And he was all about the competition. His thirst for competition was like no other.
He was a little guy when I had him, even though he was number 1 in the nation in the 12s.
Just that alone I knew he’d be a good pro, I didn’t know how good. He got to be 6-foot-2, 180.
But that’s what people have got to understand about the great Andy Roddick. Anybody, anytime, anywhere, he was all about the competition.
So listen, Jim, everybody’s competitive. This was another level, maybe because he was the youngest of three boys and Lawrence and John always beat him up when he was a little one, OK? And pressed him for survival of the fittest.
So when you look at Roddick, you’ve got to look at what’s under the hood. Everybody says Roddick - serve, forehand. That’s on the outside.
But the guy never really had any bad losses. He was a constant top 10. I knew he wasn’t going to be Sampras, Agassi, he wasn’t going to be that good. But he was going to be the best Andy Roddick because he’s a great competitor.
I think he over achieved. He was always in the top 10. No bad losses. And unfortunately there was the three-headed monster of Federal, Nadal and Djokovic in the same era, and you sprinkle in Murray. But he dropped all those guys at one time.
So I think he over achieved. Listen, one of the best serves of all time.
When he came to me he had a lot of external rotation, he was all messed up. Lively arm. But he kind of figured out that serve on his own, putting his feet together, abbreviating his backswing. His forehand was ATP. He kind of taught me keeping it on the hitting side, so I didn’t change it. So that’s the art of coaching. Some times keep your mouth shut and let the player coach the coach.
Backhand was solid on returns, could have had more flexibility. Needed to soften the hands up.
But Andy Roddick was an over achiever. To think that he’s the last American to win a Grand Slam 20 years ago, that’s going to change. I’m going on the record, that’s going to change in the next two years.
One of my all-time favorites. Great competitor. Loved the whole family. Loved his older brother John, he was 2 in the nation, the guy was brutal. But Andy had a little more firepower
But there’s going to be an American in the next couple of years to win a Grand Slam because the game is more violent, more people are going to get injured, it’s going to open the door.
But Andy Roddick was a lot more than a forehand and a serve. Mentally one of the strongest. He wasn’t going away, and you had to beat him. And so when you look at Andy Roddick, look at his consistency as a competitive athlete. And that’s what all coaches should try to get their players to do, be the type of competitor and role model like Andy Roddick.
Interview with Rick Macci by Florida Tennis' Founder and Editor Jim Martz. Photos (from top to bottom): Luiz Eduardo (CC BY 2.0); @ArtSeitz; @ArtSeitz. This article also appears in the September-October 2023 issue of Florida Tennis Magazine. Be sure to subscribe for expanded coverage, exclusive interviews, and in-depth tennis news.