American star Andy Roddick said during his induction speech at the International Tennis Hall of Fame in Newport that he feels fortunate, not unlucky, to have played at the same time as all-time greats Andy Murray, Novak Djokovic, Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal.
Right after Federer won his first Grand Slam at the 2003 Wimbledon, Roddick won the US Open. By the time he retired in 2012, Roddick had won 32 titles. But despite reaching multiple finals at Wimbledon, he could not win another major, while Federer, Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray took control and have combined for 49 majors.
“I can’t believe the level of tennis that I got to see in my career. The shots hit, the records that were broken, and the records that continue to be broken. Thanks to Murray, Novak, Roger and Rafa for playing the game at a higher level than it’s ever been played,” Roddick said .
“I saw it all. I won a couple times, not a lot, but a couple. I’m proud to say that no other sport has benefited from having such great people as its leaders. The Big Four guys really pissed me off most of the time when I played them. But I’m absolutely proud to have my life and career associated with such quality individuals.”
“I got to guard Jordan, I went the distance with Ali, I pitched to Babe Ruth. I feel like I know what it must have been like to watch Picasso. I saw it all.” He and the foursome also remain friendly. Federer was the first person to send Roddick a congratulatory text on Saturday. “He’s just a great human,” Roddick said. Sporting his new Hall of Fame blue blazer, Roddick, as he was throughout his career, was self-deprecating, witty and funny during his 27-minute speech.
The 34-year-old Roddick is also friendly with Serena and Venus Williams. The 35-year-old Serena has won 23 Grand Slams, while the 36-year-old Venus has won eight. But Roddick knew them when they were all kids in Florida, still learning to play the game.
“I got to watch two girls named Venus and Serena before the rest of the world. Seeing what they’ve turned into, people see them now, probably looks easy for them a lot of the time,” Roddick said.
“I watched those two practice five, six, and seven hours a day as a kid. They believed in their destiny. They also knew what it might take to get there. All the while, people would whisper about how they couldn’t make it without playing tournaments, its hype, craziness — how would they ever learn grit, or learn how to compete. Sometimes it’s important to learn from what we didn’t know.”