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Biographies > Andy Roddick

A native of Omaha, Nebraska, Andy Roddick was born on August 30th, 1982. His father Jerry and mother Blanche had already spawned a highly athletic family: Andy's brother John was an All-American tennis player at the University of Georgia, and oldest sibling Lawrence excelled in springboard diving. The Roddick family moved to Austin, Texas when Andy was 4, and then to Boca Raton, Florida six years later, in the interests of John's tennis career. In the end, this final move benefitted Andy the most, who, at 10 years old, took an interest in tennis. Roddick, also a star high school basketball player at Boca Raton Preparatory School, hit the tennis courts every day for practice or state tournaments. He rose through the U.S. junior system and it didn't take long for his parents to realize that Andy had a chance to make a living through his talents with the racket. Accomplished French coach Tarik Benhabiles took Roddick under his wing and groomed him for the world junior circuit. In 1999, he entered three U.S. Futures events -- where top juniors play -- and lost in the first round of each. At almost 17 years old, the experience in and of itself was more important than winning. In 2000, Roddick emerged as a force to be reckoned with. He became the top-ranked junior in the world after winning the junior Wimbledon and U.S. Open, and reaching the quarterfinals at Roland Garros (The French Open). That same year, Andy turned pro, playing in ATP Entry System events. Despite knee surgery in April, his debut went considerably well as he peaked late in the season, winning a Challenger event in Austin, and reaching the semifinals in a Las Vegas tournament. Another title in Burbank and a runner-up performance in Knoxville elevated Roddick's ranking from No. 326 to No. 160 in November 2000. In 2001, his first full season on tour, Roddick built on his strong finish from the year before. At his 10th career ATP tournament, Roddick came away with his first title on the clay courts of Atlanta. The following week, he won another tourney in Houston without dropping a set. After reaching the 3rd round at Roland Garros and Wimbledon, this up-and-comer won his third title in Washington. By year's end, Roddick was placed in the Top 20, and at just over 19 years old, was, by far, the youngest among the group. After more than a year on tour, Roddick was already getting people's attention. The peak of the 2002 season brought more of the same success, as he captured a title in Memphis in February, before repeating as champion in Houston, beating Pete Sampras in the final. Though these two ATP events were the only wins of the season, Roddick continued a consistent year, winning a career-high 56 matches and reaching the quarterfinals of the U.S. Open. He finished the year with over $1 million US in winnings and, more importantly, placed in the ATP Top Ten. Now one of the most well-liked and well-known players on the men's tour, Roddick was becoming more than a sports celebrity. Features in GQ and People, among others, portrayed him as a "hunk," and the star, barely 20, reveled in the attention. He started out with semifinal appearances at the Australian Open and Wimbledon, and took home important victories in London, Austria and Indianapolis. He also won important Tennis Masters Series events in Montreal and Cincinnati, and by the time tabloids picked up on his relationship with Mandy Moore, Roddick was vying for the top spot on tour. To cap off his great summer 2003 run under new coach Brad Gilbert, Roddick blew by the competition at the U.S. Open, faltering only once during the semifinals, before winning in straight sets versus top rival Juan Carlos Fererro. This victory put him at the very top of the ATP rankings and ever since, Fererro and Roddick have battled over the No. 1 spot. At only 21 years old, Roddick has yet to reach his potential, and fans have a lot of Grand Slam wins to look forward to in the future.


 

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