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Andy Roddick and Drew Brees - Childhood Tennis Competitors

Here's an article from 2006 detailing the friendship and tennis rivalry between Andy Roddick and newly crowned Super Bowl Champion Drew Brees.

From the San Diego Union-Tribune: Top U.S. player glad Drew chose football

They were two Texas tykes on an Austin tennis court. The little shaver with the sound strokes, even at the age of 8 or 9, was Andy Roddick. The other kid did not have Roddick's grounding in tennis fundamentals, but how he would compete!

His name was Drew Brees.

“I remember the most annoying thing was that Drew played about twice a week,” Roddick said. “I was hard-core; I was playing every day, every weekend. I could never beat the guy.”

Which is not how Brees remembers it. The Chargers quarterback said when he was opposing Roddick, who was three years his junior, he always was aware that one day, the little guy across the net would beat him. Finally, as Brees recalls, he did.

“I think it was the last tournament I played,” Brees said. “I had beaten him something like 6-2, 6-0 the first time I played him, and I beat him twice more. He looked so little on the court, but his game was so fundamentally sound and he had such good ground strokes that the only way I could beat him was to serve and volley. I kind of salvaged points here and there.”

When Roddick was playing Brees, it has to be remembered that he was “playing up,” as the phrase has it, competing against older players. A third notable on those courts at that time was Chris Mihm, who would grow up, way up, to become the 7-foot center of the Los Angeles Lakers.

“Mihm was 6-foot-6 starting in the sixth grade,” Brees said...

Roddick, a Nebraska native who lived in Austin from the ages of 4 to 10, said he had lost track of his one-time tennis antagonist until one day he clicked on a television set to a Purdue game. “And there is Drew,” he said. “I remember that guy. He's throwing touchdown passes instead of hitting balls by me.”

Roddick was asked whether if Brees focused more fully on tennis, could he have had a future in the game at the level Roddick currently occupies. “It's impossible to tell when a guy is 12 years old,” Roddick said.

At 8 or 9, Roddick, as Brees remembers him, had the same confident attitude that has served him in his advance to tennis' pinnacle. This served to whet Brees' zeal for competition.

“But every time I played him, he got better and better,” Brees said. “There are three guys from that time I remember, and I remember him the most.”

Brees said he might attend this weekend's Davis Cup match. Meantime, he had a message for America's ranking player.

“Tell him I want him to serve some balls at me,” Brees said. “I want to see if I can return them.”


I heard this story during the Superbowl and was thoroughly surprised. I understand why it was so frustrating to Roddick. If someone that puts in less than half the effort as you, and they beat you on a tennis court it's a frustrating thing.

Natural talent is something to be envied. Anyone can play a sport as much as they want, but there will always be those few people who have the natural edge because of their god-given ability.

I didn't know Drew Brees was such an athletic being. Being a quarterback in the NFL with a cannon arm doesn't really get you a reputation for being a superb athlete.

I personally, would love to see Brees go to a tennis tournament and try to return some Roddick serves, as part of a charity event or something along those lines. I'd like to see if he can read the best server in the U.S., like he reads NFL defenses.

I would like to see some celebrity tennis events. See if there any other famous people that could challenge Brees. Thy have celebrity events in other sports, why not tennis. I know they did a few times at the US Open for a few games. I like seeing celebs go at it. Especially athletes in other sports.

I agree with both of your comments about the appeal of more charity events and cross-athletic appearances by sports stars who are from outside of the ATP and WTA Tours.

If kids today see people like Drew Brees and Terrell Owens hanging out with tennis players like Andy Roddick, they might view our sport in a different way.

Who are some other celebrity tennis fans or athletes from other sports we would like to see out there?

Posted by: Mike McIntyre | Feb 10, 2010 12:36:53 AM

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