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EXCLUSIVE: Rick Macci Compares Andy Roddick to Another Legendary Former Coach in Ultimate Praise

Dhruv Rupani

Exclusive: Rick Macci Compares Ex-Pupil Andy Roddick To Jimmy Connors

Rick Macci and Andy Roddick shared a special bond back in the day. Roddick owes a lot to the Florida-based award-winning coach for having a tennis career that is inspirational for many, especially in the United States. In an exclusive interview with The SportsRush, Rick Macci interestingly likened Andy Roddick to his other former coach, Jimmy Connors.

Macci feels that just as Connors was known to leave no stone unturned in being a feisty competitor on the court every time he played, Roddick was the same. The coach attributed this very quality of the 2003 US Open men’s singles champion to his becoming the world’s best player at one point in time, which is the ultimate pinnacle for any professional sportsperson to achieve.

Although when Roddick began training under Macci’s watchful eyes, the latter felt that he could become like Jim Courier because he wasn’t as talented as his other legendary predecessors, Pete Sampras and Andre Agassi.

“Roddick was a brutal, brutal competitor and cut from the same cloth as the great Jimmy Connors. People loved Roddick because he did not take any crap. Other people are not like him.

“I knew he wasn’t going to be an (Andre) Agassi or (Pete) Sampras but I thought he could be like (Jim) Courier.

“He was a Texas Cowboy. People loved watching him play because he had that kind of attitude,” Macci was quoted as saying in the interview.

When asked whether he felt early on that Andy Roddick had it in him to become World No. 1, Macci replied in the affirmative, even though he had a long way to go when they were training together. Macci fondly recalls those days and comically calls the 6 foot 2 inches tall American, a ‘mosquito’ since he would always hover around him to seek more attention.

“Great question..I got to back the truck up to 1992.. That’s when I had Andy from the age of 9 to 13. He was No.1 in the country, he was a little guy, feisty, his thirst for competition, he was a mosquito, he wouldn’t leave you alone.

“I knew his forehand was going to be great, his serve was going to be great, I didn’t know it would be that great, his thirst for competition was like none another. So that’s the cornerstone that’s No.1,” Macci added.

Speaking of the serve, Andy Roddick was known to be the best server of his time in the men’s game. Although Roddick was not the most talented player out there, that one skill helped the American establish himself as a tennis trailblazer, something Macci wholeheartedly believes.

“He (Roddick) was a pretty good athlete, he wasn’t an elite athlete. But if you can serve at 140 mph and hit the corners with that percentage… He had one of the highest percentages on the ATP Tour.

“He was one of the fastest. He was only 6 feet 2 inches. But his serve changed the landscape of tennis,” Macci continued.

Today’s stars from the United States, such as Ben Shelton, Tommy Paul, and Frances Tiafoe, have definitely been inspired at some level by Roddick to excel in serving and strive for wins. But was Roddick, in turn, inspired by his big-name coaches like Jimmy Connors?

Rick Macci Analyzes Jimmy Connors’ Impact on Andy Roddick

Macci, who has also coached the likes of Serena Williams and Maria Sharapova, always keeps track of his former pupils’ success. He has spoken to Roddick regularly over the years. From his observations and conversations featuring tennis’s A-Rod, Macci feels that Andy Roddick was his own best coach.

It is a big claim to make even though, apart from Macci, Roddick was coached by the likes of Brad Gilbert (who has also coached Andre Agassi and Coco Gauff) as well as Jimmy Connors. The 3-time Wimbledon finalist was notoriously known to change his coaching team often, having 5 of them in his 13-year stint on the ATP Tour.

“Andy Roddick’s best coach was the guy he looked at in the mirror everyday. He had a lot of people help him but at the end of the day, this is what people don’t understand.

“When you go through the juniors, you try to build a player. A lot of cards you get dealt with are from yesterday. (From ages) 8, 9, 10 uptil 15, those are the cards you play with on the Pro Tour.

There can be a bit of motivation, bit of strategy on the Pro Tour but there’s such a fine line between winning and losing. But there’s not many things which can biomechanically be changed or technical changes on the Tour, it all comes down to the player.”

When Jimmy Connors quit as Andy Roddick’s coach in 2008 after a 2-year stint, he summed up his contribution elaborately. It was clear that Connors wanted Roddick to follow his manual of winning. The 1982 Wimbledon champion lauded Roddick for doing so and echoed Macci’s current sentiment that he indeed reminded him of himself and how he was in his playing days, which is a huge compliment.

“Andy and I developed a great personal relationship and my admiration for Andy is unwavering; I have instilled in him some of my love and passion for the game and given him all the necessary ingredients to challenge the best; now it is up to him to trust it and incorporate it into his game.

“I liked his work ethic and desire. It reminded me of me.”

It remains to be seen who will follow in the footsteps of Jimmy Connors and then Andy Roddick as someone who can have a profound impact on American tennis, renowned for their competitiveness and fighting spirit on the court.

About the author

Dhruv Rupani

Dhruv Rupani


Dhruv Rupani is a Tennis Editor at The SportsRush. He is a tennis tragic in every sense and would go to any length to defend it against anyone if compared negatively to other sports. A huge Rafael Nadal supporter, Dhruv believes tennis is very much like life in most aspects. He started following the sport at the age of 10. Translating his love for sports into a living, he has over 8 years of experience in the digital media space. He aims to entertain and educate people about sports by presenting the best updates to them. When not covering tennis, Dhruv loves to spend time watching comedy shows and movies, reading inspiring books and doesn't mind trying his hand at cooking sometimes!

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