Somehow, not seeking the impossible has made the loss easier to bear.
“I think I’ve had an easier transition into retirement because I expected it to be difficult,” Roddick said last week. “I expected to miss Wimbledon when I watched it. I expected it to stir up emotions. I think it’s foolish to think that if you’ve done something for so long, you can kind of delete it out of your memory bank or delete every emotion attached to it. I knew when I retired what that meant.”
So Roddick has accepted the void and moved on, just as he did in his playing days. For 12 years on the pro circuit, Roddick railed against himself after some defeats and wept over others. But he always got back to work.
The workplace shifts next week.
That’s when Roddick, 30, will launch into rehearsals for “Fox Sports Live,” a three-hour show that he’ll co-host each weeknight from 11 p.m. to 2 a.m. Eastern time on Fox Sports 1, the new cable network that is envisioned as an alternative to ESPN.
Roddick is expected to share hosting duties with Charissa Thompson and weigh in on the full range of sports. Canadian broadcasters Dan O’Toole and Jay Onrait will lead the highlight portion of the show, which will debut Aug. 17.
Perhaps it was inevitable that a tennis player with two English bulldogs named Billie Jean and Bob Costas would follow life on the pro tour with a broadcasting gig.
It surely seems fitting that Roddick, whose career was defined by long-odds battles with the peerless Roger Federer, will be the most famous face of a show that industry insiders characterize as a challenger to ESPN’s “SportsCenter,” the standard-bearer in sports broadcasting.
Scott Ackerson, executive vice president of studio production for Fox Sports, said he was drawn to Roddick as a potential on-air personality because of the candor and smarts he displayed as co-host of a syndicated weekly radio show, “Roddick and Bones,” during the last 18 months of his tennis career.
“It never seemed like he was trying to BS anybody,” Ackerson said. “That’s something I find refreshing.”
Roddick never realized he was auditioning for anything via “Roddick and Bones,” the radio show with longtime friend Bobby Bones. But it was the best possible preparation.
“We never really talked tennis,” Roddick said of the nationally syndicated radio show. “It was great for me as a training tool. I learned how to work a show clock and do the show prep and research. I had no experience, just a 20-minute meeting. They said go for it and put me on.”
After retiring from tennis, he met with Fox officials about other broadcast possibilities.
Among those tossed out was a role on a New York-based sports vehicle being planned for Regis Philbin. It was a non-starter, Roddick said, because he needed to be in Los Angeles with his wife, Brooklyn Decker, who had just landed a role in a CBS sitcom, “Friends with Better Lives.”