In 1990, Jimmy Connors was hired by NBC to comment on the French Open and Wimbledon. Connors floated the idea of commenting on NBA games as NBC had broadcast rights with the NBA at that time. This never happened, and Connors had his magical 1991 US Open run. It would have been good for tennis in the US to have a member of the press known as a tennis player front and center at non-tennis sporting events, but Connors’ 1991 was obviously great for tennis too.
He may not yet be Charlie Rose, but Roddick is out there with Sports Fans
Andy Roddick is poised to do what his former coach might have done. Roddick has been involved in sports talk radio even before his retirement from tennis. I heard Roddick speak persuasively against LA Clippers owner Donald Sterling this past weekend. Roddick is also involved in the television venture Fox Sports 1. I am skeptical to what degree Fox Sports 1 can compete with ESPN/ABC/Disney/Star Wars/Marvel/Pixar/ACME , but if Roddick does solid work, he will be a fixture on sports radio and television as long as he wants to be. Dan Patrick no longer works for ESPN, but his radio show is influential in the sports media market. Roddick is already better then a good percentage of sports talk figures.
Roddick can be Really Good at This
I have been impressed the few times I have heard Roddick on sports radio. He has an innate dry sense of humor. He is smart. He knows sports beyond tennis. Roddick has also been a big supporter of good causes and is seen as a good citizen. All of these ingredients mean that he can grow into one of the top figures in this field. He reminds me of Dan Patrick. This is not shocking as Patrick along with Bobby Bones helped Roddick cut his radio teeth.
The benefit for tennis seems obvious. Roddick has a chance to relate to sports fans in the US whether tennis is at the top of their preference list or not. Roddick is a huge Nebraska Cornhuskers fan who lives in Texas. If he gets a foot in the door with college football coverage, he will be helping tennis reach a big fan base. Roddick has friends in golf and ought to be able to network across the sporting landscape of the US. Andy Roddick may not be able to do for US tennis what he did as an active player, but he is still pulling weight for US tennis in his retirement without crowding out current tennis players while on the air.