DOTING ON THE COURT Series: 3/5

By Ross, Lillian | The New Yorker, September 8, 2003 | Go to article overview

DOTING ON THE COURT Series: 3/5


Ross, Lillian, The New Yorker


For twenty-one-year-old Andy Roddick's first scheduled tennis match last week at the U.S. Open, his parents, Blanche and Jerry Roddick, turned up at Arthur Ashe Stadium and were taken in hand by SFX, Andy's marketing group. They were escorted to an air-conditioned luxury suite, equipped with a stocked refrigerator, sofas, television, bathroom, and a private terrace overlooking the court. The Roddicks brought guests, Stacy and Don Moore, the parents of Andy's girlfriend, the pop singer Mandy Moore. ("Andy isn't a musician, but he has remarkable rhythm, and he's a wonderful dancer," Blanche Roddick said.)

Both couples were obviously very fond of one another. The Roddicks greeted the SFX officials--handsome, muscular men in business suits, pretty women in short print dresses--with hugs and kisses. The Moores, for some reason, did likewise. SFX ("Spectacular, Fun, X-citing") has been representing Andy Roddick since 1999, when, as the national junior champion, he signed an endorsement deal with Reebok.

"We do a lot of things," one of the SFX women said. "Besides retail licensing, we represent professional athletes, coaches, broadcasters, movie stars, entertainers. We bring out the essence of who they are."

"Oh," Blanche Roddick said.

Ken Meyerson, a heavy-set, deeply tanned man who is the president of SFX Tennis, said, "Andy is unusual. Andy knows who he is. Andy is very smart, very articulate."

Blanche Roddick's eyes gleamed.

One of the young SFX agents said, "Our media-training course is for some of our younger athletes--the ones who have to learn to make better eye contact with people, to cut out the 'uh's, the 'like's, the 'you know's. Those athletes."

Jerry Roddick reminded his wife that Andy's match with Tim Henman would be starting at eight, and he went out on the terrace to watch the late-afternoon match, between Andre Agassi and Alex Corretja.

"I've got to get myself ready to go down to the box and watch," Blanche Roddick said. "We never want to show any emotion to Andy, so we don't like to sit in the box, so close to the court. But we've got to sit down there tonight. …

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