Andy Roddick is hoping he'll have the right level of fitness on his return to competition in Atlanta this week. It have been nearly three years since Roddick retired tennis and here is whay he said on his return back to the game.
"I feel like I'm the guy who is too old to go back to a high school dance," explained Roddick at the BB&T Atlanta Open, where he clinched his first and final ATP World Tour title in 2001 and 2012. The lure of partnering his good friend, Mardy Fish, who will retire after next month's US Open, proved too big of an opportunity to miss.
"I've always enjoyed playing here," explained former World No. 1 Roddick. "It's where I won my first title and my last title. Being able to play with Mardy again, with the end of his career around the corner. So we've kind of made some bookends of it. So it's to have the opportunity of all of those things coming together.
"I am glad he is getting this opportunity. It was so hard to watch what he went through, without people fully understanding what he was going through. I love the fact that he is comfortable walking people through what he has overcome."
Fish, the 2010 and 2011 Atlanta champion, has been largely sidelined since March 2012, when he he was taken to a Miami hospital with severe cardiac arrhythmia
"He has been a new person since his baby boy has come into the world," said 32-year-old Roddick. "He can still play. Since he made his announcement and he can see the finish line, it takes the monkey off his shoulders a little bit. If I can be a small part of it, helping him this week, I am happy to do it. We have a very long history."
Roddick and Fish have been drawn to meet Yen-Hsun Lu and Jonathan Marray in the first round.
Roddick got his competitive juices flowing Monday when he played an exhibition match against Frances Tiafoe, one of a number of young American players - including Reilly Opelka and Tommy Paul - who are looking to break through on the ATP World Tour.
"If these guys can all work together, push one another, and create a healthy jealously, it will be good for American tennis," said Roddick. "To know if they are practising together, 'Listen, I beat him last week, but he is in a final of some tournament, I want to do that.' As opposed to creating a separatist nature, among the guys, we need to have them help each other. Frances has competition, and that will help."