A commonality between Andre Agassi and Andy Roddick, apart from their rich legacy in tennis, was that they both worked with leading tennis coach Brad Gilbert. The American coach and former singles world No. 4 himself, Gilbert revealed the vast difference in his experience of coaching Agassi and Roddick.
Both Agassi and Roddick experienced some of the biggest successes of their respective careers under Gilbert’s guidance. Agassi won six of his eight Grand Slam titles during his eight-year-long association with Gilbert, while Roddick won the 2003 US Open and ended the year as world No. 1 with coach Gilbert by his side.
Gilbert recently shed light on the contrasting personalities of both the American tennis greats and revealed that while Agassi was very attentive and processed information very easily, Roddick was the complete opposite. Gilbert said that Agassi possesses a ‘photographic memory’ while Roddick was very different.
“Andre and me could talk sometimes three hours the night before the match about strategy, tactics. Andre had a photographic memory,” Brad Gilbert said on a recent episode of The Craig Shapiro Tennis Podcast.
“With Roddick, he was a lot like Mission Impossible – ‘This message will implode in 10 seconds’,” he added.
He further revealed that Roddick would always do the opposite of what he wanted him to do. Gilbert also recounted a funny incident to explain how he countered the problem he faced while coaching Roddick.
“I sh*t you not, when I wanted him (Andy Roddick) to play a forehand, I would tell him to play the backhand. Then, when he was doing what I wanted, he would look up in the stands and tell me I was wrong. I had to tell him the opposite, if you said red he said black, that’s how he was wired,” Gilbert recalled.
Brad Gilbert believes Andy Roddick was “as good as Roger Federer” at 2004 Wimbledon
Another major achievement during Andy Roddick and Brad Gilbert’s association as player and coach was the former’s run to the 2004 Wimbledon final, where he faced Roger Federer. Gilbert believes Roddick was as good as Federer at the time and had every chance of beating the Swiss superstar, but felt that the American was unlucky in his 6-4, 5-7, 6-7(3), 4-6 defeat to Federer.
“I felt Roddick was as good as Federer at that moment,” Gilbert said on the same.
“Two-three rain delays in that match where Roddick had the momentum and he was a little bit unlucky,” he opined.
Roddick faced Federer in two more Wimbledon finals and lost both, in 2005 and 2009, respectively. The 2009 final between the two players, which Federer won 5-7, 7-6(6), 7-6(5), 3-6, 16-14 is regarded as one of the greatest Grand Slam finals of all time.
Gilbert and Roddick parted ways after the conclusion of the 2004 season.