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Andy Roddick spends a large portion of his time focusing on family life these days, rather than worrying about trying to win tennis tournaments. The 40-year-old former world No 1 retired 10 years ago with one Grand Slam to his name – the 2003 US Open – but having since given away most of the silverware that he won during his career, he has already moved his life away from the pressures of elite tennis and has never looked back.
Roddick has been married to model and actor Brooklyn Decker for the past 14 years and split their time between their primary home in Charlotte and an exclusive North Carolina getaway in the Blue Ridge Mountains with their two children.
The couple are very happy with their lot and each other, but Decker, 36, was sceptical over husband Andy’s initial attempts to try and meet her back in 2007.
Roddick, who dated actress and singer Mandy Moore from 2003 to 2004, first laid eyes on Decker when he saw her on a Sports Illustrated TV show called She Says Z Says on CNN.
Keen to meet her, the tennis star took the unusual action of asking his attorney to contact her agent, expressing his interest in meeting up.
According to an interview with GQ Sports, Decker felt this was a shady tactic at the time. Justifying his actions, Roddick said: “The only thing I will say in my defence is I didn’t do it all the time. The shooting of the shot was a one-time thing.”
Deckers’s modelling career took off in New York, but although she had some friends in the city, she felt lonely. She decided to Google Roddick and found his entertaining post-match press conference after he was beaten by nemesis Roger Federer in the semi-final of the Australian Open.
Having taken to his sense of humour, the pair spoke on the phone for weeks before finally meeting up in New York for a first date. Decker said: “We had breakfast the next morning. We did not spend the night together.”
Before long, the rising model was travelling to Washington DC to watch Roddick compete. It was the first time she had ever been to a live tennis match.
Roddick admitted that he was nervous for everything apart from playing tennis that day, but it was a whole new world for Decker.
She recalled: “Tennis to me felt like such an off-limits, rich person sport. And so to see him breaking racquets, foul-mouthed, this renegade approach he would take sometimes—I always found it really funny, cause it seemed to shake up the rigid world that tennis was. I thought he was very sexy when I saw him play.”
“She used to like it when I yelled at umpires,” Roddick added.
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Less than 12 months after they started dating, the tennis star proposed to his girlfriend in their hotel room at Indian Wells, with Roddick going down on his injured knee to pop the question.
The couple married in Austin Texas in 2009 but lived such busy lives that they could go two months without seeing each other.
Roddick admitted: “If we hadn’t actually made that commitment, I don’t know that we get through that. I don’t know if she’d tell you the full truth ’cause she knows I don’t talk about stuff, but…”
But in their joint interview, Decker backed up her husband’s viewpoint and even suggested that his ego helped prevent their marriage from collapsing.
“It can get in the way of emotional evolution,” she said, “especially in men, but ego can also be a wonderful thing. With our relationship, I think that ego and insecurity about failing—and failing publicly—was very much a motivation to put our heads together and figure this out.”
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