From Acing Press Conferences to Interviews with Today’s Biggest Sports Stars – Andy Roddick’s Slice on the Other Side of Sports Reporting
By: Natalie Mikolich
Now Co-Hosting the newly launched show FOX SPORTS LIVE, Andy Roddick’s first one-on-one interviews for the show were with some of today’s biggest sports and entertainment stars in the world including Roger Federer, Serena Williams, and Justin Timberlake…just to name a few. And, although Andy claims “the pressure” of these first few interviews took “a lot of nerves not to mess up,” so far Andy has served-up candidly entertaining, laugh-out-loud interviews for sports fans to watch…similar to the on-court performances he was known to put on for fans on the world’s biggest tennis stages.
(Watch Andy “1 On 1” with Justin Timberlake’s “tough love” on Andy’s Vegas dance moves: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V7yiSsA1Pw8)
This week, we were lucky enough to catch-up with tennis superstar and celebrity athlete for a brief Q&A with his “slice” on things when it comes to sports reporting for FOX Sports 1.
Along with sharing what it is now like working with the FOX Sports 1 Network and how important “honesty” and “authenticity” are when it comes to reporting, Andy also tells us how the challenge of covering all sports on a national stage as his “first job” is what excited him about working with Fox Sports 1.
Most importantly, though, Andy tells us more on how he always knew and had a good understanding of the benefits of the media as a former top player and why publicity exposure can be beneficial to professional athletes if approached the right way.
Here is a little bit more from Andy in our un-edited Q&A with him:
What’s it like going from being one of the most famous celebrity athletes sought after by the media for interviews and features to becoming “ONE OF THEM?”
"One of them" is something I will never be at heart. The type of reporter that gives a negative stereotype to "the media" is the type that will go against his/her actual opinion in order to write a sensationalized gossip type story. One thing that is common ground for me, whether an active athlete or on TV, is honesty. People didn't always like what I had to say as a player. They certainly don't always like what I have to say as an analyst, but at the end of the day you want people to respect you for being authentic. The tennis media respected me for that by the time I was done. Hopefully it'll work the same in this medium in TV.
What’s it like now being a media reporter interviewing some of today’s biggest celebrity athletes and entertainers like Serena WIlliams, Roger Federer and Justin Timberlake?
It's funny how different the sides of an interview are. Obviously, I'm more comfortable being interviewed because that was my reality for 13 years. That being said, learning how to prep and deliver a decent interview has been one of my favorite learning curves of this new job. It was a gamble for me to take on a role covering all sports on a national stage as my "first job,” but I love it. Frankly, it would have been easy to take one of the jobs in tennis and feel safe. All the challenges of this new job is what excited me. The pressure of having my first three one-on-one interviews be with Roger, Serena, and JT notwithstanding haha... a lot of nerves for me not to mess it up, but I've really REALLY liked the process.
(Watch Andy “1 On 1” with Greatest of All-Time Roger Federer: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mzP8-4D0o9w)
What is it like reporting for FOX Sports 1 and now being pitched to do stories instead of interviews (haha)?
Our production meetings at Fox Sports 1 are a blast. They happen daily and we all get into a room with our writers, producers etc. and see what stories from that day in sports really get us going. When I was a player I was so focused on the task at hand, and beating whoever was next, I didn't really think outside the box too much. Playing is very simplistic: do everything you can to put yourself in position to win. Figuring out what's entertaining to people on a daily basis on TV, and how your views can help that is a more complex thing…especially since we are a news show, and things can change on the fly when you're live on-air. Again, challenging, but fun as s**t.
Any thoughts on the importance of sports media/publicity now that you are on the “OTHER SIDE?”
I actually had a pretty good understanding of the benefit of media and how to use them when I was playing. Media is an athlete’s opportunity to get an opinion across to masses in 20 minutes. It can be very beneficial to an athlete if approached the right way. It's just a matter of balancing that with how to go about your daily playing/training routine which obviously takes priority. I honestly don't think my take has changed much since I've switched over. As far as criticizing other athletes, my take is pretty simple. If I would tell the person something if they were sitting across a table from me, then I am comfortable saying it on-air.