What is my legacy? What will people remember me for? I have asked myself these questions every now and then. Many people have told me that I’m too young to be thinking about my legacy, as a 27 year old, but I beg to differ. It’s important to let things fall into place in life and to follow your heart, but we also need to think about how our decisions will impact others. As a member of society, we have a duty to not only ourselves and immediate family, but to those around us as well. How will our decisions impact our own life and the lives of others? Will it be positive or negative? Are we empowering or disempowering those around us? I find that the impact we have on others shapes our legacy and inspires those around us to become the best version of themselves.
As you all know, I was a professional tennis player for five years. There were so many players that inspired me because of their on court ability and achievements. However, there was one particular player who stood out from the rest. He had a powerful forehand and serve, was charismatic, had a wonderful personality, was highly competitive, fun to watch and had great sportsmanship. He also happened to be my childhood heartthob 😉
This man was the one and only Andy Roddick. He was the US men’s number 1 tennis player for many years, won the US Open in 2003 and reached world 1 on the ATP tour that same year. He also won 32 other career singles titles and held a 74.18% career win/loss record over his 12 year career as a professional. It’s an exceptional record that should be celebrated and applauded. However, many people aren’t aware that Andy did not only have an exceptional on court record, but the decisons he made off court are what helped shape his character and legacy beyond his playing career. It was during the same year that Andy turned professional, in 2000, he established the Andy Roddick Foundation. His foundation sought to provide opportunities to low-income communities through education and sports mentoring. So many tennis players got behind Andy and purchased his ‘no compromise’ blue bracelets (including myself), among other items, with all proceeds from purchases went to his foundation. It is worthy of pointing out that this was prior to Lance Armstrong’s ‘live strong’ brand explosion, which also featured the bracelet but in a yellow colour instead. Throughout his career he was actively involved in various charity events, including hosting an annual gala for his foundation.
Andy’s actions became the benchmark for me as a tennis player and many others as well. It was quite ironic that later on in my career I would begin to use the same racket as Andy, his signature Babolat Pure Drive Plus frame, and a rubber band as a vibration dampener. I also decided to work with one of his former coaches Tarik Benhabiles in the US, who played a huge role in the development of Andy’s game. I should’ve contemplated wearing Lacoste clothing at that time. Now, that would’ve been a dead giveaway that I really wanted to be just like Andy Roddick 🙂
Remember to think about your legacy and how the decisions you make today will impact others. Your actions today will shape your character, be a part of your legacy and inspire those around you to become the best version of themselves.