Andy Roddick is back to talk about one of his favorite topics — dogs! The former tennis pro chatted about Purina Pro Plan’s Incredible Dog Challenge, calling it “the Olympics for [pups].” People can share a photo and a story of their dog and for every entry, Purina will donate one pound of dog food up to 20,000 pounds to America’s VetDogs, which are dogs that enhance mobility and independence for veterans.
As a bonus, Roddick provided some sage parenting advice to mom-to-be Serena Williams and shared his thoughts on Maria Sharapova’s return to tennis.
espnW: What makes your dogs incredible?
AR: The “Call for Incredible” campaign is a stage to demonstrate dogs’ athletic abilities in Olympic style events, so that might not be for my bulldogs so much. They’re incredible in different ways. They rely on their personalities a bit more. I’m not sure if we’ll see them doing any amazing feats of athleticism, but they’re ours. They’re great with our son, and their personalities are so unique and different.
espnW: Speaking of athletics, what are your thoughts on Maria Sharapova returning to tennis?
AR: Knowing Maria for as long as I have, regardless of if you think her taking [meldonium] was morally sound or not — the fact of the matter is, for the entirety of her career it wasn’t illegal. I don’t believe that she would have taken it if she realized it had been banned. I think she’s too smart to risk her legacy.
The way I view it, she has certainly served her time. She does add value to the sport. Looking through the headlines this morning, and it’s around the tour event in Stuttgart, and I’m not sure those storylines would be crossing oceans if she wasn’t involved. I don’t think it’s as simple as one side or the other. She adds a lot of value to the women’s tour, especially with Serena having a hiatus coming up. I think the tour needs her. It’s not for any of us to determine if she should get a wild card or not. It’s up to the tour to make the decision from a business and a tennis perspective.
espnW: You mentioned Serena. How should she go about introducing her dog Chip to a new baby?
AR: Our dogs were naturally drawn to the baby. One of the pieces of advice we got is before coming home from the hospital; you take a blanket or something the baby has used and then send it home to let the dogs get used to the scent. That was something that was useful for my wife and I. Who knows if it worked or not, but the dogs were great with [our son Hank, who was born in 2015]. So, in my mind, it worked really well.
espnW: What do you think about Serena’s prospects upon her return from maternity leave?
AR: I think it’s the most unimportant thing in this whole scenario. There’s every chance that this baby comes out and she’s obsessed and doesn’t feel…