Dozens of students gathered Friday at the Tejas House to grab coffee and have a discussion with professional tennis player Andy Roddick.
At the event, the latest in the Tejas Coffee series, students conversed with Roddick — who was formerly ranked the No. 1 tennis player in the world — about all aspects of his life, ranging from dealing with fame as a high schooler to the Andy Roddick Foundation that helps low-income children foster interests inside and outside of school.
“I like to think I enjoyed my childhood as normal a kid as anyone else,” Roddick said. “On the other hand, I remember having friends like Serena and Venus Williams at the age of 10. To me, I still see them with the braces and colorful beads in their hair.”
However, Roddick said he is aware that not everyone had the same opportunities that allowed him to climb to success, which is why he founded the Andy Roddick Foundation. Roddick said the foundation takes special care to assure children do not fall behind in their learning by holding programs throughout the year and during the time of day in which students are statistically shown to be most at risk.
The foundation has partnered with the Austin Independent School District to provide after school programs to kids in low-income areas in an effort to promote growth in literacy, STEM and sports.
“Kids in higher-income schools have more access to extracurricular programs that could make them more successful,” petroleum engineering freshman Nathan McDermid said. “Roddick was able to turn his passion for tennis into a way to close the gap between those that can afford to enroll in tons of activities of outside of school and those that can’t.”
Tejas Coffee is a tradition that has evolved since the club opened in 1925 as a way to bring students together to engage with leaders of the community, such as Matthew McConaughey and Mack Brown.
“Tejas Coffee is a great way for the everyone to come together in a close environment and learn from really great leaders, such as Roddick,” humanities senior Mohammad Syed said. “It’s really cool to be able to come together with your friends and learn from someone like Roddick who has such a passion for everything he does, whether it’s tennis or helping kids in need.”
The club hosts Tejas Coffee every Thursday at 9 p.m.