The physical pounding that tennis players take these days can be excruciating. No one serves as a clearer example than Andy Roddick.
Roddick, who will turn 34 on Aug. 30, retired from the tennis tour at the age of 30 after competing in the 2012 U.S. Open.
These days he is still playing World Team Tennis, which has a two-week season this year. That is more than enough for Roddick, who competed for the New York Empire on Wednesday in their 17-16 loss to the Freedoms at the Pavilion at Villanova.
"Tennis is physically demanding," Roddick said in a news conference before the match. "One, the season lasts from January to the end of November if you are good enough."
Roddick, who once had a serve clocked at 155 mph, said all those serves eventually took a toll.
"Throwing your arm out of its socket every day of your life for 13 years, that is a challenge," he said.
Late in his career the injuries began piling up, so Roddick had enough. He earned more than $20 million in prize money, won the 2003 U.S. Open, and finished as runner-up in four other Grand Slam tournaments - three times at Wimbledon and once at the U.S. Open.
Roddick said he stays busy by chasing around his 10-month-old son. He also runs his charitable foundation and is involved in several business ventures.
"I feel lucky I don't have a lot of lingering effects from the game that some of my contemporaries did when they stopped, or even some of the older guys," he said. "I have been pretty lucky, but it is a very physical sport.
"It just gets more and more physical," he said. "You see the type of athleticism shown by [Novak] Djokovic, Serena Williams, and [Rafael] Nadal."
Roddick said improved athleticism is a major difference he has seen over the years.
"You used to have guys who were good tennis players but maybe not great athletes," he said. Now, "you have to be a really good athlete to play tennis."
Coco Vandeweghe is returning from the Olympics in Brazil to compete for the Freedoms for the duration of the season starting Thursday at Villanova against Mardy Fish and the Washington Kastles. Vandeweghe competed last year for the Freedoms.
"She just texted me and she can't wait to come back," said Freedoms co-owner and tennis legend Billie Jean King.
Vandeweghe and doubles partner Bethanie Mattek-Sands won their first-round match in Rio against Spain before losing in the second round to Switzerland.