TEMPE, Ariz. – TCU men’s tennis head coach David Roditi is a busy man.
This summer, he’s adding another item to his plate.
Earlier this week, Roditi was named Captain of the Mexico Davis Cup team for their match at Peru, July 15-17. Roditi is no stranger to Davis Cup, having played for Mexico from 1997-2000.
The three-time ITA All-American and TCU alum, Roditi just completed his sixth year as head coach of his alma mater. The Horned Frogs earned a share of the Big 12 regular-season title won the Big 12 tournament title. In the last two years, TCU finished No. 4 and No. 3 in the final Oracle/ITA Collegiate Tennis Division I Men’s Tennis Rankings.
Roditi, the 2015 Wilson/ITA Division I Men’s National Coach of the Year, recently spent time with ITA Director of Communications, Dan Johnson, to discuss the Davis Cup and his thoughts on the Horned Frogs’ 2016 season.
Question: First off, congratulations on being named Captain of the Mexico Davis Cup team. How did this all come about?
Answer: I knew there were some changes – good changes – happening with the tennis federation in Mexico. There’s a new group of people in charge and being that I’m in my early 40’s, a lot of the people involved are from my generation so they’ve known me as a kid growing up through my success with the USTA and TCU. They contacted me and I of course let them know that I would be interested.
Q: When Mexico officially offered you the position, what was your reaction?
A: I was very excited. This is a huge honor. There were a lot of good candidates. I played Davis Cup and after getting into coaching, it just felt natural to captain Davis Cup someday. I’m very honored to be given this opportunity. There was a new selection process this year where they asked the top eight players who they would like for the captain to be, and the majority voted for me, so for (the designation) to come from them, it means a lot more.
Q: Is there a set time you’ll be designated Captain?
A: Right now it’s not a full-time thing and it’s not long-term. I’m the captain for this one in Peru and then after that we’ll sit down and talk and see if more can happen after that. My responsibilities are with TCU and my family, so I have to make sure that if this were to continue, it wouldn’t take away from me doing a good job with my wife, kids and the guys at TCU.
Q: You’ve often said that the Davis Cup is the one professional event that comes close to matching the atmosphere of a college tennis dual match. Having played in the Davis Cup yourself, can you describe what that atmosphere is like?
A: It’s intense, like the Roditi Rule times a thousand. The fans are loud and they’re going crazy after every point.
Q: You actually played in Peru for a Davis Cup match. What do you remember from that?
A: Very hostile crowd. Fans were throwing bottles and coins at us. It was crazy, but overall it was a great experience and something I remember very well.
Q: Do you feel your college tennis experience, both as a player and a coach, will help you in this role as Davis Cup Captain?
A: Absolutely. I believe that’s part of the reason (Mexico) thought I could it, is because I have that experience of coaching on the court. If there’s anything I’ve learned, it’s not what you say that can help a player, it’s what you don’t say. You can really over-coach, so I try and keep things simple.
Q: You tend to bounce around from court to court at TCU matches. How do you feel about coaching just a single match?
A: It’s going to be nice to focus on one match. If you know me, I tend to have a million things going on in my head and I’m trying to coach every match at TCU, so it’ll be interesting to see how I do when I can channel my thoughts and energy and just have the one match to coach.
Q: How do you feel about the team you’ll be taking to Peru?
A: I like the group of guys we have and I like our chances. The conversations I’ve had with the players so far have been great. Our singles players are very young, so a lot of learning will take place with them figuring out how to deal with the nerves, but our opponents are in the same position. Our doubles are very experienced and very mature. On paper, we look really good in doubles.
Q: You just recently wrapped up another excellent season at TCU. I know things didn’t end the way you or the team maybe would’ve liked, but overall, how would you sum up the 2016 season?
A: We had an awesome season, but at the same time, if you were to put a hashtag on the season it would be #UnfinishedBusiness. We feel like the season ended too early for us, but those things happen in a tournament setting, and I think we can use this as motivation for next year.
Overall, we accomplished many great things. We were ranked No. 3 in the country for the second time in program history. We had more Top 20 wins than any team in TCU history. We had a player (Cameron Norrie) advance to the Final Four in singles and win the Oracle/ITA Masters. We were the first team from TCU to win the Big 12 regular-season and tournament title in the same year. Our team finished with a 3.0 GPA and my wife (Lori) gave birth to our second child, so there was so much to celebrate and be thankful for.