BE IT OVERPOWERING HIS OPPONENTS WITH HIS ROCKET SERVE OR SIMPLY POWERING HIS JET SKI AROUND LAKE AUSTIN, TENNIS'S ANDY RODDICK IS MAKING A RACKET


There's nothing unusual about a rousing game of tennis between neighbors. But if you live in Austin and the guy next door just happens to be Andy Roddick, you best break out the body armor. Currently ranked number three in the world, Roddick holds the record for the fastest serve on the planet, clocked at a blistering 155 mph. Try eyeballing, much less returning, that baby. It's no wonder he routinely whips 10 to 20 aces per match by his whimpering opponents.

Born in Omaha, Nebraska, the last in a line of three boys, Roddick moved to the Texas capital at age four. Seven years later, the clan packed up and headed to Florida, where both he and his brothers thrived on the junior tennis circuit. At 19, Roddick plunked down a chunk of his prize money for a home in Boca Raton, but in 2003, he opted for a little Lone Star living, specifically, a light-flooded, contemporary manse on the shores of Lake Austin. And although he spends nearly 11 months of the year on the road, hitting spots - and shots - from Tokyo to Tennessee, home is where the heart is (not to mention a jet ski or two).

Why did you decide to move from Florida, your old homebase, to Austin?
I left Austin when I was 11, and I've always wanted to get back. My two brothers live in San Antonio, and that was a big factor. My niece and nephew are four and two, and I wanted them to know who I was as they grew up, since I'm always traveling.

People are swarming to Austin like bulls to a rodeo clown. What makes the city so darn appealing?
I just love the vibe there. You have everything: It's one of the most active cities in the U.S. in terms of outdoor activities, it has a great live-music scene, and it doesn't have the "scene-y-ness" of New York or L.A. You have a bunch of hole-in-the-wall bars where you can just blend in. It's fun.

You mentioned the music scene, which is so phenomenal it's earned Austin the title Live Music Capital of the World. Of the 100-plus venues in town, where do you like to go?
You can pretty much just walk down Fifth Street and put your ear to a door. Red Fez is pretty good. Chuggin' Monkey is also good. Pretty much any bar you walk into will be solid. My musical tastes are all over the board. Kayne West is awesome; so is Modest Mouse. And you gotta love Elton John.