Every four years, the Olympics throw a wrench in the ATP and WTA Tour schedules. August is usually the heart of "hard court season," when players descend on North America for a series of tune-ups for the U.S. Open.

Olympic years are the exception. Right now, the best players in the world are settled near the equator in Rio. It's a long detour on the path to Flushing Meadows.

Andy Roddick

Andy Roddick has experienced both sides of the predicament. In 2004 and 2012, Roddick popped back to Europe post-Wimbledon, for Olympic tennis in Athens and London. However, in 2008, he chose not to travel to Beijing, preparing for the U.S. Open in America instead. From 2004-2012, Olympic results contributed toward ATP and WTA rankings points, although this was changed for the 2016 Games.

"As far as your level of tennis and logistics, it's difficult," Roddick says. "You know, I'm going to be selfish and be able to say it doesn't fit into the context of a tennis year, and say I'm also very honored and very proud to have been an Olympian. You can have it both ways. And it's not a matter of convenience, but I think the athletes can make the decisions for themselves, they're adults.

"I don't think there's [one] right answer for everybody."

Players had that decision, and some indeed did not travel to Rio. Americans John Isner and Sam Querrey were among those healthy players who opted not to break up their schedule and go to Brazil. Milos Raonic, Tomas Berdych, Simona Halep and Karolina Pliskova -- all top 20 players -- were originally scheduled to go to Rio, but cited health concerns as reasoning for backing out.

Roddick never had to worry about Zika, but he did set an example for exercising one's decision to not travel to the Olympics in 2008.

Andy Roddick, US Open

In terms of there being no right answer, Roddick reached the U.S. Open quarterfinals in 2004 and 2008, one year when he played in the Olympics and one year when he did not. In 2012, Roddick closed out his singles career with a fourth round exit in Queens after playing on grass in London.

Both 2012 U.S. Open champions, Serena Williams and Andy Murray, came off gold medals in London.

"I think some guys have done well doing it all and some guys do better when they kind of compartmentalize and are able to focus on different segments of schedules," Roddick says. "It's tough in a calendar [season] that without the Olympics, it's tough to find enough weeks in the year for all the events. So when you add a huge event like [the Olympics] that far away, it's hard."

We can be sure of one thing: the World No. 1 players will not win singles gold medals. Williams lost in the third round and Novak Djokovic could not make it out of the first round. Both will get extra rest for their hard court schedule.

Roddick commented on the Olympics from Forest Hills Stadium, where he suited up for the New York Empire, a first-year team in Mylan World TeamTennis. Roddick, a marquee player for the squad, played men's doubles and men's singles during the team's 22-13 loss to the Washington Kastles.


The Empire play at the West Side Tennis Club, home of the U.S. Open from 1915-1920 and 1924-1977. Although Roddick has played in nearly every notable venue in the sport, Tuesday was his first crack at Forest Hills.

"I'm a big tennis historian and huge sports fan," Roddick said from the grounds. "In the last month, I've had two kinds of bucket list things in tennis. I don't have a lot of firsts left as far as playing certain places and seeing certain things, but I got to play at Newport at the Tennis Hall of Fame for the first time last month, and then to play here a month later is a big deal to me.

"I know the last time they played here was 1977. You think of the people who paved the way for that gigantic stadium [Arthur Ashe Stadium] not too far from here. The foundation was laid at this place. So it's certainly fun to see, fun to be a part of, and at least I can say I played here once."

Roddick played his second match with New York on Wednesday night in Philadelphia, a 17-16 loss to the Freedoms.

More Olympics:
-- How Simone Biles Got Started In Gymnastics -- It Was By Accident
-- Lolo Jones: I'm Not Hope Solo
-- The NFL Can Learn From Rugby's Tackling

-- Follow Jeffrey Eisenband on Twitter @JeffEisenband.

Story continues below