By Scott T. Sterling
Gavin Rossdale talks about sports with authority. And rightfully so. Before he became the frontman of British post-grunge heroes Bush, Rossdale aspired to a career as a professional soccer player before a knee injury derailed his sporting dreams. He's also an accomplished tennis player who still enjoys working up a sweat on the court, recently defeating actor Timothy Olyphant during a charity match in Los Angeles.
"I played junior tennis in England. When I grew up I wanted to be a tennis player, that's what I love," Rossdale says during an interview with Radio.com. "Even though it's seen as more of a fancy sport, whereas like soccer or basketball you just need the ball and it's more like street. To me, [tennis players] are like gladiators. There's no other sport in the world where men or women can go up against each other for up to three, four hours, and to maintain that kind of physicality, that focus for that amount of time...I don't think there's any other sport that does it like that."
Despite his English upbringing, Rossdale has been living on this side of the Atlantic with his wife, Gwen Stefani long enough to pick up on American sporting traditions, including the NFL and NBA.
"I really enjoy watching it," he says of American football. "I did part of a big ceremony for the Steelers in Pittsburgh last year, the first game. Those guys are big. It's incredible to watch them in real life, the way the quarterbacks throw and the athleticism, it's really exciting...For us coming from England, we're much more simple. With [American] football, you've got so many coaches and people with their lists and they're on their earpieces, and it's like a science. It's like military, just unbelievable. Whereas in soccer...you've got your coach, you've got your trainer, here's what we're going to do, here's the strategy, see you in 45 [minutes]. See you at the end of 90 [minutes]."
Rossdale plays no favorites when it comes to his current hometown of L.A.'s fiercely competitive NBA squads.
"I like watching the Lakers....Now the Clippers have gotten really good, so then they're fun to watch," he explains diplomatically. "I just like watching anyone who's good. When you grow up in England—I support [the English football team] Arsenal—but people, they fight you if you support the wrong team. It's so dumb, I could never believe that. So, I always just like to watch anyone who does it well."
Watch our full interview with the singer above to see him talk about the similarities between playing tennis and playing music.
Rossdale is set to release Bush's sixth studio album, Man on the Run, on Oct. 21 and will be hitting the road with his band for select dates in 2014, including the headlining slot at this year's X107.5 Holiday Havoc show in Las Vegas on Dec. 12.
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