January 28, 2005
THE MODERATOR: First question, please.
Q. What went wrong from 3-Love in the third?
ANDY RODDICK: I played pretty solid till I lost my serve. I played a little bit of a loose game. You know, he was -- I had gotten out of a couple scary situations on serve and, you know, just pressed my luck a little bit there to get broken.
Q. Don't you think it was too easy to arrive in the semifinal, and you need some fight?
ANDY RODDICK: No. I don't think that had a lot of relevance to the match tonight.
Q. Were you disturbed in that seventh game of the fourth set, A, by his returning, and B, by disturbances in the --
ANDY RODDICK: Fourth set?
Q. No, in the third.
ANDY RODDICK: Third set?
Q. Yes. Were there some disturbances in the crowd, people crying out?
ANDY RODDICK: Yeah. Just, you know, when you toss the ball up, guy was feeling a little ambitious with his talking. But that's stuff you have to expect and stuff you have to deal with. You know, it's unfortunate. But it's part of sports.
Q. Was it just individuals that were worrying you, not necessarily the group, the fanatics?
ANDY RODDICK: No, they're totally respectful. They're great. I think they're great. They do their chants. But when you step up to the line, they always step. It definitely wasn't -- you know, the crowd was great tonight. They were totally respectful. They're really well-behaved considering how much they're pulling for one person. It just took one jackass to yell out. That definitely doesn't, you know, change my opinion of the crowd as a whole.
Q. There was a lot of respect on the court, as well, between the two of you.
ANDY RODDICK: Yeah, yeah.
Q. You're happy to accept his good shots and vice versa?
ANDY RODDICK: Yeah. I mean, I'm normally quick to acknowledge a good shot. You know, I think we do have a mutual respect for each other as players.
Q. Is there anyone mentally tougher than Lleyton Hewitt?
ANDY RODDICK: I don't know. I've never been in his head.
Q. Other side of the net.
ANDY RODDICK: You know, I think you have to say a guy like Roger's pretty mentally tough, keep winning when everybody expects him to win. But, you know, Lleyton's tough. He's up there. You know, I think once you get to that level of mental toughness, I think, you know, it's tough to decipher here and there. But, you know, he's definitely up there, no question.
Q. Given the type of player he is, sort of how well he performs in Davis Cup, are you at all surprised he actually hasn't won here before?
ANDY RODDICK: Uhm, I mean, yes and no. I mean, I think he's been very capable of winning, you know, for the last four or five years. But to say that someone should have won or you're surprised that they didn't win is a little bit of a stretch. You know, I'm surprised that he had never been past the fourth round before this year. I mean, I think that's shocking. But, you know, to say you're just shocked that someone hasn't won before, I think that's tough, especially when he's winning other Slams, as well, you know.
Q. What happened in the fourth set with your game? Did you totally lose rhythm?
ANDY RODDICK: It looked like that to you, too? I don't know. I just -- I came out just flat in the fourth set. You know, I played a pretty bad game on my serve early on. And then, you know, when he gets a lead, he just stretches it. You know, he was just going to tighten the clamps and not miss. I think I tried to force a little too much.
Q. You went off court at the end of the third set, you were gone for quite some time. Was there any problem there?
ANDY RODDICK: I was changing my clothes. Then the referee came and started getting on me about changing my clothes, so that was fun. You know, asked him if he wanted to tie one shoe for me, and I could tie the other one, we could just save time. I guess that wasn't a good idea. But, no, I mean, I was just changing my clothes. I told the chair umpire I was going to.
Q. Was that still in your head when you came back out?
ANDY RODDICK: A little bit. I didn't -- I wasn't too fond of it. But, you know, if you can't handle something like this -- if I can't handle something like that, you know, I have to be better than that. You know, something like that isn't an excuse to play the way I did in the fourth set.
Q. He's pretty relentless. He goes on and on and on. Did he sort of drag it away from you, or do you think you gave it to him?
ANDY RODDICK: I don't think it's one or the other, I think it's a little bit of both. He put himself in positions to win big points. You know, I donated a little bit more than I would have wanted to tonight. And, you know, I did it at some bad times.
Q. It was an amazing game last night and now tonight. Who do you feel is going to be right on Sunday night?
ANDY RODDICK: Not me.
Q. Of the two that are there.
ANDY RODDICK: It's tough to say. You know, they've played so many tight matches. I think Marat has gotten him the last maybe one or two times they've played. I think you might as well flip a coin. It's going to be a battle.
Q. How exciting a prospect is it to be the home player in a Grand Slam? You had it at the US Open. How demanding is that?
ANDY RODDICK: It's definitely tough, you know, because they're all eyes on you. You know, until tonight, we discussed it, I kind of just was hanging out. I talked to one or two of you after matches, then go on my way. You know, to have that kind of spotlight on you and perform, it's no small task.
Q. Did you see the match last night?
ANDY RODDICK: Yeah.
Q. What was your mood after seeing it, that Federer had lost?
ANDY RODDICK: You know, I don't think -- I'm not sitting there cheering against people. But, you know, surprising. I don't think anybody would have put money on it, for sure. I think, you know, he was the overwhelming favorite to win the tournament. You know, but at the same time, you know, I think everyone's beatable. Marat played well and he stepped up. You know, it was just a -- it was a great match.
Q. What did that mean for the players left in the tournament, considering how dominant he'd been?
ANDY RODDICK: Yeah. I mean, obviously it's an opportunity -- it was an opportunity for one of us to sneak in and win one. You know, it's obviously the mindset that I had coming into today. You know, I'm sure the other two players share that mindset.
Q. You've always been a good tiebreak player. What happened there?
ANDY RODDICK: I wasn't. It was weird because I'd been serving so well, then I didn't win a point on serve, I don't think, in the first one. And the second one, had a couple good looks and just missed them. I don't think there's any real specific explanation. You know, I tried some different things. I was trying to think -- you know, think my way through it a little more than I normally would. You know, that's going to be a process for me.
Q. What made you play serve and volley at 4-All in the second tiebreak? You didn't do it often a lot before that.
ANDY RODDICK: Well, he had been -- when I'd been hitting the wide serve, he had been kind of just shoveling it back a little bit. He hadn't really been taking full swings. Unfortunately for me I did it, and he took a full swing, and I was left with a pretty tough volley. I was thinking maybe I'd get to good look at knocking one off, maybe he wouldn't expect it, so therefore he'd kind of block it back. And he didn't. I was wrong.
Q. In 2003 when you won the US Open, did you get a sense at some stage it was destiny that it was yours to win, and perhaps this is the same situation here for him?
ANDY RODDICK: I knew that I was playing well enough that, given the opportunity, I would have a serious shot at it. And I think that's all you can do, is put yourself in position to succeed. And he's certainly done that so far this tournament.
Q. What's your overriding emotion? Are you frustrated that you lost the match or are you angry at yourself that you lost the match?
ANDY RODDICK: Do I have to choose one?
ANDY RODDICK: I'm pissed off. You know, I'm mad. I felt like I was, you know, in there with a shot. To lose two breakers, like Bud said, I'm normally pretty money in those. You know, to lose two breakers like that, which either one of them would have given me a distinct advantage, it's disappointing.
Q. You were particularly sporting tonight. Do you think that might have inhibited your ability to get yourself up for the match?
ANDY RODDICK: No, no. I had no problem. I was ready to go. I don't think being a good sport has to take away from competing.
Q. You said you were flat. Were you feeling tired, as well?
ANDY RODDICK: No. I was feeling fine. I was in good shape. You know, just I was still reeling a little bit. It just got away from me there in the fourth. If I would have maybe tightened it up a little bit, get to 2-All, 3-All, then who knows. But when you just lose a third-set breaker and then all of a sudden the wheels start turning a little bit faster, I mean, it's tough to stop.
Q. We've seen some pretty unpredictable tournaments recently. Form has sort of reasserted itself. How would you rate this tournament, quality of play?
ANDY RODDICK: If you're asking that question after seeing the last couple nights of tennis, I think you know better than that, Peter. It's been an extremely high level. I mean, men's, women's, as far as story lines. I mean, I think this tournament's been an overwhelming success so far.
End of FastScriptsâ€¦.