January 24, 2005
THE MODERATOR: First question, please.
Q. Can you talk about the match today?
ANDY RODDICK: I don't think I hit the ball as clean as I did in the first three matches. I think I actually had a little trouble getting used to a serve coming from a righty in the first couple sets, as weird as that sounds. Took me a little while to get on it. But, you know, I felt like I started hitting the right way in the third set.
Q. You feeling a little bit flat? Was the arm the only thing that was bothering you?
ANDY RODDICK: I don't know. I mean, I just felt like I was fighting it a little bit more than I had the first three rounds. I'm not too concerned. I got through it okay. We got through it. The good thing is I don't feel like I had my best day and we're sitting here talking about a three-set win. So that's good.
Q. Was it really off the ground you weren't feeling comfortable?
ANDY RODDICK: I served great. I've been serving pretty well throughout the event. Yeah, I don't know. You know, hitting the ball in warm-up, I felt fine. Sometimes I was feeling fine. Just missing a little bit. I didn't have my range early on. Luckily I was kind of able to bear down and win points when I had to. But, you know, I'm not too concerned. I've been feeling really good throughout the event and I'm really happy to be through.
Q. Did you see the Agassi-Johansson match last night?
ANDY RODDICK: I saw some of it, yeah.
Q. Can you imagine 51 aces and losing a match?
ANDY RODDICK: Well, no, because I couldn't imagine hitting 51 aces (laughing). So the losing part is irrelevant because the first part's a no.
Q. Do you just continue to be amazed by Andre? I know you get asked that a lot.
ANDY RODDICK: Yeah. I mean, I guess not anymore because you kind of almost expect it of him. He set the standard so high for himself that it's not surprising to me to see him winning matches. It's not going to be surprising two years from now if he's still here winning matches. People have been talking about, "It could be his last..." since before I was on tour. I've come to just really expect it.
Q. Thoughts on Davydenko or Canas?
ANDY RODDICK: It's going to be probably a similar match either way. You know, I think Davydenko goes for his shots a little bit more. But they're both going to make me work very hard. I'll get looks at their service games. They're not going to serve me off the court. But that being said, they're both really good returners so it will be a little bit of a different match than what I've played so far.
Q. Can you give us a little preview of on the other side of the draw, Federer-Agassi? Did you note that little match going on?
ANDY RODDICK: What do you want to know?
Q. Just how do you see that one paning out?
ANDY RODDICK: Andre has been able to give Roger probably his best matches over the last year or so. I think Roger has gotten him a couple of times, but they've always been pretty close and gone the distance. I'm as excited as the next person. I'm still a big tennis fan so I'm excited to watch it, that's for sure.
Q. Is it Andre's return?
ANDY RODDICK: I think he gets inside the court a little bit more. You know, he takes away Roger's time a little bit. But, you know, that being said, Roger still won the last couple, so, you know. But also I think obviously the occasion is not going to get to Andre. He's been there; he's pretty much accomplished everything there is to accomplish in this sport. You have two guys who are just going to go out and play great tennis. They're not really concerned about the situation. That everybody's talking about it, it's not going to bother either one of them, I don't think.
Q. Given the demands of a Grand Slam, how do you feel fitness and form-wise going into a second week?
ANDY RODDICK: As well as I ever have. Physically I feel great. There's no little nagging injuries. I, you know, haven't been -- I don't feel like I've been struggling physically at all throughout the first four matches, which is positive.
Q. You mixed it up on serve again today. Do you get more satisfaction out of a 240 kilometer-an-hour ace or the 150 or 160?
ANDY RODDICK: Probably the 150 or 160. I know I can hit a big serve. But, like you said, having been mixing it up a little bit more -- probably the biggest thing I get satisfaction out of is first serve percentages have been very high. I think my lowest one has been 68 so far, with the exception of the first round. But the last three matches I think I've been putting the first serves in play a lot and that's been helping me out a lot.
Q. Is there anything in the game at the moment you think you can improve on?
ANDY RODDICK: There always is.
Q. One thing in particular?
ANDY RODDICK: If I said no, then -- I don't think "no" is ever going to be an answer to that question. You're constantly looking to improve. Especially today, I felt like my returns had gone down a little bit from the previous two matches, which they were very high in those two matches. So I'll be looking for more of that.
Q. With Davis Cup ending so late and this starting, are you going to get a chance to catch up on the break, in February, take some time off?
ANDY RODDICK: No, I don't need it. I'm fine. If I take too much time off, I get bored so... Need something to entertain me. I'm like a three-year-old.
Q. How have you found Melbourne? Have you managed to do things on days off?
ANDY RODDICK: Yep. I was down in blackjack, now I'm up 600 bucks so I'm pretty excited about that. My dealer was Alfie, and he was being good to me the other night. Just been doing dinners and, you know, I like to get out and about on my off days. So I've been trying to donate money to the casino, but it hasn't worked yet.
Q. Blackjack is your game of choice?
ANDY RODDICK: Yeah, so far. It's really simple, so I understand it (laughing).
Q. Who is doing the best of all the guys?
ANDY RODDICK: James was, but him and Mardy didn't do so well the other night. I'm in the positive right now. I don't know. I think I might be. But that's not saying a whole lot because I'm not up a whole lot, just enough to keep me playing.
Q. Can you preview the Bryans, Fish-Blake match.
ANDY RODDICK: Obviously, I mean, I think you have to give a nod to Bob and Mike just on the fact that they play a lot more doubles. Obviously, I think it's a lot more meaningful a match probably. But that being said, Mardy and James have played well whenever they have played together. They had a couple wins last year before James got hurt. So that's going to be a tight one, you know. Obviously, there's some friendly competition there. They don't want to, you know -- it's tough losing to your friends. You just don't want to do it. So there could be some fireworks. Who knows?
Q. Any internal betting going on there?
ANDY RODDICK: Probably not. Not in a match of this magnitude. If it was at a smaller event and it was a first round, it could -- it could happen. But I doubt it, you know. Us tennis players, we definitely don't bet on matches so... (smiling). It's okay. You guys can laugh. It's not that serious.
Q. Lost track of time now with the NFL. Do you know what happened? Was that interfering with the preparation?
ANDY RODDICK: The Eagles got through. The Pats are up 34-20 right now. Roethlisberger threw his third interception of the day. Big surprise, Brady has two touchdowns and zero interceptions in a playoff game. That's really shocking coming from him nowadays, huh?
Q. Have you ever met him?
ANDY RODDICK: Yeah, I actually got to hang out with him a little bit during the ESPYs last year. Super nice guy.
Q. Of all the celebrities you've managed to meet along the way, who are you most impressed by or thrilled to meet?
ANDY RODDICK: Obviously, Lance is pretty impressive. Andre still impresses me to this day. I met Cal Ripken when I was 18, and he was kind of just sitting in the back of -- Andre and I played an exhibition in Baltimore. I walked in after the exhibition. I didn't know anybody else was in the room. I was walking in. He goes, "Oh, should I leave?" I looked around. I was like, "No, it's okay." I looked around. It was kinda like... I completely dorked out. So that was a little embarrassing, but that happens I guess.
Q. Have you run into Phil Jackson?
ANDY RODDICK: I have not. I think we're going to try to catch up later maybe. I haven't gotten the chance to meet him yet, but I saw him at the match today.
Q. Have you found the Melbourne crowds, the fans, do you enjoy them? Do they sort of approach you a lot? Is it a thing you like when you come down here?
ANDY RODDICK: I love the vibe of this tournament. I mean, it's so laid-back. You have people coming here, some are hard-core tennis fans, some are coming to have a couple quiet ones. As well as being a tennis event, I think it's a great social event - or at least it seems that way. The fans, they're really friendly. If I'm out and about in the city, they'll just say, "Good luck." They're pretty mellow about it, but it's nice as well.
Q. If you do talk to Phil Jackson, would you be interested in picking his mind on terms of his take on tennis, what he might think of the game, from a coach's point of view?
ANDY RODDICK: I'm sure it will come up, but I'm probably going to be a nerd and ask him a whole lot of basketball questions. I'm sure we'll go back and forth.
End of FastScriptsâ€¦.