January 18, 2005
THE MODERATOR: First question, please.
Q. Can you tell us about your split with Brad?
ANDY RODDICK: That took a while (smiling). Do you want to ask a more specific question maybe?
Q. I'll try to think of one.
ANDY RODDICK: Well, I mean, what part do you want to know about, Bud?
Q. How it happened, why it happened.
ANDY RODDICK: I just felt like that the relationship had run its course. I had plateaued a little bit at the end of last year and definitely needed, you know, to try to get something -- to get a fresh start. You know, I think Brad and I did a great job, and we worked very well together for a year and a half. You know, just decided it was time to go in a new direction.
Q. Did that mean you were disappointed in the year overall, Andy?
ANDY RODDICK: No, no. No, not at all. I feel like it was as good of a year as you could have without it being a great one. But, you know, at the same time I felt like, you know, towards the last six months or so, I had stopped kind of improving. And that's something I definitely wanted to work on.
Q. How did you break the news to him and what was his reaction?
ANDY RODDICK: I called him, and we spoke for a while. You know, obviously he was disappointed. I mean, I was disappointed, too. It's never fun when you have, you know, a good amount of success with someone, and you part ways. But, you know, he's been good about it.
Q. There's been talk about the courts. How did you find them today out there?
ANDY RODDICK: They got lines, nets and everything. It's good (smiling).
Q. What about the speed?
ANDY RODDICK: I'm fine with it. I'm never one to really notice too much. I guess that requires feel, and I don't really have that in surplus (laughter). You know, I like it. You know, Rebound Ace, it's supposed to be a little bit slower and bounce a little bit higher. Those are kind of the characteristics that you come to expect from it.
Q. Can you compare it to last year at all?
ANDY RODDICK: I don't -- I don't really remember last year too much. Sorry.
Q. How do you feel about playing Greg on that surface?
ANDY RODDICK: Well, Greg's an uncomfortable match on any surface. He's going to hit big serves, he's going to be all over the net and he's going to be very intense. So, you know, regardless of the surface, he's able to kind of enforce his game on you a little bit.
Q. How comfortable have you been in the past and are you still playing against him?
ANDY RODDICK: Yeah. Obviously, he took me apart pretty good in '02 at Wimbledon. But that was a long time ago, and I've gotten him three times since then. But he's tough. You know, like I said, it's a tricky match. And I'll definitely have to, you know, try to pick it up a little bit.
Q. In a sense, is it good preparation to have played a lefty today?
ANDY RODDICK: Oh, for sure. Absolutely. You know, I think it's very beneficial.
Q. What do you expect your new coach to bring to your game?
ANDY RODDICK: More than anything, I'm happy with his work ethic. I mean, I think we put in a lot of good time together in the off-season. You know, we're obviously working on getting in a little bit more, the transition game, just kind of becoming a better athlete out there.
Q. Dean is a radically different personality than Brad in a lot of ways.
ANDY RODDICK: Yeah.
Q. Is that part of the decision, too, to kind of change that approach to some degree?
ANDY RODDICK: You know, you can go on personality, but I was just going on chemistry. I had spent a little time with Dean at the Olympics and during the Davis Cup year, and I really liked, you know, how he went about things. You know, I kind of liked our whole chemistry together. That's one of the main reasons.
Q. And how is your ankle?
ANDY RODDICK: It feels fine. You know, it's just a little uncomfortable. I just jammed it a little bit. But it's nothing that's going to stop me from playing.
Q. Did you feel it at times today?
ANDY RODDICK: Very little. I mean, like I said, it's just a little uncomfortable. But it's not something that's hindering me at all.
Q. Do you feel that the spotlight has been off you, considering you're the second seed, because people have been talking mostly about Roger and Lleyton and other issues, as well? Do you feel the spotlight has been off you last week and this week?
ANDY RODDICK: Oh, I don't know. You know, obviously being in Lleyton's home country, that's not surprising. With Roger playing the way he has, he definitely deserves all the spotlight. But that's not something I'm really too concerned with right now.
Q. Do you prefer it that way, just being able to go on quietly with the focus on everyone else?
ANDY RODDICK: To be honest, you know, from the inside looking out, with the exception of something like the US Open, I don't really notice it that much. You know, I'm not, you know, searching through the papers every morning to see what's been written or anything like that. You know, I kind of just try to go business as usual. You know, I think people kind of around the game notice it a little bit more than I would.
Q. You say you stopped making progress. Have you felt with Dean that there is a new progression in your play?
ANDY RODDICK: I hope so. I feel that way. And obviously time will tell. I mean, let's be honest, it's been a month. So, you know, if you could completely overhaul a guy who is 2 in the world in a month and make him improve a lot, then, hell, I got a great deal, didn't I (smiling)? But, you know, that's the goal.
Q. Was today a good way to get the ball rolling for you in this tournament?
ANDY RODDICK: Yeah. I'm in the next round, so that's what we were looking for. Obviously, you know, it wasn't great tennis in the first set. But the last couple sets, I felt like I started hitting the ball a little bit better. You'd rather have momentum going that way than backwards.
Q. Who is better, McEnroe or Courier in the interview business?
ANDY RODDICK: Well, they're different. But Jim was pretty relaxed out there. I think he made it fun for the crowd and asked some interesting questions. But it was all in good fun.
End of FastScriptsâ€¦.