September 5, 2003
NEW YORK CITY
THE MODERATOR: First question, please.
Q. Just what is it like to get to the semis here, finally?
ANDY RODDICK: It feels good, you know. I've lost a couple of quarterfinal matches, so I'm pleased. But, you know, hopefully it's not over yet.
Q. When you get that serve going, like you did today, does your confidence just soar to the point where you kind of feel, "There's no way this guy's gonna be able to get it"?
ANDY RODDICK: Not really. He broke me in the first set when I was serving for it. He was getting his racquet on it. The thing is, Sjeng, if he gets his racquet on it, he's probably gonna put it in play. Even if it seems that way to you guys, I don't know if it ever feels that way for the player.
Q. What effect does it have - I think at 2-1 he gets treatment on the changeover for his right quadriceps or hamstring - when you can tell that your opponent may be hurting? Does it affect your strategy or mindset?
ANDY RODDICK: Not really. I really didn't try to pay much attention. I just tried to play my match.
Q. Do you want this one to go a whole five sets (referring to the Nalbandian-El Aynaoui match)?
ANDY RODDICK: Yeah, they need to keep themselves out there for a while. Younes needs to pull one of his matches and make a good four and a half, five.
Q. Looking that way?
ANDY RODDICK: Nice.
Q. The closer we get to the end of this thing, it would seem very, very difficult not to have "the thought" cross your mind, to be holding that trophy on the final day. If it does come into your mind, do you try to purge it out of your mind immediately or spend some time visualizing it?
ANDY RODDICK: Of course you think about it. You can't really not think about it. But, you know, at the same time, it's, you know, it's kind of like so close, but you're so far. You know, it's, you know, I'm dealing with tomorrow first. You know, that's about it.
Q. Find it kind of ironic that probably Shawn McManus, the president of CBS, is probably rooting for you more than you're rooting for yourself to win tomorrow?
ANDY RODDICK: No, that's definitely not true. No (laughter).
Q. Are you at all bummed that it worked out this way, though, that you do have the extra rest?
ANDY RODDICK: Am I bummed out that I got an extra day's rest?
Q. That the other guys feel it's a bit unfair, perhaps.
ANDY RODDICK: Well, that's too bad for them. But, you know, the way I see it is I had the option to either stay out there and play the other night or not play the other night. The guy -- Sjeng and Schuettler decided to call it a night. I decided to stay out there and play. I don't know if that bias is totally true. If Taylor hadn't defaulted, Andre would have been in the same situation as the rest of them. Just coincidence. Andre had issues with the scheduling last week. It's not like -- I don't think it's -- I don't think it's as purposeful as what they might say. You know, I just think maybe we got a little lucky. You know, I wanted to stick it out the other night and definitely try to get that in. I could have been here till 3, raining off and on, and had to play the next day. It's just a gamble that I took and it worked out.
Q. These last two months, does it seem like a blur or can you go back to Indianapolis, Cincinnati and remember every single match?
ANDY RODDICK: No, no. Definitely not. Maybe once this weekend's over, maybe I can look back. Throughout this whole time, I've just been looking forward.
Q. What experience do you think you can draw on from your previous two semifinals this year that perhaps will help you tomorrow?
ANDY RODDICK: Well, I just think the more times you're in a situation, the more comfortable you are with it. Obviously, Australia I wasn't feeling great. You know, Wimbledon I just got out-played. But, you know, like I said, I just think the more you're in a situation, the better you feel and the more comfortable you feel.
Q. Some people say the worst time to lose is the semifinal.
ANDY RODDICK: The worst time to lose is the first round (laughter).
Q. Sjeng made a comment about the momentum you've had over the last several weeks and said that, you know, this guy is just on an unbelievable roll right now. If he has any thoughts of taking a vacation, I would suggest to him to keep on going. Do you feel that you're sort of riding a wave right now and there's momentum behind you?
ANDY RODDICK: I think so but I'm definitely gonna take a vacation after this tournament's over. Sorry, Sjeng (laughing). Yeah, but like I said at another press conference, what may seem, you know, seem like to you guys that I'm just on this unbelievable roll, but I'm still cautious. I definitely don't feel invincible or anything like that - far from it. I feel like I'm playing well. I feel confident. That's about the extent of it.
Q. You were talking earlier about Brad giving you an idea of what you could do. Just to spin that out to a larger context, what do you feel is possible for you in the future? How much opportunity do you feel is in front of you the next few years?
ANDY RODDICK: Obviously, I'm gonna have opportunities in the next couple years if I can keep going, keep building my game. You know, that's just the main thing that I have to focus on. You know, who knows what will happen? But I'm just gonna try to keep improving then give myself a better chance when those opportunities do come.
Q. No matter what happens here, you have Davis Cup next week.
ANDY RODDICK: I heard about six voices, what?
Q. No matter what happens, there's not going to be an immediate vacation because Davis Cup is coming up?
ANDY RODDICK: Yeah, there's such a thing as a three-day vacation.
Q. You held at love in six of your 14 service games. How much of a confidence boost does that give you, knowing every time you step up to the line with the ball in your hands you're not getting challenged as much as a lot of other people are?
ANDY RODDICK: Well, that feels good. I'm not worried about holding at love or holding at 15, I'm worried about holding. In two of the games, he had breakpoints. That's just another way to look at it. I obviously feel confident when I'm serving. I think I served pretty well. That's about all I think about it.
Q. How much do you think your game has matured in three, four months? Is there one thing above that Brad has given you for your game?
ANDY RODDICK: I don't think he's given me.
Q. Or helped you, drew your attention to?
ANDY RODDICK: I'm not sure. I don't know if you can place it on one aspect. I don't know if it was just one thing that was the difference between how I was playing three months ago and how I've been playing lately. You know, I think it's just maybe a combination of things.
Q. Can you talk about playing, if you would have to play Younes again, obviously you guys had a long match in Australia.
ANDY RODDICK: We got a fifth-set tiebreaker here (laughing).
Q. Can you talk about the two of them, David and Younes, about their games, how you match up with both those guys?
ANDY RODDICK: Obviously, the only time I've played Younes, I think we finished about three days ago (smiling). But, I mean, he has a lot of weapons, you know. He has a very, very good first serve. He serves a high percentage. He's got a bomb of a forehand. I think those are the two things you have to deal with the most. As far as David goes, I think the two times that I've played him, I don't know if I've seen the best of him yet. I played him pretty recently in the finals of Montreal. He definitely wasn't playing his best that day. So I'd come out expecting a lot more out of him if I had to play him.
Q. When you're playing this well, does it rub off on your everyday life? Do you have a different mindset going day by day?
ANDY RODDICK: Like tie my shoes better or something?
Q. Do you have an extra spring in your step when you get up in the morning? Are you going to go out and seize the day?
ANDY RODDICK: I don't think so. I'm pretty good about keeping the tennis at the courts and then, you know, keeping the stuff that goes on outside of it outside of it.
Q. How do you feel about qualifying for the Masters Cup in the context of your season?
ANDY RODDICK: Good. Because, you know, that was my main goal for the beginning of the year. You know, I'm sure Jim and Linda are gonna put on a good event there. I'm excited that my first Masters will be in a place that I enjoy going to.
Q. There's an ongoing tradition in tennis to do something wild and whacky after winning a big match - sky-diving. Younes came in the other night, he did the bus driving at Bollettieri. He said if he won the US Open, he'd drive the media bus into town. My question is...
ANDY RODDICK: I don't know. Those buses are big. You trust someone? I've seen the Bollettieri bus. It's not as big. You guys have one of those big mamma-jammas? I'm not getting on that bus (laughter).
Q. My question is, if you win this thing, you got three choices. Here they are...
ANDY RODDICK: Wait, so this is a prerequisite that I have to do these things?
Q. No, of course not. This is a free country. This is just a question.
ANDY RODDICK: Sorry. Excuse me (putting head down in shame).
Q. Relax. Choice one: You have to go to a Raider game and stay the entire game in the "Black Hole." Two, you have to, for a day, become a tennis writer and do a full match coverage piece on a tennis match. Three, you have to jump into the East River and swim across it. What would be your first and last choice?
ANDY RODDICK: I'm gonna be a tennis writer but I'm not gonna write about a specific match. I want to write about a whole bunch of things.
Q. What would be some of those things?
ANDY RODDICK: I don't know. That's wide open spaces. I'd have to think about that. That would be kind of fun.
Q. Give me a lead.
ANDY RODDICK: I don't know. That's my story (laughter).
Q. Then you got to put East River or "Black Hole" as your last choice?
ANDY RODDICK: No, you said pick one. I'm only picking one. You didn't say second and third place.
Q. Yes, I did.
ANDY RODDICK: No, you didn't!
Q. Speaking of tying shoes, how many pairs of shoes do you go through in a match? How do you decide when to change?
ANDY RODDICK: Just one, unless something...
Q. Is there a specific point in the match when you decide to change?
ANDY RODDICK: No. No. When my foot odor becomes unbearable for the others around me (laughter).
Q. You mentioned taking three days off. Would that be back home?
ANDY RODDICK: If I had three days off, yeah, probably. I haven't spent one night there in five months. So, yeah, probably there.
Q. Despite all the rain, has this been a fun time for you, pressure-free? How do you feel about this two-week period, this march you're going through here?
ANDY RODDICK: It's weird. It seems like I played the Henman match about three months ago. It's long. But the end is near, I guess.
Q. Are you pretty confident you can handle the physical challenge of playing three times in three days?
ANDY RODDICK: Yeah, I feel -- I mean, I feel fine, after today. I feel, you know, I'm completely 100 percent going into tomorrow. So we'll see how it goes from there.
Q. Andre said in his press conference the last four, five days, this lovely weather has been probably the most frustrating experience in his tennis life. Your thoughts looking back on, say, the last five days.
ANDY RODDICK: I don't know. Obviously, it became comical somewhat by the end.
But, you know, everybody was in the same situation. I mean, I'm sure you guys were trying to come up with stories when there was no story and doing all that stuff. I've never had so many journalists watching ping-pong before. But, you know, I think everybody's in the same boat. I probably feel I was just as frustrated as everybody else.
Q. The weather's put a lot of players' nerves on edge. You seem as relaxed as you've ever been. Can you just talk about that.
ANDY RODDICK: Well, there's nothing I can do when it's raining out. You know, I'm not one to really play matches before I'm out there. I'm kind of relaxed before I go on the court and, you know, that's something that I kind of adopted the last couple months as well. You know, so I haven't been really doing anything, just sit back, watch TV, I guess.
Q. When you were playing ping-pong, always with the left hand, it was because you were afraid to lose rhythm on the right hand?
ANDY RODDICK: No, it's because I was beating everybody right-handed (laughter).
End of FastScriptsâ€¦.