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June 29, 2006

Robert Kendrick



Q. You didn't look nervous, you had an answer for everything.
ROBERT KENDRICK: I wasn't maybe nervous maybe in the first couple games. Just kept telling myself, It's a tennis court, just like all the other ones I've been playing on in Roehampton and here.

Q. You came so close obviously. Two points away. What were you thinking out there? Maybe this will be the match that pushes me the next step? Were you just worrying about the points?
ROBERT KENDRICK: Yeah, I was more into the points, just trying to get the return into play. Just struggling a little bit with my return. With his serve, he's got a tricky serve. I wanted to attack more, which I could have maybe a few points here or there to get into his service games a little more.
But I felt good out there. Just a couple points in that tiebreaker in the third, I think, you know...

Q. You had a backhand volley, just missed.
ROBERT KENDRICK: Yeah, just a backhand volley. I wasn't sure if it was going out or not. He hit so much spin on his ball, it's hard to tell if it's going to drop in. I just wanted to make sure. I kind of stopped my feet. I thought I still should have made it. But, you know, just hit the tape, didn't go my way.

Q. How is your feeling about Rafael? This is the first time you play him.
ROBERT KENDRICK: First time I played against him. He brings a lot to the court. I knew he wasn't going to give up. He's just got so much fight in him. You know, if I could just close it out here with a few more returns, I think, you know, different story. But he's a great player. I mean, he's going to come back from two sets to love down a lot more tournaments to come.

Q. Do you give him any chances against Andre?
ROBERT KENDRICK: Do I give him any chance (laughter)? Of course, yeah. He's Rafael Nadal. I mean, he's full of fight. I think that's going to be a great match also. So, of course, I give him a chance.

Q. When you're in a difficult match that's going long and you're trying to close it out, is there an added mental challenge when you're facing a champion, someone who has won titles before? Does that come into play?
ROBERT KENDRICK: Yeah, it does. But today I felt like, you know, is on my racquet. I didn't feel like, Oh, I'm going to beat Rafael Nadal. I was relaxed about it. I knew I was two points away. That long point, I think he hit a great shot off the line. I think it barely caught. A couple inches that way, he might get a little tight on his second serve that next point.
But there was no added pressure out there.

Q. For you?
ROBERT KENDRICK: No. I was relaxed. I got my family here. The crowd was great to me out there. I'll be back on that court.

Q. Can I ask you a northern California question. You're originally from Fresno.
ROBERT KENDRICK: Fresno, central California.

Q. Which high school?

Q. Did you get a scholarship to Pepperdine?
ROBERT KENDRICK: I went to the University of Washington for two years, then transferred to Pepperdine for a year.

Q. Any particular reason?
ROBERT KENDRICK: Transferring? Just the weather, Seattle.

Q. After three years, you just felt, I want to turn pro?
ROBERT KENDRICK: Yeah, I felt it was time. A lot of the college -- I grew -- I was playing when the Bryans were at Stanford, Goldstein, when they had their best team ever, I think. I always played against them those years. Then I stayed one more year and then I came out.

Q. Obviously with a lot of tennis in California, Southern California particularly, any particular reason you went to Florida?
ROBERT KENDRICK: I grew up in the -- in summers I grew up in Sanibel Island. My parents always had a place there since 1972. School year, I'd be in Fresno. Then in the summers, I'd be in Sanibel Island.

Q. Was this the biggest service match in your life, in your career?
ROBERT KENDRICK: Was this the biggest match? Yeah, definitely. Definitely the biggest match so far.

Q. From the viewpoint of the serve, too, the biggest serving match for you?
ROBERT KENDRICK: Biggest serving match for me? You know, I served really well last week. I served well that first round. But with the pressure and all that, I'd say I served pretty well. Then my legs went a little bit in the fourth. I felt good in the fifth. Just a couple points here and there.

Q. The TV cameras picked up that you were drinking saltwater. Is that right?
ROBERT KENDRICK: Yeah, just a little bit of salt. Legs -- my right calf was kind of getting a little tight on me. I was just feeling it on the serve a little bit. I think it's more nerves than actually running. I was out there for a while. It's more nerves, I think.

Q. Quite unusual now?

Q. You can have electrolyte drinks.
ROBERT KENDRICK: I can. I was pounding as many drinks as I could. Salt has always reacted well with me.

Q. Where do you train now?
ROBERT KENDRICK: I've been training out of Orlando a little bit, then I train in Sanibel Island.

Q. I know you had the wrist surgery at one point. It set you back a bit. Did you weigh at any point quitting playing tennis?
ROBERT KENDRICK: When I was, you know, weighing in at 207 last December, you know, I gained about 17 pounds with the surgery.

Q. Was that because of inactivity in general?
ROBERT KENDRICK: Inactivity. Just kind of riding the bike wasn't enough. You come out here every day, you're sweating, practicing. I got back to January, January was a tough month, getting back into the matches. Didn't feel right out there. February, I quallied and played well in Delray. Then final of a challenger the next week. Then it just kind of rolled from there. I didn't play a lot of matches.

Q. You didn't go mentally far down the road?
ROBERT KENDRICK: January was a tough month, December and January, just because the wrist would act up again, it would get swollen on me. Then everything just started clicking.

Q. What went wrong with the wrist? When did you have the surgery?
ROBERT KENDRICK: July 28th last year.

Q. What was it, ligament?
ROBERT KENDRICK: My tendon on the right side was just shredding. It was kind of going like this (indicating). I had tendonitis on both sides. Went in there, cleaned it up, so it's not moving or touching anything.

Q. I would think a year ago you would never think you would be facing Rafael Nadal in a match here?
ROBERT KENDRICK: Yeah, it was fun.

Q. Coming so close to beating Rafael Nadal, reigning French Open champ, on Centre Court, Wimbledon, you don't seem very disappointed.
ROBERT KENDRICK: I'm disappointed. I'm not going to show you guys. I had such a good time out there. It's my first time on a center court of any Slam, like I said. Just didn't go my way this time.

Q. You play any volleyball?
ROBERT KENDRICK: Did I play? No, I screw around, no.

Q. Your serve seems like.
ROBERT KENDRICK: A little pop in the sand. Maybe I'll try that.

Q. Was this your first five-set match?
ROBERT KENDRICK: I believe I played five sets in 2003 US Open. I only played one before. That was it.

Q. Against?
ROBERT KENDRICK: Against Vinciguerra. That was a chance to play Andre the night match in New York. I was disappointed. This made it all better now.

Q. Could you recall the early years a little bit, Fresno?
ROBERT KENDRICK: Sierra Sport and Racquet Club, little bit of Copper River. It was a good tennis boon back then. Hopefully a lot more kids in Fresno pick up a racquet if they watched me play a little bit.

Q. Guys at Sierra who started you?
ROBERT KENDRICK: Mark Bellman started me out there, Peter Dorner (ph), an Australian.

Q. Peter Smith's role?
ROBERT KENDRICK: Peter Smith, yeah, I've known him since I was 11 years old. That's why I made the move to Pepperdine. He's such a good friend.

Q. Was Fox coaching then there?
ROBERT KENDRICK: Peter Smith was. Now he's at USC.

Q. Reaction to Pepperdine winning?
ROBERT KENDRICK: It's great. It's great. I'm so close with Peter, though. I pull for whatever team he went with. But, you know, it was great for Pepperdine to win. I don't know many of the guys.

Q. And Matt in Washington?
ROBERT KENDRICK: Kind of rainy. Two great years. Matt got my game going those two years. I improved a ton. The weather got me down. I was getting sick a lot. I was blaming it on the rain. Lost my California tan.

Q. You knew what it would be like up there.
ROBERT KENDRICK: I knew. It was good. I got good work in up there. Great bunch of guys. A couple guys came out and watched me today from Washington.

Q. Had you played here before?
ROBERT KENDRICK: I played here I think 2003 also and I lost to Feliciano López. I don't know why the Spaniards are getting me on the grass. Kind of weird. I actually broke my thumb last time playing in the main draw. Nightmare summer. I got E coli at the French Open. Came here thinking everything was all right. Came here broke my thumb.

Q. '04?

Q. All of the sort of histrionics of Nadal, bouncing around on his feet, fist pumping, all the drama, did that have any effect on you?
ROBERT KENDRICK: No, I was just looking down, looking at my strings. I've seen what he does. People enjoy it. It's what gets him fired up. It's fun for him. I didn't notice it too much.

Q. The stage itself, it wasn't intimidating at all?
ROBERT KENDRICK: I tried to keep my head down a little bit. Just focus on the court.

Q. When Karlovic pulled his big upset, he didn't know where Centre Court was. They had to find him, show him the way. Was there anything like that with you?
ROBERT KENDRICK: When they were taking me down there, I was waiting for Rafa a little bit. I thought he'd be shadow boxing somewhere down there. I got a little lost walking everywhere. I didn't know where we were going. I thought we were playing across the street maybe. There it was. Kind of eerie.

Q. What are your feelings of you in the court when the lines person went down in the grass in the third set?
ROBERT KENDRICK: In the third game, yeah. It was a weird start to my Wimbledon Centre Court. I hope the guy is all right.

Q. He's okay.
ROBERT KENDRICK: He's okay? I thought he was maybe having a heart attack. He was holding here (his chest). I didn't know what was going on. It was sad to see that. I was just ready to serve, and I heard a loud thump, then I saw blood, he's holding his chest. I was hoping they'd rush him. I didn't know what to do.

Q. You're out there with a Wilson hat, racquet, Under Armour shorts, Lacoste shirt. How many different brands?
ROBERT KENDRICK: Adidas socks. I'm giving everybody a chance to take me. I'm willing (smiling). I'm willing to go with anybody.
You know, the Under Armour stuff is looking like the lead.

Q. Deep in the files of tennis history, there's the story of the lad Kendrick who one day in a tough spot at the Berkeley tennis club ripped his shirt off. Do you recall that?
ROBERT KENDRICK: I recall it. I was going to do it here when I won, but it didn't happen.

Q. What happened that day?
ROBERT KENDRICK: Berkeley tennis club. That was a while ago. I won that tournament twice in a row, though. It wasn't too bad. I think I split sets. I was mad.

Q. Do you remember?
ROBERT KENDRICK: I remember all those matches, yeah. It was great. It was fun, fun days.

Q. What do you think about the warning that the referee gave Rafa?
ROBERT KENDRICK: You know, he takes his time out there. I didn't personally notice it because of the stage, you know, I was more worried about myself. He told me to hold up. The chair told me to just serve, he'll get the point penalty. I didn't know what was going on for a few games because he kept giving me the hold up. I didn't know if someone was sitting down behind me.
He takes his time. It's grass. Should be a little quicker.

Q. When did you feel it started to get away from you?
ROBERT KENDRICK: The third set tiebreaker maybe a little bit. I didn't know if I wanted to play that backhand volley, the high backhand volley. Could have gone out. Once again, his ball just dips so much, it can drop. I remember my friend telling me at home, Play the high volleys no matter what, because you never know if they'll drop in or not.
I felt if I could have put a few more returns in the fourth set there at 5-All or 4-5, had chances there. The game two points away, 5-6, 4-5 maybe, good long point. Hit the back of the line.

Q. There's sort of two schools of thought about a performance like this: you could use it for a steppingstone or it can be haunting.
ROBERT KENDRICK: I don't want to disappear again. That's what I did last year. I'm not going to let it hurt me too much. Tonight, sure, I'll be thinking about it a lot. Then I'll hop on a flight back home on Saturday, try not to worry about it.

Q. Chances of riding this into a wildcard in Indianapolis or Washington?
ROBERT KENDRICK: I'd love to. I'd love to get a couple more opportunities. I've had two wildcards into two events, tour events, in my whole career. Hopefully I showed I'm not washed up out there, I'm not too old. Hopefully they'll stick with me, the USTA.

Q. You did disappear. You can't be found in the ATP guide.
ROBERT KENDRICK: Yeah, I don't know.

Q. Is that an insult?
ROBERT KENDRICK: An insult? Yeah, I mean, the year I had last year, it was tough. I dropped all the way to 380. I didn't use a protected ranking.

Q. Is that because of the surgery?
ROBERT KENDRICK: The surgery. I had a lot points coming off the end of last year. They mixed the first three months, the second three months. It would have been 315 or 340. I figure, give it a shot. I was losing matches, couldn't hit a forehand. Just to compete.

Q. Only a few players who play serve and volley any more. You have a great serve. Did you ever think about playing more serve and volley?
ROBERT KENDRICK: Yeah, I wanted -- in the beginning, he threw a few passing shots by me. I was missing my first volley a little too deep. I maybe could have played a few of those shorter.
But, you know, I volleyed really well my first round, then today, again, he has so much junk on his ball, it's hard to get a clean volley on it. Your racquet, you don't know where you want to put it. That will change once I get a couple more matches against him.

Q. Sanibel is a closed society. Possible when you get back there there will be some banners strung across the road, Periwinkle Avenue?
ROBERT KENDRICK: I wouldn't bet on it, no. I'll just be riding my bike down Periwinkle. That's it.

Q. Have you talked to Mardy about his wrist surgery?
ROBERT KENDRICK: I haven't, no. I didn't know what was wrong with it. I guess he had it redone last year. That's what I didn't want to have happen.

Q. What is the highest ranking you've had?
ROBERT KENDRICK: I was 112, I think that year, in 2003.

Q. What was your initial thought when you realized that was your first round pairing? Did you think your game would match up well?
ROBERT KENDRICK: Yeah, I mean, because the past years, I know guys that have had a breakout tournament with Morrison beating Ferrero when maybe he was the 2 seed here a few years ago, I felt like there's a pattern going, I was going to continue the pattern. I liked my draw. To play Andre, I'm a little disappointed. I would have loved to meet him and get him.
I'll be cheering for the US guys the rest of the tournament.

End of FastScripts...

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