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January 17, 2007
THE MODERATOR: First question for Andy.
Q. How do you compare today's match with your first-round match?
ANDY RODDICK: I thought I hit the ball a little bit better, played a little bit more solid today. You know, today I was putting myself in better positions on the court. I still could have executed a little bit better. Feel like I'm pretty close to playing clean tennis.
All in all, I'd say it was better.
Q. Sort of a joke, but how much are you rooting for Dudi?
ANDY RODDICK: I always root for Dudi. You can't say "root" here. I always go for Dudi. Whatever. There's your headline (smiling). Congrats.
Q. Obviously, would it be preferable to play Dudi?
ANDY RODDICK: Either way. I'm obviously -- that's just so funny (laughter). Sorry.
No, I mean, either way. When I kind of saw the draw I think I expected to play Marat. So if we play, then we play. I think we're both maybe better than a third-round match-up against each other. But that's the way it shakes out. You know, we both have to deal with it. I'm sure he's not thrilled about it either.
Q. In a sense, it's his fault. You're sort of top eight. He's the one that's dropped off to allow this possibility to occur.
ANDY RODDICK: Yeah, I don't know. I mean, I haven't dealt with injuries like he has either. I think that needs to be noted. When you come back from injury after injury, I don't think it's easy to come back and just play like nothing's changed. I think that has a lot more to do with it than Marat's level of play.
Q. Are you speaking to Jimmy every day?
ANDY RODDICK: Yeah, I'll leave here and I'll go call him. We'll have a chat. I'm sure he's been watching. Yeah, we've been talking every day.
Q. Did that work out well? Indianapolis is where you first did that.
ANDY RODDICK: It was Indianapolis and then we were together for 10 days while I was hurt and I couldn't serve. We did it at Cincinnati, as well.
Q. What are the dynamics of the difference when he's actually at a tournament and when you're dealing with him on the phone?
ANDY RODDICK: It's just a lot more consistent when he's at a tournament. There's a third dimension to his energy. It's the same with anything. If you're with your buddies, you're hanging out, it's probably a lot better in person than it is on the phone. But you still like talking to him on the phone, as well.
Obviously I'd love to have him here. I love it when he's around. But, you know, I think that we're making the best of an unfortunate situation right now.
Q. Were you really looking forward to having him here?
ANDY RODDICK: Yeah, of course. He's my coach.
Q. If you had to isolate one thing, the most important thing that Jimmy has done for you or with you, what would you say that would be?
ANDY RODDICK: It's tough to pick out one thing. I mean, it's kind of an overall thing. You know, we really -- first thing we did was kind of reinvent my backhand and really work on the technique on that. Made some changes there. It's been a much more consistent shot now, my two-hander. I'm able to take it up the line a little bit more.
Court positioning, just mindset. I've kind of gone a 180 with how I've tried to construct points. It's tough to put one above another.
Q. Has it had any impact on your attitude on the court, your combativeness, the way you approach things, or is that pretty innate?
ANDY RODDICK: No, I've never really been quiet. At the same time, you know, he said, you know, if you need to use something and you feel like you can sway the emotions to your advantage and stuff, then by all means do it. You got to do what you can to win a tennis match.
I think last year when I was struggling with my confidence, I was a little bit more subdued, kind of almost mopey as opposed to fired up. He said that, you know, it almost looked like I was playing against my nature. It's not something that I'm forcing. Like I said, I can't really play against my personality too much.
Q. Do you have clear memories of what he was like when he was at his best, pumped up?
ANDY RODDICK: Well, I mean, I don't know that I saw him when he was at his best. I was at the '91 US Open. I was nine years old when he made his run to the semis. I watched probably three of his matches live there.
That's probably the most distinct memory I have of him playing. Obviously I've seen tons of videos, the whole deal. The one thing I really remember is that Open in '91.
Q. What do you think when you see him at his belligerent best? Do you like what you see when you see that stuff?
ANDY RODDICK: I don't know if it's about liking it or disliking it. I think I respect him for competing, always leaving it out there, doing what you got to do to win a tennis match. I don't think anybody's ever going to question what he left out there.
It's kind of a 50/50 rule. He made people watch. You either loved him or you loved to hate him. Either way, people were watching tennis, which isn't a bad thing.
Q. Do you think it's more effective to play tennis with joy or with anger, sort of channeling yourself on the court?
ANDY RODDICK: Well, I mean -- is it more fun?
Q. What is more effective, do you think, maybe in your own case?
ANDY RODDICK: I don't think there's one answer. I think some days you need something. It's not the same every day. I don't think you can generalize that.
Today I kind of was in control a little bit more. The other day I needed to pick myself up a little bit, try to find something to kind of get myself going.
It's tough to really generalize it. Sometimes it depends on who you're playing, how the situation's affecting them a little bit more.
Effectiveness, it's a little too general of a term to really apply to give a definite answer on one of those two.
Q. You can serve and volley as well as play from the baseline. What do you think of the role of serve and volley in modern tennis?
ANDY RODDICK: I think a lot of it depends on conditions, you know. I was able to play a little bit more towards the end of last year because there were some quicker conditions later on in the year, whereas the front part of the year, it's still a little bit slower.
So you kind of have to pick and choose your spots a little bit more, because a person has that much more time to set up, try to hit a pass. It's a little less advantageous.
But I think the conditions will dictate how much of a role that serve and volley plays in tennis. I don't think it's coincidental that 10, 15 years ago it seemed like the conditions were faster.
And if you asked the players who were around back then they'll say it was faster and you saw more of it. Now it's a little bit slower and people have kind of talked about it the last couple years, and maybe you don't see as much of it.
I don't know if that's a big coincidence.
Q. Roger Federer said before that with the Hawk-Eye, some of the umpires were maybe a little more hesitant to make overrules. They're leaving it to the players to challenge. Have you found that yet?
ANDY RODDICK: Hmm, not really. He went after one today, and then the guy challenged his overrule. You know, I like it.
But the thing is, with two challenges, you kind of can challenge it. I don't know if that's a bad play by the umpires or not. I think it maybe keeps them in check a little bit more as well. I feel like it's just a good thing to have 'cause there's a lot less left up in the air, there's a lot less left to opinion.
Puts a lot more on us players as far as being responsible for it. I think it's fair to both parties. You know, you're not going to have a match decided on an opinion call.
Q. Pretty big group of Americans that have scrapped their way into the second round, some older, some younger, some coming back. What are your thoughts on some of the guys still alive here?
ANDY RODDICK: You want me to go through one by one?
Q. Just a few. Mardy.
ANDY RODDICK: Give me some names.
Q. Mardy, Sam.
ANDY RODDICK: Mardy could always play. That wasn't in doubt. When he's healthy I think he's a top 30 player. So it's not surprising. But he couldn't grip a racquet with his left hand for the better part of a year, so it's just a matter of him getting healthy again. I don't think any of us are shocked to see him doing well, especially on a hard surface.
I think Sam Querrey is a stud. It wouldn't surprise me to see him top 30 by the end of the year. He kind of grew up as an after-school tennis player. Now all of a sudden he's a damn good player. I've had the opportunity to be with him a lot. He's come to Austin. We actually trained in Hawaii together before we came down here. I think he's going to be a really good player.
Q. How well do you know Kuznetsov?
ANDY RODDICK: I know Kuz, pretty well. I think he's been a Davis Cup practice partner twice. I think he's going to have to be a bit more of a product of hard work, rely on his legs a little bit more. But the fact -- if you see a young guy coming through quallies, winning a five-setter first round, that says something about his makeup, so that's a good thing.
Q. A match with Marat, between you and Marat, for some reason to me doesn't come immediately to mind, but which ones would and how will you sort of think about them --
ANDY RODDICK: Played a five-set quarterfinal here in 2004 actually. He played Andre the next round. We played a Masters, which I won 6-6. The Davis Cup semifinal, he got me on clay last year. We've always had close matches, probably with the exception of the first time we played, when I think he was No. 1 and I was not close to that.
We're kind of similar. We both like to hit a big ball. We both serve pretty big, move decently for being considered big guys.
I'd say we're both not really shy out there. I think it's an intriguing match-up for us and maybe for the fans as well.
Q. As a guy with a two-hander, what do you make of his two-hander?
ANDY RODDICK: He's great. Sometimes the racquet looks like a tooth pick in his hand the way he can just kind of flick it off. His talent's never been questioned with what he's able to do with the tennis ball.
Q. Is he a less intimidating match-up than two or three years ago?
ANDY RODDICK: Is Marat?
ANDY RODDICK: I don't know about less intimidating. I mean, I think if you're looking at a list of guys, you're asking someone who are their top six or seven favorites for this event, you know, I feel like his name is in there still. Maybe just from the stance maybe he hasn't played as much tennis as some of the top 10 guys over the last two years. But he did play a pretty heavy schedule at the end of last year.
If Marat is match tough, I don't think there's any question of his standard.
Q. There's already been quite a significant number of heroics out here, the first three days, not least yesterday when players were playing in terrible heat, some called at 11:30 at night. How tough is it to actually win this event, in terms of winning this event so early in the year, given all the conditions, extremes, to actually go out and give it your best so soon in the year with the temperatures we get sometimes down here?
ANDY RODDICK: It's tough. It's real tough. I mean, I played one match where we started in the first set and then they didn't put anything else on but we played five sets, I think it was against Youzhny. It's not easy.
But at the same time, it's kind of what you train for, is to come down here and deal with the elements, you know.
Q. How did your training differ for this?
ANDY RODDICK: I was in Austin. Literally it was, you know, 50 and 60 degrees Fahrenheit. I jumped a plane that night to go to Florida so it would be hotter temperatures.
You definitely take that into account when you're training for this tournament, maybe more so than some other events, 'cause it's not really a secret that you're going to have to deal with conditions here.
Q. Can you remember what time your match started against El Aynaoui, what time it was when you were called?
ANDY RODDICK: We were second on. It had to be 9:00 or so. I know we finished around 1:30.
Q. How would you rate Etienne de Villiers' first year at the ATP?
ANDY RODDICK: How would I rate it?
ANDY RODDICK: I don't know. I think he needs a little bit more time before we answer that one.
Q. What should he be looking to do?
ANDY RODDICK: Not call his players out publicly.
End of FastScripts