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June 9, 2009
A. RODDICK/K. Vliegen
THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.
Q. Couldn't have made a better start, could you?
ANDY RODDICK: No, I feel pretty good. I thought I served well, I thought I returned well at times. It was pretty solid all around. I just kind of wanted to try to get it in before I gave it a chance to rain on us.
No, I was happy with it.
Q. Bit of patience in the second set before you got a break?
ANDY RODDICK: Yeah, I don't -- for the first two or three games in the second set, I don't know if I returned great and then kind of found it again. I was putting returns in play for the last couple of games and I was making play.
He had a pretty bad volley error in that second to give me a break point, but if you put enough pressure on, that's what happens sometimes.
Q. I saw in your Twitter site that you were talking about Federer's win and his place in history. Can you tell me a little bit about how the players have reacted to that, that victory? Is there much talk about it?
ANDY RODDICK: About?
Q. Federer's victory.
ANDY RODDICK: Yeah, of course there's talk about it. What do you want to know about it?
Q. I just want to know when you guys talk about it, do you talk about it in terms of -- do you have the same discussions we have in the pub about, you know, greatest-of-all-time debate?
ANDY RODDICK: Yeah, I mean, I think -- you know, I think he certainly puts forth the best rÃ©sumÃ© ever now, you know, certainly in the last, you know, 30 years or so.
You're having that argument right now as if his career is finished. I mean, he's very much still going, so, you know, if his career is a finished product, you'd have a hard time saying he wasn't or didn't have the most complete rÃ©sumÃ© now that he won there. I mean, that was kind of the one thing people would talk about.
Now that he's done that, it's tough to really find much.
Q. Is there a feeling amongst the players that perhaps now he's equaled Pete's record and the history has been lifted off his shoulder in that sense he could take his foot off the pedal, or are people thinking now he'll be even more dangerous?
ANDY RODDICK: I don't think -- that's something we don't take -- that's just trying to predict the future. No one but Roger is going to know that.
You know, I don't see him as the type that's satisfied, if that's what you're asking.
Q. And do you think he can possibly be more dangerous now?
ANDY RODDICK: More dangerous than what? (laughter.)
Q. Now he's got no real sort of pressure on his shoulders.
ANDY RODDICK: There's always pressure. There's pressure every day. There's pressure in practice.
No, I mean, more dangerous than what? We're talking about a man who's been the best player of all time. So is he going to be more dangerous than the best player of all time? I don't really -- that's frightening.
Q. How about yourself? How is the grass feeling out there at the moment?
ANDY RODDICK: No, it felt good. I love coming to the grass. Coming from the clay to the grass is one of the happiest days of my year just because there's not a lot of adjustments to be made to my game to suit the grass.
I feel like I can kind of take it for what it is and just get out there and play. You know, on clay there's a lot more adjustments. There's a lot more that I personally have to think about out there. It was a welcomed change.
Q. Rafa has said today he's going to try and play at Wimbledon. He's got tendinitis in his knees. I wondered if you ever had a similar problem and how long it might have taken you to recover.
ANDY RODDICK: Yeah, I mean, I've had tendinitis for years and years and years and years. You know, on a positive side for Rafa, it's not something that -- you know, it's uncomfortable and it's painful, but it's not something that's going to be a career-threatening injury if you play on it.
You know, it's kind of a fancy term for overuse. You know, I don't think that in my mind I ever thought that his Wimbledon defense was in jeopardy.
Q. You had a shoulder problem coming in to Wimbledon a couple years ago.
ANDY RODDICK: Last year.
Q. What's it like when you're not sure whether you're going to be able to play or not?
ANDY RODDICK: Um, it's -- I mean, it's probably easier when -- if you don't know whether you're going to play or not, you probably shouldn't. But it was pretty frustrating last year knowing that I could only, or I was almost -- you know, in baseball they call it a pitch count. I was only able to hit so many serves a day.
To try to be prepared and play, I felt I was going onto the court hoping as opposed to expecting. That's a tough thing. You know, it's not surprising -- at Wimbledon last year, when push came to shove and I had to produce, I didn't. I mean, I hadn't had the repetitions. I hadn't had the practice.
I think that's the toughest thing is just to -- a lot of times it's not battling through the actual pain of the injury; it's not being able to get the repetitions in that you need to go out there and do it.
Q. Do you think sometimes people perhaps who aren't involved with tennis underestimate the strain on the body playing just with the sheer regularity you guys do?
ANDY RODDICK: Yes. Yeah, I mean, I'm not really sure where to expand on that, but it's an 11-month season where you can't pass the ball to a teammate and you pretty much have to show up every week; otherwise it's your loss.
You know, we play on different surfaces. We can travel to different continents one week and then -- you know, last year I played in Memphis one week and Dubai the next week followed by Palm Springs the week after that.
I think our tour is pretty unique in that. So you throw all that together, and there is a little bit of wear and tear there, yeah.
Q. Does the grass act as more of an equalizer? Are you less likely to hurt yourself on a grass court than you are, say, on the hardcourts which we know now are 75, 80% of tennis these days?
ANDY RODDICK: Uh-huh. Well, there's different types of things. You know, hardcourt you're going to get more wear and tear on, you know, knees and stuff like that.
But grass, you see a lot of the slipping, like groin pulls and kind of -- you see people slide. There's more of a danger of a quick pull than there is on a hardcourt. Obviously it's softer from a perspective of like a constant pounding or something like that.
Q. Do you think Federer's victory in Paris and Nadal's condition makes him a clear or clearer favorite for Wimbledon than, say, he would have looked a few weeks ago?
ANDY RODDICK: I mean, I don't know. I don't think so. I mean, this is all guessing.
ANDY RODDICK: It's all guessing. I'm not going to guess. They're both great. They're both going to be favorites.
Rafa has had knee tendinitis for a long time and he's won Grand Slams while he's had it. I'm certainly not going to underestimate Rafa. I think he's going to be there. I think he's going to be fine, and I think he's going to put forth all the effort he has. He's certainly proven that in the past.
Q. You would like to see yourself master three or four, wouldn't you?
ANDY RODDICK: I think so. I think I'm playing a lot better this year than I have in years past, and I've been getting deeper in tournaments more consistently.
I do love this surface. It's been a while since I've been coming in feeling like I've been playing this well and been healthy for the grass court season.
I'm hopeful, but, you know, putting top four or five -- whatever. I just want to get through rounds.
Q. Your shoulder is 100% now?
ANDY RODDICK: Yeah, it's fine. It's good.
Q. You could face Lleyton Hewitt in the round of 16 here. What are your thoughts about that? Obviously you have quite a few Queen's titles between you.
ANDY RODDICK: Yeah, obviously I think it's -- you'd expect to see that a little bit further on in the tournament, especially this one. As you mentioned, I think we've won eight of these between us.
So it's certainly tough, but that's the way tennis is. A lot of it is about the draw, and I certainly realize how tough of a matchup that will be. You know, hopefully he feels the same. You know, it kind of is what it is. You go out there and you try and win it.
Q. When you're playing against players like Rafa and Roger, Slams who you have inferior records against, do you start working on specific technical elements of your game, or does it become more a psychological thing?
ANDY RODDICK: I actually won the only time I played against Rafa in a Grand Slam.
Q. With Roger.
ANDY RODDICK: But Roger I definitely have not. (laughter.)
What was the question? I started doing stats in my mind about halfway through that.
Q. Do you start working on technical elements of your game to sort of improve against him, or is it sort of more psychological after a while?
ANDY RODDICK: It's not more or less. I mean, it's tough to put a percentage on it. It's all those things.
A lot of those things have to be going right to get through a Grand Slam. You know, I don't think you're going to change your technique on your strokes the day before you play, but a lot of it is just -- a lot times you know what you have to do, but executing it is the hard part, you know.
That's why, you know, commentators have never missed a shot from the box, you know. It's all easy up there. A lot of times they can see patterns, and trust me, we can probably see them too, but it's a lot tougher when you're dealing with another person over there.
End of FastScripts