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July 1, 2009
A. RODDICK/L. Hewitt
6-3, 6-7, 7-6, 4-6, 6-4
THE MODERATOR: Questions.
Q. We have a revival of the, New Balls Please generation here in Wimbledon. Is that because experience is very helpful especially on grass, or are there other reasons for that?
ANDY RODDICK: I don't think it's either/or. It's probably a combination. Now we're just old balls.
Q. You've won a lot of big matches over your career. Does this one rank up there recently in importance when you add it all up, the opponent, the stage, five sets?
ANDY RODDICK: Yeah, I mean, it certainly wasn't short on drama. I've never been real good at comparing matches, you know. I think they kind of all tell their own story.
But it was tough from a mental standpoint, because Lleyton wasn't going away and there were kind of a lot of ebbs and flows to the match. I'm just happy to be on the good side of it.
Q. What was the toughest portion of that match for you?
ANDY RODDICK: Uhm, there were a lot. I mean, obviously not pulling out that second set breaker was huge. I mean, you realize that at that point you're odds on, and instead, you know, it's one-point difference and you're in a battle.
Kind of recovering from the fourth. I thought he started playing a lot better there. And then obviously the fifth was a dogfight, too. I mean, you know, I had to come up with probably the best half volley I've ever hit in my life to save breakpoint.
It's tough to choose.
Q. Right at the end of the match it was pretty obvious that you were emotional. What exactly were you feeling at that moment there?
ANDY RODDICK: You know, it's a mixture of happiness, of relief. You know, in your mind you're kind of trying to stay the course for four hours, you know, constantly figuring out what you're gonna do. Your mind is just racing for four hours. So then it's relief, happiness, and almost kind of an instant shut-down mode.
You know, but I was happy to be through.
Q. Have you got anything left in the tank for Andy Murray?
ANDY RODDICK: Yeah, I should. I mean, I felt fine out there physically. I'm sure I'll pull up a little bit sore tomorrow, but that's to be expected. That's not a new condition.
Q. A lot was made after Monday's game about Andy Murray's recovery, that he's only 22. You have four years on him. Is that a significant time in tennis or are you still there or thereabouts at the same level as a 22-year-old?
ANDY RODDICK: Physically?
Q. Yes. Is it a significant time factor, that four years, in your recovery compared to his?
ANDY RODDICK: Not yet. I'm sure when I'm 30 it will be. You know, you can look at it in years. Also matches played. I've played a lot more in my career. But, you know, I'm looking at it as far as a two-day thing, not a years thing.
At this point I feel fit and I feel healthy. You know, I'm in better shape now than I was when I was 24. Shouldn't be too much of a factor.
Q. Lleyton Hewitt thinks you'll have to play a helluva match to beat Andy Murray, thinking you're very much the underdog in this game.
ANDY RODDICK: That's fine.
Q. Do you feel that way? Do you agree with that?
ANDY RODDICK: I don't know. I'm not here to make predictions. That's you.
Q. You hit 43 aces in the match. You came up with huge serves. Impossible to point out which was the biggest. Can you talk about your serving, what role that played in the match.
ANDY RODDICK: Yeah, I mean, you know, obviously from a return standpoint, he's gonna do that better than I am most times in a match. You know, I kind of have to. I have to serve better to handle my service games.
Q. Were you consciously going for more?
ANDY RODDICK: No. You know, it's not rare for me to hit aces or hit the serve hard.
You know, again, I'm happy with my percentages. I've been above 70% the whole time. I feel like with my first serve, if I'm up there, you know, then I'll hold my fair share.
Q. Take us through the break game in the fifth set. Pretty incredible. Two fighters. Not certain which way the match is going to go.
ANDY RODDICK: Yeah, I played a lot better in the fifth than I did probably, you know, from the second on. I returned a lot better. Even had looks early in the set. He came up with some good serves.
You know, but I kind of just went for my shots a little bit more. He hit one kind of bad forehand that let me get a look. You know, that was kind of it. At that point I don't know what separates it from one of the games where you're close and you don't break. You know, it's just a matter of points going the right way there.
Q. Did he surprise you? Because he seemed to get injured midway through the second set, but he kept going.
ANDY RODDICK: Yeah, I noticed it in the fourth, the fourth set. But he actually had treatment for it I think the other day against Stepanek, as well, if I'm not mistaken.
If anything, I mean, props to him, because he made the adjustment. He wasn't retrieving as much. He started kind of stepping into the middle of the court, you know, almost playing freer. He was kind of bullying the ball around a little bit more.
You know, he certainly made a pretty smart adjustment there and gave me something else to deal with.
Q. Is there a more mentally tough opponent out there than Lleyton Hewitt?
ANDY RODDICK: He's certainly up there.
Q. You've had many games with Andy. Where would you put his return of serve, given it's such a massive part of your game, the serving option?
ANDY RODDICK: Yeah, I mean, it's tough. You know, obviously when you get to the top returners, it's tough to pick much between them. But he's certainly in the conversation among the best returners.
Q. If it should rain on Friday and the roof is required - I'm sure you don't want to think about this - but do you have any concerns about taking a few moments to get used to how the ball might behave, or the fact that Murray has had a chance to experience that?
ANDY RODDICK: Obviously, I'd kind of rather know what I was in for than have it be a surprise. But that's not really something I have too much control over. You know, you just deal with it the best you can.
Q. Andy said it's very humid in there and the court plays a bit slower. If they do have to use the roof, is that going to play against you Friday?
ANDY RODDICK: We'll see.
Q. You've had some trouble with Murray since you started playing. The rivalry has evolved. You played him eight times. Do you have to play your best, best, best? And has your game improved enough during this year when you face him to get him if he's playing at a high level?
ANDY RODDICK: Yeah, let's not -- Andy has been playing great. You know, he's certainly kind of come into his own as a player. I'm gonna go out and play a match. With my serve, I can give myself a chance, you know, in any match. I've been in this situation many times, you know.
Again, I'm not gonna predict anything. I'm gonna have to play well, and hopefully he would probably say the same. You know, so we'll get to it.
Q. You said when you came off the court that you felt like you've been out of the picture. Do you feel now with two slam semifinals that you are back in the picture?
ANDY RODDICK: Getting closer.
Q. Do you step on the court and think of yourself as the best server in tennis?
ANDY RODDICK: Karlovic is the best serve in tennis. There's not much I can do. You know, I'm giving up eight inches there. That's not a good matchup for me. Karlovic is the best server in tennis.
Q. We're unused to this kind of weather in this country. Is it fair to say you kind of grew up in this kind of stuff, your tennis education anyway?
ANDY RODDICK: No, this is cold from where I come from.
Q. So this really is nothing to you?
ANDY RODDICK: No. I mean, I grew up in Florida and Texas. It gets offensively hot in both places. You know, I'm not too concerned about the heat, to be honest.
Q. What are you expecting from the crowd? What do you think the atmosphere is going to be like here playing against Andy Murray in a semi?
ANDY RODDICK: I'm looking forward to it obviously. We might be able to count the people for me on this hand. But I think it will certainly be something to remember. I think the crowd's gonna be electric. I think it's gonna be a great atmosphere, and one that I can certainly appreciate, even if it's not for me.
I'm just gonna pretend when they say, C'mon, Andy, that they mean me (smiling).
Q. Last year after your tough loss, you said it was like watching a Rolling Stone concert from the eighth row when you're used to seeing it from the first row. What row are you in now?
ANDY RODDICK: Getting closer. I can see what Mick Jagger is wearing now.
Q. Who do you think Rick Astley will be rooting for?
ANDY RODDICK: Hardcore journalism. We have a show called 20/20 back home where they ask questions like that. Just hardcore.
Q. What is your assessment of how Andy Murray has improved since this time last year?
ANDY RODDICK: I think this tournament did wonders for him last year. You know, especially the Gasquet match. Everyone knew -- I think everyone thought it was going to be a matter of time. He's certainly capable of hitting all the shots. It's just a matter of being able to do it day after day now.
You know, there's a certain comfort level where you go out there and it's like second nature. I think he's acquired that since last year here.
Q. Is it possible to grind with him and win?
ANDY RODDICK: You're gonna have to do some of it. You're gonna have to. You know, obviously I'm not gonna get into a match where we're both trying to poke the ball around on the court. That probably wouldn't work. But you're gonna have to do it at certain times, for sure.
Q. What are your thoughts on Roger now reaching the 21st straight semifinal?
ANDY RODDICK: I mean, it's almost impossible. That's one of the most impressive stats that we'll see in tennis. 2004 at Roland Garros, correct, is the last time? I mean, that's impressive, to say the least.
Q. What do you think are the weaknesses of Andy Murray's game?
ANDY RODDICK: That's one of the things. He doesn't really have a lot of weaknesses, or any for that matter. He's improved his serve a lot. He returns well.
You know, but to be fair, once you get into the top part of the game, that's why a lot of the guys are up there.
Q. Are you an admirer of Murray? Do you like his style?
ANDY RODDICK: Yeah, I mean, listen, I know how hard this game is, so anybody who is near the top of it certainly has my respect. I mean, I know what goes into it and what it takes on a daily basis - not just here in front of you all - but, you know, when there's not a lot of fanfare, when you have to work.
So, certainly I have a lot of respect for that.
Q. What do you respect and admire most about the Williams sisters on the other side, the way they've dominated here?
ANDY RODDICK: It's tough for me to separate the girls I've known since I was nine. I just get real proud when I see 'em. I knew 'em when they were 10, 11 years old. To see the way they worked back then, you know, kind of seeing them reap the benefits now.
You know, I don't know how many times people have closed the door on 'em, they're still here and still kind of making Wimbledon theirs in a way. So it's pretty cool to see.
Q. How does your maturity play into a match like that? Do you feel almost a sense of calm at all?
ANDY RODDICK: I'll let you know when I have some.
End of FastScripts