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February 2, 2012

Andy Roddick

GREG SHARKO:  Good afternoon and thanks for joining in for today's call with three‑time SAP Open champion Andy Roddick, who joins us from Austin, Texas.  Andy won titles in 2004, 2005 and 2008 and was runner‑up in 2010.  Andy will be making his 10th appearance in the Bay Area and he has a 32‑6 career record at the SAP Open.
Last season Andy earned his 30th career title on the ATP World Tour in Memphis and extended his title streak to 11 consecutive years, joining Roger Federer as the only active player to accomplish that feat.
Following San Jose, Andy will participate in Memphis where he is also a three‑time champion and he'll be playing there for the 12th straight year.
Before we open it up for questions, I'd like to introduce the SAP Open tournament director Bill Rapp.
BILL RAPP:  Andy, thanks for joining us today.  We're looking forward to having you back in San Jose.  I know you're looking forward for your fourth title here.  Can you talk about some of your best memories here in San Jose.
ANDY RODDICK:  Yeah, sure.
You know, it's been a place that I've always certainly enjoyed playing.  I think anyplace you go back to and you've won three times, there's obviously plenty of great memories.
My favorite is probably when I got to play Mardy in the final.  Everyone knows our story and our history.  He had actually broken through.  He wasn't ranked super high going into that tournament, so it was fun for me to play him then.
GREG SHARKO:  Peter Lebedevs is the tournament director in Memphis.  Any comments?
PETER LEBEDEVS:  Andy, thanks for being on the call and we appreciate what you created for us last year at our event.  You weren't feeling so good, but walked out and had probably our best final ever, to win your 30th title.  We had the shot heard around the world.  Tell us about what it was like to play that match last year and how that shot ranks up there in all of your playing days.
ANDY RODDICK:  Well, I said right afterwards, it's probably the same as it will be for my life, but considering the circumstance of having a championship point at a big event, you get so few chances to break a guy like Raonic, so to have it end on a diving shot like that.  Listen, there's probably about 10% skill and 90% luck on that one.  I used all 90% of that luck.  But it was a shot I certainly couldn't believe at the time.
As far as the match went, I distinctly remember talking to you about 20 minutes before the match saying, I don't know if this is a go.  I didn't feel great.  But with the history I've had there, there was going to be no further harm with me going out and giving it a go.  Two and a half hours later, it proved to be worth it.
PETER LEBEDEVS:  I can't say how cool that was for us to see that.  About a month later I see the final in Australia, the shot looked just as good then.  Should have been number one.  We're glad to have you back again, mate.
ANDY RODDICK:  Listen, if that's not the number one shot for the year, I'll never get it.
PETER LEBEDEVS:  That's what we thought.  The final point after two and a half hours.
GREG SHARKO:  Thanks, Peter.
We'll open it up for questions now.

Q.  I noticed you were doing a lot of radio lately.  Is that trying to take advantage of opportunities or are you at a stage where you're preparing for life after tennis?
ANDY RODDICK:  I don't know if that has to be an either/or question.  It's certainly something that I'm interested in, that I enjoy doing.
I think it would be foolish not to leverage kind of relevancy in tennis right now towards something that I can probably do for a long time afterwards.  I'm not contracted every single week, so there is some wiggle room.  I plan on hopefully being in some semifinals down the road.  But it's something I've definitely enjoyed doing so far.

Q.  Andy, how is your hamstring?  Is it a concern at all?  Have you recovered?
ANDY RODDICK:  No, it's a concern.  I haven't hit a ball since Australia.  We've just been working on different types of treatments trying to get it right.  The MRI came back probably not as good as we were hoping.  But I'm hoping to be hitting balls for the first time next Monday.  If all goes well there, that should be plenty of time to be ready.  Bill was nice enough to confirm a Wednesday night start for me in San Jose, so that gives me a little extra time.
If all goes well on Monday, I should have a good seven, eight, nine days to hit balls beforehand and I think that should be enough.

Q.  What did the MRI show?
ANDY RODDICK:  There's a partial tear in the hamstring tendon.

Q.  You spoke about playing in San Jose, playing in Memphis.  If I have your schedule right, you're also going to be playing in the Garden.  Such a special venue.  What is it going to be like for you to play there?
ANDY RODDICK:  It's huge.  I probably would have never admitted this during the negotiation, but it's a place I'd want to play just to play in it (laughter).  I think we're certainly all aware that the biggest names in every industry have been through there at one time or another.  It's probably one of a handful in the world.  To play Roger, it will be great.

Q.  What do you have to do to break down Roger?  How do you attack him?
ANDY RODDICK:  Oh, you know, if I figured that out by now, I would have had a couple of Wimbledons.

Q.  Talk about the Novak/Rafa matchup, why Djokovic has an advantage over Nadal at least for now.
ANDY RODDICK:  Obviously Novak is playing great.  The top four are so far ahead of everybody else right now, it's a very wide gap.  But inside of that four there seems to be pretty clear‑cut matchups that favor somebody.  Roger I think has won the majority against Novak, even through this streak, let's say the last year and a half.
With Rafa, I think the one pattern that seems that works against Roger that doesn't really work as much against Novak isn't really the big shots.  Against Roger, he kind of has the out ball where he can roll a short forehand cross‑court and it gets up a little bit, even if it lands on the service line.  Roger doesn't have weaknesses, but that high backhand probably isn't a strength.  I think that's the one out ball that Rafa can maybe feel comfortable with.

Q.  As a spectator, what did you think of the Australian final?  Was it one of the best matches you've ever seen?
ANDY RODDICK:  You know what, when I'm not at a tournament, I find it hard to set my alarm for 1 in the morning.  I'd be lying if I said I watched it in its entirety.
But just seeing what I did see, it almost looked like kind of the tennis you see when you play XBOX, where the guys really don't get tired and they just hit whatever shot they want.
It's pretty remarkable.  Probably at no time in my career, and I've been in pretty good shape throughout it, I'm not sure I could play back‑to‑back six‑hour matches of that intensity.  It's not like those guys were getting a lot of free points on their serves either.
What they're doing right now physically is impressive.

Q.  With all the success throughout your career, 30 titles, Grand Slam win, Davis Cup, at this stage what accomplishment has meant the most?
ANDY RODDICK:  Gosh, it's tough for me to single out one without feeling like I'm disrespecting something else.
I'd probably say the thing I'm most proud of is the body of work.  A lot of people have won a slam and they've been 1.  But a lot of times it's been in a four‑year window or five‑year window.  Mine has been in a 10‑year window.  My career win/loss is pretty high.  I'm close to 600 match wins, which is a pretty good number.  I'd love to be able to get that with you in Memphis, but I'd have to have a good San Jose first.
But I'm thankful for all of it.  I certainly have tried not to take any of it for granted.

Q.  Assess some of the potential talent that we're starting to see.
ANDY RODDICK:  'Potential' is a tough word.  You can look at a prospect and you can normally say whether or not a guy is going to be a top 30.  Some have the weapons to get there.  It's really unpredictable to say if someone is going to be top 10, and even more difficult to say if they're going to be a great player and in the top five consistently.
I don't know much about Jack's work habit.  But I know Ryan, he's down here in Austin.  He's doing all the things he should be doing as a professional.  He's on the right track as far as being a professional.  Now it's just a matter of getting the wins to come more often.

Q.  What do you think of the field in San Jose?  There's a lot of younger players, Raonic being one of them.  What do you think of the guys you might have to face?
ANDY RODDICK:  Gosh, you know what, I haven't even thought about it for two seconds because I'm so consumed with just trying to be ready myself.
The field looks stacked from what I see.  Obviously Milos is a force to be reckoned with.  The thing is, when you look through draws now as opposed to five, six, seven years ago, there's not a lot of really weak first rounds.  You used to be able to look at draws and say, I should be comfortable to a certain point.  I just think the depth in men's tennis has increased so much, that lends itself to stronger fields, which I think is better for fans.

Q.  With your 30th birthday coming up in August, do you feel a sense of urgency in your career?  Do you have any idea how much longer you'd like to play?
ANDY RODDICK:  To the second part, I don't think I'm going to get in the habit of addressing that every time I'm at a tournament.  That seems to be a no‑win situation for any athlete (laughter).
But I don't know that I feel a sense of urgency.  Honestly at this point, with health and everything else, I feel like I'm almost starting over.  I'm not really protecting anything.  My streak of top‑10 years is over.  There are a couple of short‑term goals.  I'd love to win a tournament, keep that going.  I'd love to get 600 wins sooner than later.
But as far as urgency, my only urgent thing right now is getting this hamstring right so I can try to play well in San Jose.

Q.  You mentioned how you were 90% luck on that match point in Memphis.  You've spoken before a let cord winner you had.  In terms of luck, what is the worst break you got in terms of a draw, rain delay, anything?
ANDY RODDICK:  Gee, I don't know.  There was a certain wind gust on a backhand volley at Wimbledon I'm thinking about (laughter).
You know, I don't know.  I don't know.  It would be a lot easier for me to point out the good luck than the bad luck.
The thing is, I haven't paid too much attention to draws.  The couple of best runs I've had in slams have been through the toughest draws.  A lot of times I put more on how I'm playing going in.  Most likely, you're going to come out even as far as that stuff goes.  Seems like when you're playing well, everything goes your way.  When it's tough, the bad luck kind of compounds itself.
I feel if you look at it as a career as a whole, it comes out right.

Q.  You're calling from Austin.  Can you talk a little bit about Texas, the culture of sports there and tennis in Texas.
ANDY RODDICK:  Yeah, I mean, obviously we have massive, massive pro sports are franchises here.  In Austin, UT is as big as you get.  I think the stadium might be bigger than any pro stadium.
Obviously football rules here.  Niche sports like cycling, tennis is getting bigger here.  There's a big sense of culture as far as sports go here.  I'm not a UT fan.  So one of my favorite things during football season, when they have home games, I know I'm going to be the only person on the golf course during game time (laughter).

Q.  Do you prefer two‑out‑of‑three sets or three‑out‑of‑five?
ANDY RODDICK:  Crap, nowadays, two‑out‑of‑three.  I'm having trouble getting through three‑out‑of‑five (laughter).
Yeah, I don't know.  You know what it is, I think it's more fair.  You don't see as many fluke upsets in three‑out‑of‑five sets.  It usually rights itself by the end of an afternoon.
We certainly couldn't play three‑out‑of‑five every week like those guys did last week.  It's just getting tougher and tougher and tougher and tougher.  I like elements of both.  But coming off of an injury, I'm certainly looking forward to maxing out at three sets the next couple of weeks.

Q.  How will your schedule in 2012 be different than two or three years ago?
ANDY RODDICK:  I don't think there's going to be as many events.  Maybe not two or three years ago, but even when I was 1, 2 in the world, in order to get there for me it took 24, 25 events, a full Davis Cup year, and everything in between.
I think the years of me playing 20 events are probably finished.  Right now I got to get healthy.  I don't think playing every single week is something that will lend itself to help that.

Q.  Does it seem like it's been 12 years consecutively in Memphis?
ANDY RODDICK:  At times yes.  At times no.  If I'm not mistaken, I've played that almost as many times as any other tournament except for maybe the US Open.  Certainly a lot of history there.
I didn't play as well there as I wanted to early in the career.  I kind of flip‑flopped.  Was really good in San Jose the first couple times I played it, average in Memphis those years.  Then I've been average in San Jose since '08 and played really well in Memphis.
Hopefully one of these years I'll get the double.

Q.  What is more startling to you, that Andy Murray with all his game still hasn't won a major or that Roger has actually been ranked No.3 and been camping there?  Which is more startling to you?
ANDY RODDICK:  No, I don't think the Roger thing is that startling.  One, the last thing I or any sane person will ever do is knock Roger for not winning enough.  It seems a little ludicrous.  Especially as long as he's done it, and to still be in that top echelon, give himself a chance every slam, it's pretty incredible.
But personally I hope Murray wins a slam at some point.  It used to be a thing where I didn't want guys to win a slam who haven't won one, because it was a selective group.  But he's too good not to.  I think already he's probably the best guy that hasn't won one ever with the game that he has.
I think he deserves to win one.  I think he should win one.  I think he will at some point.
GREG SHARKO:  All right, Andy, thanks for your time.  We look forward to seeing you in San Jose.  Any prediction on the game on Sunday?  We had John McEnroe's prediction.  Any thoughts?
ANDY RODDICK:  I'm pretty sure I know who John picked considering his geographical location.
When I analyze the game, everything in me tells me Giants, but I cannot go against the Patriots.  I feel like they're going to get it done.
GREG SHARKO:  Thank you.  Thanks again, everyone.  We'll see you soon.

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