January 15, 2006
THE MODERATOR: First question, please.
Q. In terms of preparation, how would you say you would sum up the week? Where do you think you stand going into this Slam?
ANDY RODDICK: The week was good, but preparation started, you know, a little while before that. You know, I feel good. I feel fit. You know, I'm excited to get it going.
Q. How do you compare your form to last year at this time?
ANDY RODDICK: I feel more prepared. Last year, you know, I didn't -- we played Davis Cup in December, so by the time this came around, you know, it felt pretty quick to me. I definitely feel like I did more due diligence this year, was a little more ready to go and had a little bit more time to prepare on my terms.
Q. The success of people at Kooyong in the last few years leading into the Australian Open, it's widely suggested now that it's the ideal preparation to come through the final at Kooyong. How do you see it?
ANDY RODDICK: Those are numbers. As much as I'd like for them to, they don't put the ball in between the lines for you. It's just statistics. I guess it's fun to write about. But I think, you know, people say the Kooyong champion, well, Kooyong has had a long history of having the top players of the world participate in their event. I think that's more of an indicator of why the Kooyong champ goes on to play well. If you have Roger or Agassi or Sampras, those guys in the field, chances are someone from that event's going to go on and do well and possibly win the Australian Open.
Q. The match yesterday was pretty tight at various points. Do you take some heart out of coming through that? You seemed to play the bigger points better than Tommy.
ANDY RODDICK: Yeah, I mean, you take a little bit out of it. It was good because there was a pretty big crowd there. You know, it was definitely a great -- you know, felt like a match situation, which was good. I think that's the biggest thing. You just want to get your legs under you and play. You know, you can't simulate a crowd or ball-boys or an umpire or something like that just in practice. So it was good preparation in that aspect.
Q. How does that court there play compared to the courts here?
ANDY RODDICK: Very similar actually. It's a little windier over there because obviously it doesn't have the protection that the stadium does here. I've gone back and forth all week, and I really haven't noticed -- I haven't noticed too much of a difference.
Q. Every day since the US Open, somebody stops me and says, "What is going on with Roddick?" I say, "I don't know. I'll ask him."
ANDY RODDICK: Aren't you bored with that question yet, Bud? You have to get bored with that. It's got to be four months now. Jesus, Christ. I'm very happy, pretty happy to be living the life I'm living. Nothing is really wrong with me. You?
Q. A lot. You don't want to hear about it.
ANDY RODDICK: No.
Q. And the other is your approach to the game. What were you doing or trying to do different from that?
ANDY RODDICK: I'm just trying to bring a little bit of a more aggressive mindset into this year, not play what I call passive/aggressiveness, you know. We'll see. I feel probably more excited to start this year than I ever have before. I'm just going to go out there. I've put in the work. I'm going to go out there and give it my best.
Q. Are you doing anything different in your training? Have you altered much?
ANDY RODDICK: Well, I just had a defined six-week window this year where I could, you know, train every day and do my conditioning every day. I kind of knew what was ahead of me. That was nice. That's something I haven't had the luxury of doing before.
Q. Do you feel as though we haven't seen the best of Andy Roddick yet?
ANDY RODDICK: No, I don't think so. I certainly hope not. I wouldn't be out here training and, you know, trying to improve if I thought that was the case.
Q. Is there anything to glean from that match at The Open, or do you block it out?
ANDY RODDICK: No, I try to use it as a positive. It really pissed me off. It put a little bit of a chip on my shoulder, I guess. I don't know if it will end up being a blessing in disguise or not. I haven't felt as motivated as I have, you know, let's say a month after that, for a while. You know, it's part of it. It's probably the most disappointing loss I've had. You know, I was talking to my parents and a bunch of other people. They say it's how you bounce back from something like that. You can either kind of lay down or try to turn it around. You know, I've chosen the latter. We'll see how it goes.
Q. What do you know about your first-round opponent?
ANDY RODDICK: Well, he is my age, so I saw him in Juniors some. I mean, I know how he played back then. He has a one-handed backhand, righty. Plays a pretty good all-around game, has nice feel around the court. He's got three matches behind him from quallies, which is the one advantage that they have over us coming in.
Q. How do you approach the two weeks? Do you set yourself benchmarks and have a look at the draw? Some players don't go past week one, day one. Do you have a bit of a glance, look ahead, as to where you're sitting in the draw, how you're approaching it?
ANDY RODDICK: No. I mean, we get asked about possible match-ups down the road and all that, but I'm worried about Michael Lammer right now. That's the honest truth. I want to get through that one and then just keep going. I know it's boring for you guys to hear us say that time after time, but that's the way we look at it. It's your job to dissect, and the what ifs, what happens, he said this person about that, therefore, whatever. We're just trying to win tennis matches.
Q. When you go through your training, how much of your idle thoughts are spent pondering Roger Federer's game, the things that you're doing, how it will equate when you run into him, as eventually you will at some point?
ANDY RODDICK: I mean, you think about it just because you're trying to shoot for the best. Obviously, he's established himself as that in the last couple of years. Am I obsessed with it? Do I have pictures on my wall or something? No.
Q. Dart board?
ANDY RODDICK: No, not even that yet (laughter). I think you have to be self-motivated enough first and foremost. You know, I'm gearing my training towards just becoming better with everyone. I'm not good enough to just worry about one guy. I have to worry about a whole lot of guys.
Q. You said you wanted to be more or less passive/aggressive? I didn't understand that.
ANDY RODDICK: No, sorry. I want to be more aggressive as opposed to pretending to be aggressive.
Q. In practical terms, what is the difference we'll see this tournament?
ANDY RODDICK: I think it's more of a mindset, going after people, going after shots, committing to your shots a little bit more, kind of taking it to the person. I think it's more of a mindset than anything.
Q. When you talk about aggression, has there been more work on your volley?
ANDY RODDICK: Yeah, I mean, there's been work on my volleying. I get asked a lot about it. People hear the term "aggression," for me for some reason they equate that with serving and volleying, doing that stuff. I think it can be incorporated more in probably transition. Serving and volleying, I don't have problems holding most times. I've led the tour in that the last four years. I think it has more to do with other areas of my game.
Q. Chipping and coming in?
ANDY RODDICK: Chipping and coming in? Have you seen my chip? No. I don't know. Not just chipping. Other things.
Q. You say "transition." In other words, trying to get to the net?
ANDY RODDICK: If the opportunity presents itself, yeah. I'm not going to force it. But if it's there, yes, being able to do that.
Q. Do you want to see more technology for the line calls in tennis?
ANDY RODDICK: Yeah, I'm in favor of it. If we have the technology to eliminate mistakes, I'm not sure why it wouldn't be used. And I think from a fan's perspective, if I was watching, I'd think it was cool if you could throw something and challenge something. I think it would add a little sense of drama to it. You know, I think it would just add another dynamic to watching it on television, as well.
Q. Are you playing your year any differently? You had a bit of an injury the end of last year. Are you going to have more weeks off or plan it differently?
ANDY RODDICK: Not really. I mean, I've been pretty lucky to avoid major injuries so far. I don't know. I mean, I think that's something you kind of have to -- I don't know if you can plan in January what you're going to do come July. I think you kind of have to listen to your body a little bit. That has to be a decision that can be made along the way a little bit more.
Q. Basically the same as usual? You probably won't play Monte-Carlo.
ANDY RODDICK: To be honest, I haven't thought about Monte-Carlo. I'm thinking about Australia right now. Like I said, it's tough for me to make decisions that are going to come up in May right now.
Q. Would it be fair to say that you've not started a year feeling as good about yourself as you probably will this year for quite some time? Would that be off the mark?
ANDY RODDICK: I don't know. I mean, I feel good now. I'm more prepared now than I have been in the past. But that doesn't always mean -- that doesn't always mean instant success, or translate into instant success. All you can do is kind of put yourself in position and try to give yourself every advantage. I feel like I've done that in the last couple of months. I'm really excited to get out there and start this year.
End of FastScriptsâ€¦.