January 21, 2004
THE MODERATOR: Questions for Andy.
Q. I noticed that you still like to play the ball between your legs sometimes, it entertains the crowd. Has anybody said that maybe a No. 1 player should sort of eliminate that from their game?
ANDY RODDICK: No.
Q. Just part of your game?
ANDY RODDICK: It's a number. I mean, I hit that shot better than a roundabout forehand trying to pass a guy. No, the thought, you know, "Don't hit the shot because you're No. 1 in the world" did not cross my mind.
Q. Albert Costa says there's a climate of fear settled over the game. Do you feel that climate of fear?
ANDY RODDICK: "Climate of fear?" I'm pretty happy. Obviously, you're always wary of the worst case scenario, especially with the attention that's been brought to it. I think you just got to go about your business as normal.
Q. Are you not extra careful? Even Andre was saying the hand lotion he had to put on his hand...
ANDY RODDICK: I've heard Tinactin for athletes foot, Sudafed. There's just a million things you would never even think of. Luckily, you know, the trainer that I have now worked for the ATP last year, so I kind of, you know, have an in-house critic, I guess.
Q. So you are a little more vigilant than you must have been?
ANDY RODDICK: Sure, absolutely. When you hear about the stuff that can possibly get you in trouble, it's a little scary. It's probably stuff that you guys use on a daily basis. But you just have to be aware, and I think that's the most important thing.
Q. Can you talk about Taylor, about that match-up, how his game has progressed this year?
ANDY RODDICK: Taylor, I see a great year for Taylor ahead. He's got everything. I mean, he can break serve, he serves big. You know, I think it's just a matter of it coming together for him. Hopefully he'll delay it for a couple more days, if he gets through that one. You know, I've lost to him and I've lost to Chela before. It's definitely a big match for me, the next one.
Q. Do you sometimes get to a point in your matches where you're comfortable, in control, so on the service line you say, "See if I can hit this out of the world"?
ANDY RODDICK: Not really. I mean, my serve felt great today. So, you know, obviously I didn't use so many of the kicks, you know, too many of the slices, because I felt like I was hitting my big one pretty well. So, you know, that kind of goes -- you have to feel out what serves you're hitting well on a given day.
Q. Do you feel more confident this year than you did last year? Last year you had a great Open here, too. How much further would you say your game has advanced since then?
ANDY RODDICK: I think the biggest difference is when I don't feel like I'm playing that well, I still kind of have an underlying confidence, whereas before maybe I would have panicked a little bit more. I think that's where the main difference is.
Q. You lost the match 21-19 last year. It was a wonderful match.
ANDY RODDICK: I won that one.
Q. Sorry, you're not the Moroccan fellow, are you?
ANDY RODDICK: I know we look alike. It's tough to tell us apart. You're a professional, Bud, you're better than that, come on (laughter).
Q. Do you have a special feeling for that court out there?
ANDY RODDICK: I got asked that question the other day. It's weird, because, you know, a day session at a court and a night session at a court are almost two totally different things. So, you know, I haven't really -- obviously, there are familiar things. Walking out there is very familiar. But it hasn't crossed my mind too much this tournament.
Q. All those Americans bunched up in the top half of the draw.
ANDY RODDICK: I didn't really notice it until obviously Brad scopes the draw out and comes up with little things to say (laughter). It's coincidence, I guess. That's the way the draw works out sometimes.
End of FastScriptsâ€¦.