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February 12, 2006
LA JOLLA, CALIFORNIA
TIM CURRY: Questions for Andy.
Q. How satisfying is it for you to finish a tie 2-1 up?
ANDY RODDICK: Yeah, I mean, I tried to put, you know, whatever happened Friday aside. It's just always nice to be able to clinch a tie. You know, I'm lucky enough that my teammates put me in position to do so.
Q. How did you feel about your game today?
ANDY RODDICK: I feel it was all right. I didn't serve well. My percentage was probably really, really low. I hit some really bad ones.
But put a lot of returns in the court and didn't give away a lot of easy points, and controlled the forehand. So that's what you're looking for.
Q. How are you feeling physically today?
ANDY RODDICK: I feel okay. I'm glad I wasn't extended, you know, too much. I kind of put it on cruise control early and was trying to not overexert energy between points. I felt fine, but I wasn't wanting to test it too much and find out how deep I could go.
Q. Can you tell us what your reaction was when you officially found out you would be facing Sabau and not Hanescu?
ANDY RODDICK: Well, I figured -- I kind of put two and two together last night with Hanescu getting hurt. Then we came out and watched practice, and Sabau was hitting with Pavel on the stadium, so that kind of ruled out Tecau.
I mean, didn't really change my outlook too much. I figured if I play good tennis, I like my chances against either one.
But, you know, you just got to -- I was going out and trying to win three sets regardless of who it was against.
Q. Few things. First of all, you're still on for Tuesday in San Jose?
ANDY RODDICK: Yeah.
Q. If you had to say one thing that you learned from this week, what would that be?
ANDY RODDICK: Uhm, oh, I don't know. Don't puke. Hold it (laughing).
I don't know. You know, I think the thing that's nice now is we have a good team, so I don't have to win every match in singles. I think that shows, where I can lose a match and the other guys just step up and take care of business, you know, like it's no big deal. That's nice to know.
Q. Is it now becoming really comfortable with the Bryans and James? Is there a comfort level?
ANDY RODDICK: Yeah. I mean, it's great having the Bryans on board. I remember my first couple ties, it was always, you know, who was gonna play doubles, and you try different formations during the week and, you know, you feel like you're auditioning during practice. You know, so it's nice. You know they're going to come in, and it's like sending Rivera in there, you know they're most likely going to get the job done. You can really just focus on the task at hand for yourself.
Q. Andy, can you talk a little bit about the facility last year and the facility this year, what it's like to play in this place?
ANDY RODDICK: I think it's great. I've always said that, you know, I'd rather play in an intimate environment, have it packed and have people being enthusiastic rather than Carson where it was kind of sparse and where you felt like you were kind of struggling to get going a little bit.
It was great. You know, we're sitting here, right on the beach, walking distance to the stadium. It was all so convenient and really well-run. They treated us great. So, you know, I think it was a perfect venue for an opening round tie.
Q. Was the strategy just go out there, play conservative, see if you could hit winners, just attack if you had to?
ANDY RODDICK: Yeah, I was going to make him earn it. I wasn't going to go and try to beat the cover off the ball today and, you know, kind of not know what happened. I wanted to see if he could create. Early on, I was doing some slices, wasn't in a rush to finish points off as quickly, and, you know, said if he could do it consistently, then you switch it up a little bit.
But, you know, that was part of the plan. I wanted to see if he could create on an outdoor hard court.
Q. Do you have any idea as to what made you ill the other day? Is there anything you can put your finger on yet?
ANDY RODDICK: I don't know. I don't know if it was something I ate. Even yesterday -- I felt it might have just been something -- even yesterday I was feeling it a little bit, having trouble getting food down until last night. My appetite kind of came back, and I ate a huge dinner which was nice and kind of put me at peace of mind.
I don't know if I can pinpoint one thing.
Q. What was the dinner?
ANDY RODDICK: A nice thick steak and some vegetables.
Q. Even though you dominate games and matches, do you ever feel like you get unfocused and lose concentration during certain matches lately?
ANDY RODDICK: I don't know. I'll be sure to think about it from now on.
No, possibly. I might have let it go a little bit today, but I think it had to do more with me not serving well than losing focus.
Q. Did you feel you were determined to prove something?
ANDY RODDICK: No, no. I wasn't trying to prove anything out there today. You know, it's just a matter of I think after something like Friday happens, you just have to make your mind up that you're going to go out there and play. If I would have given it the "Maybe we'll see how it goes," I think you have to make your mind up that you're going to go out there and give it your best shot. I don't know if I had anything to prove, that's not the message I was trying to get across the other day.
Q. Emotionally, you seemed to try to keep yourself calm out there on the court. In the first match there were a lot of fist pumps. Even that nice volley, you made it to the net, you were low-key in your reaction. Was that part of keeping the physical stuff that happened on Friday away?
ANDY RODDICK: Like I said, I was just trying to maintain energy and get (inaudible) and keep an even keel out there today. I felt horrible the other day after my match. I didn't want to test those waters. It would have been useless for me to, you know, throw around energy that didn't need to be thrown around.
Q. I heard you are lobbying for a grass court for the next round. How much of an advantage do you think that will be not just for you, but for the U.S. team, and how much influence do you think you'll have on that decision?
ANDY RODDICK: I don't know. We'll see how much influence I have on that decision.
I think it's big. For me, it would be an advantage. Grass is probably my best surface. James, you know, I don't know, he might prefer a hard court. I'm not sure. But in the doubles, I think it's huge as well. I mean, I think actually Mike and Bob might have lost to Massu and Gonzalez at the Olympics. I think they did. I don't know how well Massu and Gonzalez would be able to stay back and crush forehands on a grass court as opposed to a hard court.
So, you know, as far as Xs and Os, I feel like a grass court would be the best surface for us.
Q. You spoke so highly of this site just a moment ago. Can you take a moment and think back. Is this the best American site you've played at overall?
ANDY RODDICK: Oh, that's tough to say. A lot of hard work goes into every city that we play at. Delray was a great tie, you know.
But, like I said, I felt this was a great venue for a first-round tie. You know, it's nice to know that we have 5,200 seats and it's sold out. You look back with regret that it could have been maybe even bigger. But maybe they'll put that on the back burner and maybe we'll be able to come back here some time.
Q. Have you thought about the even-keel strategy going on court, or is it that your intensity level does not allow you to stay calm?
ANDY RODDICK: Yeah, I mean, it's a constant learning process. I don't know if you can do one thing all the time. I mean, even, you know, the calmest guys, you know, you see Pete get fired up sometimes. But I think it's something that can definitely be learned, and especially in Davis Cup matches when tensions are high, kind of just learn how to take it down a little bit. Maybe today was a start of it, who knows.
Q. I know you want to play on grass. Do you have any preferences where you'd like to play?
ANDY RODDICK: I don't know the options, to be honest. You know, it would have to be someplace warm enough to play outdoors and on a grass court. I don't know which of the various -- few places actually have grass.
Q. Seems like you like Houston.
ANDY RODDICK: I think the tie is actually the weekend before the clay court event there, so I'm guessing that would be a conflict of interests for Jim. That would be great. They've put on a great tie before, but I don't see that happening right now if I had to guess.
Q. Richmond Hills?
ANDY RODDICK: Honestly, you guys' guess is as good as mine right now. We haven't talked about it. We just clinched it a half hour ago, so there's not a whole lot of talk about site.
You know, I can only say, you know, what surface I think would be best for the team, and I say that. Beyond that, I really don't have any clue.
Q. Do you like the responsibility of being the leader of this team?
ANDY RODDICK: I don't know. I think that's something that other people like to talk about a lot more than we ever talk about. I don't know if I feel like a leader. I think we're all kind of -- I view us all as equals. I know I've been on the team the longest, but I'm still the youngest by three or four years. So, you know, it's a little different, but I kind of view us all as equals. If I do lead, then that's great. But, you know, I certainly didn't lead on Friday, so they kind of took over and I think, you know, James and the Bryans really led me through this one.
Q. This particular group of four guys, you guys have won this tie. Could this group play all year together?
ANDY RODDICK: It could, yeah.
Q. You've got possibly another home tie coming up, probably a semifinal if France beats Russia at home.
ANDY RODDICK: Could, yeah. Are you asking if I think this team could win?
ANDY RODDICK: Yes, I do. Will we? I hope so, you know.
I think we have the players and the chemistry to win. That's a lot easier said than done, you know. But I'm confident in our team's abilities.
Q. After your experience here Friday, I tried to put myself in your position.
ANDY RODDICK: Really? How did you do that (laughter)?
Q. Anyhow --
ANDY RODDICK: How did you do that? I'm just curious.
Q. I tried to imagine how I would feel if I had to play another tennis match after experiencing what you had experienced on Friday. I imagined there would be a lot of apprehension. Did you have any of that today?
ANDY RODDICK: No, not today. I was more worried about it after the match then, and then yesterday when we were kind of doing everything in our powers to -- we called it "Operation Resuscitation" (laughing).
So I was a little more -- I was just kind of nervous on how I would pull up, not knowing -- just kind of fear of the unknown, of how I would feel, and how it would affect me physically going into today.
But further than that, there wasn't much apprehension.
Q. Who came up with that term "Operation Resuscitation"?
ANDY RODDICK: I did. I called Doug in the morning. I woke up, I don't know, like 8 or 8:15. He wasn't up yet. I just left a message. I go, "Doug, it's time to go over our plan for Operation Resuscitation."
Q. How important was it to finish the match in three sets? Had you gone four or five, would you have physically been able to go through?
ANDY RODDICK: I think so. I was, you know, as we've discussed already, I was pretty relaxed out there. I wasn't feeling any ill effects because, you know, like I said, I wasn't exerting a lot of useless energy out there.
But that being said, I didn't want to find out.
Q. Could you talk a minute about James. He's such a talent. Do you think he has the game and the whole package to win a major?
ANDY RODDICK: I hope so. I mean, I think so. You know, a lot of people are having trouble winning majors because of a guy named Roger right now. I definitely think James' best tennis is ahead of him. The way he moves and the way he strikes the ball and how good of an athlete he is, on paper, he's a lot better than most guys.
Q. Are you surprised James is playing this meaningless match now against Tecau?
ANDY RODDICK: Not really.
Q. Instead of one of the Bryan brothers?
ANDY RODDICK: I don't know what the difference is between James playing a meaningless tie or Bob and Mike playing a meaningless tie. Maybe he just feels he's playing on Tuesday, might as well get a match in. We've all done it before. None of us are really known for skipping the dead rubbers. You know, Mike gets beat up a little bit, so it might have been Bob, but I don't know. I think they might have been out celebrating, so I think it was James' duty. You didn't hear that from me (laughing).
Q. Andy, five ties in a row for the United States -- six ties. Do you like that role?
ANDY RODDICK: I don't know. I hadn't thought about it really. You know, it's funny because we're oblivious to a lot of this stuff until it gets brought up or brought to our attention. I mean, it's nice. I want it to keep going but, you know, I don't see how my win is any different from any of the other three that we got. I think it's just timing. I was maybe fortunate that I got my win when I did. I don't know.
Q. Would you have been upset if you were second up today and didn't get that shot?
ANDY RODDICK: You know, this is the one time where I don't really care. Win or lose, if we get three points, I'm happy. You know, it's a team event. You know, we're up 2-1, doesn't matter if I win or if James wins, as long as we're up. You know, it's nice to win, but as long as we get out of here with a win, then I give them a shot in the second round (inaudible).
Q. Davis Cup isn't as popular in the United States as it once was. Do you think a victory by the United States to win the Davis Cup might get that popularity up a little bit? And in your prediction of winning, how much of a motivation is that for you?
ANDY RODDICK: I don't know if I made a prediction. I was asked if I thought we had the ability to win.
I hope it would, you know. I really do. Because, you know, we go to these other countries and you see how it's just maniacal. It's the biggest thing there. When we played in Spain, we played in front of the biggest crowd in tennis history, which was crazy, and everybody knew about it. I mean, we'd go down the streets, you're getting booed and you'd be getting talked to. It was fun. It was crazy, but fun.
But I don't feel like that -- I don't feel like that's in the realm of possibility right now of, you know, if Victor Hanescu walked down the street, I don't know if anybody would say anything, you know (laughter).
ANDY RODDICK: Well, of course. I'm saying I wish the interest level was higher here in America for Davis Cup. You know, I feel like it is a good event and it's a team event and you can really get behind it and be patriotic. We're always committed to it. We're not, you know, begged to play or pulling out, or there's no speculation about whether we're going to play or not. It would be nice, you know. It would be real nice.
Maybe if we did, maybe it wouldn't hurt (inaudible).
Q. There's been continual discussion on format because Davis Cup is just so irregular, you don't know where it's going to be. Would you like to see a one-site Davis Cup or Round Robin every two years?
ANDY RODDICK: There's great ideas, and then there's how to put those great ideas into effect. If you go one site, you take away revenue. I mean, basically by Croatia winning last year, they can fund a junior tennis program now.
If you take that away from someone and put it all in kind of the same thing, split the money, are they going to be able to do that? Maybe it would promote more interest in the country and here in the U.S., but we have to realize this is the biggest level sporting event in the world as far as countries participating, so all countries need to be considered.
Like I said, Davis Cup has a lot of success everywhere else in the world. You know, that being said, I don't know if a better option would be playing over two years or over a year. But playing in one site, I think it would be crazy. It would be fun. It would be a great one-time event. But I don't know if that would benefit all parties involved.
Q. Would you keep your mind open to having Andre on the team, even if James kept playing as well as he has been and kept progressing?
ANDY RODDICK: Yeah, I think that's always an option. I think the nice thing now with, you know, some of the guys playing well, with Robby and Taylor and James, is that we have options, you know. You can kind of play the hot hand, which is what Patrick did here, you know. James has been playing well, so he played James.
That's out of my -- you know what the nice thing about that, though, is, is that it's out of my hands. I'll always welcome Andre. I'll always welcome James, you know. They're both good friends, and I'm glad I don't have to make that decision if I'm being honest (laughing).
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