April 11, 2004
DELRAY BEACH, FLORIDA
THE MODERATOR: Questions for Andy.
Q. That first set was a very big first set mentally for you, wasn't it?
ANDY RODDICK: Yeah, it was tough, you know. It was very similar to my first match. Jonas came out hitting the ball great, you know, and he was putting a lot of pressure on me. He was going for his shots. He was hitting his spots. He was making me think a lot out there. Luckily, I was able to get off to a very good start in the breaker, and that kind of propelled me forward.
Q. And your aggressiveness in the tiebreak, particularly the little bit surprising approach shot, made a great return off the backhand side at 5-2?
ANDY RODDICK: Yeah, I'd like to say that was a great approach shot, but the truth is, he's making that passing shot seven out of ten times. At least I thought I might surprise him, maybe throw something different that he wouldn't think I would do in a breaker. And, you know, it ended up paying off.
Q. Some of us heard your off-camera remark on the 152 mile-per-hour serve.
ANDY RODDICK: What did I say?
Q. It was orgasmic. Maybe you can give us your thoughts.
ANDY RODDICK: (Laughing). No, that wasn't the serve; that was the whole set, yeah. But, it's true. I felt great out there in the third set. I wasn't even thinking. It was just kind of like my instincts took over. You know, it just felt amazing. I mean, that's as clean as I've felt on the tennis court, you know, in a long time - and maybe ever. I mean, it's only a handful of times where you feel like whatever shot you're trying is working. Patrick said, when I kind of held the backhand a long time, then I kind of flipped a dink cross-court, "I don't know if you have that shot." I said, "I don't either, but don't tell anybody else."
Q. When you were down love-30, 3-4 in the first set, what was your mindset?
ANDY RODDICK: Obviously, a little frustrated because, you know, I don't like losing my serve twice in a set, much less two matches in a row. But, you know, at the same time I just wanted to keep making him play. I didn't want to start panicking. I just wanted to kind of stay the course and see what happened. I knew I had two more chances to maybe break, and I felt like I was hitting my returns really well. So, you know, I try not to think too far ahead, just put each return in and try to get a pass.
Q. Tell us about the last serve. Feel that one coming?
ANDY RODDICK: Yeah, you know, the other night when I, you know, was cranking them out there and they were coming up large, you know, I felt like I had it in me. But, you know, for most of the day I didn't get a chance because my off-speed stuff was a lot more effective than my big serves. But then I felt I'd take a crack at it the last game.
Q. How good did it feel to clinch the round for your country, and 10 minutes from home?
ANDY RODDICK: Yeah, that's amazing. It's definitely better than my other memories from Delray Beach here, that's for sure (smiling). But, you know, I was already kind of preparing to go to Australia after Miami, and I probably would have gotten there Wednesday and had to play Hewitt on Friday. So, you know, 10 minutes away from home, it's a better alternative.
Q. Can you compare winning this match with winning a big match in a tournament. Is it a different feeling winning this kind of a match, Davis Cup?
ANDY RODDICK: Yeah, it is. You get to share it with someone, you know. You have teammates that are all fired up. You have the crowd that was just amazing. I mean, sometimes after a point you could yell as loud as you wanted to, and no one could hear what you had to say anyways because they would just drown it out. The atmosphere was great. You know, even better when I'm playing for my friends and for my country as well, you know. It's a lot deeper than just a regular tournament.
Q. What's going through your mind after the matchpoint? You throw the racquet in the crowd, and step up into the stands.
ANDY RODDICK: Nothing really goes through your mind. It's just a bunch of chaos going on between my ears for a little while. I felt my teammates were up in the stands. Turns out they had sent them down to the court.
Q. You were looking for them?
ANDY RODDICK: Yeah, I was looking for them in the stands, and they were waiting for me when I got down. We just kind of started laughing. But, you know, I definitely wanted to share that with them, and I guess they were a little smarter than I was.
Q. Who were you high-fiving instead, just strangers?
ANDY RODDICK: No, no, no, that's our staff, that's our trainer, that's our masseuse, our equipment managers. You know, there are a lot more parts to this team than just the players. So there were still a lot of familiar faces there.
Q. What about Patrick do you most appreciate?
ANDY RODDICK: You know, we've gotten to know how to act around each other on the court, on the bench. I think he's definitely learned kind of when to step in, when to step out. He knows if I'm feeling good, just to kind of just let it go, kind of be a silent partner. And when I really need it, he's definitely there. We've definitely grown as a team on the court.
Q. So he was basically just a water boy in that third set?
ANDY RODDICK: No. Well, in the third set, yeah, I was feeling okay then. But, you know, he was definitely giving me encouragement in the first set saying, "You know what, he's playing great right now. Just weather the storm." That constant reassurance is definitely a big help.
Q. Jim Courier was here. Do you still get input from him, or is he here just as a fan?
ANDY RODDICK: You know, probably more as a fan right now. I mean, obviously, it's nice having him here. He hangs out with the team. It's nice having that option to go to if you need to. But it's amazing how great he is, you know. He's a four-time Grand Slam Champion, No. 1 in the world, and he doesn't miss a Davis Cup tie - even if it's just to come to watch, support us, that's definitely pretty cool.
Q. How long will it be before you begin to look forward to your clay court season?
ANDY RODDICK: Well, considering my clay court season starts Tuesday, I better start thinking about it pretty soon.
Q. What stops will you make?
ANDY RODDICK: I'm not sure. You know, I've played a lot of tennis this year so far. So, you know, first and foremost I got to take care of my body then, you know, we'll see what happens after that.
Q. Before that last service game, you were down on the end of the court where the Swedish rooting section was. You had a running conversation going with them. Did that pump you up for that last service game?
ANDY RODDICK: Little bit. It's one thing to heckle; it's another thing to heckle when you're down two-sets-to-love and 4-0. So, you know, I just wanted to kind of reiterate that that wasn't the best time to get on someone (smiling).
Q. With three majors and five months between now and the next time you play Davis Cup, do you have a momentum carryover?
ANDY RODDICK: From this? No, it's a new tie. Obviously, we feel our chemistry just goes stronger and stronger. We feel like we have a great group together. So that definitely carries over. And almost as important, that carries over to the rest of the year for us. It just brings us closer and closer during the weeks where we aren't participating as a team and playing for each other. But there's a lot of tennis to be played. So maybe Davis Cup goes on the back burner for the next couple of months, then I'm sure once we get close to that tie, the juices will start flowing again.
Q. Everybody knows Davis Cup is a different sort of pressure from a regular tournament. Arthur Ashe would say before Davis Cup he was scared he wouldn't be able to hit the ball over the net until he got there. Do you have any such fears beforehand?
ANDY RODDICK: I've definitely been there. This is probably the first tie where I've stepped up and played to my ability consistently. You know, I had kind of a gaudy record. But, you know, a lot of that was just kind of getting through. So this was definitely a huge stepping stone for my Davis Cup career - to go up against two, you know, really good veterans and win six sets on the trot. I mean, that's a big step for me, and hopefully I can keep building on it.
Q. What did you think about the Swedish team? Did you think before the match you would win 6-0?
ANDY RODDICK: No, no. I was just hoping that we would get to three matches. I wasn't thinking about sets or anything like that. You know, especially considering I had lost to Thomas and Jonas both this year, you know, already. So I was very wary. I was very, very wary of them, that's for sure.
Q. Did you get any sense that Jonas was tired in the third set?
ANDY RODDICK: You know, I definitely wouldn't be surprised if he was a little bit tired. But knowing Jonas and the shape he's in, he's gonna tell you he felt great. But, you know, I still felt like I played -- still felt like I played really good tennis. So maybe a little bit of both.
Q. As you say, Davis Cup kind of goes on the back burner now. You'll have a lot of big tennis matches in August and September. How much will you look forward to Belarus?
ANDY RODDICK: Oh, I'm excited. You know, we're playing a semifinal on home soil. And, you know, I couldn't be happier about that. It's a chance to, you know, take this dream one step further. So, you know, I'm sure we're all gonna be kind of anxious for the next couple months. But, luckily, we'll have some other pretty big tournaments to occupy our minds for a little bit.
Q. At NASDAQ you made "the" shot against Carlos Moya. Today you made a running get on a dropshot, the backhand side. Ball is maybe a foot above the ground. Couple other great runs on key points. Are you covering the court better than you ever have?
ANDY RODDICK: It's comparable to last summer. It's no secret that, you know, I'm always about playing lots of matches. I feel when I play lots of matches, you don't have to think about your footwork anymore; it just kind of happens for you. That goes with a lot of other parts of the game, too. So, you know, now I'm at the point where I feel like I am match tough, and I get out there from the first ball and I'm ready to go. There's not a whole lot of questioning myself out there right now. I definitely think that contributes to movement as well.
Q. What do you think would be the best surface to play Belarus?
ANDY RODDICK: I'm not sure. Obviously, Mirnyi enjoys fast courts. Voltchkov hits flat and has done well at Wimbledon, likes the ball low. He enjoys fast courts. So, you know, you do process of elimination, I think, on that one.
Q. Do you wish the semi was next week or in two weeks instead of stretched out?
ANDY RODDICK: I don't know (laughing). I've had a pretty intense couple of weekends.
Q. But that you could carry this momentum?
ANDY RODDICK: Maybe. But at the same time, you know, maybe it's not such an equalizer. Maybe it's a true testament to the consistency of a team over a year as opposed to just a team getting hot for two or three weeks. So, you know, I'm sure there are pros and cons both ways.
Q. You look more mature inside and outside the court. Do you feel that?
ANDY RODDICK: Well, a lot of people would still question outside the court, that's for sure (smiling). But I just feel - I don't know about more mature - I'm still playing with a lot of emotion, I'm still really excited. But I'm more confident. You know, I don't go into matches and when things don't go my way start panicking, you know, as the first sets of both of these matches are kind of evidence of that. I kind of just try to stay the course and play my game. And, you know, I think that just comes from experience. You know, as kind of stupid as that is to say from a 21-year-old, that's the way I feel right now.
Q. Seemed it was a different match after that tiebreaker. Considering Jonas was playing three matches in three days, how critical was it to force him to come from behind?
ANDY RODDICK: That was huge, you know, because he was going all-out in the first set. He was taking it to me. He was playing very smart. When he was going for his shots, he was hitting them. But, you know, it's a long road back, you know, to play four sets and then, obviously, to play five sets. So, you know, probably wears on someone mentally a little bit.
Q. Is there a team celebration this evening?
ANDY RODDICK: Team celebration? Yeah, like I said, we got to go tomorrow. This ride never stops, so...
Q. How difficult was the wind?
ANDY RODDICK: I didn't notice it too much, to be honest. I mean, I think it was much worse in the earlier rounds of Miami last week. But, you know, it's something I'm kind of used to, being from this area. So, you know, little bit on the serve, but not -- I don't think it was horrible, you know, by any means.
Q. When was the last time you had that much fun, like, say, in the last set? It really looked like you were having a blast out there.
ANDY RODDICK: I have fun lots, but... I always have fun (smiling). I don't know. I was excited. You know, I just -- it's hard to explain. I just felt really good, really comfortable. But at the same time, I had my guard up still. So, you know, once I got the third break, I was just excited to kind of try to finish it, be with my teammates and kind of share it with them.
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