April 5, 2002
RANDY WALKER: Questions for Andy.
Q. How do you feel?
ANDY RODDICK: How do I feel, I feel good. Obviously whenever you get a win, you're kind of happy. But it means that much more in Davis Cup. So, you know, I feel all right right now.
Q. So, Andy, serve and volley was big for you today. You can depend on your serve, but you volleyed extremely well. Is that one of the keys?
ANDY RODDICK: Definitely. You know, I didn't break any volleys today, which was a pleasant surprise (laughing). And, you know, I've been working on that all week. It kind of has been stupid for me not to follow a 135 mile-an-hour serve into the net. I definitely think that's something I'm going to incorporate more and more. And maybe just the grass kind of opened my eyes to it a little bit.
Q. What was up with the trick shot?
ANDY RODDICK: Everybody keeps asking me, but it wasn't really a trick shot. It took a gnarly bounce right into my body. I was lined up with the forehand. I don't know if it came off the net or took a bad bounce off the ground - it happened kind of fast. It was just kind of a reaction. It wasn't really like planned out, "Okay, I'm going to try to hit an in-between-the-legs volley here." (Inaudible). It was unfortunate it took a weird bounce, and I just tried to react as best I could.
Q. Did Patrick say anything to you about it?
ANDY RODDICK: Uh-uh. He wasn't going to stop me in the middle of the breaker.
ANDY RODDICK: He was like, "What happened." He figured I wouldn't try to do that if it could be avoided. But I told him. He was like, "All right." I hit it all right, I just duffed the next volley.
Q. So what were some of the keys to the matches today? Was it the 3-all game, I think, in the second set when he had one breakpoint, lots of deuces --?
ANDY RODDICK: I served well. I controlled the match on my serve today. He had one breakpoint, and I came up with a big serve there. And, you know, that put a lot of pressure on him. Late in the sets he was getting a little tight, I think, because he didn't feel confident returning my serve today. And, you know, I thought I mixed it up well and didn't get -- didn't just go for the bombs and the heavy kick. I kind of mixed up my first and second serves, and I think that was the key.
Q. Were you happy with your own return games, or just more in spots?
ANDY RODDICK: No. I don't feel like I played that great besides the serve today. I think I could have returned better and definitely played better in the rallies. He was, you know, kicking my butt a little bit once the rallies started. But, you know, that's where I am lucky to have served well. Because, you know, I wasn't getting too down about it because I felt like I could hold serve.
Q. Second set, your first serve percentage kind of went down a little bit. Were you getting tired at all?
ANDY RODDICK: No. I think -- I think it would have been tough not to have it go down. I think I served about 80 percent in the first set. If it wouldn't have gone down, it would have been a little bit surprising.
Q. Patrick's talked about this being an opportunity for Pete to rejuvenate his game. Obviously, you've had a different last year than Sampras has. Is this also kind of giving you a boost, too?
ANDY RODDICK: I don't even think of it as, you know, a stepping stone towards other tournaments. It's just fun for me. This is a big deal for me still. And, you know, I'm just happy to be a part of it and be able to compete for the US.
Q. How did your ankles feel out there?
ANDY RODDICK: My ankles felt fine. We got them kind of lynched up a little bit, so they feel all right. And, you know, it was a little slippery on the sides where there hasn't been a lot of wear and tear on the court yet. The more heat that's on it and the more sun, the more it's played on, the less slippery it will be. Otherwise, the court's playing great.
Q. You played Challenger tournaments in Houston. You played clay courts here last year. You played here. Have you lost a match in Houston?
ANDY RODDICK: I didn't play a Challenger, but just the tournament last year. So... But I grew up playing junior tennis in Texas. I think I lost 9 and Unders. That was a tough loss for me, so... (laughter). But not recently.
Q. Obviously, a different atmosphere from the clay court.
ANDY RODDICK: You know what, a different atmosphere but the same enthusiastic fans. There were more of them today. But you can just feel how enthusiastic and kind of, you know, really happy and genuine they are here. That makes it fun to play.
Q. Afterwards, Patrick, did he say getting off to a 1-0 start is important here?
ANDY RODDICK: Yeah, definitely. If you get down 1-0, things start getting kind of hairy. You figure Pete, he's the favorite in his match, but doubles can go either way. So it's definitely good to get the first notch in your belt.
Q. What were you thinking when he took the injury timeout in the breaker?
ANDY RODDICK: I was thinking, "It's interesting. We've seen this before." It's becoming sort of a, you know, a familiar sight. I've never been on the receiving end of one of those in a tiebreaker before. But that kind of made me want to definitely win that tiebreaker.
Q. Did you miss those warm-up serves with Patrick on purpose?
ANDY RODDICK: Yeah, I missed three in a row. I wasn't gonna hit another one. "That's it, I'm done."
Q. Did you expect maybe a little bit more from him as far as coming to the net?
ANDY RODDICK: Maybe a little bit. I only think he serve and volleyed a couple times today. I thought maybe he would serve and volley on the first serve a little bit more. But he played the way he felt he was comfortable, and I guess that's what you got to do on grass. You kind of had to play how you feel comfortable.
Q. Andy, given his ranking, would you consider this your toughest Davis Cup test to date?
ANDY RODDICK: The match against Paes was pretty tough. He came out smoking early. I really had to come out and keep a mental edge. But that being said, there wasn't a threat after Paes that they have. So, you know, it's kind of between those two.
Q. How important did you think it was today taking care of business in three sets with Corretja coming on?
ANDY RODDICK: That really wasn't entering my mind. I mean, I'll have a day off tomorrow. Grass court isn't really extremely grueling. It's a little tough on the lower back and butt, just because you're bending down so much. But Davis Cup, I always say, I mean, a win is a win - always. And, you know, that's really what I was focused on. Whether it would take three or five (sets), a couple hours or five hours, it doesn't matter; it's about winning.
Q. Given you haven't played much in the last month, were there any nerves coming in to today?
ANDY RODDICK: No. Any time that I get a lot -- a good week of practice in and, you know, I'm hitting a lot of balls in the right way, I feel confident. I feel well. It's just a matter of getting to that point. (Applause in the background.) Pete just hit a good shot. But, you know, there are always going to be jitters playing Davis Cup at the beginning until you kind of get into it. But, you know, I really wasn't worried about lack of match play.
Q. Did you return a lot of Pete's serves this week?
ANDY RODDICK: (Nodding.).
Q. Did that help?
ANDY RODDICK: It helps, but it's a little bit of a different serve than Robredo and Corretja. You know, just playing with Pete and kind of seeing what he does on the grass on certain shots, you kind of store that in your memory bank and say, "Okay." You put that away and you kind of learn from it. Same with Todd Martin - he's a great grass court player as well. So I have two, you know - and Courier got to the final - I have three or four really great opinions about how to play grass court tennis on my team.
Q. When you don't have a lot of returns, does it take you longer in your match to find the rhythm from the baseline?
ANDY RODDICK: I think so. I don't know, I just wasn't -- I started stroking the ball better midway through the second set. You know, you can practice on grass and you can play on grass, but, you know, a match situation's totally different. It just took a little bit to get used to that, but I thought I started doing a little bit better as the match progressed.
End of FastScriptsâ€¦.