October 14, 2001
WINSTON-SALEM, NORTH CAROLINA
THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.
Q. Little harder than you expected?
ANDY RODDICK: No. I went in expecting Leander to come out firing. He's played fourth matches before where he's beaten Ivanisevic when he was five in the world, he's beat Kucera Top 10 in the world, all in fourth matches. He came out firing. He was playing great. I wasn't playing bad at first. He was just outplaying me. I just wanted to keep playing well and see if he cooled off a little bit.
Q. Did he cool off or did you just pick it up?
ANDY RODDICK: He cooled off a little bit, I think it's tough to play tennis like that for a full match. The crowd got into me. I started loosening up a little bit, I think that helped also.
Q. What did it feel like when you finally put that away, just can you put emotions in words?
ANDY RODDICK: Not really. It's different when you win a big match and your coach, your parents are happy, but it's different when an entire stadium and when your playing for your country you are playing for a lot of people and that makes it a little bit more emotional.
Q. Did that make it a little bit more nerve-wracking at first to go out there and feel that?
ANDY RODDICK: Not really. I felt much better. I think the first one I was -- had more beautician flies. This time I tried to stay loose. I was watching football before I went on the court just trying to stay loose. And I think that helped.
Q. What football did you watch?
ANDY RODDICK: Packers and Ravens. Anybody know who won?
ANDY RODDICK: Packers did?
ANDY RODDICK: (Nods)
Q. Did you change your game at all after the first set; do anything different?
ANDY RODDICK: I started stepping back on second serve returns maybe a step or two further back. I wasn't getting a good look at them. He was serving big second serves in the first set. But besides that, not really. There's not much you can do, you know, I was just trying to maintain my level of play, which wasn't bad. See where that was going to take me.
Q. How important was it not to go to a fifth set?
ANDY RODDICK: I was feeling strong. I was feeling really strong. Everybody since what happened in Paris this year I have been doing a lot to prevent against cramping - eating the right things and drinking minerals and doing that type of stuff, and it's really good when you have that amount of adrenaline and that crowd behind you, so I was feeling pretty strong. But obviously, you know, I am extremely happy I closed it out in four.
Q. The other day you were talking about enjoying big moments and big crowds. You really enjoyed interacting with the crowd today; didn't you? What I am saying is you don't like to tune it out. You like to interact?
ANDY RODDICK: I was having a blast. I try to use it, you know, as best I can, I mean, they were feeling it and I was feeling it and there's no reason to hide what I was feeling. That was just so much fun out there. That's what you play tennis for. You have moments like that, you know, a couple of three, four times a year maybe, and that's what you play for; that's why you put all the hard work in.
Q. He's a more experienced player. What did you learn from watching his game?
ANDY RODDICK: He's one of the best set of hands I have ever seen on a tennis player, some of shots that he hits, I mean, nobody else hits those shots. It's just -- nobody else does it. And also the way he came out and just tried to totally take me out of my game early, you know, I think I could have easily panicked and then his experience really would have shown. But it was good to have Patrick on the sidelines. He kept talking me through the first couple of sets and that helped a lot.
Q. What was he doing, can you talk about that? What was he doing?
ANDY RODDICK: Paes?
ANDY RODDICK: He was coming in off every ball just hitting hard and coming in. Kind of just wasn't giving me a chance to play, you know, no matter -- I think he was going out there, no matter what it was, going to be a one- or two-shot rally regardless what I did. He was taking my second serve and making it look pretty childish - no pun in intended. You know, he was just rushing me.
Q. Did you feel a sort of obligation to win here? Obviously you are the No. 1 guy on this team. A lot of people were leaning on you to do it?
ANDY RODDICK: I don't know about "obligation." I wanted to win. Patrick picked me to come here and win matches and, you know, that's what I don't know about obligation, that's what I was going to try my best to do. I was going to give it my all.
Q. Was it comfortable for you to do that?
ANDY RODDICK: Yeah. I have said, I like challenge. I like it when Patrick says, okay, come in, step up, and do your thing. You know, I like being challenged.
Q. Are you glad you didn't have Paes first for the first singles?
ANDY RODDICK: I don't know if two number ones can play the first day. Can they? No, I wasn't too worried about that.
Q. Talk about the game you broke in the second set, looked like it was going to a tiebreaker; how big was that? Talk about what was going on there.
ANDY RODDICK: What was the score?
Q. He was up -- you were up 4-3 on his serve. Broke to go 5-3.
ANDY RODDICK: That was good because I mean, it's tough further and further on you get, the closer he is to becoming -- to being up two sets to love. I missed a couple -- I hadn't real missed a couple of breakpoint opportunities. He came up with big shots. He was painting the lines on the serve on the big points, and it was a good time to break because then I could try to serve it out. It's better than, you know, breaking and then having to serve, four, five games.
Q. How frustrating was it to see a lot of those break chances that he took away from you...
ANDY RODDICK: It's frustrating. It would have been different if -- it was frustrating because I wasn't doing anything or I had easy second serve and I wasn't going for it. I played some good points. And he just played better. I think that's a lot easier to accept when he's hitting aces and hitting great volleys than me not hitting the ball or something like that. So it was frustrating, but not -- in a different way.
Q. What was the sensation like in the end, the celebration?
ANDY RODDICK: It was awesome. I have seen that happen. I have seen Americans do that for years and years and years ever since I was a little kid watching Davis Cup. Actually be a part of a winning team and to share it with your teammates at the end and share it with the crowd it is a special thing.
Q. Did you have anything planned or was that just all spontaneous?
ANDY RODDICK: No, you don't plan moments like that. If you plan stuff like that it spoils the moment.
Q. Some people were thinking it will take a few years to reach a Davis Cup final again. Patrick saying he thinks you all can do some damage in 2002. How far do you think you can go? How much damage with you?
ANDY RODDICK: We'll see. We are in the World Group again. We are back in the hunt. You know, I think we might have the ability to beat teams on any given day. I mean, but having -- I think every team has a lot of ability. We are just going to go in; we are going to do our best, try our hardest; we'll see where that takes us. There's good spirit around this team. We have each other's backs and so we'll see where that takes us next year.
Q. When you got that break in the second did you see that as the turning point in the match? Seemed like you were able to take control a little bit in the third set.
ANDY RODDICK: It helped. But then again you are only square. He was really playing some good ball beginning of the third when he got the break in the third, I felt, you know, pretty in control of the match.
End of FastScripts....