November 20, 2004
THE MODERATOR: First question for Andy, please.
Q. Can you describe or explain what happened out there?
ANDY RODDICK: Wish I could. I just think it's plain and simple; I didn't play well. He took his chances, you know, when he had them. You know, it's pretty self-explanatory. I didn't step up. You know, I just feel like I, you know, Lleyton makes you play at a certain level to beat him, and I fell far short of that today.
Q. It was one of those days where Lleyton just wasn't giving anything away. He made six unforced errors during the match. Did you feel under pressure, therefore, to make things happen? Did you really feel that you really had to come out hitting big shots with your forehand to dominate the match?
ANDY RODDICK: Yeah, I mean, you have to make things happen against Lleyton to beat him. I'm not going to go out there and, you know, just sit back and make more balls than he is and run it down. That's not the way our games match up. I have to be aggressive. But, luckily, I mean -- unluckily, I didn't do that today. A lot of times I didn't even set up a point and miss a volley. Just felt like not a lot felt right today.
Q. What do you take away from this and what's next for you?
ANDY RODDICK: Yeah, I'm going to look at the positives. I played three great matches. You know, I felt like I did a lot of good things in those matches, a lot of steps in the right direction. Today I just -- I didn't do -- it was pretty much the opposite. So, you know, but I'm glad I got four matches in going into the Davis Cup final, especially intense matches such as these. So I see that as a positive.
Q. Because it was a pretty tight match for a while, but then down the stretch, you seemed like you just kind of lost your rhythm on the volleys. Did you feel you still had a way back in the match at that point, late in the second set?
ANDY RODDICK: I definitely lost my rhythm. I can't explain it. I mean, I feel like I hit a forehand well and I missed it by four feet. I just didn't feel like the ball was doing what I wanted it to do today.
Q. How about the volleys?
ANDY RODDICK: I just stoned them. I've been playing -- I mean, it's pretty simple. I've been hitting them great all week, you know, better than I have. And today, that's about as bad as I have volleyed. It was just bad. But, you know, I kind of have to be proud a little bit that I committed to doing it this week. It worked for me three times, it didn't work this time. But the only way to get better at it is to keep trying it.
Q. Your volleys seem like they are a lot better right now. Have you been putting a lot of time into improving your volleys?
ANDY RODDICK: I'm glad you still say that after today.
Q. Definitely. This week, I couldn't have been more impressed.
ANDY RODDICK: Where have you been the last hour and a half (laughter)? You just get here? Did the rain throw you off?
Q. Yeah, actually, I didn't see the match today.
ANDY RODDICK: There you go (laughter).
Q. But the other day...
ANDY RODDICK: All right then (smiling). Yeah, I'm the man. In that case, I kick ass. I'm great. I'm volleying like a machine, yes (smiling). I don't even know if I answered your question.
Q. All kidding aside about the volleys, the truth is, though, that you did make a commitment to do it. Even today, I almost saw a little bit of a defiance in you saying, "I'm not volleying worth a damn, but I'm going to continue volleying because this is what I set out to do." And I'm assuming you think that this will still serve you very well over the long haul?
ANDY RODDICK: I think so. You know, I still have a long time after this game. That's definitely one of the parts I need to work on. How do shooters get better, they keep shooting. It's something I have to continue to do. You know, the level just keeps rising, getting better and better. I think I have to focus on what I can improve on. For the large part of the year, I maybe shied away from that a little bit. That's something that I, you know, I still need to work on, I still need to commit to. Even though I volleyed like a - I was just thinking a lot of bad words - today I think through the first three matches it was about as well as I had done it. So I'm going to try to look at that instead of -- I'm just going to try to remain in denial about today.
Q. Can you ever recall at any time having a finish like that, losing the last string of points?
ANDY RODDICK: No, Bud (smiling).
Q. Changing the subject. Davis Cup final.
ANDY RODDICK: There you go.
Q. In particular, if you have to play Ferrero, as you probably will, how difficult is that going to be, playing a guy who's been off the tour for a while? We're wondering what sort of level he's going to be coming into this final at.
ANDY RODDICK: Yeah, I'm wondering the same thing, you know. Obviously, I've played a lot more matches than he has this year. Like I said, I think playing a lot of intense matches this week can do nothing but help our cause over there. But your guess is as good as mine. I don't know what he's been doing as far as training. I don't know. There are a lot of questions out there. But one thing is for sure; the guy knows how to play on clay, and that's not going to change. So regardless, I'm going to have to play well and I'm going to have to try to step up.
Q. You've had a pretty good year. Obviously, now you're thinking about 2005. What are your main objectives for next year?
ANDY RODDICK: You know, I'd love to make a run at No. 1 again. I'd love to win a Slam. You know, like I've been saying this whole press conference, I'd like to continue to improve some things. I think there is room for improvement. So, you know, hopefully I'll be able to accomplish some of those next year.
Q. You played Lleyton a lot when he was on top of the game back in 2001. How do you situate his level now compared to then?
ANDY RODDICK: He didn't lose anything. Last year, you know, I think was a bit of a fluke for him, that he didn't play that well. You don't finish No. 1 two years in a row and then suddenly forget how to play tennis; it just doesn't happen. You know, he's just a great player, you know - bottom line. It's tough to compare. I think he's every bit as good now as he was then. Talking about the guy who's been around -- I mean, he's 23 years old.
Q. Did you have any better sense of -- he hit some amazing passing shots today off some pretty decent approaches. Is there something you can do differently?
ANDY RODDICK: I mean, there's some things. I think I placed my approach shots well but maybe just didn't get enough stick on them. But, you know, it's a fine line, you know. I think if I would have volleyed better, maybe it would have put a bit more pressure on him to come up with -- get more passing shots. First set he had some great ones. Second set I feel like I missed a little more than I should have.
Q. When are you leaving to Spain, and what chances do you think your team has to beat Spain in the Davis Cup final?
ANDY RODDICK: I'm leaving -- I think we're leaving next Friday. You know, I don't know. I don't do percentages. I think we have a chance. We're going to go in there and give it our best. We're really excited to be playing in our first Davis Cup final. You know, we're definitely going to be fired up when we go over there. We're very excited.
Q. So what's the immediate reaction of what to do before Friday? Do you not want to see a tennis racquet for three, four, five days?
ANDY RODDICK: No, no, no. I mean, I have a responsibility to our team, and, you know, everybody here, to be ready and be ready to play. You know, I'm going to maybe take a day off, maybe two days max, and then get out there and start preparing.
Q. I mean sometimes when a golfer doesn't putt well, he goes straight back out on the green. There's no feeling you need to do that?
ANDY RODDICK: I ain't going out there right now, if that's what you're asking (laughter).
Q. You're not going out there right now?
ANDY RODDICK: No. Didn't you hear, I'm volleying like a genius (laughter). I don't need to go out there.
Q. Will you be preparing on some slow clay courts? Where can you find those?
ANDY RODDICK: At my club in Austin.
Q. In Austin?
ANDY RODDICK: Yes.
Q. Red clay?
ANDY RODDICK: They're green clay, but we're getting there in plenty of time so...
End of FastScriptsâ€¦.