November 19, 2004
THE MODERATOR: Andy had 15 aces today, putting him over 1,000 for the first time in his career, with 1,008 for the season. He's the first player to do that since Goran Ivanisevic in 1998, and only the third player to do it since the ATP began keeping aces in '91. Questions for Andy.
Q. Tough first set, but second set you came out smoking and you got to 5-Love in next to no time. Then you didn't quite apply the coup de grace, and you took your finger off the trigger momentarily. But you closed out the match in the end. Did you feel that maybe you lost your concentration towards the end there because you were winning so easily?
ANDY RODDICK: In order to answer that, I'm going to need to know what "coup de grace" means (laughter).
Q. The final, killing blow.
ANDY RODDICK: That was close (smiling). At 5-0 I had a matchpoint, actually had a pretty good look at a forehand and missed it, but just by a little bit. That's the reason why you fight so hard to get a second break in a set, is just in case something doesn't go your way. You know, luckily, you know, I'd given myself a little bit of insurance by getting that second break in the second set, so it wasn't as crucial. But I'm just happy to get through.
Q. So you're going to obviously play Hewitt next, a guy that in some ways is similar to the guy you played today, maybe more so than the other guys. Were you preparing for this match a little bit? You know what I mean?
ANDY RODDICK: Yeah, absolutely. They're both runners, they both make you work for every point. They both pass really well. So there's some definite similarities there. So I think playing a match against Guillermo today was good for me. You know, that being said, I think Lleyton is serving a lot better right now, so that's probably where there will be a little bit of a difference.
Q. Do you consider yourself a Nebraskan, a Floridian or a Texan?
ANDY RODDICK: Do I have to pick one?
ANDY RODDICK: I have to pick one? I don't know, it's tough. Obviously, my roots are Nebraska. That's where I was born. I don't remember much about it. Then I, you know, kind of grew up in Texas and went to high school in Florida, so it's tough to choose one. That's like asking you to choose your mom or your dad, you know. They both mean a lot, you know...
Q. You have a future in diplomacy.
ANDY RODDICK: Yeah, right. I don't know if I'm PC enough (smiling).
Q. So are you American or Canadian?
ANDY RODDICK: American, yeah.
Q. Is it weird to play a match today when there's not a whole lot of meaning to it? You are used to playing in a tournament where you're progressing through it.
ANDY RODDICK: Any time I'm playing for $120,000 and there's no meaning involved, that's when you know I've lost it (laughing). No, I'm just playing. It's a little bit weird. I didn't know what Guillermo was going to bring to the table today. Obviously, you know, it is a little bit weird. But that being said, we are here at Masters. Therefore, it definitely adds something to the match. But, you know, there was definitely a little bit of a different feeling than there had been the previous two matches.
Q. Do you think this format is worth keeping, or do you feel it's better to go to a knockout format?
ANDY RODDICK: No, I think it's great. I think it's great for fans knowing, you know, going to the tournament they're going to see their favorite player three times. You're going to see the best versus the best. They see regular tournaments all year long, so I think this is a great format for a year-end championship. Obviously, it does go to knockout. So, you know, it's not like it's one or the other. I think it's a good mix.
Q. It seems a while since your match finished. One assumes you've been having some treatment. Is everything okay and in working order?
ANDY RODDICK: I just fell asleep (laughter).
Q. So excited at the prospect of seeing us.
ANDY RODDICK: Actually, we were in the middle of a poker game before the match started, so I had to take BG out before I came here, and that took a little longer than I expected. But got the job done.
Q. There seems to be an awful lot of respect between all you guys out there on court this week. When you're applauding someone, is that an instinctive reaction?
ANDY RODDICK: Yeah, if I played the point exactly how I wanted to and someone just comes up with something better, just kudos. I'm not going to get upset about something that was just too good. You know, unfortunately, that happens a little bit more in a week like this, when you're playing against the top players, than it normally would.
Q. Do you see Lleyton playing some tennis now that he was playing when he was at No. 1? Does he play at that sort of level, do you think?
ANDY RODDICK: Oh, yeah. Definitely. He definitely hasn't regressed at all. You know, I think I've improved, I think Marat's, you know, more there week in and week out, and obviously now Roger has set the bar at a very high level.
Q. Can you talk about your game and where you are right now? I don't think you've lost a set in the Round Robin portion of this. Can you talk about just your overall game and how you feel right now.
ANDY RODDICK: I feel good. You know, I feel like I'm going to take a lot of positives out of the first three matches. While I haven't lost a set, I've won a couple of close ones and a lot of tiebreakers. So I don't think it was totally dominant, but, you know, I feel like I was winning the big points, and that shows a lot about the way you're competing and the way -- I feel like I was playing pretty aggressively through the first three matches and really taking it to the other guys on the big points. Maybe that's why I came up on the good side of them.
Q. It's been very interesting watching you volley more this week, hitting your backhand as well. Of course with a big serve like you've got, your chance of getting to the net to make the volley probably would be increased as opposed to some other players. Tim Henman, he found that even at Roland Garros where he hadn't had any success, by playing an attacking game and taking some of the clay-courters out of their stride, he managed to get to the semifinal this year and had a shot at the final, in fact. Do you think that that's going to play a part in the strategy and then coming here?
ANDY RODDICK: I think so. You know, I think, well, the primary difference between us is that Tim is a natural volleyer, I'm not. But I think it's important to, you know, have the other option and, almost more importantly, make the other person think about that option as well. You know, so that's something that I've really tried to focus on, you know, since the US Open. I've really tried working on it. I feel like it's been showing a little bit this week. Hopefully, I'll be able to build on it.
Q. There was a point when Guillermo's serve was 78 miles per hour and you were hiding behind the racquet. Was there a bounce, or you were kidding with him?
ANDY RODDICK: I was hiding behind the racquet? No, I just missed it. Unfortunately, that 70-mile-an-hour, had to move from here to here, four feet this way in about three-quarters of a second. No, I wouldn't do that. That's for sure.
Q. I remember Edberg saying once it could be a disadvantage to serve too hard in serve and volley sometimes, too. Do you think about trying to maybe hit some more rounded-off serves if you're going to do that more?
ANDY RODDICK: No. I've been -- I've led or been in the lead of service games held the last three years, so I don't think that's so much the problem. I think it's more of a matchup thing. If I'm playing against someone where it would benefit me to at least have that option, then I think I can do it. I think it's more about possessing the ability to do it and having the confidence to do it rather than switching to it all the time. I don't think of it as being that difficult a decision.
Q. Any ideas about playing Lleyton? You both have a lot of fire. Is that something that excites you, that matchup? You have had some good matchups in the past.
ANDY RODDICK: Absolutely. I think, like you said, we're both pretty intense out there. I'm going to be taking big blows and he's going to be taking them and throwing them back at me. So, you know, it's probably, you know, I would imagine it would be a pretty fun match to watch from a fan's perspective. While we're similar in some ways, we're totally different in other ways. I think it makes for a good matchup.
Q. Yesterday, I was going to ask you about the No. 2.
ANDY RODDICK: I didn't see you back there for the beginning. I was wondering where you were going to be (laughing).
Q. Can you comment on that aspect, the fact that this match between yourself and Lleyton would also decide the World No. 2 ranking for the year?
ANDY RODDICK: Oh, does it?
THE MODERATOR: If he goes on to win the tournament.
ANDY RODDICK: If he wins the tournament, okay. That shows you how much I was concerned with it. I said coming in it's not about -- Lleyton and I have both been the No. 1 before. So, you know, I think we'd both like to be there instead. But, you know, I'm happy that I'm coming here, I'm playing good tennis. Whatever happens, I'm going to end the year on a pretty high note. I think that's more important than the No. 2 ranking. I'm not going to go count points and come up with the scenarios and stuff. I'm just going to go out and try to win a tennis match. Wherever I end up at the end of the day, it will be all right.
End of FastScriptsâ€¦.