April 4, 2004
THE MODERATOR: Andy has now won his last eight finals he's appeared in, it goes back to May of last year. It's his third career ATP Masters Series title, and he's the sixth American to win here in the tournament history. Questions for Andy.
Q. Do you feel fortunate he was injured?
ANDY RODDICK: I mean, any time you win on someone defaulting, I think you feel a little fortunate. You know, it's not the way you picture -- it's not the picture perfect ending, it's not the way you want to win a tournament. But at the same time, I'm here at the end of the day. That was my goal coming into the tournament.
Q. Those of us who have seen a number of your matches have seen where you get upset about a questionable call and suddenly your game gets more aggressive. Was that the case today after you stood there and glared at the linesman?
ANDY RODDICK: I don't know. I don't know if that was just coincidence or what, but, you know, it was weird for him to have an injury because I was trying to feel out what shots he wasn't hitting well and maybe trying to make him play a little bit more, maybe aggravate it some more. But once I realized he could stay in rallies and play okay, then midway through the second set I just tried to forget about it and I just said, "Okay, I'm just going to try to imagine that he's not hurt at all." That started working a little bit better for me.
Q. How bad was the wind out there?
ANDY RODDICK: No worse than it has been for the rest of the tournament. I mean, I probably played two other matches where it's been a lot worse. I don't think it was that much of a factor today.
Q. You mentioned an upset stomach on TV. What can you tell us about that?
ANDY RODDICK: I don't know. I woke up this morning and stuff wasn't going down the way it should. You know, I was battling, I was trying to maybe bluff my way through because I knew he was hurt, too. But like I said on court, I'd much rather play through an upset stomach where you know it's just a temporary thing as opposed to an injury where you don't really know the extent of it and you don't know if you can make it a lot worse. So I guess I was definitely working with the lesser of two evils there.
Q. When the match began, how concerned were you about getting through the match?
ANDY RODDICK: I was gonna get through it. One way or another, you get through it with an upset stomach. You can't do any serious harm, you know. So I knew I was gonna get through it. But it was just gonna be a little uncomfortable.
Q. You started to turn the tide in the second set. You got a little more patient and stayed aggressive. Fair to say?
ANDY RODDICK: I think I just let my patience go out the door. I mean, I don't think I committed to a game plan in the first set. At one point I tried to play consistent and rally with him. The next point, I just tried for something. I was like, "Okay, either we're going to commit to being aggressive or we're gonna commit to a grind session." At that point, aggressive sounded a lot more fun than grinding out every point.
Q. Guillermo said he knew at the end of the first set he probably wasn't going to be able to make it. Did you think that he probably wouldn't be able to make it in a five-set match?
ANDY RODDICK: I was thinking that it was a good thing that this was going to be three-out-of-five sets. But at the same time, you know, he was able to play a little bit, get himself into points. I think it was smart of him to play on. All it takes is maybe a break, then I could get rattled a little bit and who knows... But, you know, I definitely knew that it being three-out-of-five sets, that it was to my advantage.
Q. I know you played a set against John McEnroe in World Team Tennis. How many sets have you played with him, how did you do, and how did it feel?
ANDY RODDICK: McEnroe, just that one in Team Tennis.
Q. What was that like?
ANDY RODDICK: Interesting.
Q. How so?
ANDY RODDICK: I don't remember too much of it. It was two and a half, three years ago or something. But he was definitely cool. Something I kind of looked forward to. He was very cool to me when I was a practice partner on the first Davis Cup team. It's always fun to play against someone who's kind of an icon of the game, someone you kind of grew up watching.
Q. Just back on the match today, can you just express your emotions and feelings when that final point was ending?
ANDY RODDICK: I knew I was on the verge. At love-30 in the first game of the fourth set, I told myself, "Two more points, and he's probably gonna call it if he gets down a break." Turned out to only be one more point. Obviously, I mean, I was trying to kind of get him into submission, but, you know, I'd be lying if I said I wasn't going for the knock-out punch there. It takes away some of the joy of winning a tournament when you know your opponent is hurt. So it was kind of, you know, a Catch-22 type thing.
Q. Were you oblivious to the flag-waving and cheering?
ANDY RODDICK: No, I thought it was great. I thought it was fantastic. I mean, the chants. They weren't for me, but I thought it was awesome, you know. It creates a great atmosphere. I'd love to see more of it. I can definitely appreciate it, even from the other side.
Q. How awkward is that, when you've just watched an opponent getting his back kneaded, he's face down, you come out and he's hitting 80-mile-an-hour serves? What is that like as a competitor? Is it difficult to keep whaling away?
ANDY RODDICK: It's tough. Because Guillermo, even from the baseline when he's not hurt, you feel like you're getting good cuts on the ball. But he puts it high and he puts it in places where you can't really take a good rip at it. Even if you do, you have to create all your own pace. So even when he was serving like that - his serve isn't his biggest weapon in the first place - but it was weird, you know. It definitely took me a while until I finally decided I was going to commit and go for it either way.
Q. Could you notice the difference in his play before and after the injury?
ANDY RODDICK: Not right away. In the breaker he was fine. I was extremely impressed with the way he was playing. Because when I saw him sit down at 6-5, he was struggling to sit down even. Then he came out and was, you know, running -- maybe he was trying to put on a bluff to kind of get in my head, and maybe it worked. But, you know, definitely when I started getting momentum, obviously I could tell more and more.
Q. Could you venture a guess as to what might have happened if he stayed healthy? How do you think the match would have gone?
ANDY RODDICK: Longer (smiling).
Q. As many times as coaches drill it into their players that, "If your opponent gets hurt, don't change your game, play your game out there," do you find it's difficult to stay with that?
ANDY RODDICK: I mean, it's tough. You know, it's tough because I, you know, was 85 percent sure that if I won the first tiebreaker, he was maybe gonna check out. That puts a lot of emphasis on each point, even more so than normal. Then you're thinking about looking for if he's not hitting this shot well or he can't run to this side, then you forget about actually winning points. So it definitely rattled me a little bit in that first-set breaker.
Q. Speaking of coaches, you made history today for your coach Brad Gilbert. He's the only one to have won a title and coached two titles. What are your thoughts on that?
ANDY RODDICK: What did he win, doubles?
ANDY RODDICK: How did he win a doubles tournament in a tournament like this?
Q. It was a walkover in the final.
ANDY RODDICK: See (laughter)? He's been talking about that all week and never mentioned that it was a walkover (laughter).
Q. Are you aware of the history of curtailed finals in this tournament?
ANDY RODDICK: Yeah.
Q. Muster, Ivanisevic.
ANDY RODDICK: Muster, Ivanisevic had his neck, yeah.
Q. Sampras had the upset stomach.
ANDY RODDICK: Yeah, but he won.
Q. Any advice for Butch?
ANDY RODDICK: I don't know. Maybe like Tempur-Pedic beds for all the players in the finals or something, I don't know... Comfy pillows.
Q. Did you find yourself reading his dropshot after a while? It was very effective.
ANDY RODDICK: With him, you're always kind of looking for it. He disguised it well and he has good feel. I started trying to focus on maybe getting my shots deeper and with more force to kind of take that shot away from him. It's tough to hit a dropshot off of a deep ball. But if I hit it short, he has the option of driving it or playing dinkums with me.
Q. How far away is he from winning a title on hard courts?
ANDY RODDICK: He's in the final of a Masters Series. That's got to count for something. He won the first set even while he was hurt. I definitely don't think that far.
Q. There was a couple of times in the changeovers where you got up quick. Were you trying to send a message to him?
ANDY RODDICK: I was feeling all right. I mean, I wasn't hurt, you know. Plus, my ADD kicks in, and sitting down for four minutes doesn't exactly sound good for me... Figure I'd go see what the court's all about.
Q. What level of play do you think he was at before the injury? How good was he hitting it before the injury?
ANDY RODDICK: I mean...?
Q. I mean, how difficult was he playing, like, significantly better? What level was he at?
ANDY RODDICK: I mean, he was playing at a very high level. He was making me have to hit my shots and convert points. I was just struggling to do that in the first set. He was, you know, he was almost like a human backboard out there. It was tough to get momentum. I was kind of playing one point well, one point not well. After a while you start thinking about it when he makes that many balls. He was playing very well.
Q. In terms of inspiration for the rest of the year, how important was today, do you think?
ANDY RODDICK: This tournament was just really good for me. I had been talking to you guys for the last, you know, probably three or four weeks about how I needed a big result to kind of put my stamp on this year so far. And so, you know, this tournament is kind of exactly what I was looking for.
Q. One last question about McEnroe. Did his style of play give you any trouble in that World Team Tennis?
ANDY RODDICK: Did his style of play? He's a serve-and-volleyer.
Q. Yeah, just the angles, the finesse.
ANDY RODDICK: Honestly, it was six games of exhibition tennis on clay, so I don't know if I'd be the best judge.
Q. You always celebrate tournaments in a unique way. You and Brad went skydiving when you won Montreal. How are you going to celebrate your victory this week, tomorrow night specifically?
ANDY RODDICK: Brad's got something coming to him (smiling) I will let you know when he's done with it.
Q. Can I ask, in a different way, do you think you would have beaten Guillermo if he were healthy?
ANDY RODDICK: That's kind of a ... That's... That's even a tough question to answer. I mean, who knows? It all depends on if I would have turned it around, started hitting my shots, who knows how he would have played. That's tough to even answer.
Q. I know you've got Davis Cup week next week, but what's your clay court program in Europe this year?
ANDY RODDICK: I'm not sure yet. I'm going to have to sit down with Brad tomorrow. We kind of wanted to focus on the hard court season and Davis Cup, you know. I definitely know I'm going to Houston. But I'm not sure. I mean, obviously, I'd love to play in the Masters Series events, but I'm going to have to sit down with Brad and we're going to have to discuss it.
Q. You're going to have two emotional weekends in a row. Will you need a break after Davis Cup?
ANDY RODDICK: No, man. That's just tennis. It's what I do (smiling).
Q. Do you have an idea of what you're capable of achieving on the clay yet or not?
ANDY RODDICK: I don't know. I've achieved inconsistency on it so far (smiling). I don't know. I mean, clay, obviously, I look at it as a challenge for me, but that kind of excites me. You know, I've won some smaller tournaments on clay, but, obviously, I haven't had the results I've wanted in the bigger tournaments on clay. That's something I'm definitely looking to improve upon.
Q. Can you express what Davis Cup means to you.
ANDY RODDICK: Not in a short sentence, that's for sure.
Q. How about a long sentence with big words.
ANDY RODDICK: Yeah, it's a huge goal of mine, you know, to help our team win Davis Cup. I mean, I've been a fan ever since I went to a tie when I was younger. So, you know, it's definitely a priority in my tennis life, that's for sure.
Q. Which tie was that?
ANDY RODDICK: It was Fort Worth, '92, USA and Switzerland.
Q. Are you trying to curb your emotion as the weekend comes? How do you work into this?
ANDY RODDICK: I haven't thought about it. I know I'm probably not going to do a whole lot tomorrow. I'll probably get on the courts and start hitting again on Tuesday. But as far as emotionally, I'm just going to treat it like another event. I'm glad I got a lot of matches in this week. I feel like I'm match ready going into next weekend.
Q. Would you have picked Vince to play singles?
ANDY RODDICK: Doesn't really matter, I'm not the captain. That's not my choice. It's irrelevant.
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