November 11, 2003
THE MODERATOR: Questions for Andy.
Q. Well, he made you work on that one, didn't he?
ANDY RODDICK: Yeah, absolutely. You know, I felt pretty good in the first set. I felt like the second and third sets he was dictating play with his forehand a little more than I would have liked. But, you know, I kept telling myself, "Just try to hold on to your serve," even though I wasn't serving that too high of a percentage early on in the third set. I figured, "Keep yourself alive and maybe you'll get a look at a break." Eventually, that's what happened.
Q. You got the first victory at Masters Cup. Do you have an extra feeling?
ANDY RODDICK: Sorry? I didn't understand.
Q. You got your first victory at Masters Cup. Do you have an extra feeling or anything?
ANDY RODDICK: You know, just relief. It's good to get the first one, get through the first one with a win. It keeps it from being an uphill battle. Especially with the race for No. 1 being so close, every match win is very big. So it's, you know, definitely a big win for me tonight.
Q. What was your take on the controversial call at the start of the second set?
ANDY RODDICK: I mean, it was in. I mean, he didn't -- I told the umpire, you know, if the person on the other side doesn't even come close to questioning the call, then you probably shouldn't touch it. I guess I heard afterwards from the commentators that it was in. I probably should have kept it together a little bit more and not, you know, hit an angry double-fault. But, you know, luckily I was able to recover in time for the third set.
Q. How much of that affected you in the second set then going into the third?
ANDY RODDICK: It affected me the next game. I try to let it go pretty quickly. It's just unfortunate that calls like that, you argue, and it's a pretty big point. You know, but it's the way the game goes. You're gonna get some and you're gonna lose some but...
Q. This was your first match on US soil since the US Open final. Was that a big deal, you know, the first chance for Americans to see you since that final?
ANDY RODDICK: I don't think so. I mean, I think they know -- I'm pretty familiar with the American fans, especially here in Houston. So it's nice to come back and get a lot of crowd support. Obviously, that's always welcome. So, you know, that was big tonight. But, you know, as far as it being significant, my first match back in the United States since the US Open, I didn't really think of it, to be honest. You know, especially since these fans here have seen me play a bunch in the past couple of years.
Q. How do you find the court?
ANDY RODDICK: The courts are fine for me. It's slow, pretty high-bouncing hard court which I think is a very equal surface for all players, you know. So I think they did a good job in picking the court.
Q. It was reported that you bought a house in Austin. Do you feel like a Texan again? Are you spending a lot of time in Austin?
ANDY RODDICK: Well, I never stopped feeling like a Texan. I grew up here through grade school. But I'm not sure. I don't have any concrete plans about, you know, where I'm going to spend my time or where I'm not going to spend my time. I think it's just good -- I basically bought that house for the future because I'd like to end up in Texas some day. But it gets me closer to my family, my brothers and my niece and my nephew. That was a big part of it as well.
Q. Any particular aspect of the game that you weren't over-happy with tonight?
ANDY RODDICK: A couple things. I feel like he was getting the better of me from a lot of the baseline rallies. He was controlling the points with his forehand. You know, I'd like to get a little more stick on my ground strokes for the next couple of matches. But, you know, you take wins when you can get them.
Q. Knowing that you can't be knocked out in the first match you play, does it give you a sort of different mindset?
ANDY RODDICK: Not really, 'cause you know it's so crucial. You know you're down 0-1 and you have two more Top 5, Top 6 players in your way. It's not gonna be easy, you think 2-1 you're going to qualify, 1-2 you're probably not going to qualify. I think you definitely want to start out well. I think every match is crucial. While, you know, it isn't single elimination, it's a little bit different. I really didn't feel that too much out there.
Q. Is Schuettler next for you?
ANDY RODDICK: Yeah.
Q. What is your mindset going into that? How do you think you need to react to his game?
ANDY RODDICK: A lot better than I have the last two times (smiling). I mean, he's obviously a very good player. I mean, he's been so consistent week in and week out this year. You know, that's a good thing about having a good coach, is that he's gonna come up with something special - I hope. I'll be able to try to figure out a game plan and go after it.
Q. What is it that has given him such a great year, do you think, his consistency or is there more to it than that?
ANDY RODDICK: Obviously, there's more to it. I think only he knows what's made the difference, from putting him from -- I think he was 500 for his career before this year, to becoming a Top 5 player. It's a pretty intense improvement. I think a lot of it has to do with confidence, you know. So much of tennis is between the ears. If he believes he can win it on a daily basis against anybody, that just improves you tenfold. I think from the outside looking in at his game, that's probably been the biggest difference.
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