October 15, 2003
THE MODERATOR: Questions for Andy.
Q. Did that get a little bit too close for comfort at one stage?
ANDY RODDICK: At a lot of stages. You know, I thought I played a great first set. I mean, I don't know if I could have played a better one. And second set, I felt like I was playing better than he was, but then he just snuck out the tiebreaker. You know, he made a lot of first serves in the tiebreaker. I don't think I had an unforced error in the breaker, but I still lost it. That's definitely a credit to him. You know, I was just trying to hang around in the third. I got an opportunity. You know, I don't think he hit as good of a volley on breakpoint as he would have wanted.
Q. Is he a bit sort of not as highly ranked as he perhaps should be for the sort of game he's got?
ANDY RODDICK: I definitely think he's working his way up. I mean, he's definitely someone most players wouldn't want to play in a second round of a tournament. You know, he's definitely got a lot of game.
Q. Having won two Masters Series already this year, already having qualified for Houston, there's no sense of letting up, is there? You just want to keep going, keep winning, playing well?
ANDY RODDICK: Yeah. I mean, there are going to be times in my career where I'm not playing well, so I might as well try to take advantage of the times when I am. Even though I've accomplished a lot of my goals this year, I'm still in the hunt for No. 1. That's definitely a big motivation for me.
Q. Can you tell us what it feels like to be the present of American tennis instead of the future?
ANDY RODDICK: It feels good to be part of the present of American tennis (smiling). You know, I felt that I was part of the present before the US Open. But I guess, you know, maybe that just convinced a couple more people.
Q. Is it a relief?
ANDY RODDICK: Yeah, it is a big relief.
Q. Because of your specific makeup, this long run you've had now, is it actually easier than perhaps a lot of people would expect, or is it something that wears you down? Is it something that's given you so much confidence that you go out there and everything becomes natural, instinctive?
ANDY RODDICK: Somewhere in between. Obviously, there's a bit of a break after Davis Cup where I got to relax and kind of do a whole bunch of nothing for a little bit more than a week. So that was definitely much needed rest. But mentally I feel good. That's the biggest thing with me.
Q. What would it be for you to end the year No. 1 in the world? Would it be more important than winning the US Open this year?
ANDY RODDICK: If I had to choose one, give up an Open title, but finish No. 1, I'd probably choose to finish No. 2 with a US Open title. But, you know, I'm glad that I won the US Open and I'm in position to make a push for it.
Q. In the situation you were in in the match today, do you think the fact you've come through so many tight matches now helps you in those circumstances? Two breakpoints down at that stage, you can come up with the big shots, you're confident going for your shots, when others might not be so confident.
ANDY RODDICK: I think so. I think it's more a matter of being very relaxed in all situations now. You know, I'm not getting too worked up or too excited. Maybe that is from playing so many tough matches. Obviously, the more you're in a situation, the more comfortable you're going to be. You know, that goes for almost anything in life, as well as tennis.
Q. Do you enjoy playing in different cities throughout the year or is every tournament like the same, a tennis tournament for you? Can you see something outside of the tournament?
ANDY RODDICK: Absolutely not. I mean, you know, that's one of the cool things about being a tennis player, it's so international. We have stretches in different countries. You know, luckily we have a stretch in England where we're there for a month, we can get to know the culture, the cities. Then when people come to America, you're there for four weeks. You're not in and out in two or three days, like a lot of sports. It's definitely one of the bonuses of tennis.
Q. How does this court compare with the other indoor courts that you play on around the world?
ANDY RODDICK: It's a little less rubbery. I think it's a little bit harder. I don't know what its makeup is, or what it's built out of, any of that stuff. Sometimes it's a little more rubbery.
Q. The pace?
ANDY RODDICK: The pace I think, it's not fast, but I think we have a little bit of altitude here which makes the ball travel a little bit more. It's a little bit of an odd combination.
Q. Would you mind talking, please, how you think you're game shapes up playing on indoor surfaces compared with hard courts out of doors?
ANDY RODDICK: Well, I feel most comfortable on an outdoor hard court. I don't think that's a big secret. But, you know, I don't see why I shouldn't play well, why I don't have the ability to play well indoors. The surface plays a pretty big part, but I think, you know, the way a player's mind is and the way they're playing is a lot more. I mean, you can see players play very well, not their favorite surfaces. I think it's all a matter of confidence.
Q. About your next match, what do you think of Nicolas Massu?
ANDY RODDICK: He's a very good player. He's kind of snuck up on people. You look up and he's 20 in the world. He's definitely been playing very well this year. I don't know if he was ranked inside the Top 100 to begin the year. So he's much improved this year. I mean, he's a fighter. He hits the ball pretty big from the baseline. You know, it's going to be tough.
Q. Let's suppose you finish the year at No. 1 in the world. What would be your goal for next year? What else can you do?
ANDY RODDICK: Do it again.
Q. How many years?
ANDY RODDICK: I don't know.
Q. How much difference have you noticed, if any at all, since winning the US Open, to the way you're perceived, the way maybe you're appearing on TV shows, that sort of thing? Do you feel your profile has gone up at all?
ANDY RODDICK: I think so. But I think that's normal. I think that comes with the territory. I tried to do as much as I could the day following the US Open so I wouldn't have to worry about it anymore. I think I accomplished that (laughter). You know, I was no longer that kid who got more attention than he deserved. You know, it's nice to actually, you know, deserve some of the attention.
Q. Because he's due to come tonight, do you know anything about David Beckham?
ANDY RODDICK: Yes. I spent a month in your country. There was one day where he wasn't on the cover of the sports section.
Q. What is your impression of him?
ANDY RODDICK: Great hair (smiling).
Q. Do you prefer it the way it is at the moment?
ANDY RODDICK: I don't know. It changes every two weeks. I'm probably behind the times. No, I mean, he's an absolute phenomenon as far as attention goes and as far as, you know, just the madness he creates in people. I find it kind of cool. It's kind of fun to watch from a distance.
Q. Because you say, someone in England for months, our culture is slightly different to the United States, do you find it amazing that he causes such unbelievable aura, he's on the front page every day? Does it astonish even someone like yourself that comes from the States where that's the norm?
ANDY RODDICK: Yes. But you're either a sports star or like a rock star. And he's kind of like a little bit of both. He's like your biggest rock star and your biggest sports star combined into one. And he's dating another pop star. He definitely has a lot of things going right for him.
End of FastScriptsâ€¦.