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March 12, 2003

Andy Roddick


MODERATOR: Questions.

Q. What was the best part of your game today?

ANDY RODDICK: Serve. But that's something I can normally count on. Outside of that, I feel like I played pretty well. I don't know if I did anything really badly today. I'm very pleased with how things went.

Q. You played last night, coming right back. You're physically pretty good?

ANDY RODDICK: Yeah, I feel all right. It was a good test for me. Now I have the rest of the afternoon to take care of what needs to be taken care of. I'll be ready to go tomorrow.

Q. He's sort of a flavor of the month, a name you've heard the past couple months. What do you make of his game?

ANDY RODDICK: He's got some nasty stuff. He's got a big serve. The second serve especially has got some pretty nasty stuff on it, some of the nastier I've seen. He hits a big ball from the baseline also.

Q. We just had a guy in here who was a college graduate, apparently was an honor student.

ANDY RODDICK: Did he use lots of big words?

Q. Used some we couldn't understand. In your position, do you envy a guy like that in any way?

ANDY RODDICK: Do I envy him?

Q. Yes. His future, do you admire his future, something like that?

ANDY RODDICK: Not really. I honestly -- I can definitely admire what he's done, I can definitely respect people that, you know, chose to go that path. I don't see where that would have fit in with me.

Q. Do you think of yourself as an athlete who plays tennis rather than a tennis player who's an athlete? Do you understand the distinction?

ANDY RODDICK: Not really.

Q. Is your athleticism an advantage for you most days?

ANDY RODDICK: I don't know. I mean, I guess it depends on who you ask. Some people consider me a good athlete, and some people don't at all.

Q. Really?

ANDY RODDICK: Yeah. I've been called slow and whatever before. But I'm not sure. I know there are definitely guys out there with mortality in their hands, a better feel for the game on a tennis court. So maybe the answer is yes. I'm not sure.

Q. Wimbledon, two guys last year were baseliners in the final. Do you think that marks a change in the attitude guys take towards grass, that now you don't have to be a serve and volleyer?

ANDY RODDICK: I don't think you ever had to be. Going back to the days of Borg, he won it from the baseline. Connors has won it. Agassi won it. You know, I think it might have opened people's eyes to the fact that even if I don't play a game that's typically what you would think of as a grass court game, I can still win matches.

Q. In other words, even if two baseliners played it last year, that doesn't change your own thoughts about your own possibilities?

ANDY RODDICK: As far as?

Q. Not having to be a serve and volleyer.

ANDY RODDICK: I don't think you have to be a serve and volleyer. I think that's been proven in the past. I think if you are a serve and volleyer, it accentuates your game, helps your game on grass obviously. I also think guys that return really, really well are at an advantage also because it helps out their service games. It makes their service games a little easier, then they return well.

Q. With six, eight weeks detachment, what do you think when you think back to that quarterfinal match in Melbourne?

ANDY RODDICK: Yeah, I've talked about it a lot. I'm just proud. I mean, I'm happy to have been a part of it. Pretty much the same as when we talked about it the next day. I was really kind of bewildered. I didn't know what to make about it. I knew it was something special, but it's turned into this phenomena of its own. I watched the tape. It was good tennis. I'm glad it was not just dramatic to be dramatic, but it was a high level of tennis as well.

Q. What's a match in the past that's stuck out?

ANDY RODDICK: Probably that one, the one from Australia.

Q. I mean, a match for you as a fan that you've watched.

ANDY RODDICK: Oh, sorry. Oh, man. That's tough. I can think of so many off the top of my head. My first one that kind of got me really into tennis is where I actually sat down as a little kid and was able to watch it for three, four hours without actually not wanting to get up and do something else was when Chang beat Lendl, 1989 French Open, quarters, he was cramping, hitting underhand serves, all types of stuff. After watching that, sometimes you get the feeling when you watch a really great match, all you want to do is go out and hit tennis balls. You see Game 7 of the World Series, you feel like you want to go to the batting cage. That definitely brought out that emotion in me.

Q. If you look back, do you think that match at the Australian Open could be the match that turns your career around as far as Grand Slams are concerned?

ANDY RODDICK: I can see the possibility of it. I mean, only time will tell. I think I grew up a lot during the course of those two weeks in Australia. There was a -- I knew I could find different ways to win matches, I knew I could fight hard, do all this, but it's just a matter of getting the opportunity and capitalizing on it. I felt I did that down there.

Q. Are you getting more comfortable with the idea of being the next great American player?

ANDY RODDICK: That's okay. We made it, what, 10 questions without that one. I've always been okay with it. Like I've always said, I don't really think about it too much. I can only do what I can do. I'm coming up behind, you know, great player after great player after great player after great player after great player. The American tennis tradition is so amazing. Hopefully I can contribute a little bit to it.

Q. What was your favorite and best sport when you were a kid, when you were young?

ANDY RODDICK: I played everything pretty much. I was really good at baseball. It was probably between baseball and tennis. But I played basketball even up through high school.

Q. Have you ever thought about how far you could have taken it in another sport?

ANDY RODDICK: Yeah. The curiosity gets the better of me sometimes, when it comes to baseball. When I moved from Texas to Florida, you know, there was a lot of tennis. I didn't feel like starting with a new team, going into that whole spiel. I started playing tennis a little bit more. I think there's always curiosity with athletes that have done well in one sport, maybe what could I have done in another one.

Q. What about basketball?

ANDY RODDICK: No, I had no chance.

Q. Brian Vahaly is a great guy. Can you talk about him as a person and his prospects on this win today?

ANDY RODDICK: Yeah, I'm so happy for him right now. He's such a nice guy. I don't know if he has an enemy in the world. We've become very, very good friends on tour. I came off the court today, one of my first questions was, "How did Brian do?" I know he lost the second set, things weren't looking great. Two matches in a row, Gonzales, Ferrero. People have always bagged Brian in the past for saying he's little, doesn't have the biggest game in the world. You can't measure heart and fight. He's proven that. I think that's showing more and more in tennis.

Q. Can you talk about his backhand?

ANDY RODDICK: His backhand is sick. It's like a slapshot out of hockey or something. Yeah, I mean, he has definitely one of the best backhands in the world, I think.

Q. You look to Pete as a role model. How has your relationship been with Pete?

ANDY RODDICK: How has my relationship been with Pete? I haven't heard from him lately. Anybody else (smiling)? It's been good, especially I think last year it grew a little bit when we were on a couple of the Davis Cup teams together. I kind of got to know him on a personal level a little bit more. He's always been good. He makes it known that if I ever need advice about anything, you know, he'll be there. He's not going to go out of his way to hunt me down and tell me stuff. But, I mean, you don't expect that. He's been great as far as making it known that if I need anything, to let him know.

Q. Growing up, were you inspired to be like him?

ANDY RODDICK: I was spoiled in the fact that I had a lot of guys I could look up to. But he was definitely one of them. I don't know if one stuck out more than the other as far as Andre, Pete, Chang or Courier. Kind of just looked up to all of them. Different weeks I guess one was a front-runner.

End of FastScripts….

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