May 10, 2002
THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.
Q. Where did you find a hat like that?
ANDY RODDICK: You have to lose a bet first. Yeah, I figure I've seen some, you know -- this is the fashion thing, so I'm trying to throw myself out there a little bit, you know.
Q. Take you long to work out which way around to hold it?
ANDY RODDICK: No, this one's pretty simple. It's not a whole lot of thought goes into it.
Q. How are you on the clay - becoming more accustomed? Do you like it? Do you feel you're struggling on it?
ANDY RODDICK: No, I feel okay. I'm, you know -- last year it took me kind of a week to get used to it. Then I started playing well on it. The exact same thing this year. I'm not a natural clay court player. Once I feel -- once I get more and more comfortable on it, I start playing well.
Q. Is it more of a challenge to you to play someone who it is their natural surface? Do you feel that's even more of a challenge?
ANDY RODDICK: Yeah, of course. I'd rather play Spanish guys on, you know, a greasy court or a grass court, obviously. But, you know, I like the challenge of trying to beat someone when they feel more comfortable and are a bit more natural. I think that's part of tennis, that's what makes tennis unique. You have different surfaces that favor one player one day, a different player the next day. Basketball and soccer, the field's always the same size, same surface. So I think that's what, you know, makes tennis pretty unique.
Q. Do you think it was just a coincidence that you were behind 4-2 in the first set and 3-1 in the second, or...?
ANDY RODDICK: No, I don't know. I think, you know, it's becoming a little bit of a habit this tournament that I need to stop. Second service game, you know, is getting me this tournament so far. And, you know, I think it's just a matter of I need to bear down and just play my shots early. I just let go and miss two or three shots, then, you know, it's a struggle. So it's something I'm going to need to fix before tomorrow.
Q. I appreciate that your semifinal should take precedence at the moment, but there's a growing possibility that you could face Andre in the final. What would that be to you?
ANDY RODDICK: That would be fun, but it would be great to get through, like you said, tomorrow's match. And I'm not even thinking about, you know, the prospect of that right now. You know, I haven't had great success against Tommy - he kicked my butt a couple weeks ago in Monte-Carlo. You know, I've never played Carlos on this surface, so that's going to be very tough for me. I definitely can't look anywhere past that.
Q. You get a chance to look around town at all?
ANDY RODDICK: I did. I went last Sunday for an afternoon and got to see some stuff - not as much as I would have liked to. But, you know, it was definitely extremely fun and very impressive. I had a good time.
Q. What did you see?
ANDY RODDICK: I saw the Coliseum, the Pantheon and, you know, some other stuff. Just walking around. It was pretty cool. The Coliseum was unbelievable for me.
Q. I'm told the Houston tournament had imported some European red clay for the surface. How did the surface there compare with these?
ANDY RODDICK: The surface was pretty similar, but the weather conditions weren't the same. It was very hot there for numerous days in a row, which made it very quick and made the ball jump very lively. It definitely wasn't as heavy as here. You know, if you hit a serve, you know, a good serve, it wasn't coming back there. The ball was jumping really high. So I think that was the difference.
Q. The courts were similar?
ANDY RODDICK: I think so. I think the Houston tournament is pretty comparable to Roland Garros if you get, you know, some days of sun and heat.
Q. It was quite a show you put on out there, both of you. Did you detect that the crowd were perhaps looking for a third set from you?
ANDY RODDICK: Maybe. I didn't -- I didn't want to give it to them. I think they were just appreciating it. I mean, he hit some pretty big shots to get out of that game and, you know, he let the crowd have it after he hit them. I think it was fun. I think it was pretty, you know, suspenseful in that one game. And that's always fun to watch if you're a fan.
Q. How do you explain at the end of the match so many mistakes by Robredo? Do you think he was a little bit tired?
ANDY RODDICK: I'm not sure. You know, it's a question that he might answer a little better than me.
Q. You didn't feel it?
ANDY RODDICK: I don't know, you know. I honestly have no idea, you know, why he was missing forehands. I can't really -- that's not really my area. I was kind of focusing on trying not to miss mine.
Q. You feel ready to win a major on clay, or you feel like you're missing something, you have to improve something?
ANDY RODDICK: I don't know. You know, we need to slow down here. I just made my first semifinal of a Masters Series, and you have me winning Grand Slams on clay (laughing).
Q. Just a Slam.
ANDY RODDICK: Just a Slam, okay. Well then if it's just a Slam, for sure. I don't know, honestly. I mean, you know, there are a lot of factors that go into it. I probably need good weather, you know, to make the court a bit quicker. You know, a lot of variables go into it. But, you know, I'm confident going in to the matches now that, you know, hopefully I can give somebody, you know, a good run for things on any given day.
Q. What was your first reaction to European clay?
ANDY RODDICK: I don't remember. I used to get my butt kicked on it in Juniors a bunch when we came over here. You know, the guys who are used to it just kind of used me for batting practice. But, you know, that was a long time ago and, you know, two weeks really helped me as far as, you know, understanding and, you know, moving and all that good stuff on this stuff.
Q. What would have been the first year as a junior?
ANDY RODDICK: I think I came over my second year of 16s, so I probably would have been about 15.
Q. In terms of your emergence, Andy, how significant a step have you taken today going through to a first Masters Series semifinal?
ANDY RODDICK: About one more than I had with two quarterfinals last year.
Q. Exactly. That's why I was asking the question.
ANDY RODDICK: If you're asking if there's like a mental thing or anything, I don't think so. You know, I lost to Hewitt in one and then Pavel, who went on to win the tournament, the next one. But it feels good, I'm not going to lie about that. It's a big difference in points, quarters and semis. So it definitely feels good.
Q. Did you get a chance to see Agassi's match at all?
ANDY RODDICK: I did. I was in the locker room hanging out before. You know, he looked great. You know, he's looked very sharp this tournament.
Q. Would you rate him as the favorite for the French?
ANDY RODDICK: One of them. You know, I don't know if there's a clear-cut favorite right now. But I don't think you can count Andre out of any Grand Slam.
Q. Who do you think will win between Moya and Haas this evening?
ANDY RODDICK: Moya and Haas, I'm not going to touch that one.
Q. What results do you have to make in order to have your family come and follow you and watch you? Just only if you get to the final or only in a Grand Slam?
ANDY RODDICK: Only in America?
Q. Do they come to follow you sometimes overseas?
ANDY RODDICK: Not really.
Q. They don't care, or you don't want them?
ANDY RODDICK: No, they have TV, which is nice (laughter). You get to the Round of 16, and Mom's all pumped because she can watch on TV. Other than that, they sit in front of the computer and watch the scoreboard tick away, which, if you ask me, would be extremely annoying, but, you know (laughing)... No, you know, they're happy letting me do my own thing. You know, I talk to them on the phone all the time. And, you know, they like going to the US Open every year and they like going to tournaments that are around where they live.
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