May 8, 2002
THE MODERATOR: Questions for Andy, please.
Q. Andy, those first five games seemed to drift away from you before you even got started?
ANDY RODDICK: Yeah, they went pretty quick. You know, I didn't feel like I was hitting the ball that badly. Just, I've been playing in Houston. First round here, the court was playing pretty quick. He was getting some of my balls back. I got broken by two let cords. So just wasn't going my way early, and he was coming up with some good passing shots. But I didn't feel like I was hitting the ball badly, just the result came out pretty bad.
Q. Was the court, the clay in Houston, was it imported from Europe?
ANDY RODDICK: Yeah.
Q. Was it Roland Garros clay?
ANDY RODDICK: Yeah. It was, you know, it's legit stuff, not the hard true stuff colored orange. It's the right stuff. But, you know, we didn't get the cold weather and the rain there too much. It was pretty, you know, hot and steamy which made it a bit quicker.
Q. Did it play like you would expect the European clay to be?
ANDY RODDICK: Yeah. If we got, you know, a week of pretty good weather, no rain, I mean, that's pretty much how it would play.
Q. What do you feel you did to change the match around?
ANDY RODDICK: I felt, you know, I didn't go nuts, which was good. You know, I kind of kept my head together, which was a nice surprise. And I started hitting my forehand a lot better cross-court. I felt like I was in control of the points when I was able to do that.
Q. Do you have lofty ambitions here, or you just want to justify your seeding?
ANDY RODDICK: Well, you know, if you're asking if I'm satisfied and I just want to lose next round, no.
Q. I wasn't asking that.
ANDY RODDICK: Well, that means live up to my seeding. So I think -- I think everybody in this tournament has lofty ambitions. I feel like I can, you know, go a little further. I feel like I'm hitting the ball pretty well. I feel pretty comfortable. We'll see. The tournament's not over for me yet, so hopefully I can get through tomorrow.
Q. Is it good to get the crowd involved a little bit? You seemed to react to them, and they react to you as well. Is that important to you?
ANDY RODDICK: It's just a matter of me having fun. I mean, I'm not telling myself, "Okay, let's get the crowd involved and maybe you'll feed off of it." It's just I have fun out there and, you know, I guess they can maybe sense that a little bit and, you know... So that maybe helps out a little.
Q. Did you wear the peak of your cap forward just to shield you from the rain, or was it a new departure from the traditional trademark?
ANDY RODDICK: I have no idea (laughter). It's really nothing, you know, conscious. It's just kind of -- I guess I just put it forward before I went on the court.
Q. That means that you don't notice when you have your hat this way (indicating wearing the cap forward) or the other way? You don't realize it?
ANDY RODDICK: I'm probably conscious of it, but not a lot of thought goes into it. You know, it's not something I, you know, planned out last night over dinner - try to come out and, you know, really try to go for it today, you know, hat forward (pumping his fist).
Q. You just pick it up, put it on, you don't see if it's in front or back?
ANDY RODDICK: Like I said, I'm conscious of where it is. I do know if it's on forwards or backwards. But, you know, it's not one of my priorities in life (smiling).
THE MODERATOR: Or in tennis.
ANDY RODDICK: Or tennis. Or fashion. Or whatever... Come on, I didn't mean to scare you guys (laughing)!
Q. Forget the translation.
THE INTERPRETER: I don't need to translate that (laughter).
Q. Was it uncomfortable playing with the drizzle?
ANDY RODDICK: Besides the fact -- not really. I mean, was just really heavy conditions. I had to get used to it. But, you know, I didn't really notice the rain, you know, too much. It wasn't getting in my eyes or anything like that.
Q. I read a few nicknames of yours: A-Rod. What does that mean?
ANDY RODDICK: It's my first letter of my first name, with the first part of my second. I don't know, it's just a...
Q. Unconscious (laughter).
ANDY RODDICK: It all has to do with which way I'm wearing my hat that day (smiling). I don't know. It's just my friends started calling me that, you know, a couple years ago, and I guess it slowly made its way to the tour.
Q. Are you going to go visit the city? Do you have time?
ANDY RODDICK: I actually got the chance to do that on Sunday afternoon after practice. I got to see some really cool things. Obviously, you can't see all of Rome in, you know, four hours. But I saw the Coliseum, which I've been dying to see for a long time. So, you know, hopefully maybe some time later this week I can go see some more.
Q. What about the Pope?
ANDY RODDICK: I haven't seen the Pope this week.
Q. Not yet.
ANDY RODDICK: Not yet. But I'm optimistic (laughter).
Q. You're a Catholic or no?
ANDY RODDICK: Yes, sir.
Q. He actually was a good tennis player.
ANDY RODDICK: Really?
Q. Of course. Yeah.
THE MODERATOR: Always trust what he says. Always....
Q. There was a lady dressed in red who was following the match. Was it your mother?
ANDY RODDICK: No. No. No.
End of FastScriptsâ€¦.