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May 6, 2002

Andy Roddick


THE MODERATOR: Questions for Andy, please.

Q. You had played him already in Houston. Same story out there?

ANDY RODDICK: Yeah, you know, we played second round in Houston. I played very well that day, and I think that helped me because I had seen him before. And, you know, there weren't many surprises out there.

Q. Can you get technical and talk about the differences between American clay and red clay.

ANDY RODDICK: Well, the Houston surface is actually, you know, as close as you're going to get in America. They ship it over from Europe. So, you know, it's actually very similar. This court's actually playing more like a hard court. It's very thin and gritty, which makes it a bit quicker, which is nice for me. But, you know, most American red clay is pretty fake. But the Houston tournament actually does a really good job of making it similar.

Q. How do you rate your preferences on the four surfaces: Hard, indoor, clay and grass?

ANDY RODDICK: I think --.

Q. In your preference.

ANDY RODDICK: Oh, a list?

Q. Yes. One, two, three, four.

ANDY RODDICK: I don't know. Take your pick. Any which way is fine. I honestly don't know. I know my favorite surface is probably an outdoor hardcourt. And after that, it's pretty much up for grabs, you know. Anything goes.

Q. What is your impression of Rome and this tournament? It's your first time here.

ANDY RODDICK: I love it. I actually got to go out and see some of Rome yesterday, and it's amazing. It's, you know, probably one of my favorite European cities so far. You know, we don't have things that are 2,000 years old in the States. So it was nice to see.

Q. Two questions. Were you surprised to find yourself playing Pete Sampras in the final? And what does it do for your confidence to beat Pete Sampras?

ANDY RODDICK: Well, I don't think you're ever surprised to see Pete in a final. I mean, anybody who, you know, doubts his ability as a tennis player, you know, is, you know, about as sharp as a marble. So... And to actually -- you know, it was fun to kind of live out a boyhood dream of playing against Pete in a final. I mean, I never thought that was going to happen when I was growing up. To actually get a win was good momentum coming in to the European swing of things.

Q. How do you compare your form today compared to that final against Pete?

ANDY RODDICK: You know, it was close. I thought I played a great first set today. You know, there weren't many mistakes. Then, you know, I was kind of in and out of the second, but I held on and won the points when I needed to. But, you know, it's definitely good to get past the first round. And we'll see how the rest of the tournament goes.

Q. Do you play this tournament because it's a Masters Series, because it has a tradition, or because you have heard that Rome was important once? Any explanation, or they're all same - Rome or Hamburg for you wouldn't make any difference?

ANDY RODDICK: I haven't played either one. This is my first time here, and I've never been to Hamburg. So I don't have much basis for comparison. Obviously, they're Masters Series and you want to play well and compete in the bigger tournaments.

Q. You got injured last year at the French, I remember. So did it have something to do with the clay, or do you feel much more prepared for the kind of long matches?

ANDY RODDICK: Yeah, you know, last year I think I, you know, was just coming up and I think I was still, you know, in the junior body trying to play professional tennis. You know, that's what came out of it. But I think, you know, I'm in much better shape this year. You know, besides little knickknack things that have kind of been unfortunate, I haven't really gotten tired at many matches, you know, for a long time. So, you know, I feel much better about my physical fitness than I did last year.

Q. Can you talk about some exciting moment you had already, some time in a Slam or in Paris or finals against Sampras, or Davis Cup? Can you recall one special moment that you think it has been more exciting than any others?

ANDY RODDICK: It's really tough to choose. Obviously, probably the biggest thrill I get, you know, is playing for my country and playing Davis Cup. I mean, that means a lot to me. And it's, you know, sport's biggest honor to be asked to represent your country. So, you know, I take that very seriously.

Q. So you're looking to play the French in September, Davis Cup over there?

ANDY RODDICK: Yeah, for sure. You know, hopefully they'll pick me for the team, and then I'll go over and, you know, we'll dance a little bit, you know. You know, it's going to be fun. Their team is very strong. You know, they're on their surface at Roland Garros. It's going to be very tough for us. But, you know, our team feels good. We feel good with each other as a team right now. We're together. So it will be fun either way.

Q. If someone would convince Agassi to come back and play Davis Cup, you would be happy or unhappy?

ANDY RODDICK: I -- I think that's a pretty obvious question. You know, I don't think there's a person in the United States that doesn't want Andre to play Davis Cup. I mean, we would welcome him back with open arms. You know, he's been a special part of Davis Cup for the better part of, you know, 13, 14 years now, and, you know, we'd welcome him back any time.

Q. Even if you wouldn't play?

ANDY RODDICK: It's not an individual competition; it's a team competition.

End of FastScripts….

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