March 25, 2001
THE MODERATOR: First question for Andy, please.
Q. You were out at that court a couple years ago. Was anybody watching when you won the Orange Bowl?
ANDY RODDICK: Yeah, my mom and my dad. (Laughing.)
Q. Little different today?
ANDY RODDICK: Yeah, it was pretty different today. I don't think I ever played in front of that many people before.
Q. What was it like, any chance of tightening up at the end?
ANDY RODDICK: Surprisingly, no. I felt pretty loose. I tried to focus on the points, not what was going on around me.
Q. Did you feel the crowd behind you during the match?
ANDY RODDICK: For sure. I love this place. It's my favorite place to play. I feel like I'm -- like I get good crowd support every time. I love that. I appreciate it so much.
Q. There's an air about you these past couple of days, like you're almost ready to do something big. Do you feel that yourself?
ANDY RODDICK: Well, I put the work in after Delray. I trained so hard for ten days, probably the hardest ten days I've ever had. I knew if I came in here and didn't play well, it wouldn't be because of lack of preparation. I guess that gave me a sense of confidence.
Q. Were you targeting this as like a place where you say, "I really want to do something"?
ANDY RODDICK: Yeah, I mean every tournament I want to do well in, but I had a really disappointing loss in Delray Beach. I was kind of extra motivated to do well here.
Q. You had to make a big play in the tiebreaker. Can you take us through that point, what you saw, how you delivered on the point?
ANDY RODDICK: I gave him a, I think a forehand cross-court. He came in down the line. I was running kind of backwards. I knew the only play I had was to kind of try to flip it over to the other side of the court and I hit it pretty well.
Q. You were able to get your serve into his body. There was one where you caught him pretty good. Is that a psychological boost for you if you know you've got Pete Sampras back-pedaling to get out of the way of your serve?
ANDY RODDICK: Yeah, I mean, I don't really care about the back-pedaling or anything like that. I was happy with the way I served. I thought I served a pretty high percentage of first serves. That's what I was most happy with.
Q. A lot of talk about the future of American tennis, a lot of eyes are on you. Sampras even said you're a promising young star. Do you feel that pressure or do you enjoy it?
ANDY RODDICK: No, I don't feel it. People have been saying that for almost, you know, a year and a half now. So I'm kind of used to it, and I embrace it. I like it.
Q. Did you at any time have to slow down the adrenaline in this match, like you're getting maybe a little too high?
ANDY RODDICK: For sure. For sure. I kept telling myself to stay level-headed and pretend it was 2-1 in the first set. I wasn't thinking about the score. I was just thinking about points and what I wanted to do.
Q. Do you think you made a statement out there today?
ANDY RODDICK: Yeah, I think I did. That's the first, you know, Top 10 player I've beaten. He's probably the greatest player of all time. So I made a statement to myself. I think I gained some confidence.
Q. Were you surprised that the second set went so easily to your side considering that Sampras was in front of you?
ANDY RODDICK: I don't think it was easy at all. It was one break, and I had to hold on to that break for four very long service games. (Laughing.) So I don't think it was easy. It definitely wasn't easy.
Q. You hit a chopped return once. I haven't seen that.
ANDY RODDICK: Yeah, that's kind of like, "Oops, you got me, I'm gonna try to put it in the court somehow."
Q. What was your thinking? Obviously, you know Pete's game, you've seen him plenty of times. What did you feel you really needed to do? How much, if at all, did strategy come into what you accomplished today?
ANDY RODDICK: I knew that I had to serve well. I was focused on holding serve as much as possible. Also, I knew I wasn't going to get by just bunting returns. I knew I had to go for something. You have to win the game on Pete's serve; he's not just going to hand it over. I went out there with the mind frame to just go for it. I had nothing to lose out there. It was easy to go for shots.
Q. Where does Nebraska fit in?
ANDY RODDICK: It's where I was born. The 'Huskers football team is going to win the National Championship next year.
Q. How long were you there?
ANDY RODDICK: I left there when I was five, but, you know, that's --.
Q. Were you a tennis player there?
ANDY RODDICK: No. I was just a little rug-rat running around.
Q. You see the Nebraska - Miami Orange Bowl game when Nebraska won that?
ANDY RODDICK: 24-17, yes, I watched it.
Q. You saw it?
ANDY RODDICK: Yeah, I think we were down 17-14 after the first half. Yeah.
Q. Do you think now that you are a hero?
ANDY RODDICK: No. I am not a hero at all. I played a good match.
Q. Not yet or not at all?
ANDY RODDICK: No, I'm not. I play tennis. I'm not the President or anything special.
Q. Were you in awe today playing Sampras for the first time? Obviously, he's somebody you watched growing up.
ANDY RODDICK: No. I've been on Tour a year now. I can't say that I -- I've -- whenever I see Andre and Pete now, it's still just like they're my heroes. But once I get on court, it's time for business.
Q. Has it helped that you practice with Andre and that you played him here last year? Did that help in terms of coming into this match?
ANDY RODDICK: For sure. Andre has helped me a lot more than he knows. I appreciate all the help he's given me. It definitely has helped out.
Q. Can you kind of compare what maybe the hours of the night before were like last year before facing Agassi as opposed to this year before facing Pete?
ANDY RODDICK: Last year, I wasn't going in -- I was going in to compete. I was basically going to the court to take my beating and then leave. (Laughter.) This year, I thought if I played well and stuck around, I could get some opportunities. And I did.
Q. Was it Omaha?
ANDY RODDICK: Omaha.
Q. That's where you spent the first five years?
ANDY RODDICK: Yeah.
Q. Why? What was your father doing?
ANDY RODDICK: He used to be in the Jiffy Lube business, so if you ever need your oil changed, he's the man to see.
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