March 23, 2001
THE MODERATOR: First question for Andy, please.
Q. How long can you savor this before you have to think about who you have to play tomorrow?
ANDY RODDICK: About five more minutes. No. I'm already focused on the next person. I'm not going to -- I'm not, you know, satisfied yet. So I want to keep going.
Q. How happy are you with your service game today? Is that what you wanted, or can you do better than that?
ANDY RODDICK: Yeah, I was happy with it. I played one sloppy game, but he came up with a great shot on break point. But I mixed my serves up well. I thought I hit my second serve pretty well, came up with some big ones when I needed to. I was happy with it.
Q. Were you surprised that there wasn't more competition with Rios?
ANDY RODDICK: Well, I think he played maybe one bad service game, and the other one I played really well in but I got the early break right away. I think that might have deflated him a little bit.
Q. Can you talk about your expectations, what you expect from yourself? Is this the biggest win for you?
ANDY RODDICK: It's the biggest win for me so far, for sure.
Q. You feel that?
ANDY RODDICK: Yeah. Definitely. You know, this is a big tournament and he's, you know, been 1 in the world before. So I was going in to the match to win it. I wasn't going in there to play and compete well. I was going in to win the match.
Q. Is that the difference, do you think?
ANDY RODDICK: From what?
Q. Just, you know, try to do well, finally going out and saying, "I'm going to win"?
ANDY RODDICK: Yeah, I guess.
Q. What are your goals for this year?
ANDY RODDICK: Well, right now the thing I'm focusing on is doing well so I can get into the main draw in the rest of the Grand Slams this year. Once I attain that, then I'll go for something else.
Q. Pete and Andre have set an unbelievable standard, especially now with Andre, how well he's playing at this point in his career. Have you spent much time with either of those guys? And if so, whom? And what, if anything has rubbed off? What have you gotten from them?
ANDY RODDICK: I spent a lot of time with Andre. We practiced before the Australian Open this year for a week.
Q. In Vegas?
ANDY RODDICK: No, in Boca. I also practiced with him before the Masters Series Cup thing at the end of last year. So I've got -- he's been great to me. He's taught me a lot, a sense of professionalism. Obviously, he just has an unreal mind for the game. I appreciate it very much.
Q. Are you surprised to see the steady level of great play that he's been able to produce since the French when he began his comeback?
ANDY RODDICK: Nothing surprises me from him. Not at all. People have counted him out so many times. He's proved everybody wrong so many times. I really admire that and I think he's a great player.
Q. You said you're tired. Mentally or physically?
ANDY RODDICK: Mostly mentally.
Q. Like what?
ANDY RODDICK: Just how to play certain points. You don't have to win every point with a 140-mile-an-hour serve. You can mix it up. I threw in a couple kick serves that threw him off today a little bit. Little things like that that he knows. I mean, helps so much.
Q. Talk about your Davis Cup experience.
ANDY RODDICK: It was a dream come true. I mean, that was my main goal, you know, for my career was to play Davis Cup and play -- I still haven't played a lot of it but that's what I want to do. And for it to happen at such a young age, it's just unbelievable.
Q. How about your net game? You got some good volleys in today. Do you want to play better at the net, go up more?
ANDY RODDICK: Yeah, of course. I think I said two weeks ago that's going to be a big part for me. The week of Indian Wells where I had off, I hit thousands and thousands and thousands of volleys and returns. It's starting to pay off. I'm confident going to the net right now. I have to use that. There's so many good baseliners; I have to add that part to my game.
Q. What is the difference between you a year ago here and now?
ANDY RODDICK: There's a lot difference. You know, I'm bigger, I'm stronger now than I was a year ago. I feel like I belong now. Last year I was kind of just on, you know, like a dream or something. I didn't expect to win matches. It was just kind of like a pleasant surprise if I did. Just a year on Tour. I mean, you gain experience, you learn how to win matches. Just stuff like that.
Q. What about your game?
ANDY RODDICK: My game, I think, has improved a lot. I'm more consistent, powerful I think. I think I've improved every aspect a little bit.
Q. You played Andre second round here last year, potentially you got Pete up next. Talk about how you'll approach that experience differently this time around.
ANDY RODDICK: Yeah, Pete still has to play a match, and Kiefer's been playing well. He played Andre tough last week. But if I do get to play him, I would love it. But I wouldn't be going in just to compete well again, I'm going to go in and try to take my chances and we'll see what happens. Obviously he's the greatest player of all time. So I'm glad that I'm going to get the chance to play both of them.
Q. Did you expect Rios to play better?
ANDY RODDICK: I think he came out playing really well. Maybe he was expecting me to fold a little bit, but I actually just tried to -- I made a couple errors at the beginning and I tried to kind of work my way in and make him play a little bit more. I really didn't know what to expect, but I'm happy.
Q. Can you describe again, you already mentioned it, what it felt like there when you won the match?
ANDY RODDICK: It was great. I mean, the crowd is the greatest here. You know, it's people that have known me since I was ten years old, seen me play in little local tournaments and stuff. So it's kind of cool to see people you haven't seen for a while and they're cheering and screaming and yelling. I appreciate it so much from the fans.
Q. Did you have a lot of people here? Like guests, people you got tickets for?
ANDY RODDICK: Yeah, of course. I mean my buddies from school, my parents, my family's down from Wisconsin, they'd never seen a tennis match before, before the last couple.
Q. How many tickets did you have to get?
ANDY RODDICK: I don't know. I try to focus on hitting the yellow little fuzzy thing around and let other people handle the tickets.
Q. Good luck in your next match.
ANDY RODDICK: Thank you.
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