March 21, 2001
THE MODERATOR: First question for Andy, please.
Q. How did it feel out there? You think maybe because you're used to the wind down here you had a little bit of an edge?
ANDY RODDICK: Yeah. That helps. I played a match in Delray where the wind was much worse than this and I didn't handle it well that day so I was happy to come out here and, you know, handle it a little bit better today.
Q. Can you talk about what it means to play down here, so close to home, and to be in the area of friends, family, all those different things that go with it?
ANDY RODDICK: Crandon Park is probably one of my favorite places to play. I've played here since I was 13, 14 years old. I've probably played the most matches here of any place in the world. So it's great to come down here and play.
Q. Kind of weird because it's one of the first days so the stadium's never packed. You're in a big arena, see a lot of empty space?
ANDY RODDICK: Yeah. I really don't pay attention to that too much. As long as I know where my friends and family are, that's pretty much all that matters to me.
Q. What has it meant to you the last couple years, two years ago you spoke about you were in the stands watching. Last year you had an opportunity to play Andre Agassi. The progression of it, how does it feel to be actually going into something different every year?
ANDY RODDICK: When I stop and think about it, it's kind of amusing to me. You know, I was in the nosebleeds two years ago, now have I've won a match two years in a row here. So it feels good, though, I mean to actually be doing it instead of watching it these days. It's a good feeling.
Q. In the fall you practiced with Andre quite a bit when he was down here. I guess he came over to your courts. Did he just call you up and say, "Hey, I'm here, can I come and play"?
ANDY RODDICK: No, he'd call me in advance and say are you here from such and such a time in Boca. I'd say yeah. We'd just hit. It was great. I love practicing with him. Every time I practice with him I go and do well the next week. He just raises my level. So I enjoy it very much.
Q. How do you think you're dealing with everything as far as the coverage, the notoriety, the expectations, all the things that go with being a young tennis player, being American and all the different things? How do you think you're handling it? Have you changed much in the last couple years?
ANDY RODDICK: No. I haven't really at all. You know, I'm the same person that I always have been. I think I owe it to -- a lot to my family. They kind of keep me grounded and, you know, we have a very close relationship. So they help me through it a lot.
Q. You seem -- a lot of guys when they first come out try to play every week they can. You seem to pay a lot of attention to scheduling. Last week you sat out at Indian Wells. Who kind of sits down and decides?
ANDY RODDICK: Well, the way I figure it is, you know, lots of people play lots of weeks but they don't pull their all into it. I like to feel like if I go into a tournament then I like to have everything there. I like to, you know, I didn't think I was playing well, so I had a good week of practice and sometimes the circumstances call for that, you know, chilling out for a week and really getting your game together before you come to a tournament again. You know, I'm probably going to continue doing that. You won't see me playing six, seven, eight weeks in a row. It's just not going to happen. Maybe in the future but not any time soon.
Q. You mentioned being in the nosebleeds two years ago. Were you actually at the men's final or?
ANDY RODDICK: I don't think I was in the final, probably couldn't get tickets. I've come to this tournament every year since I was probably ten years old. I've seen a lot of matches here.
Q. Do you at all get caught up in the expectations or anything? You said you haven't changed much. Do you listen to those things? How much attention do you pay to the fact there are so many expectations that people put on you?
ANDY RODDICK: None. People pay way more attention to it than I actually do. You know, I really don't pay attention to it at all. I kind of just focus on tennis. When you start, you know, believing you're something special and that you've made it, then things stop happening. I just want to stay hungry and keep progressing.
Q. Any goals for this year?
ANDY RODDICK: I have one goal right now, which is to try to get in the main draw at the French Open, and once I do that, then I'll probably set another one.
Q. Have you had a chance to visit any of your friends who might have gone on to college? Agassi used to do that and Courier, kind of get a feel like what that life would have been like?
ANDY RODDICK: Yeah, I mean my brother's an assistant coach out of college. Whenever I go up and visit him, I hang out with the team, do that sort of thing. I'm always in contact with my friends at college. I've visited them. So yeah, I've done that.
Q. Feel like you're missing anything?
ANDY RODDICK: No. Not really. I have friends at home and I have friends that go to college in my hometown, so I know all the, you know, kids at college there. So it's kind of like my substitute place. But, no, I mean I feel like I'm gaining a lot as opposed to losing something.
Q. How much better have you gotten at your serve and how much emphasis is placed on that?
ANDY RODDICK: A lot. Lots of guys can hit hard serves but I'm trying to learn how to pick my spots to jack it up and use slice and use kick. I think that kind of helped me through my match today a little bit.
Q. Next opponent, Rios. You remember what you were doing three years back when he won here?
ANDY RODDICK: I was watching him. I was watching it on TV. I'm looking forward to it, you know, he's always been a top player - unbelievably talented. I'm going to try to go out firing and we'll see what happens.
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