August 30, 2005
NEW YORK CITY
THE MODERATOR: First question, please.
Q. Must be terribly disappointing to go out in the first round like that.
ANDY RODDICK: Yeah. I don't really remember a loss where I've, uhm, felt this bad afterwards. You know, I love playing here. I probably had -- I probably had the best practice week I've ever had in lead-up. You know, it just didn't translate tonight.
Q. Tough draw, guy like him in the first round.
ANDY RODDICK: Yeah, but everybody's a tough draw here. I mean, there's so many good players. I mean, you have to play from the word "go." You know, but you've got to win seven matches regardless. I thought he played very well.
Q. What didn't you do tonight that you would have liked to have done?
ANDY RODDICK: I don't know. I just felt like the whole time I was trying to find something as opposed to just having it. You know, if you look at the stats, they're pretty impressive both ways. But, you know, I normally take control of a situation a little bit more than that, whereas he was getting the first strike tonight.
Q. Did you ever feel as though you had any sense of how to deal with his serve tonight?
ANDY RODDICK: I mean, I didn't feel like I got ahold of it ever. But, you know, the thing about it, you feel like you're getting your racquet on enough of them. You know, I was always optimistic that it was going to come. I mean, I think the biggest thing here was the game I played at 5-3 in the first set. Had I rolled through that one 6-3, served it out, who knows. You know, I let him back in and then he started playing really well after that.
Q. He seemed to really go after your backhand tonight. At one point you yelled out, "Make a backhand." Was that frustrating you?
ANDY RODDICK: It was. I mean, like I said, I didn't -- you know, normally when you have a loss, you can sense in preparation, you can sense something's not quite right, or you're going in without a lot of confidence. This is the first loss I've had like this where I felt, you know, great going in. 24 hours ago, I was really optimistic about my prospects here. You know, I'm in a little bit of shock right now, to be honest. I'd give anything to go back four hours right now.
Q. This result measures nine on the Richter scale. You just turned the corner in terms of results, you won the US Open Series, you reestablished yourself as the world No. 3, and you came in here thinking that you had a good shot at winning the tournament. Where do you go from here?
ANDY RODDICK: I don't know. That's all very factual information. I haven't really thought about what I'm going to do tomorrow or the next day yet. What are you going to do?
Q. I'll be here.
ANDY RODDICK: I probably won't.
Q. Do you feel you're more of an evolved player than, say, at the end of last year when you changed coaches? Do you really feel you're a better player now?
ANDY RODDICK: I feel that way. I feel like, you know, I've put more work in mentally and physically, every which way. I've never cared so much as I care now, which makes it tough. You know, last year I didn't work hard. I didn't even step up. I wasn't, you know, training hardly. Somehow I was sneaking out big points. This year I just killed it as far as working hard, doing all the right things. You know, I took my lumps. Like you said, I turned around. We're talking about this as a big disappointment. I'm still sitting at 3 in the rankings. I guess that's a good sign. You know, it's tough for me to have a lot of perspective right now.
Q. Being able to turn your attention to Davis Cup, will that help?
ANDY RODDICK: Not right now. But I'm sure in two or three days my tune will change.
Q. Do you ever feel like you put too much pressure on yourself?
ANDY RODDICK: Me (laughter)?
ANDY RODDICK: I've always put pressure on myself. I've always done it. I expect it from myself, from a lot of people. It's always been there. It's never going to leave. The more I sit here and cry about it... Pressure's part of sports. It's part of the whole deal. You know, you have to be able to take the bad with the good, with the same mentality -- not the same mentality but, you know, you can't be a good winner and a bad loser. You try to have as much perspective as you can as far as the grand scheme of things. But, like I said, that's pretty hard right now.
Q. You've really put in the work. At Wimbledon you said you wanted it too much almost. Did you feel loose and free coming in today?
ANDY RODDICK: I'm telling you, I've never felt better going into a Slam than I did here, as far as like the practice sets I was playing this week, everything. I mean, this has totally blindsided me. I'm repeating myself. Normally if something is off, you kind of feel it and you hope for something good. You know, I just felt like I was going to have a pretty good run here.
Q. You said you felt great coming into the match. How did you feel going into the tiebreakers?
ANDY RODDICK: I felt fine. Well, obviously I was a little -- I was ticked off going into the first one because I didn't feel like I should have been there. The second one, obviously you're back's up against the wall. The third one, I got down 5-1 in about 46 seconds, so I wasn't feeling really good about that. So probably "not good" would be a shorter answer for you.
Q. Even though he isn't ranked as highly as some other guys, he beat Nadal at Wimbledon, beat Agassi last year. He's a guy that can play. Do you think you just caught him on one of those days?
ANDY RODDICK: He's definitely streaky. You can see his summer. He finaled in LA. I think he lost in Washington. Didn't qualify for two Masters Series events. Lost in quallies in two of them. I'd be really upset if he came in here and said he played badly today. Apparently, I did catch him on the wrong day. The thing is, I can blame myself because I was in control and then I let him back in. To his credit, after that he really raised his level and played a good match. In the first two tiebreakers, I felt like I didn't play horrible ones - especially the second one, I felt like I played okay. Bottom line, he stepped up and took the points, took the points tonight, and I didn't. I didn't go after them.
Q. If you look at the other top three guys, Federer, Nadal, Lleyton, is it fair to say two of the things that separate them from you are return of serve and possibly --
ANDY RODDICK: I'm just really excited to hear the second part of your question.
Q. You can answer the first one.
ANDY RODDICK: That's all right. I'll remember it.
Q. Then the ability to come through, this year at least, on some of the bigger points. We can throw backhand in, if you want that.
ANDY RODDICK: Or we can what? Are you a comedian now, Matt?
Q. No. Go.
ANDY RODDICK: Are you?
Q. No. I don't make jokes. It was a serious question.
ANDY RODDICK: Okay. I was just wondering if you have anything else to throw in there while we're at it.
Q. Go ahead.
ANDY RODDICK: Okay, thank you. They return well. They return better than I do. You're right on as far as that one. But as far as winning the big points, I don't see that. I've been up there in the top whatever for a couple years now, if you watched last week and if you watched Wimbledon. I think that was the case maybe earlier in the year. I felt like I was having trouble doing that. But the last couple months, I've kind of been back to normal. Backhands, I didn't hit it well tonight. You're absolutely correct.
Q. This reminds me of Agassi '93 when he lost to Thomas Enqvist. Next year he won. Does that give you some encouragement?
ANDY RODDICK: I hope I'm not unseeded next year. Let's not get carried away. A lost a match. I love this. You guys crack me up sometimes, I swear to God. Yeah, that would be super. It would be great.
Q. Did you have any birthday plans for tonight?
ANDY RODDICK: No. I really honestly wish I didn't have a birthday during this tournament. I mean, two days ago I had people coming up and talking to me about it and I had honestly forgotten. I would have treated tonight like any other night during a Grand Slam.
Q. You started by saying that this one hurt more than any of them. Seville, Wimbledon. This one hurts more?
ANDY RODDICK: I think so. You know, I could leave those matches saying that, you know what, against Nadal last year I played one of my best clay court matches. The year before that, I played a really good final. I can't say that tonight. That's more disappointing. I don't feel like I gave my best stuff out there tonight.
Q. Disappointment in self?
ANDY RODDICK: Absolutely. No one else lost the match for me.
Q. Is it similar to Johansson last year?
ANDY RODDICK: I don't know. There's a lot different feelings when I'm going to have to go home and watch this on TV for another two weeks. Maybe similar. Maybe a similar feeling. Last year I felt like I was playing great up until I played him. But I'd also had four wins behind me, which I think it helps cushion the blow a little bit. First round of the US Open, last time that happened I was 17. It's not something I expected.
Q. Last Grand Slam of the year. Your assessment of your slams this year?
ANDY RODDICK: Couple were good and a couple were bad. That's pretty forthright.
Q. You're about to lose the match, inadvertently hit a ball that hits him in the back. You jumped up to let him know. That said something.
ANDY RODDICK: I don't know if it said anything. Maybe I should have looked before I hit it. I just didn't want him thinking I was aiming or something. I think anybody would have done the same thing. I don't know if that's such a big deal.
End of FastScriptsâ€¦.