August 27, 2005
NEW YORK CITY
THE MODERATOR: Questions for our 2003 US Open champion, Andy Roddick.
Q. You gonna win again?
ANDY RODDICK: (Laughing). Oh, that's a simple yes or no answer. I feel good. I feel prepared and healthy. So, you know, I'm looking to make a run at it.
Q. What is it about this tournament you look forward to the most?
ANDY RODDICK: I love the energy that surrounds this tournament. You know, there's nothing like playing a night session here. Obviously, I've gotten amazing crowd support here over the years. You know, I just have -- I have great memories. So it all bodes well for a good experience.
Q. How long did it take to shake off the foot injury?
ANDY RODDICK: It actually pulled up pretty well. It ended up being a spasm on the bottom of my foot. The trainer got in there on court, which you guys probably saw. Was pretty painful. Once he got in there and kind of worked the knot out, it released a little bit. It was painful at that moment, it pulled up pretty well a couple days later and I was able to play practice sets starting Wednesday. So, you know, it worked out about as well as I would have thought last Sunday.
Q. Are you able to enjoy New York at all while you're here? Are you so focused on tennis that you...
ANDY RODDICK: Well, I think it's possible to do both. I think they have great restaurants. You can kind of enjoy the essence of the city. I'm not going out or anything like that. You can enjoy nice dinners and, you know, things that are a little more mellow.
Q. What would you do if you had a chance?
ANDY RODDICK: If I had a chance?
Q. What would you like to do?
ANDY RODDICK: In New York... mind's racing now. That's a lot of freedom (smiling).
Q. Have you got in your mind that you can beat Federer? You're not psyched out by all the losses over the last couple years?
ANDY RODDICK: I mean, I think -- I don't know if it's psyched out. Obviously, he deserves a lot of respect. I think, you know, his game deserves a lot of respect, first and foremost. I'm not scared to lose to Roger. I mean, like I said, if I do get a victory, it will be a sweet one. I feel like I can do it. I don't feel like I've served well against him when I've played him. You know, that's kind of put the momentum in his court. But like I said, I want as many chances as possible. I'd love to keep going for it.
Q. It's one thing to play your best match and lose, but if you don't play your best match and you lose, you can still feel like you're --
ANDY RODDICK: Absolutely. You know, the last couple years at Wimbledon I felt like I've actually played good matches against him in the final, you know, as opposed to Cincinnati where I felt like I just played -- I felt like I really played horrible especially in comparison to how I played the rest of the week. So that's a lot more disappointing. It's a lot tougher to kind of go home at night when you feel like, "I didn't really give him a go at all. I don't feel like I played well."
Q. Among the top four or five players, who do you think is the closest to coming to him?
ANDY RODDICK: I don't know. That's tough. I'll get back to it.
Q. You said you would like to join forces with Safin and Hewitt, like Power Rangers, to try and beat Federer. Is it hard to come into a tournament when you think you're playing for second?
ANDY RODDICK: No, you can't think like that. You can't think like that. He's lost in two out of three Slams this year. So it's possible. But the thing is, I mean, I don't go into a tournament thinking about him. I have so many matches to go before I would even play him, so it's not even -- that's not really on my radar until it becomes more of a possibility that would come in the near future.
Q. The serve-volley is so important to your success on court. What is the key, one or two keys for a good serve?
ANDY RODDICK: For a good serve? I think just you can almost feel it in warm-up in the first couple you hit. My biggest stat with serves, and the one I'm most kind of obsessive about, is first serve percentage, which has been good this year. I think I'm actually up in the leaders, which is surprising considering I don't just spin it in. That's my biggest stat. That's the first stat I want to know about after matches, percentage of first serves in.
Q. Early on when you were playing, is it how you're feeling that day, part of the technique?
ANDY RODDICK: I'm not too technical, as you can probably tell by my serve. It's not really super orthodox. But I think you got to feel it out. Some days you're going to have huge pop where you feel like you're hitting it huge. Some days you're going to feel like you're hitting your spins well, going away from the guys. It's a feeling-out process. Every day is a little bit different. So you kind of have to play to what you feel like you're doing well that day.
Q. When do you decide where you'll locate the serve?
ANDY RODDICK: I don't know if there's one time. Obviously, you know your opponent, what returns he likes to hit, what's his honey hole, if he likes it up, if he likes it down, if he likes it here, if he likes it there. A lot of it's instinct. "Okay, I know that's his best return but I feel like that's my best serve at this moment." There's a lot that goes into it. A lot of it -- sometimes when you step up to the line, sometimes you have it preplanned before the match.
Q. Do you ever get into a guessing game?
ANDY RODDICK: It's a little bit a game of poker. I mean, you're trying to read each other, try to figure out -- that's almost one of the biggest things about, you know, coaching at this level, is trying to figure out what people's tendencies are, you know, on a big point. You're not really concerned about what serve they're going to hit at 40-Love. They can hit any serve pressure-free, but 30-All, 30-40, that's when you win or lose matches.
Q. There's a lot of talk about Federer and Nadal. Should Nadal be put close to yourself and Federer as one of the legitimate favorites to win this tournament?
ANDY RODDICK: Yeah, he's up -- he's in the top, I think, four or five. Maybe before Montreal I would have said let's see how he does on hard courts, but he went there and handled his business. I think it would be disrespectful for anybody to think otherwise.
Q. There's a certain amount of business that's going on in the suites around Arthur Ashe Stadium. Are you aware of it and does it affect the character of the tournament for you?
ANDY RODDICK: Not really. I'm not really up there much. It doesn't really affect me. I think that's one of the things that makes the Open, the grandeur of it all, the big stadium with the business and the shops and concerts going on outside. It kind of gives it a different feel from the rest of the tournaments. I enjoy that.
Q. What would be a satisfactory result here?
ANDY RODDICK: I want to win. That's what I want to do. That's what I'm here for. You got to -- if I get to a final, if I get to a semi, it's, you know, people are not going to be surprised, it's not going to be a breakout tournament, it's not going to be here and there. That's what I'm shooting for. First and foremost I want to play good tennis. I don't think about the end result too much; right now I'm thinking about a lefty from Luxembourg who I want to get past in the first round.
Q. Have you talked about that match yet?
ANDY RODDICK: We haven't talked about it yet. That discussion will probably be coming up pretty soon, though.
Q. How are you feeling?
ANDY RODDICK: I'm feeling good. I'm healthy.
Q. Can you draw any difference between the Babolat and Reeboks shoes?
ANDY RODDICK: There's no real correlation, you know. It was kind of just a fluke, foot spasm thing that, you know, could have happened in anything. I think people want to point at the shoes because it was the first week. I sprained my ankle in the past in other shoes as well. If I wasn't comfortable in them, I wouldn't be wearing them.
Q. Can you talk about winning the US Open Series, the bonus.
ANDY RODDICK: The money's cool. I think the biggest thing is just for fans, it puts it all under one umbrella. It builds anticipation. Fans know that every Sunday they're going to see a final of a US Open Series on TV. It gives it that consistency. I think for the bigger spectrum of the game, I think it's bigger for fan interest than it is for players in general.
Q. I see a lot of kids here today who look up to you as a hero. Do you feel strange about that, or do you feel comfortable?
ANDY RODDICK: I don't know if that will ever be normal for me. It's fun. I mean, I'm definitely cognizant of it and try to act accordingly. Sometimes I don't. But I don't think that will ever be normal for me.
Q. Could you cast your mind back to your teenage years and when you were wanting to break through, there was a lot of attention on you, how important it was to keep your perspective as a kid, how difficult that was.
ANDY RODDICK: It's always a fine line because you want to win and this is the most important thing, is what we do in our jobs. But in the grand scheme of things, I mean, I could lose first round here, go home and I'd still be a very blessed individual, I'd still be pretty lucky in the grand scheme of things. You try not to think like that too much because then you lose something along the lines. I think being a competitor kind of drowns out some perspective sometimes.
Q. Just thinking in a situation like Murray, for instance, who is coming through. There are an awful lot of things being talked about him. How important is it for him to stay calm, stay level?
ANDY RODDICK: I like what he's doing because he's committed to it. He's been over here in the States for, what, two months, playing challengers. I was impressed to see him go from Wimbledon, where let's just face it, it was a little bit much with what was going on over there, and they were just going crazy for it. For him to come back and start playing well in challengers right away, after having all that attention, to go back to basics, that was good. That was impressive.
Q. What did you think of seeing Robby's name in round two?
ANDY RODDICK: Is Robby's name in round two?
Q. Yeah, sort of moving that way.
ANDY RODDICK: Okay, well, thank you (smiling). You know, it's tough. Right now my focus is on Muller, man. If that comes, then we'll discuss it.
End of FastScriptsâ€¦.