September 3, 2004
NEW YORK CITY
THE MODERATOR: First question for Andy Roddick.
Q. You really didn't seem to want to go four sets tonight, did you?
ANDY RODDICK: No. If you're up two sets to love, it really doesn't happen that often that you want to go four sets. You know, I really wanted to bear down. You know, he's a fiery guy. So, you know, if he would have won that third set, his emotions would have been running high and who knows what would have happened.
Q. Your emotions were running pretty high tonight, too?
ANDY RODDICK: Yeah, normally happens here. Something about a night session at the Open that kind of gets inside of you a little bit. Especially when, you know, he was kind of getting pumped up and stuff. I wanted to make sure that I kind of stayed on par and kept my intensity up as well.
Q. Have you ever met Rulon Gardner before Athens?
ANDY RODDICK: No, no. We hung out a couple times in Athens, though.
Q. What's special about the guy? You obviously have a real rapport.
ANDY RODDICK: Well, besides the fact that he's a gold medalist, I mean, the guy almost died, lost a toe, then decided he was going to try to do it all over again. That's, you know, pretty special, you know, to come back and, you know, have an injury like that and come back and give it a go again, and give it a hell of a go. I mean, he got a medal. That's pretty cool.
Q. You guys gonna hang out tonight?
ANDY RODDICK: I don't know. There's a rumor he's coming down to the locker room, so we'll see.
Q. You looked pretty ticked off sometimes with Nadal's fist pumping?
ANDY RODDICK: No, I'd be hypocritical if I said anything. I think more than anything, it was just me being frustrated with the way he was playing there in the third set. On the court you might not like it, but I respect it. I like someone who's that competitive. He's down two sets to love, he's getting a pretty good whooping, and he's still in there fighting every point, living and dying every point. That's going to bode well for him in the future.
Q. With what you had heard about him, him beating Federer, were you surprised how things went in the first set?
ANDY RODDICK: Not really. I've played a lot of guys who the first time they step out on that court, they're a little anxious. I felt like I was hitting the ball great in the first set. Obviously, that being said, if you would have asked me beforehand if I would have won the first set 6-0, I would have said you're crazy. But that's just the way it went out there tonight.
Q. What do you think his main strengths are?
ANDY RODDICK: He gets a lot of action on his ball. He gets a lot of work on it. The wind was kind of blowing towards the commentary boxes tonight. When he would kind of take a rip from the side with the wind, it was tough for me to get a hold of it. You know, he competes. He wants to win every match, every time. You know it's not going to be easy. So that's a lot -- I see a lot of good things there.
Q. How much trouble is it for you to play lefties?
ANDY RODDICK: My record against lefties in the last year has been pretty solid, actually. It's an adjustment for anybody, not just me. But, you know, I've become a lot better, you know. They gave me some problems early in my career. But, you know, I think over the last year, year and a half, you know, I've really started playing them pretty well.
Q. You hit with a lefty?
ANDY RODDICK: No, I haven't hit with a lefty.
Q. Lefties used to dominate the sport. You were a little baby when they did it. McEnroe, Connors, before that, Laver. Now they're like, they've disappeared. Can you figure that out?
ANDY RODDICK: Your guess is as good as mine. You know, there are still lefties being born, right? I mean, that's what I would think. Maybe they're not picking up tennis racquets, I don't know. I think anybody's guess is as good as anybody's there. I don't know if it's just coincidental or what. I really have no clue.
Q. I think everyone in this room would say that you're an incredibly loyal guy, a good friend and so forth.
ANDY RODDICK: Thanks, buddy (smiling). I think you're swell, too.
Q. The other young Americans have had another real difficult Slam. You're the only young American left, with Andre. Could you comment on the troubles the other young Americans are having and reflect on that for a moment.
ANDY AGASSI: Yeah, I mean, more than anything I'm just disappointed for them. You know, I watched some of Mardy's match. I didn't watch -- I watched the first set of Taylor's, and he won it. I don't know. I mean, I think it's -- it's just about getting over that hump in the Slams, you know. I had trouble early on, too, kinda progressing past a certain point. I was getting the same questions. So, you know, I think it's just a matter of breaking through, and hopefully it will happen for them sooner rather than later.
Q. More specifically, based on your whole experience, in particular what would you say to Mardy, that he can get over that hump in the Slams?
ANDY RODDICK: Just keep plugging away. You know, I think, you know, I don't know if the emotional high of Athens got to him - and Taylor for that matter. You know, I don't know. Just keep plugging away. I feel like he was on the right track coming into the Open. I talked to him this morning. He was, you know, disappointed but he was pretty upbeat. He knows that, you know, there's some work to do. He'll get there, I hope.
Q. You're in the locker room before the match. Serena sort of an analogous match with you, playing a young player, pushed 5 and 4. Nalbandian comes in, losing. How does that affect your preparation?
ANDY RODDICK: It doesn't. I'm watching the matches the same way you guys are, just sitting there watching. Then when it's go time, you start getting ready. You know, the only difference is I'm stretching out and getting stuff done to me while I'm watching the matches.
Q. Have you ever had a let call when the ball was...
ANDY RODDICK: Well, the good part about that one was his argument. When I asked him about that on the switch over, was he said, "I was tracking the ball." Okay. I said, "If you were tracking the ball and I'm at the net, how do you see a ball that's a foot from the wall in the back?" Then the conversation just went downhill from there. I mean, if he would have just said, "That's the rule, I'm sorry, I know it's a pain in the ass but that's the rule," okay. But you got to say something like that. I just don't get it.
Q. Do you feel that anybody can beat you, the way you're focused now?
ANDY RODDICK: Yeah. Yeah, I don't know if -- I have never felt unbeatable before, that's for sure. I think if -- no, I mean, I don't feel unbeatable. But I feel like I'm playing pretty good tennis.
Q. The crowd is feeling you're unbeatable.
ANDY RODDICK: I don't know about that. They're being supportive. I don't know if they think I'm unbeatable. But they're certainly giving me their all, and it's much appreciated.
Q. How did you fall? Was that a slick patch?
ANDY RODDICK: I don't know. I don't know if there was sweat on the court or what. I mean, I was down before I knew it. And then I didn't bother checking if it was a wet spot because I fell and I was sweaty, so there was probably a lot of wet spots there after I fell. I don't know. I don't know if my feet went out from under me or what.
Q. Looked like you hit your head on your elbow, but then you were flexing your hand. What happened?
ANDY RODDICK: Well, I just ate it pretty hard. You know, I got a nice little cherry on the side of my hip. I felt a little bit on my hand. I was kind of worried about that. That's not good (smiling). But I think it's all right.
Q. It's okay?
ANDY RODDICK: Yeah, it's just a little -- I mean, I got a couple cuts and stuff, but nothing big.
Q. A few players have been complaining about the way the umpires treat differently different players, especially they kind of mentioned you guys, Americans. Their argument is that they...
ANDY RODDICK: If that's the case, then why are more Americans not still in the tournament?
Q. I don't know.
ANDY RODDICK: Okay, thanks.
Q. I'm just saying what they're thinking. My question is, their argument is that they let you do, like, more, like, the racquet abuse or that kind of things. They get the warning immediately. What's your opinion about that?
ANDY RODDICK: That's a convenient excuse. You know, I don't know. I don't remember throwing my racquet so far this tournament, so you tell me.
Q. When you hit a serve 152 on your second serve of the night, do you think about 154?
ANDY RODDICK: No, man. I think about just trying to hit it hard again. To be honest, people talk a lot about the serve and all that, but that's one of my accomplishments that I'm least proud of. It's just one point. It's just one serve. And I know I can do it, you know. So for me, the novelty has kind of worn off. I play it more, you know, as an effective shot rather than, you know, going for the glory.
Q. You're so amped up tonight, pretty amped up for the first match. Any thought of conserving some of that energy for the second week, or do you just want to get out there on court, feel the crowd?
ANDY RODDICK: Well, I've been on the court 2 hours and 50 minutes, so that's conserving energy.
Q. Nebraska is changing its traditional football strategy and going to a west coast offense. Good move or disaster for humanity?
ANDY RODDICK: Well, I don't think Nebraska changing to a west coast offense is a disaster for humanity. But for us Husker fans, I don't know. Good thing is we got Betty Crocker's schedule early on. Hopefully that will give our offense a chance to click in. I'd be lying if I said I wasn't a little nervous about it.
Q. When you're sparring like that with the umpire, do you have to kind of keep in the back of your head not to cross any sort of line? Do you think about that at all?
ANDY RODDICK: Well, no, because I'm allowed to cross the line, remember? I'm allowed to say whatever I want and do whatever I want with no repercussions (smiling). No, I don't really think about, you know, if I cross the line, then I cross the line and I get a warning. You know, whatever. I don't really think about it that much.
Q. You ever want to take something back after you say it?
ANDY RODDICK: Yeah. Yeah, I mean, I think in the heat of the moment a lot of stuff is said. And, you know, the umpires are all pretty good people. They tell me I have like split personality because I'll see them off the court and I'll be nice and ask them how they're doing and stuff. Then they said I'm just a pain in the ass on court. So I don't know (laughing). You know, at the moment, I mean most things that I say. But in retrospect, you know, we all have things that we probably would change.
End of FastScriptsâ€¦.