August 29, 2003
NEW YORK CITY
MODERATOR: First question, please.
Q. Happy Birthday.
ANDY RODDICK: Thank you.
Q. Relieved it didn't go to a fifth, yeah?
ANDY RODDICK: (Shaking his head yes.) No, actually I wanted to play five. I definitely wanted to try to lose that fourth set and test the waters in the fifth (smiling).
Q. Did you think the 7-6 breakpoint in the fourth set was out that you hit?
ANDY RODDICK: Sorry, what?
Q. Did you think the 7-6 tiebreaker point in the fourth set you hit was out?
ANDY RODDICK: No, no. I didn't see a clear space. I didn't see a space.
Q. Was the match tough more because of the way you played or the way he played?
ANDY RODDICK: It was a mixture. I was in control of things early, then I played a bad game in the second set on my serve. From there on, he definitely lifted his level. I think if I would have held out the second set, I mean, then it's 3 and 3, you're looking pretty going into the third. But I played a bad game. I let him back into it. Then in the tiebreaker he played really good tennis and he started playing a lot better.
Q. Quite lively out there in terms of the atmosphere.
ANDY RODDICK: Yeah. I don't know if I've ever played in front of a louder crowd. I mean, they were definitely into it. They helped out a bunch tonight.
Q. Does it distract you sometimes when it's so loud?
ANDY RODDICK: No, not really. I was -- you know, I was kind of feeding off of it, so...
Q. You looked up a lot at the Jumbotron at changes of ends. Is there a risk that that can be distracting, that you're out of the zone?
ANDY RODDICK: No, I was trying to get the trivia questions right.
Q. How did you do?
ANDY RODDICK: Eh, about 500.
Q. The second tiebreak you hit a couple huge forehands. It was almost like the exact same forehands you had had against Federer for that first set at Wimbledon. Can you just talk about, you know, being able to hit those on points that were that important?
ANDY RODDICK: I also missed a couple (laughing).
Q. But you got those...
ANDY RODDICK: I mean, I have to hit my shot. I said that even when I missed against Federer. Clipped the tape. If that shot's an inch higher over the net, then the first set's mine. But my forehand is a shot that I got to go for. You know, if I -- it's just in my nature to go for that shot.
Q. Was your forearm bothering you in the third set?
ANDY RODDICK: Little bit. It just was getting a little bit tight. But I don't think it's any big deal.
Q. You don't seem particularly thrilled with the win or your birthday or whatever. What are you feeling right now? Are you just tired?
ANDY RODDICK: I'm tired (smiling).
Q. A lot of people say tennis is down, but you could be the big future. Is this okay?
ANDY RODDICK: Is what okay?
Q. That you could be the big future for tennis.
ANDY RODDICK: It's fine for me.
Q. What do you think about this?
ANDY RODDICK: I don't know. I mean, I'm gonna have to win a lot more matches if I'm the future of tennis. I don't think you can place that on one person. I think there are a lot of good young players and I'm just maybe a part of that group.
Q. You've probably seen Saretta play a few times. He's kind of a wild hair sometimes, comes up with some unpredictable shots. How do you deal with somebody like that?
ANDY RODDICK: It's tough. It's gonna be a lot different than the first two matches I've played. He'll stay at the baseline, you know. He's not gonna -- I'm gonna get a look every return game. He's not gonna just put forcers by me where I don't really get my feet in the game. But, you know, he's flashy. He's pretty talented. You know, it's gonna be tough.
Q. Ljubicic complained just now and said that your demonstrative behavior on the court affects the linesmen. He said other players felt that way, too. He didn't think it was positive for the game. Can you address that. When you say "yes" or something before a linesman calls it, it might affect the call.
ANDY RODDICK: I think that's pretty much sour grapes. You know, I don't know how -- I don't know if I yelled "yes" before the linesman even called that ball or anything. I mean, I think the linesmen do their job. You know, I don't know if anybody saw the replay, but I'm pretty confident that that ball wasn't out. Maybe he was hoping it was out. You know, that really doesn't deserve a response. I don't think that's very respectful. I definitely don't have anything bad to say about him. So it's disappointing.
Q. You played deep on the serves today. Did you want to make him hit a lot of balls?
ANDY RODDICK: He was aceing me a bunch even when I was standing back, so, you know...
I thought that was the best way I could get the ball back in the court.
Q. Happy birthday.
ANDY RODDICK: Thank you.
Q. About the replay, an Italian commentator told me the ball was in?
ANDY RODDICK: The ball was in?
Q. The ball was in.
ANDY RODDICK: Yeah, so maybe I wasn't so bad. I can tell -- there was no space. You know, but maybe he was trying to be demonstrative and get a call out of the person by doing one of these things.
Q. He also said that he cannot be sure but his feeling was that the ball was out. He was asked about that.
ANDY RODDICK: That's fair enough. That has nothing to do with me. I don't know why he has to drag me into the call.
Q. You expected a tough match?
ANDY RODDICK: It was a very tough match. Ivan's a very good player. I have tons of respect for him as a player. He has a huge serve. I thought he played very well from the baseline today. I've lost to him before. I was definitely skeptical coming in.
Q. He was being vehement. He told me, "Other guys in the locker room told me to kick his ass." Do you know where that's coming from?
ANDY RODDICK: No. I don't really care either. I try to treat everybody with a lot of respect. You know, I'm not mean to people. You know, I'm very courteous to people. You know, that's their prerogative. You know, I'm not worried. I'd be worried if I was doing things that I thought were causing that. But, you know, I try to treat everybody with respect. I'm not too worried about it.
Q. You never heard that before at any time?
ANDY RODDICK: Sorry?
Q. You never heard that before?
ANDY RODDICK: No, I mean, if they're talking, they're not talking to me about it, which would be the mature thing to do. I think it's easy to come and talk to 30-some-odd journalists about it or anything. He wished me a "happy birthday" walking down the hall just now after his press conference. I was thinking, "That's pretty classy." (Laughter).
Q. Is there any risk that playing three-hours-plus might sort of work against you next week?
ANDY RODDICK: No. I got a day off. You know, I can recover.
Q. How happy are you with your serve? How disappointed are you to be broken in your first two matches?
ANDY RODDICK: Well, considering I played, you know, seven sets three times is, you know, it's not too bad. I played a couple sloppy games but, you know, things are going good on the serve if it's a surprise that I've been broken three times in seven sets.
Q. Is it possible a player can get carried away on court and it inadvertently winds an opponent up?
ANDY RODDICK: It's a possibility. I watched the Davis Cup from home when the Croatian fans were behind Ivan. I saw a lot of excitement, too. If someone's getting excitement -- I'll never do it to my opponent. You won't see me doing anything. If anything, it's to my box or to the fans. I don't think I've ever tried to disrespect anybody on court. You know, I'd like to think if he had 20,000-some-odd Croats behind him, too, he'd probably get a little juiced. You know, I feel bad if that got on his nerves or something. But, you know, I wish he would have come to me and said, you know, "This got on my nerves." I probably would have taken it a lot better and respected his opinion a lot more.
Q. Do you think it's a part of creating a good atmosphere for tennis as well, showing your emotions and pumping the crowd up?
ANDY RODDICK: Not really. I haven't done it. Tonight I definitely needed it. They were there for me. It's not like I'm going out, I'm up 6-2, 6-1, 5-0 and I'm going nuts and doing it. I mean, that was an intense match. I wasn't doing it -- a couple times I tried to get into it. But, you know, I feel bad that he was bothered by it. But, you know, it's just the way it goes sometimes. You can't please everybody.
Q. Is it the price of getting to the top, and having good results as well, maybe that people are going to have more of a go at you?
ANDY RODDICK: I don't know. It's not my area to answer. I don't know. I'm not good at speaking for other people.
Q. Have you yourself ever been agitated by a player's behavior on court?
ANDY RODDICK: I think everybody has. I think it's part of sports. You know, if you're a competitive athlete, you compete on a daily basis, even if it's just or unjust, sometimes you're mad. But, you know, I always say what goes on on the court stays on the court. I try not to hold any grudges. You know, I don't know.
Q. Is it something you'll take up with him privately?
ANDY RODDICK: Possibly. It's a possibility. I mean, I think we're both adults and, you know, I might apologize for making him upset even though maybe I don't agree with the whole thing. We're gonna be on tour together for many, many years, so I don't want any hard feelings. But, yeah, it is a possibility.
Q. Athletes who are in an emotional state after a very tough match will sometimes say things, then the next morning they'll feel completely different about the same issue.
ANDY RODDICK: I mean, that does happen. I certainly hope that's the case with Ivan. I think he's a very nice person. You know, if it's a whole locker room full of people, maybe I have a lot of talking to do, I don't know (laughter). But I don't know, it is a possibility. But, you know, I don't hold any grudges.
Q. He said, in reference to this question, he said this has been going on for a while in the locker room. Not that it's something that happened tonight; that the discussion has been going on?
ANDY RODDICK: Well, considering the locker room is empty right now, I would assume so.
Q. Not just the fact that --
ANDY RODDICK: I'm not concerned with it. I treat people as good as I can, you know. You know, there's nothing really I can do about it. You know, that's about it.
Q. Did you realize going in to play professionally it would be tough to slog through to get to the top on many fronts - it's your game, the pressure, the other players, there's so many different ways, it's hard to be a top player?
ANDY RODDICK: That's part of professional sports, though, is the pressure. That's part of what makes sports fun to watch. There's always pressure there. If you don't feel pressure, then you probably don't care too much. It's just part of it.
Q. Did you realize kind of all that was involved?
ANDY RODDICK: I don't think you know -- I don't think you know if you've never been there before. You obviously know pressure exists. But you don't -- if you haven't dealt with it before, then it's something new.
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