August 26, 2003
NEW YORK CITY
THE MODERATOR: First question for Andy.
Q. The kick serves on first serves, the big blasts, the volleys, did you really unleash the whole repertoire that you have tonight? Been a while since you displayed this kind of full package of strokes.
ANDY RODDICK: I think Tim makes you do that because he's very good. He's just as good at 130 as he is 100 or 95. I think you definitely -- in Washington I made the mistake of giving him one pace, one pace, one pace, one pace. He's not easy to overpower because he feels the ball so well. That was definitely something I had to do tonight.
Q. Pete and Michael retiring, passing on the baton. You're certainly the one that most people are citing as the next great American player. Do you feel in a way that there's some irony in the timing of the fact you are playing at such a high level right now at the same time Pete is leaving?
ANDY RODDICK: Irony? I think it's more of a coincidence. I haven't done anything yet, man. I'm just in the second round.
Q. Huge game, him serving for the second set, you come up with two great returns.
ANDY RODDICK: Three, Charlie (smiling).
Q. A defense thrown in. Did you just read all those serves well, just happen to come to you?
ANDY RODDICK: I don't know. I guess they just came to me. I mean, I got a little lucky on the first one because I definitely didn't read it. I had a continental grip, pushed it up the line. Something like he might do actually. Then I had the double. A couple of the other games in the second set, maybe the game before, I had a good look, breakpoints and stuff, but I didn't really hit the ball. I said, okay at least this time, let's go for it. I came up with two pretty big returns.
Q. That's on the third one?
ANDY RODDICK: Yes.
Q. At Love-30?
ANDY RODDICK: Yes.
Q. Tennis is said to be an individual sport. I certainly can't think of a greater turnaround in terms of a player getting a coach and having such wonderful results. Could you talk about the whole chemistry with Brad, about the X's and O's?
ANDY RODDICK: He's great. He brings a relaxed attitude to the table. But at the same time, you know, he's very big on his X's and O's. He's not so much dwelling on the fact, "You need to improve, your game is missing this." He says, "This guy's game is weak here, attack that." That's a little bit of a different theory. It's easier to work that way.
Q. Is it fun? People talk about his tendency to talk just a little bit. Is it fun to hang out with him?
ANDY RODDICK: I think you're being kind. I have a great time hanging out with him. You know, he definitely has an opinion on everything. There's definitely no lulls in the conversation. But at the same time, you know, we're passionate about the same things, whether it's music or sports and who won and who lost that day. We definitely have a lot of topics that we have in common.
Q. He took Andre to Grand Slam wins. He got Andre to be a Raiders fan. Any chance he could convert you?
ANDY RODDICK: Hopefully he'll do the first one. The second one, there's not a chance.
Q. First point of the game, backhand passing shot cross-court. Statement there?
ANDY RODDICK: First point? Second point of the match, I think. I don't know if it was so much a statement. I think it's just an improved shot.
Q. Were you aggrieved by what he did to you in Washington?
ANDY RODDICK: That's a great word. You're so British.
Q. Thanks, Andy. That's the nicest thing you've ever said to me. Was there a sense you didn't want it to happen again? Sort of an avenging mood tonight?
ANDY RODDICK: I definitely think it caught me by surprise. Brad said, "Do you want to know who you play?" "Yes." "Henman." "We're going to have to play ball right away." I had a great summer, but he was the only dark spot in my summer. Pretty coincidental we met up in the first round. I'm sure neither one of us were too thrilled with what we saw on the other side. That's the way it goes. You have to beat everybody, you have to beat the players if you want to go far in a tournament like this. Just so happened that it was a first-round match.
Q. You said Brad is very good at picking out weaknesses in other players. Without being too disrespectful to Tim, what might he have said to you to do differently than what you didn't do in Washington?
ANDY RODDICK: Just mix it up a little bit more. Not so much -- maybe it was just more of execution. I tried to mix up my serve a little bit more, I tried to play with more authority from the baseline. I think the biggest difference was I just returned a lot better tonight than I did in Washington.
Q. Looking at this tournament, for a lot of years, this was the Pete and Andre show. That's what people talked about. This year, forgetting all the future events, it seems to be Andy and Andre who most American fans are looking at. Do you take pride in being the guy who is handling that along with Andre?
ANDY RODDICK: I think it's always going to be Andre's tournament until he retires. But, you know, I'm happy -- obviously, I think it's kind of like that because of the summer that I had. I do take pride that I played pretty well this summer. But, you know, it's over and done with. I'm here to play this tournament now.
Q. Did you watch Sampras' ceremony?
ANDY RODDICK: I didn't. I was out to dinner. I saw some highlights. It's something definitely I'd want to watch on videotape.
Q. You mentioned the dark spot. That was your one hard court loss. Facing Tim, did you come out thinking it was Henman, but maybe it was an opportunity to prove something to yourself?
ANDY RODDICK: Well, obviously. You know, you got to try to get your mind ready for positive. If I would have said, "Oh, crap, this is going to be terrible," then I probably wouldn't have been ready to play. Steady said, "Oh, God, this is terrible, but I want to win."
Q. You turn 21 on Saturday. A lot of great champions won their first Grand Slam when they were in your age range. Do you put pressure on yourself that you're that age?
ANDY RODDICK: I don't really think about an age. You know, I've said that I think my day will come as far as Grand Slams go, and I believe that. I'm not going to rush myself just because I have a 21st birthday on Saturday.
Q. Have a few drinks, though?
ANDY RODDICK: No. I'm more concerned with this tournament than my birthday.
Q. After your loss in Paris, if someone told you you were going to go to the semis, win three during the summer, what would you have thought?
ANDY RODDICK: Might have asked them what they had been smoking.
Q. Do you think Brad has been the key to that turnaround?
ANDY RODDICK: I don't know. Obviously, he's a huge part of it. He came on board. You know, we clicked. I started playing confidently. Who knows what would have happened if Tarik would have stayed on board. He's a great coach and took me very far. I don't know. That's a "what if" question. I'm not big on those.
Q. Was the most satisfying part of your summer seeing that your 43-year-old coach sky diving?
ANDY RODDICK: I think the most gratifying part was seeing him vomit after he sky dived.
Q. Do you think he was just imitating Sampras?
ANDY RODDICK: We got in the car, were leaving, about three blocks. Without getting too -- oh, I'll get graphic. He's in someone's front yard, someplace in New Jersey. The only people who called were Andre and his wife to see how he was doing. I said, "You don't want to know."
Q. Was your reaction at the end kind of the measure of how important you thought the match was? It was as if someone who won the title might have given.
ANDY RODDICK: For sure. I knew going in this match knowing good and well I could be going home afterwards. I would have to play well if I didn't want to. I felt it would be disappointing if I was playing so well, came in here and lost the first round. I was definitely taking this match very, very seriously.
Q. I think he broke you twice in the second set, yet you were able to keep your cool. Is that just the biggest difference between this year and last year?
ANDY RODDICK: Probably. You know, I was fighting. It was a struggle to keep my cool. I was ready to go a couple of times, but I kind of pulled back and tried to clear my head, maybe step back and look at it from the outside looking in. It was definitely a big key. If it would have been one set all, it would have been anybody's ballgame.
Q. You said you're only in the second round. After getting through tonight, how do you like your draw from here on in?
ANDY RODDICK: I have Ljubicic next who can beat a lot of good players. He serves humongous. You know, it's going to be a tough second round. It's not getting any easier.
Q. Have you ever felt more confident, considering your summer?
ANDY RODDICK: No.
Q. What has Brad told you in terms of your strategy on serve, variety in serve, and on your backhand?
ANDY RODDICK: Not really too much. On the backhand he says, "Don't hesitate. Pick a spot, hit it. If you pick a spot and hit it, when you do hit it well, it's going to be a winner. Don't hesitate at all." On my serve, he just wants me to mix it up a little more. He says I have one of the meanest kick serves in the game, but most of the time on first serves, you never see it. You never have that change up to go with your fast ball. That's something we've tried to incorporate a little bit.
Q. Has he spoken to you about patience?
ANDY RODDICK: Not really. I mean, I normally have patience when I don't get too ahead of myself. I think a lot of it is feeling calm, then you play calm.
Q. Yesterday in his press conference Pete talked about one of the biggest thrills of being who he was was getting to go on stage with Pearl Jam because that was his favorite band. I was wondering what it's like when you look in the players box and see members of the Dave Matthews band there rooting for you.
ANDY RODDICK: Pretty cool. They're super nice guys. Boyd is a big tennis fan. I went to the show on Sunday. I asked him if he wanted to come out tonight. Pretty cool.
Q. Do you still sometimes pinch yourself because obviously you respect what they do, but to know they look at you in the same way?
ANDY RODDICK: Oh, I don't know. I don't know if they look at me in the same way. I've been fans of theirs since I was 12. I don't know. I mean, he's a very nice guy. Asked him if he wanted to come out. He said he did.
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