August 28, 2001
NEW YORK CITY
THE MODERATOR: First question for Andy, please.
Q. Forget the match, we want to hear about Jessica Simpson.
ANDY RODDICK: Thanks, I'll squash this right now. Maybe Bob was joking or something. I wish. You know, I feel bad because she probably gets this all the time and I never do. (Laughter). No, I would just like to squash this right now. I've never talked to her. I never met her. You know, I don't know what else to say.
Q. Bob thinks you're stalking her?
ANDY RODDICK: I guess. I mean, maybe this was Bob's idea of a joke, you know. I don't know.
Q. Would you like to?
ANDY RODDICK: (Laughing). Sure. I mean, no, I like -- you know, you guys are laughing at me. No, I mean it would be great to meet her. I don't know, it's been a serious distraction. I would just love to squash it right now because it's -- there's no dice, I don't think.
Q. Talk to us about tennis then.
ANDY RODDICK: Tennis, I can talk about better.
Q. How did you do today?
ANDY RODDICK: Good. It was good to get out there and, you know, get the first round out of the way. He was playing great tennis in the first set. He fought me off a couple times. Second and third I got more comfortable and started rolling a little bit.
Q. How did you like the stadium?
ANDY RODDICK: It's good. I mean, it's huge. But, you know, I like it. You know, it's good playing in front of your home crowd and, you know, I felt comfortable.
Q. It seemed like you were trying to hit the balls, "bang." He was dinking short balls, angles were weird.
ANDY RODDICK: He matched up well. He likes pace. He's the type of player that likes pace. He's feeding off of it the first set. Then I started playing some points with slices, hitting hard at one point. I wasn't giving him a constant groove, and I think that helped, you know, turn things around and make them a little easier in the second and third.
Q. Four aces in that one game. Kind of opened up the flood gates?
ANDY RODDICK: Yeah, I've never done that before. I really wanted to hit that last one. But, you know, that's tough. You know, I had to face Goran at Wimbledon. Any time you feel you don't have a chance in the other person's service game, it makes it tougher to hold your own serve because you're thinking about it.
Q. What kind of a kick is it?
ANDY RODDICK: It's not gonna help me win any more matches. It's cool to have done it. That's about it.
Q. First time you played on center court?
ANDY RODDICK: First time I played competitively.
Q. On center court?
ANDY RODDICK: What?
Q. First time you played on center court?
ANDY RODDICK: I played there on Arthur Ashe Kids Day. But, you know, it's not the same atmosphere. But it was my first match on center court.
Q. What did you say to Drexler?
ANDY RODDICK: I asked him if I should have played basketball instead. He laughed at me. But I've known Clyde for about a year now. He's a really great guy. I just thought I'd joke around with him a little bit.
Q. We have memories last year of you with Costa. How different was walking on the court tonight compared to last year?
ANDY RODDICK: I'm more confident this year. I feel more comfortable being at a tournament and walking past these guys that I've watched for a while. I feel like I belong. You know, last year was just kind of like a whirlwind. It was a whole new experience for me. And, you know, I thought I was good. But little did I know, you know, I wasn't. So it was definitely a whole different, you know, ball game today.
Q. So what's made you good?
ANDY RODDICK: I don't know if I'm good yet. But I think just more experience and more matches. You know, getting used to the tour.
Q. We can squash Jessica Simpson but Vanilla Ice ...?
ANDY RODDICK: I'll admit to that. You guys can laugh at me, please. But, you know, my excuse for that one is it was for charity. (Laughter). And Wayne Bryan just called me up on stage in front of like 300 people. I couldn't, you know, I couldn't back down from that one, so I just went up and did it. It was actually pretty fun.
Q. How bad was it?
ANDY RODDICK: It was pretty bad.
Q. How old were you when Vanilla Ice even came out?
ANDY RODDICK: I was like nine. That was like the song in the second or third grade. (Laughter). It was what everybody was jamming to out on the swing sets, man.
Q. What age did you start playing tennis?
ANDY RODDICK: Seven, I think. Yeah.
Q. Did you play any other sports?
ANDY RODDICK: I played basketball my last two years of high school.
Q. For someone who is such a showman, is it just extra special to be in New York, more so than any other city that you've played in?
ANDY RODDICK: I have fun playing anywhere. But New York, I mean it's definitely -- adds a certain bit of atmosphere, certain bit of hype around it. It's the center of the world. It definitely adds a little bit of that factor to it.
Q. Are you being recognized if you go take a walk around the hotel or something? I presume you're staying in town. Are people recognizing you?
ANDY RODDICK: Sometimes, yeah. It's happening more and more. You know, it never used to happen. Now I walk around, people say, "Good luck." Or if I'm sitting down to dinner, they'll bring my food a lot faster. So...
Q. What part of your game do you still have to work on?
ANDY RODDICK: I have a lot of stuff to work on, but I'm not gonna give that one away.
Q. What are your recollections of working out with Jack Brasington as a little tike?
ANDY RODDICK: I remember he had this really nice coach and they would just fool around, be like, "Let's go hit some." He would just toy around with me. You know, he was always really nice and his coach was always really nice. I don't know if he's with the same coach now. I haven't seen him for quite some time. You know, so I definitely admire him. He's played some good tennis. Got in the finals of a couple challengers, won four matches. So he's going to be ready to go.
Q. Any plans for your 19th birthday?
ANDY RODDICK: No. Hopefully I'll have to lay low because I'll still be in the tournament. That's the ideal plan.
Q. Pete won this tournament for the first time at age 19. Has that entered your mind at all?
ANDY RODDICK: I want to win my second-round match.
Q. That's a very boring answer.
ANDY RODDICK: (Nodding).
Q. What was the most memorable , the biggest victory you had?
ANDY RODDICK: Excuse me?
ANDY RODDICK: That was cool, but I kind of knew I could win the Juniors when I was coming in. So if I would have lost, it would have been like, you know, bad. I'm not sure. I have said before I can't really rank wins - my first Davis Cup match; especially winning against Pete; Centre Court Wimbledon. I've had a lot of experiences this year where there have been some good feelings.
Q. Is there any Grand Slam in particular you want to win?
ANDY RODDICK: I mean, if I had to choose one, I'm not picky - I'd take any one. But if I had to choose one, I'd love to win in front of the home crowd. You know, that would be great.
Q. How did you feel in the days leading up to this? There's been so much hype surrounding you just the past few days. Did it make you more nervous, more excited?
ANDY RODDICK: I don't know. That stuff , it really doesn't get to me. You know, I just let it slide. You know, when I went out there at first I didn't want to come out, you know, just firing and not being able to put a ball in the court. I learned that lesson at Roland Garros this year. I wanted to work in my game and I think I did that nicely tonight.
Q. Are you one that reads newspapers, watches televisions, especially stories about you?
ANDY RODDICK: No. Someone throws something in front of me, I'll take a look at it. But I'm not gonna -- if I know I'm gonna be on the news at 11 o'clock, I'm not gonna sit there 10:15 and wait for it. If I see it, I see it. If I don't, I don't. Have to keep you guys in check and see what you're writing.
Q. Has it become easier to settle yourself down for big occasions like tonight just because you've had so many this year already?
ANDY RODDICK: Yeah. You know, it's definitely not the first time I've been on, you know, a big court this year. So, you know, it's not a new experience for me anymore.
End of FastScriptsâ€¦.