August 18, 2005
THE MODERATOR: Ladies and gentlemen, Andy Roddick. Questions, please.
Q. Last night and again today you served an ace in the 145 mile-an-hour range to help win a tiebreaker. Do you feel like you can summon one of those up whenever you need to? Do you ration them sparingly?
ANDY RODDICK: No, I think a lot of it has to do with adrenaline in this situation. You know, it's probably similar to a quarterback can probably throw it, you know, so far, and then if he needs to and the crowd's going nuts and it's a big play, he can probably summon a little something extra. I think adrenaline has more to do with it than anything.
Q. You mentioned in the TV interview afterward that last night you thought about getting more aggressive and that was kind of following through today. How much of that is just kind of thinking that mentally and just carrying it over?
ANDY RODDICK: It's definitely a mindset. But it's one thing to have the mindset, and it's another thing to execute. But I think it is important for me to have that mindset because, you know, my aggression out there is my weapon. And, you know, if I get away from that, it might let people off the hook a little bit more, you know, as opposed to, you know, feeling like they're going to get something if they don't hit a good ball. So, you know, I think it's very important for me to have that mindset.
Q. It's not easy to suddenly become aggressive halfway through a match, though?
ANDY RODDICK: It's not. I mean, last night was a prime example. I had to do that; otherwise, I wouldn't be here talking to you guys today. But I think you have to be able to make mid-match adjustments. I mean, everybody's constantly changing it up and trying to do something new. While I'm trying to figure out what I'm doing, so is my opponent. It's almost like a little bit of a game of chess. I was lucky to be able to switch it up successfully last night; it's not always that easy.
Q. You also used the words "making guys scared of my forehand," on the TV interview.
ANDY RODDICK: Yeah.
Q. Do you feel there are times when you can create the intimidation or more times than others?
ANDY RODDICK: I don't know if it's so much the intimidation. I think it's more, uhm, letting them know that I'm not going to let them get away with something, I'm not going to be complacent out there. I think that's a big key, at least knowing that they have to do something with the ball and I'm not just going to kind of poke it back and be content to stay in rallies.
Q. You and Robby are the only two Americans left in the draw. When he was struggling, did he ask you for any advice? Did you give him any advice before the summer when he's kind of got on a roll?
ANDY RODDICK: It's always a little weird with the guys because we're the same age and we grew up together so it's not exactly like I'm a fatherly figure, big brother, you know. We've played against each other when we were 11, so it's always a fine line. I always try to, you know, give my opinion on if he's playing somebody that I've played, you know. I've played Carlos five or six times and, you know, played Marat five or six times. So I think I can help there. But I also think, you know, part of the lesson learned is getting through it yourself. I mean, these guys know what they're doing. He knows if he wasn't working as hard, that was conscious; you know, he doesn't need me telling him that.
Q. What type of commitment does it take to stay on top?
ANDY RODDICK: It's tough, I mean, especially in this sport. There's no off-season. It's not like you can, you know, bust it for seven, eight months and then have a two-month to three-month window to kind of lay low. It's constant. And you've seen it. I mean, you had Lleyton kind of burn out a little bit a couple years ago. You know, Roger just took six weeks off. It's tough because then people say, "You're pulling out of tournaments." Well, you know, there's no off-season so you have to pick and choose your spots. It's definitely not easy.
Q. At what age do you realize how hard you have to work to be where you are?
ANDY RODDICK: At what age?
Q. Yeah. Certainly not as an 11-year-old.
ANDY RODDICK: Oh, no. Well, I mean, I worked really hard, you know, coming up through high school. You know, I'd wake up before school and play at like 5:30, 6 in the morning. I didn't do that with the intention of, "Okay, I have to do this to become a professional." That was never my thing. I just wanted to be good at something. You know, but you have to work hard because that's when you build your basics, your basis, when you're young. That's when you find your technique and do all that stuff.
Q. After high school, when you turned pro, did you feel that you were working hard enough and it would eventually get you where you are today, or did you have to step it up from there?
ANDY RODDICK: Uhm, I was actually lucky enough to have some coaches growing up who really stressed work ethic. And so, you know, I've never really been too much of a slacker. I've always worked pretty hard. And, you know, my dad is -- he's pretty hard-core about if you're going to do something, do it right and do it to the best of your potential. But I think the biggest adjustment is just doing it week after week. In Juniors you can train a lot, and then you get put into, you know -- you have to play one or two weeks, let's say a leadup event and then a junior Grand Slam. Whereas here, it's more consistent. I think it's maybe something a little bit bigger mentally, you know, to be able to come up with it every single day and every single week - especially if you're at the top, it's expected of you. So, you know, I think that was the biggest adjustment for me.
Q. Is the mental part what separates the Top 10 from everybody else?
ANDY RODDICK: I'm not sure. I think a lot of it has to do, you know, Top 10ers are pretty gifted athletically. I mean, if you look at a lot of them, they're just really fast individuals. I mean, Roger is a great athlete. But everybody can hit the ball out here. Everybody can hit strokes. Everybody, you know, can play tennis. I think a lot of it is mental.
Q. In this tournament you've only got five seeds left, you know, from sixteen. There must be an equality of ability there.
ANDY RODDICK: Oh, it's unbelievable. I mean, you have guys, you know -- I mean, you have guys, you know, consistently beating Top 10 guys or Top 20 guys who are 120, 150 in the world. That's where even -- I mean, I played second round at Wimbledon against a guy who was 125 and almost lost. That's the depth. I mean, the thing about men's tennis is that you have to come to play every day. That makes it tough.
Q. I don't think you've lost your serve this week.
ANDY RODDICK: Oh, you're jinxing me.
Q. You did pretty well in DC, too. Do you have periods where -- is it a mental thing where you feel like, "All right, I'm not going to lose my serve this week"? Is it a confidence thing?
ANDY RODDICK: I'll tell you what it is, it's the first ball after the serve is very important to me. I feel like I'm going to serve well and I'm going to win a lot of points on my serve. The two biggest things are second serve points won because if you're winning a high percentage of those, then they have to worry about both serves; and the first ball afterwards. If they know that they have to force a return off a big serve, it makes it that much more difficult. I've done a pretty good job of that in DC and so far here.
Q. You're striking it as well as ever probably right now?
ANDY RODDICK: My serve?
ANDY RODDICK: Uhm, I never like to think that (laughing). But I'm hitting it pretty well right now.
Q. Talk about the game seven plays. You had a return, hit the net cord.
ANDY RODDICK: Sorry? I didn't catch the front of that. I'm sorry.
Q. The game seven. Score went to deuce several times. Were you really hoping for a break there so you wouldn't get to another tiebreaker?
ANDY RODDICK: Game seven in the first set?
ANDY RODDICK: I had a breakpoint, correct?
ANDY RODDICK: Uhm, I mean, obviously, I mean, you want to get a break when you can, especially if that means you're going to serve it out the next game. I did have a breakpoint and I actually did hit a decent return and he was, you know, uncharacteristically really aggressive on the next ball and went for a winner. Kind of similar to what he did in the second set, but missed it. And, you know, obviously that would have been huge. But you kind of have to get over it real quick to try to hold yourself.
Q. You haven't played Youzhny in quite a while. I think you're 1-2 against him. What are your thoughts of him as a challenge?
ANDY RODDICK: Yeah, no, he's tough. I mean, I think he was up around Top 15 for the better part of the last, you know, year, year and a half. He plays well and he's a little bit, unlike the guys I played so far, he always tries to push, he always tries to be the aggressor. You'll see a lot of change of direction, up the line, he hits a little flatter than a lot of the people. He's pretty flashy as a shot-maker, so I'll definitely have my hands full.
Q. Chela played a very good first set against you. Last night Ferrero was almost unbelievable for quite a large part of the match.
ANDY RODDICK: Yeah.
Q. Do you feel these guys are raising their level particularly because they're playing you?
ANDY RODDICK: Uhm, I don't know. I mean, I think that's a question, uhm, that you guys might be -- I haven't watched enough of their other matches to see. I'm not sure. I keep telling myself, "Make them play this way the whole match, make them play this way the whole match." Ferrero came really close last night. You know, but I just try to stay the course. The good thing about it is I feel like I can hold on to my serve, so, you know, maybe I can fight them off long enough to get, you know, kind of a chink in their armory. But I'm not sure if that's the reason why they're playing well.
Q. Does that mean you're digging quite deep early in the tournament?
ANDY RODDICK: Trying. Yeah, I mean, I've had to. Like I said, there's not a lot of easy matches out there. I think it was really big today to win that first-set breaker. I mean, if momentum would have been on his side, he would have continued to swing free, and that would have been very tough.
Q. I think you said last night that Juan Carlos probably played better than the final in New York two years ago.
ANDY RODDICK: Yeah.
Q. Do you think you're a very different player yourself?
ANDY RODDICK: I think so. You know, the meat and potatoes of my game is the same, but I feel like I'm a little quicker. I'm working on getting in a lot more. The difference is I was just on a complete hot streak then, you know. I feel like I was -- I felt like I was playing above where I would normally -- I mean, the first six months of that year I think I wasn't winning a lot of matches. Then I just hit a two-month hot streak where I was playing great, better than I ever had before. Now I feel like it's a little bit more normal to play well on a consistent basis.
Q. You went down pretty hard in the first set. Are you okay?
ANDY RODDICK: I haven't checked. Maybe I have a scratch on my ass or something, I don't know.
Q. Was the court already getting slippery at that point?
ANDY RODDICK: I don't know. I think I'm just not coordinated. I went to, like, have my feet hit the ground and the ground moved or something. I don't know. I just missed it.
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