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August 15, 2005

Andy Roddick


THE MODERATOR: Ladies and gentlemen, Andy Roddick.

Q. Do you feel the way you started this week validates the criticisms of last week?

ANDY RODDICK: It wasn't so much, you know -- the balls and the conditions were fine. It's just tough for us as players to get used to one thing and then -- it would be like shooting -- NBA players shooting in a room that's all of a sudden (inaudible). It makes sense if you're playing the US Open with Wilson balls, maybe you should play the lead-up events with Wilson balls. I mean, that's all I was saying. I mean, I got beat fair and square and the guy had a great week, you know. It was just, you know, an observation that seems pretty obvious to me.

Q. But you've started well today.

ANDY RODDICK: I've been here since Wednesday getting used to the conditions. You know, I've played with these balls before; they use them at all the Masters Series events. It's just a matter of getting used to them. The Wilson and these are a lot different so, you know, it takes a little time. In Montreal, with one day in between and having played a pretty long week in some heat, I just felt like -- I felt ill-prepared.

Q. Greg Rusedski, amongst many others, were sympathetic to what you've said. He even suggested there should be a players' union to deal with this and other issues. Do you think that's...

ANDY RODDICK: That would be a novel idea, huh (smiling)? Catching up with the rest of, you know, everything. Yeah, I mean, you know, we can voice our opinions as much as we want, but at the end of the day, you know, our hands are tied if each tournament owns its own rights and can pretty much do whatever they want. You know, it's tough to do then. I mean, there are some players out there, we're intelligent enough to figure it out and know that we need one. But, you know, getting it together and doing all that when, you know, these guys don't want to give up what they already have, you know, the only option would be a strike and I don't think we want to do that; we love playing too much. And so, you know, that's pretty much our only option, and I don't see that happening. Let's say you have a guy like -- 'cause in every situation you're going to have a guy like let's say Nadal before the French Open. If we want to strike there, he's saying, "Okay, I'm playing great, this is my shot," you know, "Why am I going to sit out?" It's the same thing. It's not like, you know -- it's tough. There's a lot more that goes into it. It's a pretty obvious and glaring problem, but I think it runs a lot deeper than just what's on the surface. That was the longest answer I've ever given in a press conference.

Q. Are you able to say what's under the surface?

ANDY RODDICK: Sorry? Yeah, I just told you, each tournament owns its own thing. You know, the Masters Series events as a whole sign a deal with Penn, and we don't have really a say in it. I mean, I completely understand that there are financial -- they want to make money on the tournaments and that's fine. You know, it just makes finding a happy medium a little more difficult.

Q. Another issue question?

ANDY RODDICK: I don't know. I'm kind of spent from that one. That's the most --

Q. How did you play today?

ANDY RODDICK: How did I play today?

Q. That was a joke.

ANDY RODDICK: Oh, okay. Well, I could do that one a lot easier.

Q. With your sometimes doubles partner you played today --

ANDY RODDICK: Well, actually, by "sometimes," you mean we played one time and we lost 6-2, 6-0 so...

Q. Former doubles player.

ANDY RODDICK: Yeah, exactly (laughing).

Q. With these changes, are you inclined to play any more -- where do you sort of stand on this?

ANDY RODDICK: I don't -- the thing is, I get asked about it and I'm the last person people should be asking because I played two doubles events in the last year. I don't think I'll play more, you know. I don't -- I just don't think I will. My focus is singles. And, you know, if I need the extra practice, I'll go out on a practice court. I play sometimes for fun, but I don't think, you know, that playing -- whatever they're playing, half sets and no switchovers and, you know, five-second shot clock or something, I don't think I'm going to play any more doubles.

Q. How did you play today?

ANDY RODDICK: (Laughing). I thought I played --

Q. Coming up after last week, it seemed like a pretty good match.

ANDY RODDICK: Yeah, I felt like it could have been even worse than that. I felt like I didn't serve great. During -- it was kind of a weird match for me because I was putting a lot of returns in play and once I was in the point I felt like I was getting the better of it. I wasn't serving that well, so it was kind of like a backwards match for me. But I think that's a good thing because I'm pretty confident my serve will come around. I don't really worry about it too much. And I had lots of opportunities to break, which was good for me.

Q. Did you sense his frustration? He said he gave you the second set as a present pretty much. Did you see that at all?

ANDY RODDICK: I don't know. I appreciated it, though. That was nice.

Q. You said at Wimbledon that you're 22, you're not done yet. Do you think there's been too much focus just on your rankings, No. 5 versus when it was No. 1?

ANDY RODDICK: Yeah, but -- yeah, I mean -- yes and no. I mean, obviously, when you set the bar high, anything less than that is going to be criticized. I understand that. It's the same in every other sport. You know, if the San Antonio Spurs lose next year in the Conference Finals, then people are going to be down on them. That's just the way it works, and I understand that. It doesn't bother me because I know I'm putting in the work that I need to and it's nothing that I've done wrong or lack of effort or lack of hard work that, you know, I've dropped. After 5, it's kind of like you have the Top 5 and then it drops off a thousand points or something like that. I'm in the mix. It's just one week on the computer I'm 3, one week I'm 5. I'm not really concerned with, you know, two or three spots. I mean, my goal is that I'm still contending for majors. I've put in good results in majors this year, and that's my main concern.

Q. You're in the quarters, semis, finals. What about winning an event like this? It's been about a year and a half since you've won one this big. Do you think it will feel good the next time you get one? Does it feel like it's been a long time?

ANDY RODDICK: No, it's going to feel terrible the next time I win a Masters Series (smiling). Uhm, yeah, I mean, obviously, you come to tournaments to try to win. It's not like I haven't been winning tournaments; I'm up to something -- 20, 19 titles, something like that. If you put yourself in position to win enough times, it's going to happen. I really feel like Wimbledon was a good event for me because I had kind of lost a lot of tight matches in a row and I was honestly thinking about it. To get through there, to get through five-setters, a tough four-setter under -- in about as intense conditions as you can, the amount of scrutiny that I was under, was a good show for me. That really helped me a lot between the ears.

Q. You've been pretty successful this season, this summer. Now, just two weeks before the US Open, what do you feel is working for you really well, and what adjustments do you have to make to go in at 100%?

ANDY RODDICK: Well, the good thing is that I'm healthy and I feel like I'm in really good shape and I feel like I'm hitting the ball well. Now it's just a matter of applying -- being match tough. I mean, there's been times where I've been out of shape, feeling like I've been hitting the ball horribly, and, you know, I've been finding ways to win matches. Now it's just a matter of finding a happy medium. I feel like I have the right base right now. Obviously, I'd love to play some more matches beforehand, but either way I'd feel pretty good going into the Open.

Q. You say you'd love to play more matches. Would you consider playing next week, or you definitely --

ANDY RODDICK: No, I'd like to play more matches here. I'll be more specific (smiling).

Q. Would you feel like if you got to, say, semis here, that would be perfect preparation?

ANDY RODDICK: I'm not going to put any -- I just want to keep playing. I feel like to get your groove, you need matches. I think the biggest thing is if you play matches, you'll feel more comfortable in the early rounds of the US Open. You'll feel a little match tough. And if you don't, then it becomes, you know -- maybe you become a little more anxious to get out there and whatnot. So, you know, I'd definitely like to go deeper into this week, but I won't play next week.

Q. Does it help you when you have a match like this and your serve's off and you have to work on other parts of your game?

ANDY RODDICK: I think so, because I won with the parts of my game that I'm not expected to win with today - namely my movement. Like I said, I was getting the better baseline rallies. That's good. I have enough confidence in my serve to think that it will come around for me.

Q. With all the hard court tournaments leading up to the US Open, how do you keep your body from being spent and from wearing down? Anything special?

ANDY RODDICK: Pray. I don't know. I mean, I don't know. It's tough. I mean, I've said it a million times. I get asked this question in a different spot every week. We play year-round. I mean, that's what we do. You just kind of have to accept it for what it is. I mean, last year I played, finished December 5th and started January 4th or 5th. There wasn't a lot of down time. You can either sit here and complain about it or just make up your mind that that's what you're going to do. That's kind of what you have to do. I think a lot of it is just making sure you put in the work before in the off weeks, getting in good shape. That's the best form of injury prevention.

Q. Andre Agassi is not playing this week, he's pulled out. Is there any part of you that regrets that?

ANDY RODDICK: I wouldn't have minded if he pulled out last year because he beat me (smiling). I mean, not to sound insanely selfish, but I'm kind of focused on what I need to do here. Obviously, it's a blow to a tournament any time one of the biggest stars we've ever had pulls out. But, I mean, you have to understand, he knows his body best. That's why he's still here playing at 35. So, uhm, you know, you can't really question the decision, but you feel bad for the tournament. But at the same time, I was nowhere near him in the draw so it doesn't really affect me directly. Obviously, I love playing him because he's one of my heroes, but it doesn't really have a direct effect on my tournament.

Q. You don't mind not getting a chance to beat him?

ANDY RODDICK: Well, I'd love to. But like I said, there's a lot of other people I have to try to beat before that would even happen.

Q. Who do you feel is your toughest competitor now with Andre out of the tournament?

ANDY RODDICK: Well, I've got a tough second-round match. Ferrero and Koubek are going to go battle. I think they normally play pretty close matches. I played Ferrero in the finals of the US Open less than two years ago now, and it could be a second round here. I think it would be arrogant if I said anybody but my next opponent.

Q. This is sort of a unique setting for a big tournament. I know this has always been one of your favorites, but is it an adjustment at all atmospherically coming from an LA or even a DC to the "Event Off of I-71"?

ANDY RODDICK: (Smiling) Right next to Frisch's Big Boy. Yes and no. I mean, I think you know what to expect. It's not the hustle and bustle, and it's not that. But I think you have to like each event for what it is and why it's unique, you know. It is what it is. I've always enjoyed playing here. I think the biggest thing is we're on a Monday afternoon at one o'clock and we have a pretty big crowd out there. That's one of the biggest things for me. It's fun playing in an electric atmosphere. So, you know, I always look forward to coming and playing here.

End of FastScripts….

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