August 6, 2004
THE MODERATOR: Defending Champion Andy Roddick is through to the semis. Questions.
Q. It was unusual to see you down a break in the first set. What were your thoughts at that point?
ANDY RODDICK: I wasn't happy because I felt like I didn't make him play enough to break me. You know, I threw in a couple missed forehands there and, you know, a double on breakpoint. But, you know, that being said, it's happened before. It will happen again, I'm sure. You know, I just tried to kind of regroup a little bit.
Q. You obviously won five games in a row, though. Did you elevate something right away or start to find something to exploit?
ANDY RODDICK: I was trying to just make him think about me coming to the net a little bit more. You know, he was standing in Mexico trying to return my serve. So, you know, I thought at least -- I missed a couple volleys early but I still felt like it was the right play. At the very least it would make him think twice about just being able to bump my serve back.
Q. Talk about Andre a little bit tomorrow.
ANDY RODDICK: I'm excited. That's always fun. You know, we're good friends. And, you know, it's always a trip to play someone you grew up idolizing. He's proven everyone wrong once again, right, with this week. I mean, he's hitting the ball great again. I'll definitely have my hands full, that's for sure.
Q. You haven't played him since last summer. That was the first time you beat him.
ANDY RODDICK: Yeah.
Q. You remember anything back to that match? He had the thorn in your side until then.
ANDY RODDICK: Well, I played him twice when I was 17, so I wasn't feeling too good about my prospects then. Then he absolutely thrashed me one year in San Jose pretty badly. Then last year I think I saved a matchpoint actually and, you know, was able to sneak through. So, you know, I don't know. I think it's a different ball game now. I think you have to kind of look ahead. It's no secret what Andre is going to do - he's going to punish the ball from the baseline and he's going to enforce himself. We've seen him play for years and years and years now. But handling that is a lot easier said than done, that's for sure.
Q. You haven't lost to anybody but Roger this summer. What's that like psychologically?
ANDY RODDICK: It feels good. I mean, I'm definitely pretty confident right now. But that being said, still wary of opponents.
Q. How are you progressing as far as you're talking about coming to the net some tonight. I know that's been a longer-term objective, to round out your game. Is it an emphasis for you to become a serve-and-volleyer?
ANDY RODDICK: I'm not going to become a serve-and-volleyer. I made it to 1 in the world not serving and volleying, so I'm not all of a sudden just going to flip and change everything. But that being said, I feel good about myself when I need it, like tonight. I need it -- even though I didn't volley great, I still had that option and I used that option. That's kind of what I'm working towards, to be able to kind of use it as a Plan B when I need to.
Q. Is it maybe more strategic depending on the opponent?
ANDY RODDICK: Oh, absolutely. Absolutely. You know, and tonight I needed it. You know, it was definitely a strategical play. You know, if I feel like I can enforce my natural game upon someone and be successful with it, then that's going to be my first option. But, you know, if I feel like that's a little uncomfortable, then maybe have that also.
Q. It would be great if you could hit an ace every time. You more or less did leading 4-3 in the second set there. Were you going for that?
ANDY RODDICK: Yeah. I hit the first one on the second serve. I hit a good second serve. And, you know, that was kind of my get-out-of-jail-free card. That was either do-or-die right there. Then I started just hitting pretty good serves. You know, I was just -- when I make a first serve and I try to give it a ride, it's going to be a forceful shot on my opponent. I mean, I was just lucky enough to get them in and hit my spots on those points.
Q. As you said, you pretty much know what Andre is going to do.
ANDY RODDICK: Yeah.
Q. Is it fair to say that having his former coach is not going to lead to any secrets about weaknesses?
ANDY RODDICK: Well, okay, there's -- well, that would be great except Andre doesn't have a whole lot of weaknesses, you know. Even Brad will tell you that. I mean, he's -- you know, there's a difference between having a coach who used to coach a player who knows something about a weakness. But Andre is rock solid. So, you know, I don't think there's a lot, you know -- I wouldn't read too much into that, I don't think.
Q. You said you grew up idolizing Agassi?
ANDY RODDICK: Yeah.
Q. What are your first memories? Do you remember when he first came up the whole "image is everything" attitude?
ANDY RODDICK: Absolutely. I had the jean shorts and the tights and all that good stuff, unfortunately (laughter).
Q. The dyed blond hair?
ANDY RODDICK: No, it was blond on its own. But, yeah, it almost seems like two different people, you know. It's been great to kind of get to know him and become friendly with him as well. You know, it's not every kid gets to kind of grow up and develop somewhat of a friendship with one of their idols. So it's pretty cool.
Q. Tonight is the first time you beat Tommy. You've got one win in your career against Andre. With everything you have accomplished, could this tournament be a chance to prove even more?
ANDY RODDICK: Well, every tournament's a chance to prove even more. But, you know, I don't look a whole lot into records. I mean, they're great and they're a fun stat, but a lot of times they're totally different circumstances, you know. But, you know, it's nice getting wins over people you haven't had success against in the past, there's no doubt.
Q. Is there anything different tonight against Tommy than matches in the past?
ANDY RODDICK: The slippery stuff was gone (smiling). There was nothing red around besides shirts in the crowd (smiling). You know, I got him on, you know, on my favorite conditions, you know, in my element. I think that had something to do with it. I mean, he's gotten me in his element a couple times, so it was nice to return the favor.
Q. How would you characterize your relationship with Andre. When you were younger, did he ever say some things, advice?
ANDY RODDICK: Absolutely. He was great to me. You know, he was -- I was 17, I think, end of 2000. We had played twice that year. Two times that winter we had practiced for a week together, and, you know, we played a couple XOs. He's just been great, you know. He's made it known that if I ever need anything, have any questions about this whole circus, then, you know, I'm more than welcome to go ask him. And, you know, he's just been great. I couldn't have asked for more from him. He's been awesome.
End of FastScriptsâ€¦.