August 17, 2003
MODERATOR: Questions for Andy, please.
Q. Ran you pretty close, didn't he?
ANDY RODDICK: Sorry?
Q. He ran you pretty close.
ANDY RODDICK: Yeah. He came out and was playing very solid early on, and he served super well. You know, even though his percentage wasn't that high, every time I had a look on his serve, he'd come up with a good first serve; and he's just improved so much.
Q. Is this one of the big differences in you that would be a match that in the past maybe would have frustrated you a while back?
ANDY RODDICK: Possibly. I mean I was still kind of frustrated out there, but I didn't let it take over me. I thought somehow get to a breaker, and you know, anything can happen in a breaker, so that was my strategy in the second, and I thought I actually started playing a little bit better in the third set.
Q. Did you let yourself think that you might lose this match at some point?
ANDY RODDICK: Yeah. I mean when you're down a set, it's a definite possibility, you know. But I don't really think in terms of winning or losing. I'm focused too much on the point at hand or the game at hand. You know, I really haven't gotten too ahead of myself, and I mean he had match point, so I was obviously, you know, thinking about the prospect of losing.
Q. Did you feel like you came out flat and that you had to work your way in?
ANDY RODDICK: I think so. You know, it's been a busy month, so you know, I definitely felt like, you know, he was dictating play and he was in control of the match early on, and you know, I was kind of just trying to find my way.
Q. You've seen his game a long time. How would you compare what you saw today to what you have seen in the past?
ANDY RODDICK: I mean I played him two weeks ago, or three weeks ago in Washington, and it was 47 minutes, so you know, even since then, it's picked up. I mean it's amazing what confidence can do. He's picking his spots better on the serve. He's not just going huge every time. He's kicking, he's, you know, he's volleying a lot better, and he's just playing with confidence.
Q. Do you think this is a match you would have lost if you hadn't had the kind of summer that you've had?
ANDY RODDICK: Possibly. I don't know. I mean I have no idea. It's impossible to say. You know, I don't know. I just know the circumstances that are at hand.
Q. Did you ever play matches against him in your backyard like this one when it didn't count for anything, it was just you against him having a good time?
ANDY RODDICK: Not really. If we wanted to have a good time, we'd go to the movies, not beat each other's brains in.
Q. What's the plan for next week? I mean, like you said, you've had a long summer.
ANDY RODDICK: Sleep.
Q. Are you going to practice hard or just kind of sleep and take it more easy?
ANDY RODDICK: I don't even want to think about it. I don't know. I'm not going to probably touch a racquet for the next two days. I'll probably get bored by Tuesday and pick it up again, but I'm not sure. I mean I don't feel like I need to train super hard. You know, I kind of need to keep myself -- maybe hit the gym a couple times just to maintain strength, you know, kind of get in the groove of New York City.
Q. A lot of people would say you're the favorite there. How do you take that?
ANDY RODDICK: I don't know. I mean everything that happened this summer is out the door when you start a Grand Slam. You know, as my coach can tell you, he had a great summer one time, but I think he lost first round of the Open. So that doesn't mean a lot. You know, I'm happy for the summer I've had so far, but now I need to regroup, calm down and get ready for a whole new tournament.
Q. How are you feeling physically?
ANDY RODDICK: Right now? I'm a little tired right now.
Q. Just generally.
ANDY RODDICK: You know, but as far as injury wise, I feel fine. You know, I'm just a little fatigued. I've played a lot of tennis in the last month, so it's going to be a good couple days off.
Q. What did you guys say at the net afterward?
ANDY RODDICK: He just said "good job," and I told him I was proud of him, and he said it was fun, and I agreed.
Q. Did you say a little something on the court, can you elaborate on is it hard to play a guy like that and you see how well he's playing and somebody's gotta lose, a friend.
ANDY RODDICK: Yeah. I mean it's tough. It was -- you know, obviously I wouldn't have wanted this to end any other way, but definitely as he was walking off, I felt for him, you know. I'd have no problem if I didn't really know the guy or if I just said "hi" in passing sometimes, but to kind of know someone pretty well and kind of know what they're thinking and what they're going through, you know, it sucked, I guess.
Q. You talked about what confidence has done for him recently. Can you just talk about what it's done for you this summer?
ANDY RODDICK: You know, it's been a major factor. You know, I was lucky enough to get out of the gates pretty well in Indianapolis and get a win there, and I won a match 7-6 in the third there. So it could have been either way. I could have been ousted first round and then who knows what happened. But I feel good right now. And you know, obviously I don't think I'd be winning as many matches if I wasn't confident.
Q. Do you think that that's the total difference in the game for you or have you really worked on it?
ANDY RODDICK: I'd like to think I've improved somewhat skill wise, but confidence is a major player in every sport. When you think you can do something, it's a lot likelier that you can do it.
Q. If you beat him in 47 minutes two or three weeks ago, were you surprised at his game today?
ANDY RODDICK: No, because I mean, look at the players he's beaten this week. You know, he's beaten the Wimbledon runner-up. He's beaten two guys that were in the semis last week. He beat Clement 2 and 2. He was playing ball, and I knew that. We played earlier on in the tournament two weeks ago. He hasn't really beaten the type of players that he's beaten this week, so I was expecting a battle.
Q. Did you use the same strategy all the way to the end or you changed something in the third set?
ANDY RODDICK: Tried to put the ball in the court. I guess that's the only thing I changed. I mean I was trying to be -- I was really fishing out there. You know, I really didn't have something concrete that I could go to. You know, like I said, he was on top of me and he was controlling a lot of the rallies, and later in the match, I mean to get myself into it in the second set, I was just trying to put a lot of balls in the court, even if it meant being less aggressive or playing a little differently than I had the rest of the week.
Q. What about the pattern on the serve? Where did you try to serve him?
ANDY RODDICK: Obviously I mean he has a great backhand return, but he kind of got grooved in on his forehand, too, so in the second set I kind of went to his forehand a bunch, and then I mixed it up a little bit in the third.
Q. When's the great plunge out of the plane for Brad there?
ANDY RODDICK: That's going to be in the next couple of days.
Q. Here or New York, or you don't know?
ANDY RODDICK: Probably New York.
Q. Can you talk specifically about what Brad has done for you as far as the mental game goes?
ANDY RODDICK: You know, it's not really so much like he says, think about this on the court, think about that on the court, but just you know, the overall zest that he brings to the court every day and overall confidence that he shows in me. If I'm ever like, "this guy's tough," he'll say, you know, "you're better," and you know, it was kind of surprising for me. You know, when we came to -- when he first came to England, he said, "all right, we're here to win two tournaments." I won Queens. He goes, "Okay, you're 50 percent there." And that was shocking to me to have someone come in and say, "you know what. I expect this of you and I think you're good enough to do that." I mean that was big for me.
Q. So you knew immediately that this was the guy you wanted to coach you?
ANDY RODDICK: Yeah. I knew two days after we'd started working together. I mean we kind of just -- our agreement was in England just kind of feel things out and see how it went, and then two days into it I pretty much knew it was going to be a full-time gig.
Q. Some people don't have coaches that, I mean, he likes to hang out with his player in I don't know movies or talk sports or whatever and some people have a business relationship and go the other way. Is that something that obviously works well for you?
ANDY RODDICK: Yeah. I mean it's cool. We'll go to breakfast together. We'll hang out. So you know, it's -- I think especially in our case, it was important because we had to kind of take a crash course in getting to know each other, so I think that was definitely something vital.
Q. Was he the only one you thought of or had you had anybody else in mind when you decided you might want to change?
ANDY RODDICK: I mean I thought of a couple people, but I mean he was pretty much it.
Q. Can you talk about the two match points he had and just, you know, trying to decide where you're going to try to serve him?
ANDY RODDICK: Well, to get down those two match points I had served to his forehand twice and he had kind of been sitting on it. And I hadn't really used my kick too much in the whole match, so I'm thinking what can I do, what can I do, and I figured, okay, I'm going to give him an off-speed kick and if he hits it, I know he's not sitting on it, but if he reacts and hits a good return, that's just too good and I was able to hit it pretty well twice.
Q. So did you give Dad a birthday present?
ANDY RODDICK: This is his birthday present.
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