August 14, 2003
MODERATOR: Let's open it up for questions, please.
Q. He made it tough for you, didn't he?
ANDY RODDICK: Yeah, I thought James came out and definitely played a better first set than I did up til 6-all. He gave me a couple points in the tiebreaker - forehand went wide on him, and the double-fault. I don't think -- I think his level dropped a little bit in the second and mine -- I raised mine a little bit.
Q. When you've got such a good record against a guy like that, does that almost give you a couple games before you start it?
ANDY RODDICK: I don't think so. I don't think so. I think James came out in that first set with nothing to lose. He was getting the better of me in pretty much every situation. I didn't really have a sniff on his serve. He was in a lot of my service games. I was just hoping maybe get to a tiebreaker and hope what happened, you know, what ended up happening, would happen. You know, that's what I was telling myself.
Q. Have you seen him play that well as he did in the first set?
ANDY RODDICK: Yeah. I mean, he's beaten Hewitt before, he's beaten Agassi. You know, he had a tough one with Andre in DC a couple weeks ago. You know, he can definitely play well.
Q. He said he was disappointed with a couple of calls he got. He said the technology is available now to perhaps have a monitor on the umpire's chair. Do you go along with that?
ANDY RODDICK: That thing's weak I think, because the first one that he argued, I don't -- it was out. I mean, I would have, you know, bet the next three games on that call. And supposedly on Shot Spot they showed that being this far in (indicating). Then the next one, which was a lot closer - I'm not sure, I really didn't see it as well - but it definitely had a chance of being it on. Supposedly they showed it on Shot Spot and it was about this far out (indicating). I don't buy it.
Q. That particular call, the first one in that first game of the set, do you think that got under his skin a little bit? He seemed to sort of lose it a little bit from there.
ANDY RODDICK: I mean, it's always disheartening when you're fighting and battling in a match and, you know, you get an overrule against you at such a big, big point. I mean, I've been there before and it's not fun.
Q. He and quite a few others say you're the player to beat at the US Open. Does that give you confidence? Does that make you a little nervous? You don't even want to hear it?
ANDY RODDICK: Yeah, probably the third one. I don't really need to hear it. I'm still hearing Cincinnati and I want to take care of business here. You know, for the first time -- or maybe Wimbledon I thought so also, but I think I'm maybe one of the favorites for the US Open. I can definitely imagine myself winning a Grand Slam now, whereas a couple months ago maybe not.
Q. James was talking about your serve and how you can get it up to about 140, but then you also serve at 120. He says the 120 might be more effective because you're dropping the speed down and they don't know what's coming. Is that part of your strategy?
ANDY RODDICK: I think so. That's something I've definitely tried to work on. Two years ago I just ripped every serve and I got broken a lot more. I'm trying to, you know, give them the option that they don't know whether to guard against a really big serve or maybe I'll throw in a 110 kick out wide or something. The more options I give them, I think the tougher it is to return.
Q. Would you agree you're the player to beat here?
ANDY RODDICK: I don't know. I don't do these "what if" questions or "who's the player to beat" or what not. I just want to play.
Q. You seem to feel pretty good about the way things are going. The draw is not at its strongest. Obviously, it seems like you're going pretty well right now?
ANDY RODDICK: Yeah, but a lot of the guys got knocked out. So, you know, I can't worry about who I'm playing. I just play the guy who's across from me and try to beat the guy on the day.
Q. Can you talk in turn about your two potential opponents?
ANDY RODDICK: Saretta and Zabaleta. I played Mariano first round of Australia 2002. We had a pretty tough four-setter. Flavio is a very good player. He's flashy, he can come up with big shots. Mariano is very tough. He's mentally tough and will make you earn every point. Either way, it's gonna be very tough.
Q. James was talking about your skills. He's played you now seven times. He said your skills haven't changed dramatically, but your approach, mental approach to the game has. Would you agree that's your biggest change in your game that you've seen?
ANDY RODDICK: Well, I'd like to think I've improved a little bit from three years ago as far as skills goes. I think there has been a big change mentally. I'm not getting so pissed off on the court - excuse my language, but it's true. I'm keeping more of an even keel. You know, experience plays a factor. You know, I've been out here for, you know, two and a half years now. So I've seen a lot more than I had when I first came on tour.
Q. Can you talk a little bit about the crowd? It seemed like a really good crowd tonight, good atmosphere.
ANDY RODDICK: Yeah, for sure. I think it was tough for them. I think when an American plays an American, it's tough to know who to pull for. I think they were just -- I think they were hopeful for good tennis, whereas normally, maybe if I play someone who's not from America, they'd be a little more biased. It was great. It was definitely an electric atmosphere when we walked out there. They were ready to see some tennis. It was fun.
Q. This is just a Round of 16. Is this the type of game that an American needs? That type of electric atmosphere?
ANDY RODDICK: I think it's -- any time you can get that, I think it's good. Not just America, whatever. But the fact that it came early on, maybe brought a little excitement to the table that maybe wouldn't have been there if it was against someone who wasn't American. You could definitely sense there was something in the air tonight.
Q. Having three of you through to the quarterfinals suggests there's something in the air at this tournament as well?
ANDY RODDICK: Yeah, I'm really happy for Robby and Mardy. You know, I think this is Robby's third quarterfinal, and it might be Mardy's first in a Masters Series event. You know, I hope they go as far as they can, you know. The only time I'm not cheering for them is if I'm playing them. So, you know, I'm really happy for those guys so far.
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