August 12, 2003
MODERATOR: Questions, please.
Q. Was it me, or you seemed like you were getting frustrated a lot in the second set when you got broken?
ANDY RODDICK: No, it was you.
Q. You were kind of playing mind games with each other. Was that me or...?
ANDY RODDICK: No, I think it was you.
Q. It was?
ANDY RODDICK: Yeah, I was okay. I mean, you're never happy when you get broken to go down a break in the second. But, yeah, that was nothing. I can get a hell of a lot more angry than that. Stick around a couple days (smiling).
Q. Overall pretty comfortable, though? Very happy with where your game is at at the moment?
ANDY RODDICK: Yeah, it was good. You know, it's always tricky coming to a new tournament when you're used to certain surroundings, and first rounds are always tough for me. So it was good to get through. Yeah, it was good. It's always good to get the first round under your belt. Now I feel like I'm kind of into this tournament, and last week is past now.
Q. Still, you've got a nice wave of confidence?
ANDY RODDICK: I feel good. I mean, I've put up, you know, three pretty good weeks in the last three weeks, then coming off of London as well. So, you know, I feel good right now.
Q. So your new teacher is giving you top marks, is he?
ANDY RODDICK: You know, he never really gets too excited about anything, which is nice. It's kind of even keel win or lose, so that works.
Q. Did you want Brad Gilbert as a coach because he was with Andre? Did you look at that?
ANDY RODDICK: I mean, that was a big reason, kind of what he did with Andre. You know, Andre was kind of in the same position I'm in right now when him and Brad got together. You know, granted, he had already won his first Slam, but he was kind of struggling. People were saying, "Well, what's he going to do? Is he just going to go by the wayside, or is he going to step it up and become a great player?" You know, so anything that I'm going to encounter in the next six, seven, eight years, Brad's already seen before and it's not going to be any new surprise for him.
Q. One thing that Andre did do was win Masters Series events back-to-back. Do you reckon that would be something you'd like to accomplish here?
ANDY RODDICK: Well, I'd like to accomplish that, yes (smiling). But that's a long ways off. That's a lot of work to do still. So I'm just going to try to get past tomorrow first.
Q. Roger said that the balls and conditions here were different than Montreal. Have you found that as well?
ANDY RODDICK: I think so. I think it's a little bit quicker here than it was in Montreal. Montreal, the balls were pretty slow, and it was pretty heavy. I think the court might be a little bit faster here, more similar to the US Open or what the US Open has been in the past.
Q. You've been winning so many matches. Is there an opposite effect, too, of getting tired? Do you worry about so many weeks playing Sunday, Saturday, Friday?
ANDY RODDICK: Not really. I mean, you take your wins when you can get them, you know. I feel good right now. Honestly, I don't feel like -- I'm not feeling the effects of having played three strong weeks in a row. You know, even though I've played a lot of matches, a lot of them haven't been too long. So, you know, that's helped.
Q. If you win over here in Cincinnati, who has the best chance to stop you at the US Open?
ANDY RODDICK: Whoever I play first round.
Q. This run of 25 out of 27, you know, it's convenient for us that it coincides with Brad, but has that been the main thing? Are there other things in your mind that have come together here?
ANDY RODDICK: I don't know, dude. I'm honestly not trying to think about it too much. I'm just kind of going with the flow, you know. I'm not going to think it to death. It has coincided with Brad. Brad brings a lot of energy to the table, he brings a lot of passion, and he brings it on a daily basis. That started to rub off, you know. What I told Tarik was that I needed a new spark and I needed something to kind of kick me in the butt and get me going. I really didn't have much more reason for that - or than that. And, you know, it worked. I was lucky enough that it worked out.
Q. What can you say about today's opponent?
ANDY RODDICK: Verdasco? How old is he?
ANDY RODDICK: He's a good young player. He hits the ball a ton. You definitely feel the weight of his shot when you're playing against him. You know, he's gonna win a lot of matches.
Q. Did he surprise you in any way?
ANDY RODDICK: Not really, 'cause I kind of knew -- Brad went and watched his practice yesterday and said, "This guy's got some firepower and he's gonna hit big." I knew he was a lefty. I had a decent scouting report, so I was expecting pretty much what I got.
Q. Can you talk about the significance of last weekend, winning a Masters Series event, and obviously a dramatic win over Federer and all that?
ANDY RODDICK: I don't know. I haven't really had much time, you know. As soon as that was over, you know, I drove straight to the airport and came here. This is my new focus, you know. Maybe, you know, once the whole summer circuit's done, the US Open's over, maybe I'll look back on the summer and reflect a little bit more. But to be honest, I'm trying not to think about it right now.
Q. Is a Slam something you think more about than obviously checking off a Masters Series on your resume, that kind of thing?
ANDY RODDICK: I really don't think about it. I mean, to be honest, I feel like my time will come at a Slam. I'm not going to try to rush it or, you know... I can't do anything about it; it's two weeks away, you know. I can't do anything about it right now. And, you know, I'm just trying to be professional enough to take care of the things that are going to help me win a Slam like hard work, keeping yourself in good physical shape, taking care of your body on a daily basis, you know, the little things. That's all I can focus on. When my day comes, it will come.
Q. You're up to No. 4. Have you taken any note of that? Can you start to see the top now?
ANDY RODDICK: Yeah, I mean, it's three spots away. You know, I was happy to get to 4 because Brad, that was what he had on me, "Yeah, yeah, yeah, I was 4 in the world, you're only 5." He's lost that line this week (laughter).
Q. Any updates on your skydiving?
ANDY RODDICK: Oh, we're going. We just got to find a -- oh, tomorrow I play in the afternoon, don't I? Look for us in the sky tomorrow afternoon maybe.
End of FastScriptsâ€¦.