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July 3, 2005

Andy Roddick


THE MODERATOR: Andy Roddick. Questions, please.

Q. Is Roger beatable?

ANDY RODDICK: Well, he's lost three times this year, right?

Q. On grass.

ANDY RODDICK: Hasn't lost much this year, no. I don't know. I mean, he's probably as close as has been to unbeatable. You know, I feel like I actually played decent and the stats are decent and I got straight-setted. You know, I don't know.

Q. Where do you go from this?

ANDY RODDICK: Home, fast (smiling). I don't know. I mean, I'm just going to continue to work hard. There's not much you can do. I'm not going to sit around and sulk and cry. I did everything I could. I tried playing different ways. I tried, you know, going to his forehand and coming in. He passed me. I tried to go to his backhand and coming in. He passed me. Tried staying back. He figured out a way to pass me, even though I was at the baseline (laughter). It's not like I have a lot of questions leaving the court, you know. It doesn't make it any easier.

Q. There was a moment during the match that you thought you could beat him?

ANDY RODDICK: I don't know if you said can or cannot?

Q. Cannot. Or during the match were you always confident you could find a way to get through?

ANDY RODDICK: I don't know about confident. I think you're trying to find a way to get through. You know, if I'm sitting there telling you I'm down two sets thinking, "I've got this one."

THE MODERATOR: (Laughing.)

ANDY RODDICK: I finally got a laugh out of you. They're easy, but... (Referring to the All England Club official.) I was just trying to tell myself to compete. There's only so much you can do. I'm out there giving it my all. That's all you can do. That's the only mindset you can have. Regardless of what he's doing, you just kind of have to keep yourself going and try not to get discouraged. That's the tough part of it.

Q. Can you compare this year to last year's final?

ANDY RODDICK: He played head and shoulders above what he played last year. I probably played a more complete match this year. Last year I played well in spurts, but I was really hit-and-miss. I feel like if I played the way I did this year versus the way I was playing last year, I'd probably win. I mean, if you just look at the stats, 49 winners and 12 errors. I was bringing heat, too. I was going at him, trying different things. You just have to sit back and say "too good" sometimes. Hope he gets bored or something. I don't know.

Q. What did you say to him when you shook hands?

ANDY RODDICK: I just said, "Congratulations." There's not much else to say. I have loads of respect for him, as a person as well. I told him, I've told him before, "I'd love to hate you, but you're really nice."

Q. On that note, there's just so much gushing and gushing over him. Can you think of one negative thing to say about Roger Federer?

ANDY RODDICK: Well, he cut his hair. That's all we had going for us before. There's not much to say other than, you know, if I said anything else, it would be out of jealousy or out of me wanting to win or out of spite.

Q. There's nothing even like off-the-court goofy something wrong with him? Everyone says like the master, the artist. Is there anything wrong with the guy?

ANDY RODDICK: I'm sure there is, but I don't know if I know him that well. I can look into it for you (smiling).

Q. Is it a question of other players raising their game to match Federer or is it a question of Federer losing form now?

ANDY RODDICK: I think it's a bit of both. The thing that separates him, I mean, the most physically gifted player I've played against. But with that, he's just become so solid mentally. His first couple years on tour, I mean, even two years ago, if I would have taken my chances, I would have had a lot better -- in the semis, I would have had a lot better shot. But he's just become a mental force, too. You put those two together, and it's a tough combination.

Q. Do you think he could possibly be the best player ever?

ANDY RODDICK: I don't think -- I don't think that's -- you're not stretching far to make that argument. That's for sure. I think time will tell. If he keeps up this level, then I think so. I don't know many people in history who would beat him.

Q. Do you feel unfortunate in the fact that his career, you're relatively the same age, so as long as you go along, he may be there all the time sort of hanging over you?

ANDY RODDICK: Yeah, it's unfortunate. But that's what happens. You know, I'm sure there are a lot of guys who are mad that Pete played. There are always good players. But, you know, the way he's dominated. I mean, he's beaten the best players in world in finals, what, 21 straight times? No one's ever done that, you know, dominated the best players on a regular basis. I mean, that's pretty impressive. But I'm not going to sit here and complain about it. It's okay.

Q. Do you have any sense of how much yesterday's match, completing that, took out of you or affected you today, if at all?

ANDY RODDICK: Zero. Zero. You know, the match wasn't -- it wasn't a war of being physical or physical attrition or anything like that. He was just better.

Q. The one today, you're talking about?

ANDY RODDICK: Yeah. I mean, I felt fine out there. There wasn't one point where I was tired. I was tired of him, but I wasn't tired.

Q. 2-1 in the second set, was there a chance for a turning point at that point?

ANDY RODDICK: There was a turning point. But, I mean, every time I got broken today, it seemed like it was on running passing shots, or like on I'd make a first serve, he'd just lace a return. I mean, I don't know.

Q. Did you feel at that point, 3-1 in the second set?

ANDY RODDICK: Yeah, I was in it. I was in it with a chance, for sure. I had chances today. But, you know, a lot of the times when you have chances, you don't convert. A lot of times today, I had chances, I played the point I wanted to, got the wrong side of it, which is a new thing for me.

Q. What is it like mentally to be in a situation like that when you're throwing out your best stuff, have a couple good points, it's almost like he teases you into thinking you have a chance? How do you deal with that mentally?

ANDY RODDICK: Sounds like my life in high school (laughter). It's tough. I mean, it's really tough. I mean, you go there -- like one point today, I remember, I was in his service game, I think it might have been 30-All. I hit about as good of a return as I could up the line, hit it really hard. He kind of got there. I came in and just took a full swing at a forehand, laced it cross-court, and he was there and just put it past me.

Q. Like no big deal?

ANDY RODDICK: Well, it was just I don't know if I could have hit two better shots. You know, it deflates you and it puts more pressure on you because you feel like, "Okay, if I'm playing points like that, maybe I have to try to do something better." It's not really -- you know, I don't know if I can.

Q. It's not like you had a lot of questions when you walked off the court. Does that make it more frustrating, exasperating that you don't have any questions about how to solve this thing?

ANDY RODDICK: I think so. I mean, yes and no. I mean, it's a double-edged sword. You know, I think I'd be more, you know, for lack of a better term, pissed off if I had chances and it was in my control and I felt like I didn't do the things I wanted to. But at the same time it's like, you know, it's pretty frustrating as well feeling like you did what you wanted, you mixed it up. I asked my coach, I said, "Did I do anything different?" He said, "Not really. You mixed it up, mixed up the serve and volleys. Mixed up the pace on your second serve and first serve. You returned decently. You didn't miss a lot of second serve returns." So then you just kind of have to tip your hat. Every once in a while, it's tough for us athletes, but you have to say, "You were better than I was."

Q. Two years ago they were saying that Federer didn't have a great backhand. Now he seems to have that, too. What about your backhand? Do you think your backhand is something that could be a lot improved?

ANDY RODDICK: More improved?

Q. Yes.

ANDY RODDICK: Did you see my backhand like four years ago? It's improved (smiling).

Q. You find yourself playing in an era with a very dominant player. As a competitor, would you have it no other way, to be playing in this era with Roger as your primary foil?

ANDY RODDICK: That's the thing, I don't know if I'd change it. For me, if you can't compete against the best and beat the best, then you don't deserve to win these titles. And that's what I'm faced with right now. You know, it's either figure it out, find a way, step up, or maybe I don't deserve to win this title. I want it real bad, but he's beating me, so...

Q. The few times that he's been beaten, and there have been very few, he's been overpowered, like Marat at the Australian Open. The last time you beat him also. Does this dictate to you --

ANDY RODDICK: I beat him once (smiling)!

Q. Does that dictate more work on your volleying game and approaches to the net as a way of possibly overcoming him?

ANDY RODDICK: Yeah. I mean, I think you have to have both options. Today I feel like a lot of times I hit really great approach shots and I feel like I did force the issue. From a strategical standpoint, last year I left the court thinking, "Oh, God, what if I would have done this at this moment and what if I would have done that at that moment?" This year we went with the game plan and I kind of stuck to it. It wasn't enough. But, I mean, you can't beat him, I don't think, being a one-dimensional player on a surface besides clay. I mean, I think you have to have a full arsenal.

Q. Has having him around made you a better player?

ANDY RODDICK: For sure. You know, it's tough knowing that you're a better player than you were two years ago but not having a lot to show for it. There's no doubt that the way he's dominated that the rest of us have gotten better. There's no question in my mind.

Q. But he's gotten better, too?

ANDY RODDICK: There you go.

Q. You said sometimes you have to just tip your hat to him. Are you able to do that during the heat of a game?

ANDY RODDICK: No. I'm in denial the whole time I'm out there (smiling).

Q. That's different from last year, where you almost did tip your hat to him. You seemed to be more serious and focused than ever this year.

ANDY RODDICK: I mean, a lot of times I'm serious and focused. But I was going out there to win. I wasn't going out there to try to put up a score or to try to, you know, whatever. I was going out there trying to win. I felt like I was doing that last year, as well. Who knows.

Q. Last year you said you threw the kitchen sink at him. Do you feel you were able to throw more at him? Is there some satisfaction in that, if you did?

ANDY RODDICK: No. I mean, there's not more satisfaction in it. You know, it's not fun losing in a Grand Slam final, especially in a tournament that you just want to win so bad. You know, you've accomplished -- I've won the tournament I wanted to win most, and finished No. 1. But, you know, this is up there as far as things that I could look back on and say, "That would really be something." Kind of put yourself in that position and then just not being able to match somebody, it's frustrating. It doesn't make it easier.

Q. Did you actually enjoy the match today or do you think you might look back and enjoy it?

ANDY RODDICK: I have fun out there. When I'm competing and I feel like I'm playing well, tennis is always fun for me. It's when I'm kind of here and there and I'm not doing the things that I want to do and I'm nervous about something, tight, that's when tennis isn't fun. But I was out there, I was competing, I was playing, I was giving it my all. That's a good day for me. I mean, you have to put it in perspective, as well. I lose this tennis match, I go on, I still live an amazing life and I have a great time. I can't sit around and pout about too much. But am I angry that I lost? Yes. Do I want to win? I would give anything to win this tournament. You know, that's the tough part of it.

Q. Just when you think you've seen the entire repertoire of Federer shots, was there one today that was new?

ANDY RODDICK: Yeah. He passed me with the little backhand cross-court about 68 times - maybe 67. On breakpoint in the third set, I covered that ball. I looked for it. I approached, I said, "Okay, I'm going to run cross-court." He could have like picked the ball up and thrown it down the line and I wouldn't have gotten to it. I covered it. It hooked. I was full stretch and I didn't get to it.

Q. The little looping down the line?

ANDY RODDICK: I don't know what it was. All I know is that I looked and it was by me, and I saw chalk fly - and I was pissed.

Q. Despite the fact that today wasn't a good day against Roger Federer, do you still feel proud of the second year running you managed make the final of Wimbledon?

ANDY RODDICK: Yeah, I'm proud. Especially because I know what I put into it, especially this year more than last year. You know, I'm not going to sit here and beat myself up about getting to the final and doing better than 126 other guys and losing to a guy that everybody here is debating whether he's the best of all time or not. I'm not going to ruin what I've accomplished just because he was better than me today.

Q. Do you like the way you competed here this year?

ANDY RODDICK: Yeah. I mean, I left it all out there. I overcame a lot of, you know, kind of mental things out there this year with getting through some matches. You know, I proved something to myself this year. I feel like, you know, for the most part of the tournament I stepped up when I needed to. You know, so I'll look back with good memories, for sure.

Q. Do you want another crack at him in New York?

ANDY RODDICK: You know, listen, I want another crack at him till my record is 1-31. I still want to go against him again. You want to compete against the best. He's the measuring stick, so you kind of know where you are and where you go. So, you know, I'd love to keep playing him.

End of FastScripts….

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