June 29, 2005
THE MODERATOR: Ladies and Gentlemen, Andy Roddick. Questions, please.
Q. You're back to your -- I shouldn't say "back to," but two 5 sets here. Played a nice one today. Got a little bit dicey there but you played really well to pull it out.
ANDY RODDICK: When did I get dicey? In the fourth (smiling).
Q. Got dicey just getting into it.
ANDY RODDICK: What you're trying to say is, "Well done on getting through the fifth-setter"? No, it felt good. I think everybody knew this was going to be a pretty tough match. I mean, Sebastien's not playing like this on grass by accident. I mean, he's proven that he can play really, really well on this surface over the last couple years. So uhm, you know, a big one to get through. It feels good to win a couple five-setters in the row. Who knows, one more, maybe it will be called a winning streak.
Q. It certainly seemed you drop a set, whatever, you seem kind of unfazed, not like the wheels are falling off, it seems like you're out there focused, not particularly worried about losing a set or two, which has to be a good sign, right?
ANDY RODDICK: I come to the conclusion I can't worry about things. I've just been trying to focus on competing. You know, I was able to do that today. I stayed pretty even-keeled throughout the match. Used my energy when I needed it. Really tried not to get down or discouraged, which helped in the end, I think.
Q. How good was he returning serve today?
ANDY RODDICK: He was good. You know, he goes in streaks where he mixes it up. Sometimes he just floats it back and you're thinking you can serve and volley a little bit more, then he just takes big cuts. He mixes up the way he returns. He's not super predictable. I think that might get overlooked sometimes when you're talking about him as a returner.
Q. What did you do differently, if anything, between the first, second and third set?
ANDY RODDICK: I didn't -- after the first set, I didn't feel like I played a bad set. I hit two bad forehands to get broken, one bunny. But besides that I felt like I was in his service games. I think I had breakpoints in three of his service games in the first set. I felt like I played a good set. You know, so I wanted to try to do more of the same. I took a step back on returns because he was getting me with some body serves. So I took a step back to get a look at a couple more second serves, and that worked out for me. But I didn't make a whole lot of adjustments.
Q. How surprised are you to be playing Johansson this late in the tournament?
ANDY RODDICK: I'm not very surprised. I mean, he's the type of guy, when he starts playing well, he plays really well. He's won Masters Series events, he's won a Slam. You know, he's won titles on this surface before. You know, I'm not super surprised.
Q. Getting through to the semis three years in a row, any carryover at all? Do you believe in yourself because you've done it before?
ANDY RODDICK: Yeah, you know, I've always said that, you know, you know what to expect if you've done it before. You know, I feel like now more than ever I really needed a result like this, for myself, and I'd love to go further. I'd love to even take it a step or two further. It feels good to be able to battle through the last 10 days.
Q. Earlier today Roger spoke about the things about you that he respects most. What do you respect most about Federer in terms of his play and his personality?
ANDY RODDICK: Well, I mean, his play speaks for itself. He's probably the most talented person to ever carry a racquet around - the shots that he can come up with, the way he's kind of become a totally complete player. But I think off the court, it's huge. There have been a lot of good champions, but he's just classy. He is never high and mighty in the locker room or anything like that. He treats people with respect, even if it's the locker room attendants or the people serving food or anything. He's "please" and "thank you." I think that's why he's so well-respected and so well-liked on tour. There's not a whole lot of animosity towards him, even though he has been that successful.
Q. Your serve in the fifth set, you stepped it up. Was it comparing to the previous sets you hadn't served that well or were you consciously trying to hit bigger in the fifth?
ANDY RODDICK: I was trying to hit a little bit bigger. I don't know. Even though I was missing some serves today - I mean, I came out 67% still for the match - I felt like when I was making it. I was getting good action on it. My serve was tailing away. My second serve had a little jump to it today. I never really lost confidence in it today. I felt like I served a lot better today than I did against Coria. I felt like it was a struggle that day. It came around. Overall, I felt like I served pretty well.
Q. That key stat, unreturned serves, that went up big in the fifth set.
ANDY RODDICK: Did it?
Q. Just located it better, perhaps?
ANDY RODDICK: Like you said, I made a conscious effort to try to go for it a little bit more. I was kind of rolling the ball into the net a couple of times, not just getting enough into it. I made a conscious effort to really go up after it.
Q. I assume there are people you fundamentally dislike. Is it easier or more difficult to play them? Do they tend to bring out your better game or is it just too complicated when you get into that level of...
ANDY RODDICK: I think you check your personal feelings for someone at the door. You know, whether you like someone or whether you're friends with someone doesn't -- shouldn't really affect how you do on the court. Maybe the only person it affects me with a little bit is Mardy, and that's just because we know each other too well. We've lived together. We grew up together. Besides that, I mean, it's understood that when you go onto the court, you know, there are no friends inside the lines. Afterwards you can hang out and be friendly, do all that stuff, but you're trying to beat each other's brains in when you're out there.
Q. When you get through, would you be expecting to play Federer in the final?
ANDY RODDICK: I think you have to be. He's the favorite until someone takes it from him is the way I look at it. There's no one -- there are no two players that I probably respect more out here than Lleyton and Roger as far as what they bring to the table on a daily basis. I'll be looking forward to that one. You know, I think Roger's the favorite until someone proves otherwise.
Q. What do you feel about playing against Thomas Johansson?
ANDY RODDICK: How do I feel about it?
ANDY RODDICK: I'm excited. You know, I'm excited to be in the semis. He's a very tough player. He serves well. He returns well. He's a very complete player. He doesn't have any glaring weaknesses. You know, it will be tough. But I feel good about the way I'm playing right now.
Q. You won over him twice before. Do you feel you have a mental advantage?
ANDY RODDICK: I don't know. One of them was in 2001. One of them was last year on a hard court. We've never played in a huge match like in the semis of a Grand Slam or even the semis of a tournament. It will be a totally different match than what we've played before.
Q. You're obviously getting to the net so much more often and so effectively. In this match today after losing the fourth set and with the light changing and stuff, did you have to get yourself to keep going? Did you almost have to talk yourself into it?
ANDY RODDICK: No. It was kind of just happening for me there. I think with me it's more of a mental mindset going into matches. Too often I'll get into too much of a pattern of staying back and get too comfortable doing that. But if I go in kind of with an aggressive mindset, it normally stays that way. It's kind of the way I've been going about it.
Q. You were commenting about posting a result here sounded a little bit like relief. You'll be favored in the semi, but does that make you relaxed, more freer going into the next two rounds?
ANDY RODDICK: Yeah, I feel freer, you know, a lot freer. There was a lot of heat on me coming into this tournament, as you know. I wanted to prove that I'm still a pretty good tennis player, you know. I'm not gone. I'm 22 years old. I'm still up in the world, still competing for Slams basically, three out of four of them, throughout the year. I felt like I still deserved a little bit of respect. But that being said, I'd love to take it further. I'm not satisfied yet.
Q. Did you have to prove that to yourself as well as to the public?
ANDY RODDICK: Uhm, no. I know, I know I'm a pretty good tennis player. But, you know, like I said, I needed a big result. I mean, the last thing I want to do is struggle through the clay court season, then when it is my time to play well and I feel confident on a surface, blow it - if I'm going matter of fact about it.
Q. The match you were talking about before with Federer and Hewitt, with the exception of Marat Safin, none of the top guys have been able to lay a glove on Federer in two years. Hewitt is going to go at it. He's got like a 7-0 losing streak against him. What is it like when you walk out on court and you haven't beaten a guy for that long? How difficult is it to get your head right for the contest?
ANDY RODDICK: You know, it's probably a weird dynamic for guys like Lleyton and myself because we're pretty much expected to beat everybody else except for him. It's tough. The biggest thing is just knowing that you're going to have to play one hell of a match if you want to win. You know, that's what you've heard throughout the years, guys win matches in the locker room, and Federer, he's definitely deserved that kind of respect now. But at the same time, you know, I've never seen -- I haven't seen Lleyton intimidated by too much. You know, it will be a good one.
Q. When the final is so close you can almost smell it or taste it...
ANDY RODDICK: What does it smell like, or taste like (laughter)? Chicken?
Q. How do you keep from looking two matches ahead?
ANDY RODDICK: Like I've been saying the whole time, I'm not good enough to look ahead. I mean, I'm very concerned about my next opponent right now. You don't get to the last four of Wimbledon and then start overlooking people or thinking you're already there. I have a tough opponent ahead. I got to get through that. So my mind doesn't really wander. Obviously, you have a daydream every now and then of what it would be like at the end of the day. But then you come back to reality and realize you're so close, but so far.
Q. You were saying you have to take an aggressive mindset into matches. Do you have to do the same thing with your return of serve?
ANDY RODDICK: Yeah. I think I've been doing a better job of that, you know, in my matches here. I've been getting chances to break. I haven't gone two sets without breaking. You know, that's where I run into trouble sometimes. But not so much aggressive, it's just a groove you get in on your returns. If you're not confident on your returns, it's really going to be a long struggle for you - more so than any other shot probably in tennis. I felt pretty grooved in here. That's been a good spot for me so far.
Q. What was your mindset after the first set? Did you sort of figure he just played a great game or were you a little upset with your own play?
ANDY RODDICK: I said earlier that it wasn't the way I was playing; I just made a mental error on a couple of forehands. I respected his speed on one of them and overhit it, missed another one. That put me in a hole. He came up with the goods and broke me. I said earlier, I wasn't too discouraged because I still felt like I was hitting the ball pretty well.
Q. You talked about being in a groove on returns. Do you feel that way on the net now? Is that as comfortable as you've felt volleying?
ANDY RODDICK: You know what it is? I don't feel like it's forced right now, whereas other times, you know, I'd go to the net and I'd hit a shot and hope that something good would happen. Now I'm kind of more focused on almost subconsciously making something good happen, if that makes any sense.
Q. Does it make it a more interesting game for you that you're able to get to the net and make creative shots that you're able to make now?
ANDY RODDICK: Yeah. I mean, the biggest thing I've always said is it gives me another option, you know. I mean, it came up huge in my second round match. Maybe two years ago, I might have lost that. It just gave me a Plan B. I think that's huge, to have options out there.
Q. Do you feel like you're going to have the majority of the support out there largely because Wimbledon fans are used to you being there?
ANDY RODDICK: Oh, I don't know. You can look at it that way, or you can look at it people cheering for whoever. I mean, it's not something I've really thought about. But one thing about the fans here, even if they're for one guy or another, they're still great. I mean, I talked to Jose Higueras, the coach of Tursunov the other day. He had beaten Henman. One of the first things he said when he came in was that the crowd was amazing. They were going for their guy and living and dying every point he played. But they don't try to force it on the other person. You know, I'm not too concerned about who the crowd's for. I'm just concentrating on playing a good tennis match.
Q. Sharapova the other day was saying she had marriage proposals. Murray was saying a similar thing. Have you had any weird requests from fans when you've been on court?
ANDY RODDICK: I don't know if my fans think that long-term in regards to me (smiling).
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