June 21, 2005
THE MODERATOR: Ladies and Gentlemen, Andy Roddick.
Q. Very strong tiebreak. Serving was not only good, but the stab volley was maybe the critical point. Can you go over it with us a little bit.
ANDY RODDICK: Yeah, that was a huge point. Obviously that gave me the first mini break in the tiebreaker. I felt like -- you know, at the time I felt like if I'd win that tiebreak, I would have pretty good control of the match. I put -- I hit a pretty good approach shot, he hit a great pass, and I was lucky enough to get a racquet on it and stab it. He came up, it all happened pretty quick. I don't remember too much of it. I know I got the point and that put me in the driver's seat for that tiebreaker.
Q. Was it all string?
ANDY RODDICK: I'd like to claim it was all string, but I couldn't look you in the eye if I did.
Q. From the scale of 1 to 10, how do you mark your performance?
ANDY RODDICK: Oh, I don't know. You know, I don't know. I felt like it was a pretty good performance. I put a lot of returns in. I played a sloppy game on my serve in the second set, which ended up making the set closer than maybe it should have been. But, you know, three sets, I'm through to Round 2. I felt like I hit the ball pretty cleanly. That's what you're looking for in the first round.
Q. In the two years since you last won a Slam, how would you describe the road in trying to win another? What's been the biggest surprise for you?
ANDY RODDICK: You know, it's -- I don't -- I don't know. You guys are perfectly aware of the road. You don't need to hear it from my mouth. But, you know, I think a lot of people have improved, you know, and it makes my journey that much tougher. But, uhm, you know, I feel like I have a good shot here on this surface. You know, I'm trying. I'm working hard. I'm putting in the effort. So, you know, at the end of the day, that's what you try to ask of yourself.
Q. How much is it about struggles that you might have had and how much is it that these other guys are that much more fit or whatever since that time?
ANDY RODDICK: It's probably a mixture of both. You know, this year I have -- you know, I haven't stepped up in the bigger matches. And I think that's a big -- I think that's a big thing. But last year here, I mean, you ask me how much of it has to do with the other person, I thought I played a really good match and got beat. So, you know, at other times I feel like I could have won and I let myself down. So it's a balancing act.
Q. You usually have a higher percentage of first serves than you did today. Were you having problem with the toss? Was there wind out there?
ANDY RODDICK: One side was pretty gnarly with the sun, so I'm guessing my percentage on that side was worse. I think he was struggling a little bit on that side, as well. But even the serves I was missing, I felt like I was close on. I felt like I hit him when I needed to. You know, it felt clean. The number was just a little bit lower.
Q. And 11 breakpoint opportunities. Is that pretty much what you're looking for in a match?
ANDY RODDICK: Yeah, absolutely. I got out of the gates and broke three times in the first set and twice in the third. You know, I feel pretty good if I'm getting my looks on the other guy's serve.
Q. Were you conscious you're pretty much flying the flag for America in the men's tournament?
ANDY RODDICK: Yup, I've realized that.
Q. That might bring pressure. How are you contending with that?
ANDY RODDICK: It's part of it, you know. It's part of the whole deal. You know, I have two options: either to accept it or drop out and be 60 so we have nobody. I'm going to contend with it and I'm going to try my best. You know, just deal with it as best I can.
Q. Does it bring any extra pressure?
ANDY RODDICK: Yeah, of course. There's not one person at this tournament who doesn't have pressure on him. That's part of the whole thing. I mean, if I didn't want pressure, I'd go make sandwiches somewhere, you know.
Q. A lot of pressure in that.
ANDY RODDICK: There could be. Maybe too much mustard, I don't know.
Q. The last time a US man won a major was seven majors ago.
ANDY RODDICK: "That hasn't happened for 15 years, what do you think about that, Andy?"
Q. Maybe you want to answer your own question; probably better than the one I'm going to ask.
ANDY RODDICK: (Scratches head.) What did you ask?
Q. What importance did do you place on winning here or doing well here?
ANDY RODDICK: I want to win this tournament. And I'm hungry to win this tournament. I felt like I've played great on grass the last couple years and haven't quite got it there. Obviously, that's the next step for me on this surface and at this tournament. Easier said than done. Like I said, if it was easy, we would have all done it. I felt like I gave it a great go last year and played well throughout and came up a little bit short. I just try to take it that much further. I mean, I want to win this tournament. That's what I'm here for. I've put up solid results, you know, but I'm going to try my best to take the next step.
Q. Do you feel in a better position this year than last year to make the step up?
ANDY RODDICK: It's very comparable to last year, the situation I'm in. I had great preparation last year. I had great preparation this year. Roger is playing well. We've mirrored each other in preparation the last three years. I've just come up short against him. I have to get there. Maybe Roger can look ahead to the semis and the finals and he can answer questions about that. But I have to get through my second round and then so on and so forth. But I feel like I'm playing as well if not better than last year.
Q. Have you been looking in on the Karlovic match or do you particularly care?
ANDY RODDICK: Yeah, they're holding serve.
Q. Right now?
ANDY RODDICK: Yeah. I looked at it when I got off the court. Pretty much kind of what you expected. He actually lost to Bracciali in the I think the finals of the Challenger before Queen's. I knew it was going to be a tough one. I have to wait and see who wins because, you know, depending on that, it's going to be a completely different match in the second round.
Q. There was a rumor going around recently that you were possibly going to enter the men's doubles in this tournament with your friend Ian Flanagan. I gather there was no truth in that?
ANDY RODDICK: (Witness shaking head.) Have you seen me play doubles before?
ANDY RODDICK: That's a good thing.
Q. That's pretty much what I thought. You're still in contact with Ian, yeah?
ANDY RODDICK: Yeah, yeah. We talked two days ago.
Q. Are you training with him at all?
ANDY RODDICK: No. I don't even know if he's up here yet. I think he might come watch a match or two.
Q. There's been a bit of speculation about the courts playing slowly here. Did you notice anything different from last year?
ANDY RODDICK: It's been a year, so it's tough to compare. I think they're a bit slower than what I've played on so far this year. But I think that's normal also the first couple rounds. I think once the -- once they get some play on them, they harden up a little bit, they'll become quicker, especially if it stays hot out. You know, normally the first couple of days, they might be a bit slower until they firm up a little bit.
Q. Can you talk about making the transition from clay to grass and why, you know, not that many players are able to win both? Nadal and Justine are going to try to do that. Can you sort of explain what the big difference and why it's so hard.
ANDY RODDICK: Basically everything that you see on clay, you take the opposite of it and that's what you get on grass.
Q. How amazing is it that someone has been able to do that? How amazing would it be for someone to do that?
ANDY RODDICK: I think it's the ultimate accomplishment. I mean, I think that just shows that you're just an absolutely complete player. It's a tall task. It's been done before, but I think you just have to give props to someone if they pull that off.
Q. Have you heard from your friends or family in Texas about Horry's big shot against the Pistons?
ANDY RODDICK: My brother is actually here and he's a Spurs fan so I've heard too much about it. I watched the replay. They showed it on Sky in the evening yesterday. It was a huge shot. I think Wallace left his man, huh? Too quick to double.
Q. Is it a skill to be able to step up at crunch time and hit the big shot?
ANDY RODDICK: Yeah (laughter). I don't think the guy sitting in the fourth row watching it could do it. Obviously, there's something to it.
Q. Done it time and again.
ANDY RODDICK: He deserves his nickname. What is it, Big Shot Bob? Fitting.
Q. Is there more pressure on you to win the first -- remember back before you won the US Open, it was, "Andy is the great next American player. When is he going to win a Grand Slam?" You won the US Open. Is it a different kind of pressure, now that you won that, there's a lot of expectations for you to winning Grand Slams. If you're No. 2, that's not considered good enough, I guess.
ANDY RODDICK: Yeah, I mean, it's a tough situation to be in, to finish 2 in the world and have this and that said, people speculating what's wrong. If you guys were the second best journalists in the world, I bet you'd be pretty happy. It's a fine line, but also it's almost like a backhanded compliment. I guess that's the level that I've set. I'm not going to sit here and cry about anything in my life. I just kind of try to work hard and do my best, and that's all I can do.
Q. Last time you played this guy a long time ago, he schooled you, but you came back and you had maybe your breakthrough tournament.
ANDY RODDICK: Who are we talking about?
Q. Delray Beach. That really led to sort of a breakthrough tournament. Any of those memories come floating back before this match?
ANDY RODDICK: Yeah, I thought about it. You are probably the only one in here who remembers that one. I think I must have been 140, 150 in the world when I played him. When I lost to him, I was so upset that I lost in my hometown tournament, that I left it in my room, the article. I really worked hard. A couple weeks later I beat Pete for the first time. I thought about it a little bit. But so much has changed since then, I didn't see -- I didn't think there was a lot of relevance between the two.
Q. Things changing, your situation, a couple of years ago there was this happy band of the US Davis Cup team going on. Mardy is not here. The other guys have fallen behind. I know you're the lone eagle and so forth. Does that give you a different feeling about the game and life?
ANDY RODDICK: I don't know if I completely understand.
Q. It seems you're the remnant.
ANDY RODDICK: I wish it wasn't like that. Not only for the US, but those guys, they're my friends. Unfortunately, they've had a rough go of it recently. But you can't worry too much about stuff that you have no control over. I'm busy enough worrying about the stuff that I do have control over. It's disappointing. It puts the onus on me a little bit more. Most of all, I just feel bad for my friends, for what they're going through right now.
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