July 4, 2004
THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.
Q. You were very gracious on court about the rain delay in the second set. It was crucial when you were 4-2 up.
ANDY RODDICK: Third set.
Q. No, the second rain delay.
ANDY RODDICK: It's irrelevant. Go ahead.
Q. It was crucial to the outcome of the match.
ANDY RODDICK: Yeah, it was. You know, unlike yesterday, I mean, I felt like I had the momentum going both times we went off. But, you know, I can't complain because it might have gotten me out of trouble yesterday. So, you know, it just happens like that sometimes. It's a little bit of a Catch-22.
Q. What were you doing especially well to take command in the first set that got away from you later?
ANDY RODDICK: You know, I was just taking it to him. You know, I wasn't wanting to get in rallies where he could kind of do his thing, you know, come up with spectacular stuff. You know, I went out and I tried to take it to him. I was successful most of the time. And then a couple key points, I wasn't. That was about the difference in the match.
Q. What was the game plan going in? Are you surprised that he didn't serve and volley a little more?
ANDY RODDICK: No. He hadn't really been serving and volleying very much in some of the previous matches. I think he picked it up in the fourth and started doing it a little bit more, you know, made that adjustment. But as far as me going in, I wanted to take it to him. If I had a look at the first ball, I wanted to give it a ride. I didn't want him to control anything out there. I wanted to play the match on my terms.
Q. The way you were hitting your backhand in the first set and a half, maybe two sets, and the volleying, considering the opponent and the stage you were on out there, is that perhaps the best tennis you've played, all things considered, some of the things people say you're not good at?
ANDY RODDICK: You mean, ever? I don't know. I played pretty well in The Open final, as well. But I'm confident. I'm growing more confident in my abilities. I do have a backhand and I can hit it well. That's not a shock anymore, I don't think - at least not to me. Volleying is still an area where I can try to improve more, but I think that progress has been made. You know, losses like this just inspire me more. I just want to keep getting better and better. I feel like I'm on the right track.
Q. Obviously there is a frustration when you reach the finals and not win. Is there something to take out of this, that you played better or well enough that you can win down the road on a grass court final?
ANDY RODDICK: Yeah, for sure. You know, all is not lost because I lost today. You know, I still had a hell of a run. You know, I proved that Roger's not quite invincible. You know, he's pretty close (smiling). I proved a lot to myself today. I thought I took it to him and I played the game the way I wanted to play it. I just came up short. It was a couple points here and there. You know, we kill that term, but today it really was.
Q. Did you feel nervous playing him?
ANDY RODDICK: No. I went out there and I felt great. You know, I was excited. You know, I had so much fun playing that match because it was, you know, such a grudge match of 1 versus 2. And I felt, you know, 99% of the matches I feel if I play really well, I'm going to win. I kind of liked the suspense of it, you know, and I can appreciate that.
Q. You grew up watching Breakfast at Wimbledon and all that. Did playing the Centre Court final live up to your dream or expectation? What did you think it was going to be like?
ANDY RODDICK: It was nice to get out there (smiling). It was great. I mean, there's no place like it. That's the most prestigious court that I'll ever have a chance to play on, or that anybody will ever have a chance to play on. To compete in a final and know there's some kid out there watching me at Breakfast at Wimbledon the way I used to, it's a pretty cool feeling.
Q. How much do you think serving and volleying is part of your future in trying to overcome a player like Federer?
ANDY RODDICK: I didn't catch the first part.
Q. How much do you see serving and volleying as part of your future in trying to overcome a player like Federer?
ANDY RODDICK: It's never going to be my first option. But at the same time it's something I need to keep improving. It's an option I need to have. I felt I did it more than last year, so, you know, progress was made. But it's something I'm going to continue to work on, that's for sure.
Q. You had a chance for a couple forehand winners on the breakpoints in the fourth set, cross-court. Did you think you hit a winner and somehow he got there and came back? Were you amazed at how he was able to cover?
ANDY RODDICK: Not only is he fast, but when he gets to the ball, I mean, you can have no play on it and make something out of it. I think he's unparalleled as far as that skill goes. A couple times he picked them off his shoe strings, they're coming this far off the net, you're hitting another one. Definitely he's great at doing that and keeping himself alive in points.
Q. Have you got another kitchen sink you can throw at him next time?
ANDY RODDICK: I don't know. I need one.
Q. You said jokingly it can only be a rivalry when you start winning some of the matches.
ANDY RODDICK: I wasn't joking.
Q. What can you do to start winning matches?
ANDY RODDICK: I'm winning matches; just not against him.
Q. I meant against Federer.
ANDY RODDICK: Uhm, you know, couple years ago, I mean, I think the first three matches we played, he was just a lot better than me at that time. He was a lot further along in his development. You know, our last couple have been tight. I just haven't gotten over the hump. I felt today was a step towards the right direction, you know. I have a lot that I can improve and I need to focus on that. He's going to be great. You know, he's going -- he's a spectacular player. So I can't worry about so much what he's doing when he's not across the net from me. You know, I need to kind of focus from here on out what I need to do to get better, and I will.
Q. You were saying you've proved that he's not invincible. Do you think he's getting to that point where players are going to be worried about what he can do?
ANDY RODDICK: Oh, he definitely has an aura about him, there's no doubt. I mean, he's an unbelievable tennis player, and people know that.
Q. Psychologically you're beaten before you almost play him?
ANDY RODDICK: Not me. I mean, yeah, he's got an aura about him in the locker room right now. That's for sure. I don't think anybody would argue that.
Q. Are you disappointed it's not going to be you dancing with Maria Sharapova at the ball?
ANDY RODDICK: I just want to know how long her skirt's going to be. Is it going to be short? Is it going to be long? Disappointed I won't get to see that. I might just sneak in and crash the party. I'll bring the beer, man. Let's go.
Q. 2-3 in the fourth set, Roger serving, you have a breakpoint at I think 30-40, then you hit the inside-in down the line. He made a spectacular save on that ball. Did you think, "I've got this point. It's my break. I'm going to be up 4-2"?
ANDY RODDICK: I can't process that much information (laughter). I'm a little slow normally, so that would have been hyper-speed. In all fairness, I got the ball I wanted. I felt like if I had that ball and hit it well, it would be my point. You're right, he did make a spectacular save. I think he was sitting on it a little bit more. Maybe he expected that shot. But I felt like I needed to hit it anyways. I hit it about as well as I could, you know, and he came up with the goods.
Q. Then you hit the next one wide.
ANDY RODDICK: I laced that ball.
Q. How dejecting was that particular point?
ANDY RODDICK: It was tough. I mean, I felt like -- but I was happy that I hit my shot. You know, I decided the outcome of it with my shot, and I hit the shot I wanted to. I just missed. It happens sometimes.
Q. The last two days you've had to get used to rain delays. How difficult for a guy like you is it to handle a rain delay?
ANDY RODDICK: It's tough. I mean, I think it's tough for anybody. But at the same time whatever I'm going through, my opponent's going through, as well. So that's not really -- I mean, it has a factor, but it's a factor for myself and whoever I'm playing against.
Q. What do you do?
ANDY RODDICK: I don't know. Kind of sit still, or try to sit still. You know, talk to my coach a little bit. If it's going to be a long one, get a bite to eat, turn on the TV. Just wait to play again.
Q. Did you think about the fact it was the 4th of July at all?
ANDY RODDICK: No. I mean, as cool as that would have been, the date really doesn't factor into a tennis match.
Q. When you go out and execute your game plan with all your heart, I guess you say "leave it all on the court," I assume there are no regrets that come with that. Is that fair to say? I can't imagine you looking back and wishing you had done much differently.
ANDY RODDICK: I mean, obviously you wish you could execute sometimes more. But I went in, I played to my game plan, I played to it well, and I gave all the effort I had out there today. I'm not looking back saying, "What if?" I did what I wanted to do. You know, I played with a lot of heart. You know, I came up short. Maybe next time I won't.
Q. How much of the serve and volley work you've done is to beat Roger?
ANDY RODDICK: It's to beat everybody. I don't train for one person. I train to make myself better. Obviously, that's a key component that maybe could help me over the hump with him. But, you know, I train to play tennis, not one match-up. I had to win a lot of matches to get to this match-up even. So I don't really think like that.
Q. What did it mean to you to get that standing ovation from the crowd at the end?
ANDY RODDICK: That was nuts. I mean, that was great. I almost got a little embarrassed because they kept going. But it was nice to see that they appreciated a high level, you know, of tennis out there. They were very gracious. You know, at that time I was feeling pretty low, but they made me feel a little bit better.
Q. Can you talk about how much your confidence has been built up by your successes over the last two weeks and how you're going to shift gears for the US Open.
ANDY RODDICK: I'm hoping to shift gears. You know, one match better than I did last year. So hopefully that's a trend. Coming off the clay, I really wanted to kind of set the precedent and say, "Okay, I am one of the top players." That seems to be a question every year after the clay court season with me (laughter). But it was nice to kind of reestablish myself as one of the top guys.
Q. Going into the US Open?
ANDY RODDICK: Well, I don't think this tournament has much relevance to the US Open. I'll probably have, what, four or five events between now and New York. So I think those events will play big into how I'm feeling going in.
Q. You got a bye play with him standing with the trophy with him. What were you saying?
ANDY RODDICK: I said, "Gimme that damn thing." No, I motioned that I wanted it. He didn't give it up.
Q. You got a lot of great support here from the British crowd. As an American at a time when American is not favorably viewed in a lot of parts of the world, do you feel comfortable as any sort of cultural ambassador?
ANDY RODDICK: I see it as an opportunity, you know, when I wake up every morning to prove stereotypes wrong. You know, I take a lot of pride in that. But, you know, I don't really see it as American, British. You know, they're tennis fans and I'm a tennis player. I gave my effort, and I think they realize that.
Q. Obviously, you talked about he's a great player in terms of style and what he's capable of doing on the court. Do you think he's underestimated as a fighter and competitor, or do you feel we underestimate him?
ANDY RODDICK: Are you underestimating him? I don't know.
Q. We don't see it. You're feeling him out there.
ANDY RODDICK: You know, the thing with Roger is that he just makes it look so easy. So I think that kind of has something to do with what you're saying. But, you know, he's really brought it together over the last year mentally. You know, the talent's always been there. You know, maybe there were some questions about that before. But, I mean, if you don't buy into it now, then I have to question that.
Q. The computer tomorrow is going to show that Roger has separated himself pretty far from the rest of the field. Even though today you played a great match, a few points, do you feel that's an accurate sort of representation of the game, that he's separated himself from the field?
ANDY RODDICK: I mean, he's the top player, there's no doubt. But the computer is probably the least of my concerns right now. You know, he deserves that spot. There's no doubt. You know, he's played better than anybody, you know, this year. You know, he deserves it.
Q. How would you describe the match before that second rain delay and after?
ANDY RODDICK: It was a dogfight. You know, I was feeling good. I was actually feeling like I was getting the better of him in some baseline exchanges. I felt like I had the momentum with me. Who knows what would have happened from there. That really doesn't mean anything because, you know, you can't tell what would have happened. But, you know, it was a pretty high level of tennis. You know, I felt like I was going pretty good.
Q. Is there anything you can do to repump yourself up? You came out extremely pumped up for this match. The rain delays hit, just that delay sort of changes things completely. Of course you don't have any lockers to bang your head against?
ANDY RODDICK: Well, they're there. I just chose not to.
Q. How do you try to get yourself back to the same situation you were in before?
ANDY RODDICK: No, I mean, it's tough because, you know, how you feel each time you walk on the court's kind of a different thing. You know, I don't really do anything too artificial. I mean, if I couldn't get pumped up to come back on the court and play a Wimbledon final then, you know, I might as well just leave. That wasn't a problem. You know, how you're hitting the ball, now that's another story.
Q. If he hit you with his bathtub, do you have to go get like a water heater or something?
ANDY RODDICK: I was thinking fridge.
Q. Could you take us through the six breakpoints that you were unable to convert? Did you feel a natural letdown after not being able to convert?
ANDY RODDICK: It's tough when you knock on the door enough times and no one answers. In all honesty, I felt like I had one bad point there. You know, he came up with some great serves. I had one look at a second serve and I flagged a backhand, which I hadn't really done for almost the whole match. Besides that, he came up with the goods. You know, he didn't give an easy error. I made him play a couple times, and I hit the shot I wanted a couple times. You know, so I can only really regret, I mean, one of those realistically.
Q. At 3-2 in that game where you had several breakpoints, you went up and shook the net and let out a bit of a growl. What was going on?
ANDY RODDICK: It wasn't working for me. You know, if you were helping him get points, I'd shake you, too (smiling).
Q. The dogfight, was that plan to really go right at him and make him scrap and not give him a lot of time?
ANDY RODDICK: Absolutely. You know, I think you have to be tough with Roger. There's no doubt. You know, if I got caught in a cute match with him, I would not do well. You know, that was definitely a part of the plan.
Q. Did you feel you were getting to him then? Did you feel something in him? You seemed to be over him the first set.
ANDY RODDICK: You know, he's always even keel. You doesn't give you that. He doesn't give you the pleasure of knowing you're on top of him. I don't know. I was believing in myself, you know, at that time. I was feeling good about where my game was at at that moment.
Q. Was Brad pleased with your performance?
ANDY RODDICK: Yeah. I mean, Brad's great. He's never going to come down on me after a match. He knows how hard it is. He's been there. You know, the only time I can imagine Brad being down on me is if I didn't try or if, you know, I didn't try to do what we had talked about. Yeah, I mean, we were obviously disappointed but, you know, we'll move on.
Q. After you won Key Biscayne, it would have been very natural to take some time off, but you just wanted to get back on the court, get ready for Davis Cup. Now after this loss today, do you feel like you want to step away for a few days and put the racquet down before you get going again?
ANDY RODDICK: Yeah, absolutely. You know, I got a boat that's calling my name right now in Austin. Hopefully we'll get to spend some time together.
Q. Aside from rewriting history and winning the final point, in the match or even in your entire Wimbledon, if there were one thing you could change, even one shot, what would that be?
ANDY RODDICK: One shot? I don't know. I don't think it comes down to one shot. I wish it was that easy. I'm proud of the way I performed and conducted myself and left it all out there. So, you know, it does no good in looking back, you know, what if, how. I can't really worry myself with all that.
Q. You said it's a special court, one of your favorite places. If you could choose a venue anywhere you play where you think you would have the best chance of beating him, where would that be? Would it be Flushing Meadows?
ANDY RODDICK: Flushing Meadows, obviously I'd have, you know, 25,000 of my closest friends, so that wouldn't be terrible.
Q. The bottom line story on the beard.
ANDY RODDICK: You won't have to worry about it any more.
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