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July 3, 2004

Andy Roddick


THE MODERATOR: Ladies and Gentlemen, Andy Roddick. Please.

Q. How cool is it to be an American playing for the Wimbledon title on the 4th of July?

ANDY RODDICK: It's going to be pretty cool. You know, I'm probably not going to think about that too much while I'm out there. It's a pretty cool coincidence, though.

Q. Pretty tight match today, wasn't it?

ANDY RODDICK: Ooh, you're telling me. It definitely was. I think it added to the tension a little bit being on, being off. You know, it was a tough match mentally to get through, that's for sure.

Q. The slow start, what can you say about that? How did you shake out of it?

ANDY RODDICK: Well, that's a rough position to be in. You know, you could either be down a set or up a set. I mean, it's just tough. To his credit, I thought he came out of the gates playing really well today. With the exception of a couple double-faults, I don't think I was playing that badly. But I was able to kind of regroup and kind of try to get my feet into the match. You know, I got through it.

Q. It was a strange atmosphere out there at the beginning. How would you describe it? How much did it bother you?

ANDY RODDICK: I mean, everything about the match was kind of strange. You know, from playing chunks of it at sometimes, chunks of it in perfect weather, chunks of it in, you know, felt like a hurricane. I mean, chunks of it while it was raining. I mean, just every -- we almost had like every different scenario in one match. So, you know, the crowd was the least of my worries.

Q. Have you experienced those sorts of conditions before or was that the first time?

ANDY RODDICK: Not all in one match, you know, over the span of two days. You know, I've experienced them all at different times during a match, but not in the same one.

Q. Given everything you had to go through, sort of this is what Wimbledon is all about, how do you feel about the way you dealt with it? Do you feel good about having surmounted all the things?

ANDY RODDICK: Oh, yeah, I'm happy to be through. It was an extremely tough match, you know, in a lot of ways. You know, I'm just excited that I get the chance to play for it tomorrow.

Q. Is it hard not to get frustrated with all the complications, the on and off, the different conditions?

ANDY RODDICK: Yeah, I mean, it's disappointing sometimes. You know, sometimes you wish you could just, "Okay, let's just play already." But that's part of the game. That's what makes it fun, the different scenarios. You know, if every match was the same, then, you know, wouldn't be as much fun.

Q. The past year has had so many great experiences from you with the US Open and everything. How are you going to be different facing him this year?

ANDY RODDICK: I don't know. We'll see soon enough, right? I think we've both become better players. We've both been through a lot more. We've both played a lot of big matches. You know, whatever I've been through, he's been through as well. We've kind of shadowed each other. You know, we'll see what happens.

Q. What was it like last night knowing you had a match point against you -- a breakpoint against you coming out first thing today? Was it harder to relax?

ANDY RODDICK: No. Last night I was okay. You know, it's just you put -- I was putting so much emphasis on what I was going to do with my first serve, what I was going to do with this. I tossed the ball up, the band started playing, I mean, literally started playing as soon as I tossed the ball up and I just Jonesed the serve because I had no idea what was going on. Felt like they started the 4th of July a little early (laughter). All of a sudden we play a point, and I made him play six or seven shots, and it's all of a sudden we're back on serve. So, you know, it's so unpredictable. It was definitely a tough situation to be in. But, you know, last night it really didn't affect me much.

Q. At 5-4 in the third there where we had another delay, you were obviously more eager to get off at that point than he was. Was the thing that you didn't want to get into another game and stop?

ANDY RODDICK: Yeah, I didn't like the -- I didn't like the situation I was in to start the match, you know, down breakpoint. Even just to come in, if it would have been Love-15 or 15-30 or something. Last night, you could see the rain coming. It was already starting to, you know, do what it was doing today a little bit. You could see it a little bit. I'm like, "I'm not going to play again, come back in a compromising situation again. That happened yesterday; I don't want it to happen again today." It was as simple as that.

Q. What effect will last year's semifinal have on the match tomorrow?

ANDY RODDICK: That's a year ago, you know. I don't think it will have too much. It's a different match. You know, what's done is done.

Q. You said today's match was tough mentally. How much do you think it might have taken out of you for tomorrow's game given that Roger was on and off quicker?

ANDY RODDICK: Yeah, it's obviously not an advantage for me. But, you know, I'll wake up tomorrow and I'll be in a Wimbledon final, so I don't think I'll have too much trouble getting up for it mentally.

Q. How do your emotions compare today with contemplating the US Open final?

ANDY RODDICK: It was actually kind of similar because I played Saturday and had to play Sunday, so there wasn't much time for turnaround. You know, I'd be really antsy if I had a day off in between. But I don't know, it's tough to compare I guess.

Q. How will you prepare? Do you have a routine down now?

ANDY RODDICK: No. I just go back, probably get a massage, get some dinner, maybe watch a movie, catch some Z's, come out tomorrow.

Q. Of all the players on the tour, is Roger's style perhaps the most different from yours? How do they mesh when you get on the court together?

ANDY RODDICK: It's not the most different, if you give me my choice of anybody on tour. We do play different types of games. I mean, he's more flash, feel, artistry. The one advantage I have over him is just hitting the crap out of the ball. I mean, that's pretty much what I'm going to have to do. I'm going to have to try to play to my strengths.

Q. The fact you've played so little on Centre this year, do you think that might work against you and perhaps work in his favor a little bit? You haven't seen much of it this year.

ANDY RODDICK: Well, I mean, it's obviously not an advantage for me. You know, I figured I'd get on there maybe more than once before the final. But, you know, I'm going to get out there and I'm going to give it a go. I'm not going to waste time worrying about it, that's for sure.

Q. Tennis is always in the market for a new rivalry. We may have had one in the women's match today. How much does your match tomorrow with Roger feel like that may be the case here?

ANDY RODDICK: Oh, it's -- you know, if you look at the last year, I think we're maybe a little bit above everybody else as far as results go. So to be able to play on the biggest stage in tennis, you know, I think it will create a lot of interest, and that's definitely a plus for the game.

Q. Do you enjoy playing him?

ANDY RODDICK: I do. I mean, it's a great chance. I mean, you know, the whole thing about pro sports is you want to measure yourself up against the best and try to be the best. So, you know, there's not much of a better opportunity than, you know, a match like tomorrow.

Q. When you play Roger, do you have a Plan A, and if that doesn't work, a Plan B, or Plan C?

ANDY RODDICK: I hope Plan A works (smiling).

Q. Can you talk about the last game today? Again, you were hitting the big second serves, double-faulted on one, came right back with another one. What are your thoughts there?

ANDY RODDICK: Okay, well, there's two scenarios: you're either brave or you're really stupid. I was one each back to back. Luckily the brave one came on a pretty big point. There's not much to it. I went with what I had. I felt it, so I pulled the trigger. I would have lived with it if I would have doubled again. But, you know, lucky for me I didn't.

Q. I know you said last year was last year. If you can think back at all, is there one thing that you think you have to do better this year than you did in that match last year here?

ANDY RODDICK: I don't know. I don't know if I served well last year. I think my percentages were down. I think my second serve is a lot better than it was last year. But to be honest, I wasn't playing bad tennis last year. You know, he played great on the day.

Q. Do you socialize with Roger off the court? Are you friends?

ANDY RODDICK: No. We're cordial. I respect him and he respects me. He kind of has his groups of friends and I do also. We're not hanging out watching basketball together, but we're fine with each other. You know, there's no ill will. I think he's a great champion and a great player.

Q. With all the wind and delays and the rain, let cords...

ANDY RODDICK: You noticed those, too.

Q. Talk about handling adversity, how that's a part of winning this championship.

ANDY RODDICK: Yeah, well, you know, there's definitely been a lot kind of thrown my way in the last -- I think I've woken up one morning of these Championships not thinking I was going to play a match. You know, it's been pretty stressful, but I can see the finish line now, so that's where my focus is.

Q. Does all this make you like Wimbledon more and appreciate what you've accomplished here more or like it less?

ANDY RODDICK: Ask me that in a week. No, it's part of it. I think it's, you know, part of the charm. It obviously can be frustrating at times, but, you know, that's what makes Wimbledon Wimbledon, you know. It's a special place, that's for sure.

Q. What are your thoughts on what occurred in the women's match, Maria Sharapova at age 17 winning the title?

ANDY RODDICK: It was an amazing effort. I mean, I watched probably close to the whole second set. I mean, the way -- it's impressive to see how she steps up and hits her shot every time. No matter what the situation, she's going to live and die with her strokes, not letting someone take it to her. At 17 to already have that ability, it's pretty amazing. But it's almost like she expects it. There's something inside her, that's pretty impressive.

End of FastScripts….

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