June 30, 2004
THE MODERATOR: Mr. Andy Roddick. Questions, please.
Q. Are you still working on that slam-dunk overhead?
ANDY RODDICK: No, got it a little too early today. Yeah, I need to work harder, I think.
Q. The decision to go for the big second serves at times, is that something you take into the match or something you decide as it goes long?
ANDY RODDICK: No, I don't think you can take it. It's pretty much just instinctual. If you're feeling good about your serve and the way you're hitting it, then you go for it. Obviously, if you're not confident in it, then it wouldn't be intelligent to go for it. But even Queens through this tournament, I feel like I've been serving pretty well. Sjeng was getting the better of me from the baseline today. So I figure my best chance of winning the point was to go for it.
Q. Maybe the biggest point in the match, 9-8 in the second-set tiebreak. Can you take us through that point, how you saved it?
ANDY RODDICK: What happened in it?
Q. Inside-in down the line.
ANDY RODDICK: Yeah.
Q. You do remember that one?
ANDY RODDICK: No, I do no. I just don't do numbers that well. I think I hit a big second serve and he actually got it back pretty decently. I had a forehand. It was tricky because it was slow enough where I could get a hit at it, but I was deep enough in the court where he might have been able to run it down. So, you know, I didn't want him to get a look at it. So I said, "Okay, here we go. Let's give it a ride and see what happens."
Q. Did you think about going inside-out?
ANDY RODDICK: I don't think so. I wanted him -- you know, if I was going to follow it in, I wanted him to be in front of me.
Q. How much of a distraction was the Henman game on Centre Court?
ANDY RODDICK: It actually wasn't as bad as the other day. I'm not sure if the wind helped it, if the wind was blowing the other way or whatnot. Also they did something that was very good, they weren't showing the scores every switch-over in our court, only at the end of sets. That kind of maybe calmed the frenzy inside our court a bit.
Q. You're back in the same place you were last year here. How are you different today as a player than you were a year ago at this time?
ANDY RODDICK: I'm older (smiling). No, I think it's just a matter of experiences. Last year at this time it was probably my biggest match to date. You know, I played the semi in Australia, but I wasn't a hundred percent fit, so I didn't really consider that, you know, the same kind of level. Since then, since last year's semi, I've played a lot of big matches, whether it be in the US Open, the finals of Masters Series events, matches where the No. 1 ranking is on the line. I've been in a lot more pressure situations, and I think that helps.
Q. Are you surprised, I know you're disappointed, you're not meeting Henman in the semis?
ANDY RODDICK: Sorry?
Q. Are you surprised and disappointed you're not meeting Henman?
ANDY RODDICK: I mean, obviously I think Tim was the favorite going into that match. But at the same time, I played Ancic at Queen's and I was lucky to win, to be quite honest. So I knew he could play. You know, in my little camp where we have six people, we were kind of split with who we thought would win. I'm disappointed for the British fans, but, you know, I'm just -- I can only play who's across the net from me.
Q. What is about Ancic's game that is improving or gave you trouble in Queen's?
ANDY RODDICK: Well, he's serving great. I mean, I don't know what's in the water in Croatia, but it seems like every player is over seven feet tall. He's just playing a lot better. He's more experienced. He's actually -- he's committed to coming in on every shot. You know, there's not a lot of indecision in his game right now. He's kind of saying, "This is what I got, you know, deal with it." And I think that's a good mindset for him to have.
Q. Do you think the fact he doesn't have any pressure on him, does that work in his favor? Seems to be a lot more pressure on you.
ANDY RODDICK: Well, listen, playing Tim in Centre Court of Wimbledon, there's some pressure there. Being in the semis of a Grand Slam, there's some pressure there, you know. Now, where the expectations may lie is a different story. But, you know, there's definitely pressure all around, I think.
Q. Are you relieved you haven't got to deal with the home crowd in the semifinal?
ANDY RODDICK: Yes and no. You know, obviously no one would have been for me, but at the same time it would have been maybe a cool experience, you know. But it does no good kind of to look back now. You know, I just got to deal with what's ahead of me.
Q. Are you doing anything consciously different when you're facing a set point against or a breakpoint than maybe you were a year ago or two years ago?
ANDY RODDICK: No, not consciously. You know, I think it's -- I think it's just a matter of confidence where, you know, maybe I would have panicked a couple years ago. Now I'm maybe a little more used to it or I've seen it a number of times. You know, I'm just improving, I think.
Q. How frustrating were the rain breaks today?
ANDY RODDICK: I was happy for the first one. I didn't feel like I was hitting the ball that well. I thought I was lucky to be in the position that I was in. Each time we came back from the rain, I felt like I played better and better. So, you know, today they worked in my favor.
Q. Sjeng doesn't have the biggest serve out there, but he's got a very pinpoint precision serve. He's got that sneaky little slice on the deuce side. Did you reach a level of frustration today returning his serve, and if you did, how did you deal with it?
ANDY RODDICK: Yeah, it's tough, you know. More so than Sjeng's serve, it's what he does or what he was doing today with the second ball. You know, if I left a return anywhere close to being short, you know, he was just striking it great to the corners. He had momentum with him right away. I think that's something that maybe he did a little bit differently than the last couple times we've played, is really focus on enforcing himself upon the first ball. I thought he did that pretty well today.
Q. Dealing with the frustration of that?
ANDY RODDICK: It's tough, because with Sjeng's serve, you feel like you're in every point, but then all of a sudden two sets have gone by and you haven't broken. So, you know, it definitely is frustrating. But, you know, that's credit to him, I think.
Q. Was there any element in today's match that had anything left over from Rome?
ANDY RODDICK: Oh, I mean, obviously it crosses your mind a little bit. But we were both out there to win a tennis match. You know, we'll always have that experience. But when we play each other, we want to win a tennis match. We're still tennis players. We're still competitors. We're friends, but once you get inside the lines, you've got to try to take care of business as much as possible.
Q. Did you watch Serena's match with Jennifer and are you surprised at that result?
ANDY RODDICK: No. I was in the bathroom. I came out and it was done.
Q. 6-1, 6-1 over Capriati.
ANDY RODDICK: It was surprising. They've had great matches in the past. It seems like every time they play, they go three sets. So that was pretty surprising. But I watched Serena's match yesterday against Golovin, because Brad has worked with her a little bit. And I thought she was playing great yesterday also. So, you know, I think she's playing about as well as she has in a while.
Q. How would you assess your chances of actually winning the title this time?
ANDY RODDICK: I'm not going to think about that. You know, we'll get through Ancic and then we'll see.
Q. From what you've seen of Ancic, how credible do you think he is as a future contender for majors around the world, here, everywhere else?
ANDY RODDICK: Well, it's tough to say. It takes more than one tournament to become a consistent contender, you know. But he has the tools to develop into one. That's for sure. You know, he's got weapons, and he's a competitor. He fights every match. So, you know, a lot of the elements are there for that to happen.
Q. Is this going to be a Bjorn Borg-ian beard?
ANDY RODDICK: No, his actually grew full (smiling).
Q. He didn't shave until he won.
ANDY RODDICK: Well, we'll see.
Q. Have you become a more patient player the past year, do you think?
ANDY RODDICK: I don't know. "Patient" in what regard?
Q. Willing to stay in rallies, pick your spots. Sjeng was saying he thinks that is the case, definitely since the last time he beat you.
ANDY RODDICK: Yeah, I think so. I think, you know, again, I probably go back to two years ago. I think I'm a lot quicker around the court than I was, you know, two years ago. So that affords me the option.
Q. How hard is it to fight the instinct to want to hit a winner the first chance you get as opposed to being a little safer sometimes?
ANDY RODDICK: It's not hard. I mean, I've kind of developed a sense of when to do it and when not. I kind of play to my instinct. Like the other day against Popp, he was kind of going for broke. So I figured, Okay, let's make him play as much as possible and seed if he can weather the storm. If he has peaks and valleys, I'll get a chance to break. Today if I got a shot to really try to hit, I had to take it. Sjeng, he's not going to give you anything, that's for sure. I think a lot of it has to do with match-ups.
Q. You say "quicker". How does that come about?
ANDY RODDICK: It's just work.
ANDY RODDICK: It's fitness drills, it's getting stronger physically. You know, there's a lot that goes into it.
Q. Can you assess just how much better a player you are right now than a year ago? For the fun of it, if Andy Roddick as of right now played Andy Roddick a year ago, how would that come out?
ANDY RODDICK: A year ago here I was playing pretty good tennis, so that's a tough comparison. Let's say this March versus last March, it would have been -- I'd feel good about myself now.
Q. First set tiebreak, you slipped face forward 2-0. Just a totally helpless feeling sitting there, watching Sjeng hitting a backhand into the net?
ANDY RODDICK: No, I didn't sit there. I got up and hit another shot. I was pretty lucky because I was on my way down. As I was on my way down, I kind of just tried to get it back into play. I should have been down 3-0. You know, he wasn't missing shots like that all day. I got a lucky break. But I guess those are the breaks you get sometimes when you hustle.
Q. How greasy was it out there today?
ANDY RODDICK: You know, when the courts get more worn and worn, they become brown. The brown spots are probably the most slippery. More so than it was five days ago, but probably no more than any other year.
Q. Are you enjoying or finding it easier to play on grass these days than a couple years ago?
ANDY RODDICK: Oh, yeah, obviously. I had pretty subpar results on grass up until last year, so I feel like last year I really turned a corner as far as this surface goes.
Q. Do you think aces are a telling stat as to how someone is actually serving or not?
ANDY RODDICK: I mean, it's definitely a telling stat, but it's not the -- just because someone's hitting aces doesn't mean they're holding serve every time. Obviously it is a factor in how well you serve. If you're getting a bunch of aces, you're feeling pretty good about your first serve. Like I said, service games held is the most important one, along with first serve percentage.
End of FastScriptsâ€¦.