June 28, 2004
THE MODERATOR: Questions.
Q. You had the experience of playing on Court 2 the other day. Today, how much did you notice the noise coming from Henman Hill during your match?
ANDY RODDICK: Oh, it's definitely there, that's for sure. I try to block it out as much as possible. But, you know, I think that's just one of the elements when Tim's playing and you're playing on Court 1.
Q. Is it a distraction to any degree for you?
ANDY RODDICK: Oh, I mean, it's a little bit of a distraction, but you know it's coming. I don't mind distractions as long as I can expect them. As long as I know it's there and I can kind of put my mind on -- focus on just dealing with it, it shouldn't be too much of a problem.
Q. Did you try to gauge how he was doing?
ANDY RODDICK: No, they were showing the score every switchover. Really didn't have to try to guess too hard.
Q. There's always a lot of focus on your serving. You faced a very dangerous server today and he had four aces. Would you elaborate for us a little bit on the development of your service return game over the last 12 months.
ANDY RODDICK: Well, it's improved. It won me the last set, that's for sure. I had a couple bad service games there in the third set, and my return game got me through it, you know. I think I broke him three times that set. So I'm not sure if I would have done that, you know -- kind of base it on, you know, two years ago. It's a lot different than it was then.
Q. How do you get better returning serve?
ANDY RODDICK: It's just something you focus on, I think. You know, my backhand has just improved a lot. Obviously, that helps my return. I focused more on it. I mean, it's not something that, you know, I've obsessed over. I think it just, a lot of it comes with confidence as well.
Q. When you see Roger Federer play on TV or if you're scouting, what impresses you the most?
ANDY RODDICK: Oh, I mean, he just does everything pretty well. But he hits shots that not a lot of other people even think of hitting. He's kind of - or at least it seems - I mean, he's kind of immune to pressure right now. You know, he just plays his game. He goes out. He makes you play every time. And, you know, mentally, he's very strong now.
Q. What makes grass such an advantageous surface for him?
ANDY RODDICK: Everything. I mean, he serves and volleys. His slice stays low. You know, he likes the ball down a little bit. So take your pick.
Q. When you compare your style and his, obviously there are a lot of big differences. What are most striking?
ANDY RODDICK: I don't know. That's for you to know, isn't it (smiling)?
Q. Can you talk for a second about the importance of tiebreakers, particularly at a tournament like this?
ANDY RODDICK: It's huge. I mean, a tiebreaker is huge anywhere. I mean, let's say in any scenario, if you're playing a tiebreaker, it's extremely crucial. You know, I've never seen a tiebreaker that's not important or not serious as far as changing the match and changing momentum of a match. I mean, you can be winning the first set, you go into a tiebreaker, you win it, you're two sets to love. You're looking pretty good. If not, you're one set -- I mean, it's huge.
Q. Do you practice them more coming into the grass court season?
ANDY RODDICK: I don't practice tiebreakers. I don't think you can practice being in that situation. You know, part of a tiebreaker is just dealing with the pressure of it. I don't think that can be faked.
Q. A couple of months or so ago you were scrambling with Schalken in a life-threatening situation in Rome. Now your first Wimbledon since then, you'll be facing him. Could you comment on that or speak about the irony of that?
ANDY RODDICK: This is a much better position to be in (laughter). You know, it's weird how things work. Obviously, Sjeng and I knew we'd play each other again. But, you know, like I tried to say the other day, you know, once you get on the court, you try to forget about it. I'm sure we'll both be focused on winning a Wimbledon quarterfinal.
Q. There were a few breaks in that final set. Was fatigue beginning to become a factor for both you guys a little bit in the final set?
ANDY RODDICK: I don't think so. I think more than anything it was the shadows. You know, that big sweeping shadow across the court. All of a sudden the ball goes from light to dark real quick. It's tough to kind of make adjustments. I don't know if anybody else has had trouble with that, but I was struggling a little bit with it.
Q. You say "immune to pressure," that's a pretty impressive statement. It's rare to say that about anybody?
ANDY RODDICK: He seems like it. He gives that presence. I mean, obviously, you know, people have told me, you know, when I served at the Open, I had no nerves. I had freakin' nerves, man. I was... But, you know, he's playing the same points, you know. He has no sense of panic in his game, which is impressive.
Q. When you met him last year, I mean when you were leading into that, did you feel that way about him? Is this a new sort of...
ANDY RODDICK: No, I mean...
Q. Was he at that stage last year?
ANDY RODDICK: He was getting there real quick (smiling). I think he's come a long way as far as confidence goes. I mean, even two years ago people were asking, you know, "How is he doing in majors?" Now you guys have totally turned 180. I think he deserves props for that.
Q. Looking at the stats, is there one stat that pleases you the most from just looking at this match?
ANDY RODDICK: I served 70 percent, so that's...
Q. No double-faults.
ANDY RODDICK: Did I not have a double-fault?
ANDY RODDICK: All right (smiling). I didn't have a double-fault (laughter).
Q. You and Popp were both slipping a bit on the court toward the second, I think second and third sets. Was it slippery out there?
ANDY RODDICK: No, I mean, I think it just happens when a grass court's been played on. It gets a little brown. You know, it becomes a little bit more slippery. That's just part of it. You know, you can -- it's not solid footing like a hard court or something like that. That's part of the deal.
Q. Little bits been written in this country about your friendship with Ian Flannigan, our young player. How far back do you two go?
ANDY RODDICK: I don't know. I don't even remember when we first met. Had to be 14, 15 years old. Just playing the junior circuit.
Q. A couple days ago you mentioned about how you went out and joined the queue, was it 2000, I think you said, just to experience it. How has the enjoyment shifted for you now that you're a top line player? What's the difference?
ANDY RODDICK: I don't understand.
Q. Well, how much fun is it still to be here at Wimbledon compared to a little known player?
ANDY RODDICK: It's a lot more fun. I'm winning (smiling). No, it's -- it hasn't changed, you know. I still -- you know, the first walk through Wimbledon every year is always pretty cool. That hasn't changed. And I don't see it changing. It would be a very sad day for me if it ever did. I don't foresee that happening.
Q. Can I just go back to Ian Flannigan. What's the best advice you can give him to kind of like get his rankings up at the moment from where he's at?
ANDY RODDICK: Win.
Q. Any time. Whenever you see him.
ANDY RODDICK: It's great that he did well at Queen's and stuff, but, you know, I've told Ian he's got to go back to the real world now. The real world is he's, what, 5, 600 in the world. So he's had his fun on the cloud now. But as a friend, he needs to go out in futures, win consistently there and work his way up. You know, it's not going to happen easy, like picking up 40, 50 points at Queen's. This should inspire him to work harder, not just kind of sit pretty.
Q. Where do you put the Schalken backhand among the best backhands in tennis?
ANDY RODDICK: It's up there. He's just so good at -- he knows what he does well and he just sticks to it. He's very good at staying in points. He doesn't make stupid errors. He moves deceivingly well for his size. Like you said, he can do a lot with his backhand, down the line, he can angle it. It's definitely up there.
Q. How would you describe Court 1? There are some people who say that it's -- it's rather soul-less compared to some of the other show courts that you guys play on in the majors.
ANDY RODDICK: Well, I don't think so. I think it was pretty rowdy there in the third set - at least I felt it. If you're comparing Court 1 to Centre Court, there's no comparison. That's the cathedral in there. Obviously, I don't know if many courts compare to Centre Court, but it's a good court. You know, I don't mind playing out there at all.
Q. What do you like the most about England? What's the coolest part?
ANDY RODDICK: About England? That's kind of a vague question, isn't it (laughter)? That's like... I don't know. Give me something specific. I mean, that's a pretty big -- it's a big place. I can't... Nothing's really popping to my mind first.
Q. Would winning this Wimbledon title mean more to you than the US Open you won?
ANDY RODDICK: I don't know. I don't know. It's -- it's impossible to say, you know. You can't predict a feeling that's three matches away. It's tough. Ask me afterwards or if it does happen. I mean, it's...
Q. Do you put any of the majors in order? Do you think the US Open is the major one?
ANDY RODDICK: The US Open was probably the most close to my heart. Obviously, it's our home Slam. It's the one I used to visit as a kid. But I'll take anything (smiling).
Q. Are you doing the Borg no-shaving thing here this week?
ANDY RODDICK: No, I did it at Queen's. Then I shaved. I don't know. It's my laziness kicking in. I don't know.
Q. Nothing superstitious about it?
ANDY RODDICK: I don't think so. But I'm not shaving it, so I don't know.
Q. Jimmy Connors was on the grounds today. By any chance did your paths cross?
ANDY RODDICK: No, I still have never met him.
Q. Not even at the US Open?
ANDY RODDICK: Never. I mean, the only time I've ever been like really close, like in the same vicinity was as I was walking out to the court for the US Open final. I didn't think that was a good time to stop and chat.
Q. That disappoints you?
ANDY RODDICK: I'd love to meet him, yeah, absolutely. He's the only one, you know, of the great Americans, obviously with the exception of Arthur Ashe, that I haven't met. So obviously I'd love to do that.
End of FastScriptsâ€¦.