August 15, 2004
THE MODERATOR: Questions for Andy.
Q. Can you talk about your first round opponent.
ANDY RODDICK: Yeah, absolutely. I thought he rose to the occasion of playing the Olympics. He really started to feel it a little bit. You know, it was tough, but that's what you expect. You got the best players here, so there are no easy matches.
Q. Didn't seem like there were tons of fans out there. Can you describe what the atmosphere was like? Did it feel like an Olympics?
ANDY RODDICK: Yeah, it did, because, you know, the fans that were there were pretty loud. They were waving flags and stuff. But I think you have to understand, you know, people see tennis a lot. If it's a choice between that or swimming, especially at the Olympics, possibly go to swimming. I don't know. You know, I wasn't too concerned with that. I was just trying to win a match.
Q. What is the importance of Brad Gilbert for you?
ANDY RODDICK: He's been great. You know, we've been working together for about a year. He's really become kind of a calming influence over me. We're great. We work together as a team. That's kind of our groove.
Q. When you get out there, does it feel like just another tournament or is there something just inherently different about, "This is the Olympics"?
ANDY RODDICK: Yeah, there's definitely something different. I was a little more nervous today than I would be normally for a first-round match. I don't think it can be the same because, you know, a lot's different. Seeing other athletes in the village, there's so much stuff going on, so much excitement in the air. It's definitely a different dynamic than I've been a part of before.
Q. Some of the players today are complaining about the court and saying it's not quite like a DecoTurf court should be, certainly not the same as the US Open. How did you find it?
ANDY RODDICK: Well, was it the same court as their opponent was playing on?
Q. Yes, same court.
ANDY RODDICK: It's fast. You know, the balls are flying. But last I checked, everybody was playing on the same thing, so... You know, it's the way it is. We change conditions on a weekly basis, so I don't see why this should be too much different.
Q. Looked like it was pretty windy out there.
ANDY RODDICK: Yeah. It was.
Q. What's it like down on the court?
ANDY RODDICK: It was surprising because I guess during Venus' match it wasn't windy at all. Then we walked out there, and all of a sudden right before the coin flip, it started swirling everywhere. You know, I couldn't really get a read on which way it wanted to blow. It was a little weird. I felt like I couldn't get my best hit on the ball because I was constantly adjusting. But, you know, that's part of it. That's something that's very possible. You know, it can happen on any given day.
Q. Can you talk a bit about what it was like up at the village? You must be one of the more recognizable members.
ANDY RODDICK: Yeah, but it's fun. I mean, I think there's a common respect that we're all peers, we're all here trying to do the same thing. I'm having a blast with it. Mardy and I have been staying in the village. It's been a really fun experience. It's been cool.
Q. You have a lot of pins. What has it been like going around collecting the pins?
ANDY RODDICK: It's weird because you'll see someone walk by, you'll check the name on the back of their jacket, "Oh, I don't have that one." You run across, try to trade. Some people don't want what you have. It's fun. Everybody's doing it. It's a good time. We all get competitive with each other, see who can get the most. It's fun, it's a good time.
Q. What's the coolest pin?
ANDY RODDICK: I don't know. There's a lot of them. I think, who was it, Bob Bryan got one from a country that only has five participants.
ANDY RODDICK: Mozambique. I didn't appreciate him getting that one.
Q. Guam only has four.
ANDY RODDICK: Really? Where are they? I'm going to go sit outside their room (smiling).
Q. No doubt growing up you watched the Olympics on television.
ANDY RODDICK: Yeah.
Q. Coming here and being part of it, is it more than what you expected, the same as what you expected, or what?
ANDY RODDICK: I'm not sure. I guess it's different 'cause, you know, when you're a kid, you think everything is amazing, grand, you don't see the athletes in the training room getting their ankles taped. So I guess it's a little more real than you would imagine as a kid, but it's awesome nonetheless.
Q. You have such a difficult schedule throughout the year. How hard is it to fit this in? It's in the hard court season, leading up to the US Open, but how much more difficult does it make it to repeat at The Open and considering what you've done this summer?
ANDY RODDICK: Yeah, well, it's tough, you know. It's definitely not easy, especially this summer, you know, finishing in Cincinnati. I've played deep I think three weeks in a row, then come over here. It hasn't been easy. But at the same time I'm okay when I know what I have to do. You know, it's not like it was a surprise or they threw us a curve ball. I knew it was going to be a tough summer. You just deal with it. You do as best you can.
Q. It makes it difficult for The Open.
ANDY RODDICK: Yeah, but almost everybody's here doing the same thing. Who am I to come up with an excuse when there's 64 other players here doing the same thing? 63 others, sorry.
Q. The prospects of winning the gold medal. You've talked about how exciting that could be. What would that mean?
ANDY RODDICK: It would look good in my hallway, I tell you that. It would definitely be special. But there's a long way to go before that becomes -- before that becomes possible.
Q. Michael Phelps was talking last night, because he didn't march in the ceremony, he was mingling with the US people as they were getting ready, he said he thought he saw you just kind of mingling, too. Can you talk about how hard was that to decide not to march? It's pretty special.
ANDY RODDICK: It was one of the things I was looking forward to most. But on that day, I wasn't feeling as well as I would have wanted. I was still jet lagged a little bit. I felt like I needed some sleep. So basically it came down to the decision, "Okay, are you here for the experience or are you here to try to win?" You know, my answer was, "Both." But it was a tough decision. I decided professionally it was a better decision not to go, kind of wait. A lot of people didn't get back till 2, 2:30 in the morning. In retrospect, it was the right decision. It was disappointing and it hurt, but, you know, for my tennis it was the right decision.
Q. Did you watch it on TV?
ANDY RODDICK: I tried not to.
Q. You tried not to?
ANDY RODDICK: Yeah, I tried not to. I knew I was going to have to hear the stories about how great it was, all that stuff. I tried to keep away from it as much as possible.
Q. What is your favorite moment so far in the village?
ANDY RODDICK: Oh, man. That's tough. I mean...
Q. Have you met someone, someone has come up to you?
ANDY RODDICK: Yeah, I mean, that happens on a daily basis. You know, you meet someone new. But, yeah, I don't know if you can just pick one. Like you said, when the whole American contingent was all out in the street, in our little American block of the village, all at once, all looking the same, all wearing those really fun hats (laughter), it was cool because everybody was there, everybody was meeting. It was just really cool because you really felt like you were part of something.
Q. Who did you meet from the US team?
ANDY RODDICK: Oh, man. I met like kayakers, you know, the shooting team, all types of different sports. It's fun to kind of ask them about what's going on, hear about how they view it, the intricacies of their sport, as well. As a sportsman, you really don't know too much about some of these sports, so it's cool to kind of learn about them.
Q. You are playing doubles as well as singles. What was the attraction in that?
ANDY RODDICK: That's another chance to get a medal. I mean, you know, it's just one more opportunity. I think playing with Mardy had something to do with it, as well. Growing up together, living together, we thought it would be a really cool experience to actually participate in the Olympics as a team, as well. You know, that will be pretty special for us, I think.
Q. Where would you see the gold medal compared to a Grand Slam?
ANDY RODDICK: It would be on par in my eyes. It would be right there. I think, you know, especially with tennis players, not too many of them have gold medals. So it would be pretty special. I guess I'd have to experience it first.
Q. Did you talk to Brad about his experience? Did he give you any advice?
ANDY RODDICK: Yes and no. I mean, I've heard about it. You know, basically what he kind of -- now that I've been in the village for close to five, six days, now we can trade stories. When he talked about trading pins, doing this stuff, I didn't really -- it sounded cool, but I didn't really have a grasp for what it was all about. You know, he was rooting with this guy, he went to watch the sports, he went to watch wrestling. "Oh, that sounds fun." But I didn't really get it. Now it's fun. I get it a little bit more.
Q. He's here with you. What is his role? Patrick is the team captain. How is it different, his role?
ANDY RODDICK: We're not together as much, obviously. I mean, he doesn't even have access to the village. But at the same time that doesn't prevent him from going and scouting matches and discussing opponents, doing all that sort of thing. So it's not as personal as it normally is. But, you know, at the same time we still have the backbone of his coaching. We still get to discuss opponents, which is the most important thing.
Q. What about conditions? The first few days of this week, it was pretty hot. Maybe not as bad today. Wayne Arthurs was saying he hasn't felt it so badly as it was in Cincinnati a couple weeks ago.
ANDY RODDICK: Sorry?
Q. The heat.
ANDY RODDICK: He said it's worse than Cincinnati?
Q. No, Cincy was worse.
ANDY RODDICK: Yeah, I don't know. I don't know if Cincy was that hot. Maybe he played on a different day than I did. It's pretty hot here. That being said, we knew that coming in. Everybody was talking about how hot it was. Like I said before, if I feel like I'm prepared for doing something, then I usually am okay with it. I think it's a little bit of an advantage being from Florida and Texas, it gets pretty steamy there also. It's not too bad, just something you have to deal with.
Q. On the whole pin thing, I think if you're not in this environment, you talk about, "Yeah, we're trading pins," it just sounds like something a kid would do. It's hard to explain to grown-ups what the allure is of trading pins. Is there something more than just the pursuit of these rare pins?
ANDY RODDICK: It's a good way to meet girls (smiling). No, it's cool, because every country has their own pin and every sport from each country has their own pin. I don't know. It's just something fun. If kids do it, they're on to something. I'm doing it. It's kind of fun. It's a cool way to meet people and --
Q. Break the ice?
ANDY RODDICK: Break the ice, but do the whole spirit of the Olympics thing. I think this is kind of really an easy way to embrace that and experience it.
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