March 15, 2004
INDIAN WELLS, CALIFORNIA
THE MODERATOR: Andy advances into the Round of 16 where he'll take on the winner of Spadea-Escude. Questions.
Q. How big a win is this for you?
ANDY RODDICK: It's a big win. You know, anytime you beat one of the elite players in the world, it's big. Especially, you know, starting off the way I did, kind of keeping my wits about me, coming back. It was good.
Q. Talk about the tiebreak. You played some pretty ambitious points at the end.
ANDY RODDICK: Yeah, well, I mean, Marat was definitely getting the better of me. I felt early on, we had a couple rallies, but I was hitting the ball really well. He was just stepping in, making me look stupid. I definitely wanted to give him a little bit of a different look, maybe attack a little bit more.
Q. They said it was 102 degrees.
ANDY RODDICK: It only felt like 101, yeah (smiling).
Q. How difficult was that?
ANDY RODDICK: I don't really -- I like it, to be honest. Growing up in Texas and Florida, I've seen hot weather before. So, you know, I think I like it a lot more than most people.
Q. Was the game plan ahead of time to come in as often as you were doing, serving and volleying?
ANDY RODDICK: I don't think as often as I was doing. I was pretty much doing it every point. Then I just kind of got into a groove on my serve. You know, I was just feeling it today. I felt comfortable. So I decided to just keep going with it.
Q. Who do you prefer to play, Escude or Spadea?
ANDY RODDICK: I'm indifferent. They're both very good players. Obviously, I lost to Vince in Scottsdale, so it would be nice to get another shot at him. But I've never played Nicolas either. Either way, it's going to be a tough match for me.
Q. Do you always feel you have the upper hand when you get into a tiebreaker because of the big serve?
ANDY RODDICK: No. I don't think you ever feel like that when you go into a tiebreaker. You're just hoping you can get through it somehow. I mean, my tiebreak record is pretty good, but, you know, I don't think I ever have that feeling going into a tiebreaker, I'm like, "Yes, here we go." I'm like, "All right, let's get through this somehow."
Q. Can you talk about the nature of his big serve compared to your big serve? They seem to be completely different in terms of what they can accomplish for you. You use yours to win the points you need to win off, and he uses it more to keep pressure on the opponent.
ANDY RODDICK: Yeah, his is more of maybe a flat bomb, more consistent. I've actually started to try to mix it up a little bit more. Almost like a pitcher would. Sure, his kick is pretty nasty, you know, second serve, maybe bounces a little shorter in the box, maybe gets up a little bit higher, where mine maybe goes through the box a little bit more. But that's basically, I think, the big difference, that he kind of just sticks to his guns a little bit more than I do.
Q. You got the sense you were using yours as a weapon, almost like a pitcher.
ANDY RODDICK: Kind of felt like that, too, in the second set when he aced me three times in a row on breakpoints. I had a very good serving day today. I was very pleased. I had a pretty high percentage. Like you said, I was winning points off of it. That helps you get through games a lot easier.
Q. I noticed in the first set, you were down Love-30. You served and volleyed twice. Are you feeling more comfortable at the net? Is that more of a strategy for you?
ANDY RODDICK: It was today. I didn't like what I was seeing from myself from the baseline early on. I didn't like what I was seeing on his side of the net because he was hitting it pretty well from the baseline. You know, I definitely tried to mix it up a little bit more, maybe give him a little bit of a different look, maybe not let him get into too much of a groove on returns, maybe keep him guessing a little bit more.
Q. How much confidence do you have in driving the backhand and charging? Not exactly a chip and charge.
ANDY RODDICK: I'm probably not good enough to chip and charge (laughter). It's getting there. I thought I hit it a lot better today. The thing about it today, even when I missed it, it was a forcing shot. I'd miss it by maybe five or six inches, but it was forcing it. It's not like I was bunting it. I was actually taking a swing at it. That's maybe the most improved part of that shot for me.
Q. Hewitt complained the balls got fluffier as you played more, whether or not it's the roughness of the court. Do you find the same thing?
ANDY RODDICK: Yeah, I mean, it's definitely a little bit of a grittier court here. But I think you have to do something to counter the thin air, because the ball will travel a little bit more through the thin air. I'm not sure if they make the court a little bit grittier to maybe compensate for that. They do fluff up a little bit, but I guess it's the same for everyone.
Q. Can you look back to your 2001 match with Pete Sampras at Miami, what that match meant to you and your career?
ANDY RODDICK: Yeah, that was huge for me, especially at the time. I was doing really well in the challenger circuits, but I had yet to really have a big result on the main stage. So that was kind of my breakthrough on the main tour. Then I won a couple more matches after that. You know, that was huge for me at that time.
Q. Was it bigger because it was at home? Would have been the same?
ANDY RODDICK: A lot of factors. It was my first time on ESPN. Obviously, it was the first time I had played Pete, which was cool in itself. I did -- the year before I was a senior in high school, so I had a bunch of my friends there watching. So, you know, there were a lot -- my parents were there. They don't go to many tournaments. They were there watching, as well. There were a lot of things that made it special for me.
Q. About five weeks ago you played San Jose. People were loving you. You were the cat's meow. Then on ESPN yesterday you spoke of the leader of the Stanford No. 1 basketball team and the PAC-10 player of the year all-American as "the clown with the fro."
ANDY RODDICK: I don't think I used the term "clown." I said "The guy with the fro."
Q. This has set off howls of protest in the Bay Area. Would you like to respond, explain or even apologize?
ANDY RODDICK: Apologize?
Q. Yes, for your comments.
ANDY RODDICK: I said he was a good player.
Q. I thought it was like the "clown with the fro."
ANDY RODDICK: The clown with the fro?
ANDY RODDICK: No. I said Stanford is playing really well. They got the guy with the fro. He's playing well also. Why would I call someone a clown?
Q. This was the question.
ANDY RODDICK: No. You can go back and watch that tape. If I said "clown" I'll give you $100. Go for it. Either that or use some Q tips or somthing, I don't know. No, that's completely wrong.
Q. The first set was a tiebreaker. The second set was 6-2. What is your comment on the difference in the scores? One was one-sided, one was close.
ANDY RODDICK: Yeah, I mean, I didn't help myself out in the first set by getting down 3-0. I mean, I'm not sure. I mean, it's just a couple points here and there. I think once I got the break in the second set, maybe it let a little bit of the air out of his sails, I was able to kind of run on.
Q. Can you talk about Marat's level of play right now. He had the run in Australia. For how little he's played, he played awfully well. He's won two of his last eight matches. He lost the final of Australia, won two of seven since.
ANDY RODDICK: He's played that much tennis?
Q. He played Marseille, lost in Belarus to Mirnyi, lost to Federer.
ANDY RODDICK: I guess so. I'm not really sure.
Q. How good was he out there today?
ANDY RODDICK: I thought he played well in the first set. I felt I was lucky to get out of that without losing it, to be honest. To come out and set -- he set the precedent early on. But, you know, I'm not sure. I didn't see any of his other matches. But I felt like he was playing a pretty good level in the first set today. Maybe he let it get away from him a little bit in the second.
Q. What was the difference between Australia and today? More pressure on your side? Did his level drop a little bit?
ANDY RODDICK: He played amazing in Australia. I thought I played a pretty good match. He definitely didn't play as well today as he did in Australia. But I thought I did, you know, a couple different things, maybe had somewhat of an effect on that.
Q. Which was what?
ANDY RODDICK: I think I came in a little bit more, keeping him guessing, maybe not being too predictable.
End of FastScriptsâ€¦.