July 4, 2003
MODERATOR: Good afternoon, Ladies and Gentlemen. Andy Roddick.
Q. Can you go over the tiebreak, 6-5 point, when you had the forehand, what your options were, what you felt.
ANDY RODDICK: That's the point I wanted to play in my head. Obviously, not with the end result in the net. But I hit a good serve out wide to start with. I'm not sure what it was, but I made a big service, pretty big. Had the shot I wanted. And just missed it. You know, it's about as simple as that.
Q. Technique, or thinking ahead or looking away?
ANDY RODDICK: Just missed it. Simple as that. I felt good. I hit it well. If I would have had about an inch more height on it, it would have -- set probably would have been over. That's just the fine line.
Q. Is that the kind of point that one would think about, you know, a month from now, six months from now?
ANDY RODDICK: Oh, no. No. Maybe if I wouldn't have gone for it or if, you know, I wouldn't have played my shot that I wanted to play, maybe I would have thought about it a little bit more. That's the shot I wanted. If I had to do it again, I'd go for it the exact same. Like I said, I was just an inch away from winning that first set.
Q. Can you describe Roger's shot-making and his serve.
ANDY RODDICK: Yeah, he, you know -- I haven't seen the stats yet, but I'm assuming his first-serve percentage was way up there. That's the best he's served against me. And, you know, couple of points I felt like I put in really good points, just on the losing end of them by a long shot. He just played really, really good tennis today.
Q. Were you surprised that he handled your serve as well as he did?
ANDY RODDICK: Yeah, I mean, it just seemed like he was seeing the ball early all day on lots of shots. You know, he's making me play a lot on my serve. You know, all credit to him. He played, you know, one hell of a match.
Q. Brad told you, I believe, that if you beat yourself, that's bad. If the other guy beats you, that happens. Do you look at this match as the other guy just beat you?
ANDY RODDICK: Yeah. You know, I played -- I mean, I played, you know, not great, but by no means was it a bad match for me. I think I could have made some more first serves. You know, getting aggressive, here and there. But I'm nitpicking here. He's just playing very well.
Q. Is it harder to not win Wimbledon if you've gotten this far, or is it harder when you don't even get this far?
ANDY RODDICK: Well, if I had to choose one, I would choose this way. But, you know, it's tough when you know you're six sets away from holding up that trophy.
Q. Going back to the breaker for a second, after the point, 5-all whatever, at that stage you played a pretty conservative point, it appeared to us. The next point, what were you thinking?
ANDY RODDICK: I hit one conservative shot that allowed him to run around. Ball didn't come through like I thought it would. I kind of was -- lifted up a little bit early on it and it sat up and he just -- he munched on it. You know, I just didn't get the shot I wanted to pull the trigger on.
Q. He hit two amazing forehands to ice the second set. And as you walked over to your chair, at the changeover, almost looked like you were saying to yourself, "Too good," or smiling. Can you talk about what was going through your mind then.
ANDY RODDICK: Yeah, I remember thinking to myself, "I played a pretty good game to make him serve it out and I lost it at Love." You know, kind of the last shot was just ridiculous. He came full-steam ahead, half volley, but like swinging half, like not in the air, though. I don't know if anybody else can do that shot, you know. It was almost like he was trying to do a trick shot out there. But, you know, it worked. I just had to say "too good."
Q. As a tennis person, I mean, just his tennis game and his strokes have always been what's so great about him. How do you describe that to people? What's his level?
ANDY RODDICK: It's weird. I mean, he comes up -- as far as talent goes, I don't know if there's anybody out there more talented. He's a great athlete; he's so quick out there. Great, I mean, there's not much he doesn't have, you know. Now it seems like he's putting it together upstairs and it's all coming together for him. He's a very good player.
Q. You have beaten Sampras, obviously. Is it like playing Sampras a little bit in terms of the flow of the points?
ANDY RODDICK: No.
Q. What's different about it?
ANDY RODDICK: Roger just put -- I mean, he has a lot more spin on his shots. As far as they both serve, they both volley, they can do everything pretty well, but Roger's a little more -- he's not on you all the time. He kind of plays a little bit more, then he picks his shot. Maybe he's a little bit more patient. Whereas Pete was all the time, all the time, all the time.
Q. Do you take away from this that you go home and you work on certain particular aspects of your game, or continue going because the flow seems to be lifting you upwards just as you're playing?
ANDY RODDICK: I think both. You know, while trying to maintain what progression I made over the last month, you know, you take that and say, "Fantastic, let's keep working on those things." But then you're always trying to move the chains forward. You don't want to stay complacent.
Q. Mentally and emotionally, do you go home from this semifinal finish with a higher understanding of what your potential is than, say, the Australian Open?
ANDY RODDICK: Yes.
Q. Can you elaborate a little bit on that.
ANDY RODDICK: That was pretty straightforward. I don't know. I just do. I felt maybe that I belonged a little bit more. I mean the Australian, let's be honest, I was a little fortunate to be in the semifinals. I was down two sets and a break, then I got through that marathon match. I went back from there, thinking, "Wow, this is almost like I overachieved." Here, it's like, okay, I felt like I really, really belonged in the semifinal. I felt I was playing good enough tennis to win here. It just didn't go my way today.
Q. Do you think Roger can maintain that level on Sunday?
ANDY RODDICK: I don't see why he can't. It's just a matter if he will. Flip -- I don't know if Mark will give him as much of a chance to play as I did. I don't think he's gonna be hanging back, you know, wanting to get into rallies or anything like that. But, you know, I think it's gonna be a good final. They're both playing well. I don't see any reason why Roger can't do it; it's just a matter of if he will or if he won't.
Q. At 4-2 in the second you had an exchange with the chair umpire. What was going on?
ANDY RODDICK: I ran up for a ball and was just kind of scraping and trying to put something together. I ran up, and I might not have gotten the ball, I wasn't disputing that. But, you know, the guy didn't call them. I hit like kind of a lob thing. Roger was sitting there, sitting there looking at the umpire for about three seconds. Then the umpire called it. So I was, you know -- it's insignificant, completely insignificant. But, you know, I just wanted to see if he was gonna say "he called it before," just for my own amusement.
Q. Brad was saying what a great frontrunner Federer is. How big is that first set? If you win it in a breaker, it would have completely turned it around?
ANDY RODDICK: Yes, absolutely. You know, you don't see Roger winning the first set too many times and struggling the rest of the way. You know, once -- you got to get on top of him early, and you know, I had my chance.
Q. How did that affect your confidence going into the second? I think you had two breakpoints in the first game of the second.
ANDY RODDICK: Yeah. Well, I knew it was an uphill battle from there. I mean, it's such a big thing, you know, a set up or a set down. So, obviously.... And I knew he was a frontrunner. Even then, early on in the second, I was trying to -- if I got a break, turn it. Maybe he doesn't -- the wheels just came off and he started playing unbelievable.
Q. Given your acknowledgment of how well he played, do you feel there's no need really for you to be depressed about the outcome today?
ANDY RODDICK: Well, I'm not gonna go into depression about any tennis match, I'll tell you that right now. But I'm definitely upset. But I think it is, you know, a little bit easier, you know. If I would have played terribly and had matchpoints and blown them, then I would have been really upset. But on the whole, I'm not happy with how today went, but I'm very happy with the strides I feel like I've made recently.
Q. How many times have you played somebody, you know, who put it together at that level?
ANDY RODDICK: I'm not sure. I got a drubbing from Andre once pretty bad and felt kind of helpless. But I didn't feel like I was playing very well that time. I don't know if I've been beaten that convincingly when I felt like I went into the match thinking, "Okay, I'm playing well."
Q. The fact that you lost previously three times against Roger, did that at any time go through your mind?
ANDY RODDICK: I don't think that was a factor today. Maybe it was with him as far as confidence. But as far as my end, I went in and, you know, over the last -- between Queen's and here, I think, you know, over the guys I've played, I'm something like 2-and-something terrible number of losses. And so, you know, I've actually been kind of making a habit of beating guys that I'd lost to before. So I wasn't too psyched out. Maybe it helped his confidence, I don't know.
Q. Besides just the regular hard work, how do you make sure the summer tournaments you play really count and improve you for the US Open?
ANDY RODDICK: I just have to try to maintain the focus that I have. You know, even when I was losing out there, I wasn't like in a rage like I normally am. I wasn't wanting to rip someone's head off. I was pretty even-keel. I was, you know -- this tournament I've almost been able to kind of take myself out of the moment and not react so in the moment. If I continue along those lines and then obviously do the technical work on strokes and stuff, then I feel good, I feel good.
Q. What kind of things did Brad say to you afterwards?
ANDY RODDICK: Not much he can say, you know. "Good tournament." "It's a good start, it's a good start with us." You know, not much. We got to go home tomorrow.
Q. Between tournaments, what's the training plan with you and Brad?
ANDY RODDICK: We haven't even gotten there yet.
Q. Can you see yourself going out to the West Coast?
ANDY RODDICK: I don't know. I'm sure sometimes I'll be out there. Probably be making a few more trips than I do now.
Q. Does that mean you are going to look to make a new contract or sign a new contract with him maybe through the rest of the year, rest of the summer?
ANDY RODDICK: Oh, for sure. I think that's a foregone conclusion.
You know, by the third day of us working together, I knew that it wasn't gonna be some short-term thing. You know, as far as -- he's my coach.
Q. I think it was earlier in the match you said something to Roger, it sounded like a compliment. Do you remember what you said? I think you said something, it was after a succession of very good points. It sounded like you said something complimentary towards him.
ANDY RODDICK: I don't know. I don't know. Are you talking about when the bug was chasing him?
Q. I think you asked if he'd got him?
ANDY RODDICK: Yeah. I said, "Get him, help me out." Compliments, no, I just wanted the bee to get him. I mean...
Q. Speaking of that, what did you say to him after matchpoint at the net?
ANDY RODDICK: I said, "That was great playing." You know, just, "Play well in the final. That was too good."
Q. Was there any banter in the locker room or did you not see him after that?
ANDY RODDICK: No, they're all in like the big-time locker room downstairs. I took it upstairs where I normally go.
Q. What does it matter that you stayed so focused instead of using your exuberance because you've won a lot of matches over the years being exuberant?
ANDY RODDICK: I've won a lot of matches where I've gotten down because of my exuberance and then gotten back because of it. I mean, it's still there if I need it, I think. But it's a double-edged sword. If I lose a match like today or lose whatever, "Where's your exuberance?" If I freak out, it's "Why'd you freak out?"
Q. I know you're more interested in winning than being interesting to watch, but do you think it makes you less interesting to watch when you're out of yourself?
ANDY RODDICK: I don't care.
Q. Couldn't care less?
ANDY RODDICK: (Smiling).
Q. It looked like a couple times in the third set you were ready to revert back to the old form where the racquet might have flown out of your hands. Feel like that a couple times?
ANDY RODDICK: Oh, no, I kept it together, man.
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