July 3, 2003
MODERATOR: Andy Roddick.
Q.. That was a pretty workman-like performance. It wasn't casual, but fairly consistent all the way through?
ANDY RODDICK: Yeah, I felt my focus was pretty good today. Got off to a quick start and then got broken right back. I just wanted to bear down. I knew the first set was going to be pretty important. You know, I'm happy with the way I maintained, you know, consistent focus throughout.
Q.. Is that the new maturity?
ANDY RODDICK: I don't know (smiling).
Q.. I don't know if you're aware, but an open letter has been issued today to the president of the ITF with leading players such as John McEnroe, Pat Cash, Boris Becker signing it, in which they claim games are becoming tedious, boring, one-dimensional. Even suggest the width of the tennis racquet should be reduced. Is that something you would feel upset about in the current climate? Do you agree with that?
ANDY RODDICK: I just feel if a letter's sent, it should be sent by current players. I'm not really sure what their, you know, concern is.
Q.. There was one occasion in where you reeled off, in seven games, you won 28 points, you lost two.
ANDY RODDICK: What's wrong with that (laughter)?
Q.. Nothing wrong with that at all. Do you put that down to your own play, or, I mean, would you see the argument of some people saying they'd like to see the game even up a little bit more? You were serving at 130.
ANDY RODDICK: I'm not trying to take away someone's speed. I'm not trying to take away someone else's strengths. I'm just trying to play the game. That's outside stuff. I'm worried about this tournament. That's outside stuff.
Q.. It is notable that all the players who signed that were all past players, no current players.
ANDY RODDICK: I mean, I don't know if the ITF is going to take it too seriously of, you know, a letter full of past players - no disrespect to those guys. They're great champions. But I find it kind of surprising that they would go through the full-out effort and make it, you know, something to be talked about.
Q.. You came here yesterday as everybody did, and didn't get to play. Is there an anxiety situation? Are you just completely relaxed and figuring, "I may not get on court"? Was there any residue when you showed up today and knew you were going to play?
ANDY RODDICK: Uhm, I just try to take the outlook that when I'm on the court, I'm going to compete, be mellow all day. If you try to stay in a frenzy all day, you're going to be mentally shot by the time you go out there. I made up my mind when I'm on the court, I'm going to compete. When I'm off the court, I'm going to relax.
Q.. What did you do to relax?
ANDY RODDICK: Not a whole lot. Sat around, read the paper. You know, didn't do a whole lot. Slept.
Q.. Were you here the whole day? Were you able to leave at some point?
ANDY RODDICK: Yesterday? No, I was here; I was here the whole day.
Q.. Are you looking forward to competing in a semifinal 100 percent fit?
ANDY RODDICK: Yeah.
Q.. Perhaps you weren't in Australia.
ANDY RODDICK: Yeah, I am. I think I'll be a little bit fresher physically than I was in Australia. You know, I'm definitely looking forward to it.
Q.. Can you just give us a sense of how you were hurting then.
ANDY RODDICK: Yeah, I didn't feel great. You know, obviously, I was pretty tired just physically. And then I had, you know, an injury that came about to throw on top of that. So I had a lot stacked against me. I wasn't going in really, you know, thinking I could win, maybe. So, you know, it's nice that I'm going to be out there, I'm gonna be healthy and able to compete to my best.
Q.. What's the difference between yourself now, either in your game or your attitude on grass, compared to the past?
ANDY RODDICK: This year I came in and, you know, I'm trying to put more returns in the court, trying to stay a little more even-keel on the court. Not so much like a roller coaster ride.
Q.. Any other aspects you feel more comfortable on?
ANDY RODDICK: I'm just playing my game. I'm not worrying about the surface so much. I'm just kind of trying to do what I do best. Sometimes in the last couple years I'd come in, try to play differently. I'm just trying to, you know, stick to my guns.
Q.. How much of a part did Brad play in that?
ANDY RODDICK: Which part?
Q.. In making you comfortable with grass. I talked to him. He said you ought to be a great grass court player. He tried to make you think that, "Hey, no problem with the surface." Did he do that?
ANDY RODDICK: Yeah, he's been great. Just, I don't know so much, you know, in regards to grass in particular, but just overall, you know, he's pretty relaxed. "This is what you have to do. This is your job to do. Just try to go out and try your best to do it." It kind of simplifies things, but it helped.
Q.. Do you feel your preparation for the Slam and the way you played in it means you're about in as much a zone as you've ever been as a professional?
ANDY RODDICK: I don't know. I got off to a good start at Queen's. I could have easily lost three sets, second round there. But who knows? I've been thankful I've gotten through some tough matches. I was confident coming in here. Luckily, I didn't really miss a step from Queen's to here.
Q.. Do you think something's fallen into place in your mind or is it a natural development of experience?
ANDY RODDICK: I don't know, man. I'm not trying to think too much. I'm just trying to let it happen. I'm not gonna overthink myself. If things are going good, they're going good. That's about it.
Q.. The fact that none of the other players at this stage have won Grand Slam titles, is that in your mind that it's open to everybody now?
ANDY RODDICK: Well, the way I look at it, there are four players left, so it's open to those four players. I think it makes it a little bit intriguing, a little bit exciting maybe for outsiders, the prospect of a new Grand Slam champion. But I have, you know, extremely good player, probably the best player not to win a Grand Slam right now in tennis, tomorrow. So I have to take care of that.
Q.. Can you talk about that match a little bit with Roger.
ANDY RODDICK: Yeah, you know, I haven't beaten him yet. You know, he's been playing great tennis. We're both on rolls. He won Halle and he's come through here. I won Queen's and I've come through here. So maybe the -- I think we both have an air of confidence right now and it should be a good one.
Q.. Can you describe the styles, what the challenge is for you to be successful against him.
ANDY RODDICK: I think I have to do what I've been trying to do the whole tournament, you know - play well on my return games and serve well. You know, if I can take care of myself and, you know, look for breaks here and there, that's pretty much what I'm going to try to do.
Q.. What specifically does he pose? When you go up against him, what most impresses you about his game?
ANDY RODDICK: He doesn't really have many holes. He can do everything pretty well. And, you know, his good serve, he has a really big forehand, he has a great feel for the game. He just does everything. He's a very, very well-rounded player.
Q.. Can you talk about what it means to get at least as far as the semis in two of the first three Slams this year?
ANDY RODDICK: Well, it's good. Coming into the year I said I wanted to perform better in the Slams. And to this point, I have. But, you know, I'm not satisfied yet. I want to keep going.
Q.. And another question, after what you went through in Australia with playing that five-hour quarterfinal, then having to play the semis and being injured, do you think mentally it gives you an edge having to play back-to-back here these big matches?
ANDY RODDICK: Yes and no. I think it was an advantage that I didn't spend too much time out on court today - and neither did Roger. So I think we should both be pretty fresh going into tomorrow.
Q.. Roger said that he feels like he reads your serve pretty well and hasn't had the greatest difficulty returning it. Does that mean you're just going to have to completely bomb it? Or do you need to change it up a little bit?
ANDY RODDICK: We'll see (laughter)...
Q.. What's with the rubber band? Cheap jewelry? Does it have a purpose? You snap yourself with it?
ANDY RODDICK: Yeah, you know, you're stepping it up in the jewelry department. I'm just still going with -- you can buy 100 of them for 50 cents.
Q.. Has it been the same one all tournament?
ANDY RODDICK: No, they get a little loose. You have to throw a new one on there every once in a while. You got to keep it tight. Can't have any looseness going on.
Q.. Did it come from Tiffany's or Woolworth's? Do you know the source on it?
ANDY RODDICK: Circle K.
Q.. It's not just the number of first -- aces and unreturned services you're hitting, but the high percentage of first serves that you're getting in. Do you feel as though now you can hit just about anything you want at any time out there, serving the ball?
ANDY RODDICK: Well, I'm -- I'm normally confident with my serve, you know. I'm serving well right now. That's for sure. But, you know, I think, you know, there are a lot of big servers here. I think it's the other things that I've been doing that have, you know, put me in this position.
Q.. Was this your best overall game in terms of returning, passing, threw in a couple of lobs for winners.
ANDY RODDICK: It's probably between this and the match with Greg. That was tough because, you know, second round you had to play really good tennis right away, so... But today I played very well. I returned well and I hit pretty good passing shots, so I was pleased.
Q.. I heard you on TV after talking about it, it wasn't that long ago you were watching Wimbledon on TV growing up as a kid. Can you talk about the thrill of being Centre Court. Do you get a sense people are watching at home? Do they e-mail you?
ANDY RODDICK: Not really. My, you know -- I'm not getting too many e-mails. But, you know, from my friends and stuff, but they're kind of keeping it low-key, which is cool. But, you know, it's weird to think that there's some nine-year-old kid out there getting excited to wake up early and eat bacon and eggs and watch the matches. It's pretty cool.
Q.. What's your earliest memory?
ANDY RODDICK: Oh, man... Probably the matches with Becker and Edberg. What was it, '88 through '89, I think they played three times in a row. From then on, you know, I remember all those matches.
Q.. Three and a half weeks ago you come off the court in Paris, took a really tough loss, didn't play well. Any surprise now that this time period, here you're in the semifinal, you've been playing lights-out for a few weeks, a lot of people think you're the favorite to win it?
ANDY RODDICK: Yeah, it's weird. You're -- every time I've started playing well, it's been unexpected. You know, maybe I was trying to force a little bit and then, you know, kind of took a deep breath after Paris and was kind of disappointed. Then things started clicking. You never know when you're going to play well.
Q.. Did you change emotionally or mentally as the matches get bigger and bigger, as the tournament goes on? Do you find yourself getting more gigged up or calmer?
ANDY RODDICK: It's a little weird. I played, you know, against Robredo, I was really kind of amped up beforehand. Then I played Paradorn. I was kind of almost too mellow before, I was asleep during the middle of the rain delay until about ten minutes before I went out there. So I was a little mellow. Today I was kind of in the middle. I guess it just varies and depends on the day.
Q.. People are talking about Brad and how he's had a quick influence. How much do you think is Brad and how much do you think is just Andy is mature and was ready for this?
ANDY RODDICK: He definitely has a big part in it, you know? I didn't do well in the last Grand Slam by, you know, by far. Then he comes along, we click. It's definitely a team effort.
Q.. What is it about the camaraderie between you? You both like to talk. You both are really glib. Is it something that makes you click together?
ANDY RODDICK: Yeah, I've never been in the position where it's tough to get a word in (laughter). You know, it's weird. We have a lot of common things that we're interested as far as we wake up in the morning, he'll already have been up since 4 in the morning (smiling). And he'll have all the sports scores - if the A's won or the A's lost, and we can talk about baseball and all types of stuff. So, you know, there's not a shortage of conversation in our house.
Q.. He said you actually know more sports trivia than he does. Is that...? Baseball.
ANDY RODDICK: Baseball, I'm all right. But, you know, I think we complement each other. If there's a question asked, we can normally figure it out between the two of us.
End of FastScriptsâ€¦.