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June 27, 2003

Andy Roddick


MODERATOR: Good afternoon. Andy Roddick. Who would like to ask the first question?

Q. Second set, very big point, the breakpoint, inside out dropshot, did you have a key you were reading that told you it's coming or did you turn on the jets and get there?

ANDY RODDICK: I don't think you could because he was hitting his forehand so well to my forehand. You had to guard against that one, as well. But, you know, once I saw he was going to hit it, I just tried to make a break for it. Luckily I got it up the line on. I mean, you know, was kind of able to slam out a point there.

Q. Did you know immediately when you started running you were going to get there?

ANDY RODDICK: No. I don't think you have enough time to get there. If you do, then great. If you don't, then too bad.

Q. Two straight-set wins in a row on Centre Court. Are you feeling pretty good out there?

ANDY RODDICK: Yeah. The first set he probably deserved to win more than I did today. He played better tennis. It was a little different because the guys that I've been playing, you know, up till now have hit kind of hard and flat. He came out with a little flair today - he was mixing up his slices, he was hitting his forehand pretty big and dictating early on. You know, in the second and third sets, I tried to, you know, hit the ball a little harder and a little flatter.

Q. At different times in the match it looked like you had your hat on backwards and forwards. Is there something that determines which way it faces?

ANDY RODDICK: Not really, no.

Q. How important is it to have relative silence while you're playing tennis? Could you play in a ballpark environment?

ANDY RODDICK: You know, I'm all for the crowd really getting into it. But, you know, a big thing in tennis is sometimes you hear -- you can hear how hard someone hits a ball. If they hit it hard and flat, it really makes a popping sound. That's maybe one of the first things that tells you rather than actually seeing the ball. Like trying the dropshot, all of a sudden, I hear it not come off the racquet. It's part of the reaction process. I think you need to hear the ball pretty clearly to play at your highest level.

Q. Do you feel comfortable out there on Centre Court? Do you feel comfortable at Wimbledon? Is it sort of natural environment for you now?

ANDY RODDICK: I don't think it can be natural at any time. It's a very special place. You know, when you first get out there, I don't think it's ever going to lose that aura. Obviously I'm getting more and more used to it. But, you know, there are always some jitters early on in a match, for sure.

Q. You have a phenomenal tiebreak record at Wimbledon, on all surfaces actually. Do you feel comfortable when it goes to a tiebreak? It appears that you do.

ANDY RODDICK: Yeah, I feel okay. I know I'm going to get my points on my serves, then I'm just looking to kind of maybe slam out a point or two on their serves. I don't think I'm an exception. A lot of big servers, you know, have traditionally, you know, done pretty well in tiebreakers, and especially on grass.

Q. So you're happy when a set is at 6-All?

ANDY RODDICK: No, because I'd rather have won it 6-3 or 6-4.

Q. Talk about Paradorn, what that match-up will be like.

ANDY RODDICK: Yeah, tough. Paradorn's a great guy, you know. He's definitely put in some work this week already, so you know he's feeling comfortable. You know, he hits the ball very hard. He hits the ball big off both wings, really goes for his shoots. He's a super athlete. So it's going to be tough.

Q. Considering the quality of the opponents you've had and your ability to get out of trouble with your serve, when have you had a streak like this, the last three matches where you've served this well?

ANDY RODDICK: Atlanta, Houston, I think I got broken on my 50th game. That's two years ago. Probably around then. At times I've semifinaled big. I think in Toronto last year I might have got broken once or twice going into the final. It's not every tournament, for sure.

Q. Andre was talking, recalling his early days with Brad as his coach. He said the key thing that - you're going to get tons of information, but the key thing was to sort through all of that. Are you finding that to be the case at all with Brad?

ANDY RODDICK: Well, Brad and I talk a lot about other sports, you know, kid back and forth. But when it comes down to tennis, he's very serious and he's very precise. You know, we'll talk a lot of nonsense about different things. But, you know, when it actually comes to the matches, you know, I don't think he throws a lot of nonsense out there at all.

Q. He said he felt you could improve basically every aspect of your game, every stroke. Do you agree with that?

ANDY RODDICK: I think so. You know, I'm improving a lot of aspects right now. But, you know, if I was to sit here and say I was completely a hundred percent happy with any stroke, I think I'd be lying to you.

Q. Even your serve?

ANDY RODDICK: Yeah. You can always improve. You can always hit a higher percentage. You can always, you know, get something more on your second serve. Obviously, you know, that's my best shot and I definitely appreciate it. I'm not going to sit here and say it's not a good shot. But, you know, you can always try to get better.

Q. You said you wanted to hear a new voice when you hired Brad. How much of it was a desire to upgrade your tactical understanding? Was that part of it?

ANDY RODDICK: Not really. You know, the only thing that Tarik and I talked about -- I said, I just need something fresh, something new, something exciting. You know, Brad was the person -- his name most excited me. I thought there was, you know, the best potential there.

Q. Do you think the fact that he's an American, you started talking about other sports, that you had similar frames of reference?

ANDY RODDICK: As far as like talking points away from the court?

Q. Yes.

ANDY RODDICK: Well, I mean, for sure, we have a lot of the same interests. We're both sports junkies. We're both pretty animated. You know, so it's a good fit.

Q. Have you been impressed by the quality of his scouting of your opponents? Has that been helpful or different than the past?

ANDY RODDICK: Yeah. I've been a little upset, because the schedules, I've always been playing at the same time as Greg. Greg was the exception. You know, played the same time as Paradorn. They have a thing, if you look at the schedules, they put the two people that might play each other at the same time. So a little frustrating. He'll definitely get around and ask a lot of questions. He's not afraid to put the hours in to get a good scouting report.

Q. What's really impressed you about what the scouting reports have contained?

ANDY RODDICK: Just, you know, simple, definite, you know, game plans. You know, there's no really gray area. He sticks to what he believes in. He lets you know, gives you things to look for, which maybe you wouldn't notice before.

Q. Could you give us an idea of a player's mindset at the start of a Slam and what changes when you go into a second week? Do you feel it's a whole new championship starting all over again?

ANDY RODDICK: Yeah, I mean, you're thankful to still be around. First week's always tough. There are a lot of guys, you know, with not a lot to lose just gunning. This is a big stage, this is where they kind of want to leave their mark. To survive it, it's tough. Kind of been hit or miss as far as second weeks so far in my career. Now you know everybody who you're going to play from now on has been playing well, otherwise they wouldn't have won three matches already.

Q. Is part of the difficulty playing Paradorn, you know he's going to come out smoking to hit the ball within an inch of the line every time?

ANDY RODDICK: Obviously, that's his strength. He's a big, strong guy. He's not afraid to go for his shots and he kind of plays, you know, with a little bit of a reckless abandon out there. You just kind of have to applaud his good shots and just try to hit your own sometimes.

Q. You're one of the most physically aggressive players on the tour at the moment. Do you ever wonder at the back of your mind in a few years' time in the future you might suffer from injuries because of that?

ANDY RODDICK: Man, I don't know what I'm doing tomorrow. You're talking six years down the line. Are you kidding me? .

Q. A player who mixes it up like Tommy, in the past those kind of players gave you trouble. Can you talk about what it means that you were able to get out of that in straight sets and?

ANDY RODDICK: Yeah, for sure. You know, like I said earlier, he's definitely, you know, a lot different than the guys that I've played so far - you know, in Queen's and here. I guess the most similar would be Grosjean, but he still fires a lot more than Tommy. I thought he played a smart match tactically - he didn't let me stay in one spot too long, he was pretty spot on with the shots he went for, and that's the best he served against me. He definitely surprised me and I thought he played a pretty good match.

Q. Can you talk about the continuing education of yourself that you were able to make adjustments and not keep that match going beyond the three sets?

ANDY RODDICK: Yeah, I mean, you know, point of a Grand Slam is every other day try to win three sets. If you can get them all in a row, it's a good relief. But, yeah, I mean, I thought my concentration was pretty good throughout. I don't think I was hitting the ball great in the first set. Like I said before, he probably played better, you know, between the lines in the first set, but I just served a little better. That bailed me out. But, you know, I was able to switch it up a little bit in the last two sets and make some changes.

Q. Sunday off, do you have any plans for Sunday, work, not work, or to be determined?

ANDY RODDICK: Probably hit some balls. But, you know, maybe just -- you have days off at Slams. It's not a rarity that you're going to have a day off where you're not playing a match at a Grand Slam. I'm going to try to take it and treat it normally.

Q. John McEnroe was telling a television audience today there were times when he thought you were showing the bearing of a champion, the sense of belief and conviction.

ANDY RODDICK: All right!

Q. Is there any point where it is necessary for you to believe more clearly that you can actually be a champion? Is that sense growing in you a little bit?

ANDY RODDICK: I think it is. You know, I'm starting to have a little bit more confidence in my abilities, you know, on a day-to-day basis. You know, the biggest thing I think, you know, the first one's always the toughest to get. The biggest fear is the fear of the unknown. If you haven't done it before, you don't know yet. But I'm starting to believe in myself and I'm definitely here to try to win this tournament and not just, you know, go round by round. I mean, you have to go round by round. But the ultimate goal is to try to get a win.

Q. You can visualize it better than before at this stage?

ANDY RODDICK: Well, you can always dream. But, you know, I'm just going to take one match at a time. I feel like I'm, you know, playing good tennis at a Grand Slam. So, you know, that's welcome. You don't want to be playing -- you take it when you can get it, but you'd rather be playing your best tennis at a Grand Slam. I had good preparation. I feel good so far. So who knows.

End of FastScripts….

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