June 25, 2003
MODERATOR: Good evening, Ladies and Gentlemen. Andy Roddick. Who would like to ask the first question?
Q. Going back to last year's match against Greg and how --?
ANDY RODDICK: I don't want to talk about last year's match, Charlie.
Q. I want to use it as a reference point. The difference in your backhand last year to this year and what a weapon it's become in this match.
ANDY RODDICK: It's a weapon now? That's good (smiling). Just a lot of hard work. Some days it's there, some days it's not. You know, lucky enough, I was on a big stage, you know, today and it came through. I was hitting my returns pretty well, even though I wasn't breaking a lot. You know, he had pretty much the same strategy as last year. He was going to make me hit backhand passing shots. I missed some, but I made a lot of them on pretty big points.
Q. How satisfying is that? Somebody asks you a big question on a massive stage, you come up with the answers.
ANDY RODDICK: It's good. You know, it's good. These are the kind of matches that, you know, you need to go deep in a Grand Slam. That wasn't a second round match out there, you know. He's playing well enough to go far into the second week. So, you know, I think we both knew going in that, you know, this was pretty big.
Q. How does it feel? In the past you've had some rough breaks deep into Grand Slam matches where you've let on-court situations affect your level of play, cost you some big matches. Today Greg pretty much collapsed at that point, you hung in there. How does it feel to be on the other side, so to speak?
ANDY RODDICK: It's good. You know, I can relate to Greg a little bit in that sense. But I really wasn't focusing on what was going on. I was just trying to keep it, you know, on my side of the court. I knew he might be a little mad, so if I was going to get back into it or try to take over, then that was probably going to be my time.
Q. What do you say to yourself when you see an opponent melting down like that?
ANDY RODDICK: To be honest, I was trying to ignore it. I was trying to focus on what I had to do instead of worrying about, you know, everything that was going on around.
Q. What about in your own head? Brad said he tried to talk to you about keeping more calm out there. What goes through your head? Do you talk to yourself?
ANDY RODDICK: Yeah, you probably were watching, could see my lips moving a little bit out there. I can be my own best friend and my own worst enemy. But today I was a good buddy.
Q. Did you hear the call, hear somebody shout out?
ANDY RODDICK: Yeah.
Q. You did?
ANDY RODDICK: Yeah. I didn't know where it came from. I was surprised. I thought it might have been the umpire. My first reaction was that it's the crowd, and then I didn't hear Lars say anything. I asked him, "What's the deal on that?" There was a big cloud of white stuff coming off. You know, a couple of kids that were pretty rowdy throughout the whole match. I might bet that it was them.
Q. Greg clearly wanted the point replayed. Do you think it should have been? If the boot had been on the other foot, that happened to you, would you have felt like that should have been replayed?
ANDY RODDICK: I think he had a legitimate argument.
Q. It was a pretty key point for him.
ANDY RODDICK: I mean, I don't know how key it was. I'm up 30-15, my serve. I'm feeling pretty comfortable I'm going to hold that game. I don't know if, you know, it was as big of a turning point as some of the other ones.
Q. Were you concerned about his reaction? He hadn't lost his serve the entire match. You managed to break him twice. He wasn't there at all.
ANDY RODDICK: That and I had just about the best returns I've hit for two years, so... I'd like to think I had something to do with it. But, you know, maybe he did let it get away from him a little bit mentally. But, you know, I still had to hit the shots.
Q. Can you talk about the experience of the two fastest servers in the game firing back and forth at each other, what that was like?
ANDY RODDICK: I mean, I've gone through it twice, you know, pretty short period of time. It's not as fun being on the other side of things. You know, you kind of take it for granted sometimes. When you're on the other side of it, you learn to appreciate it a little more.
Q. The winning point in the first set tiebreak, that feathery backhand, short-angle, cross-court passing shot which we've seen a lot from you, how do you make the choice on when to hit that? Is it a last second thing? Do you have to see where the ball is going to land?
ANDY RODDICK: Yeah, I mean, it was pretty short on the court. Anything hard and flat, he might have been able to cut off. He was coming in pretty quick. So I figured anything with pace, he's going to put away to the other corner. You have maybe less than a second or two seconds to figure out what you're going to do. A lot of it's just on instinct, I guess.
Q. On the point that caused all the uproar, the basic thing is you kept playing it, looked like Greg gave up.
ANDY RODDICK: Did I play it?
Q. Yeah. You hit that backhand.
ANDY RODDICK: Okay, then that would make sense. I think Lars made the right call then. I wasn't even sure. I heard the call and maybe I bunted it back into play. That's pretty lucky for me. But, you know, if that's the case, then I think the umpire made the right call.
Q. You've had some obviously really nice results, to say the least, since Roland Garros. Is Andy Roddick a better player since Brad Gilbert came on board? If so, how?
ANDY RODDICK: Yeah, definitely. I mean, the results are kind of speaking right now. You just don't become physically better overnight. A lot of it's just between the ears, keeping calm. You know, we have a pretty relaxed atmosphere. We have a lot of fun. You know, it's something new. It's something exciting. I'm just trying to go with that right now.
Q. What's the difference between last year and this year in regards to your return of serve and backhand, which was almost like night and day?
ANDY RODDICK: Yeah, big difference, you know. Last year I can remember hitting one backhand passing shot in the whole day. I remember feeling a little embarrassed about it. But, you know, this year's a little different. I still missed some, but when I missed them, I was going for them and I was trying to do something with them, I had a purpose. A lot of the big points that I won today were on backhand passes, which, you know, it feels good.
Q. Down in the third set, were you thinking fourth set?
ANDY RODDICK: Obviously, I know the chances aren't in my favor. I haven't broken him all day. I figure, you know, most likely we're going to a fourth set. But at the same time, toughest game to hold is when you're serving out a set. I know that. I wanted to make him play. You know, I got a little lucky.
Q. Can you explain what might have been going through Greg's mind? Outsiders might think the match has been going on for so long, so close, intense, then suddenly someone snaps, and that's it.
ANDY RODDICK: It's hard to explain if someone hasn't been in the heat of the moment themselves. You know, it's understandable. I mean, you're trying so hard, you're putting kind of everything you have into it. For something that you don't really have control over to, you know, kind of play a part in the match, it's very frustrating.
Q. You were seen as a new sex symbol of the tennis circuit. Do you enjoy this status?
ANDY RODDICK: Do you want to go to dinner later?
Q. So --?
ANDY RODDICK: Sorry, I didn't hear the question. I was just looking at you, Jesus.
Q. You're being seen as a sex symbol.
ANDY RODDICK: To be honest, it's humorous to me. I don't see myself as that. I don't try to do it. You know, maybe some people go for it a little bit. It's not really my thing. I don't really care. I'd rather win tennis matches.
Q. Three days into the Grand Slam, you're a clear bookmaker's favorite. Does that affect your mental work in the next 10 days or so?
ANDY RODDICK: Bookmakers don't play matches.
Q. You know the feeling, suddenly people think you're the favorite to win. That's new for you in a Grand Slam.
ANDY RODDICK: It's just speculation, Dude. Doesn't affect what goes on between the lines.
Q. How much faster do you think they can get? Is faster better for the game, serving?
ANDY RODDICK: You know, I don't -- I don't see it -- I don't see how it can get too much faster. You know, but I think conditions have been slowing, you know, around the world a little bit. You know, there has been speculation, even here at Wimbledon, in the last year, I think it's pretty, you know, obvious conclusion that it has slowed down a little bit. I don't see it getting too much faster.
Q. People are always asking you about being the future of American men's tennis. What does men's tennis have to do to get Americans more interested?
ANDY RODDICK: Well, you know, I think they are pretty interested. You know, we have a pretty high grossing event in the States called the US Open. It brings in a lot of money. But I do think there has to be an American on top. You have to have someone to cheer for. You know, if you look at what Tim and Greg have done for this country, they're really just enthused. It's always fun when you have one of your own to cheer for.
Q. The ratings for the French Open have been some of the lowest ever.
ANDY RODDICK: Like I said, they like cheering for one of their own.
Q. Have you read Gilbert's book?
ANDY RODDICK: I don't need to read it. I have the author.
Q. How would you say you won today? Would you have a word for it?
ANDY RODDICK: You're trying to bait me into saying ugly, but I thought it was all right (smiling).
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