May 7, 2003
THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.
Q. Was it just bad luck? How difficult was it?
ANDY RODDICK: It was tough. I mean, the serve was fine. I mean, you kind of expect that from him. You know he's got a big serve. But I thought the way he returned and the way he played from the ground was especially impressive. He was just trying to -- was hitting every ball, literally almost trying to go for a winner. Had a plus 22 winner-to-error ratio, so that's not so bad.
Q. What about your game? Even if you lost, are you disappointed just because you lost, or you think you played well?
ANDY RODDICK: Well, if I thought I played well enough, I wouldn't be sitting here discussing a loss. But I think -- I don't think I played great. I had a set and one break, then I played a bad game to let him get back into it. He wasn't playing that great then. Once I let him back into it, he started playing a lot better. I think it was partly my fault for letting him get back into the match. Once he did get back into the match, he just played better than I did.
Q. What is the difference between this red clay and the red clay you played on in Houston? Is it a different kind of court?
ANDY RODDICK: Little bit, not too much. I mean, nothing that will affect my preparation or anything like that.
Q. What about the criss-crossing of the Atlantic, does that take a bit out of you, do you think?
ANDY RODDICK: Not bad. I mean, I felt fine. I feel good. I don't think so.
Q. Have you seen him hit his backhand as consistently as that?
ANDY RODDICK: No. I mean, I played him at the US Open, and I put three balls in the court and he'd spray one, you know, five feet out, you know. And, you know, he's improved. I don't know if he likes having more time on the clay or what it is, but, you know, he's definitely a better player than when I played him at the US Open last year.
Q. Obviously, when you got that break at the start of the second set, you won the tiebreak, it was really good. Was it a question of taking your foot off the gas, or did he play better?
ANDY RODDICK: I don't know. I just played a sloppy game, you know. I didn't make a lot of first serves that next game. He had one or two good shots, and I made a couple errors. It happens. It just wasn't the best timing for it. Then after I did that, he started playing really well.
Q. All the best players are out of the tournament. It seems like there were a lot of upsets. What do you think?
ANDY RODDICK: Well, we play 40-something weeks a year, it's bound to happen at a tournament that all the top players go out some time. I mean, it's just part of the game. It's not so surprising. It just shows you the depth of men's tennis these days.
Q. Do you think that if you had more time to practice for this tournament the results would be different for both of you, you and Andre?
ANDY RODDICK: No, I mean, I felt okay. Coming in today, I thought I was hitting the ball well. You know, like I said, I just played sloppy a little bit and he took advantage. I don't have any excuses. He just played better than I did today.
Q. Having done so well here last year, is it doubly frustrating, today's result?
ANDY RODDICK: I don't think how I did here last year has any bearing on how I'm feeling now, if that's your question. You know, a loss is a loss. You never feel particularly happy afterwards. But, you know, you accept it and you move on and you hope for the best the next week.
Q. Do you think one of your problems is you don't expect sometimes the best shot of your opponent, that you are annoyed about how good he is? Maybe you are surprised about his game?
ANDY RODDICK: Surprised, yes. But if you're saying I don't respect my opponent's ability, I'd say no. I thought -- I was surprised at some of the shots he came up with today, and I was surprised at how he could keep it together - maybe not surprised, but impressed by the fact that he was able to do it over, you know, two and a half sets or more, play his top tennis, I think. I think that was impressive.
Q. As you say, with the depth of men's tennis these days, almost anybody can beat anybody else on a given day. How far down do you think that can go, Top 50?
ANDY RODDICK: Well, what was the guy ranked that beat Andre?
Q. I mean, I'm talking about in general terms rather than just an exception.
ANDY RODDICK: Yeah, but you see that every tournament. Miami, you had a guy No. 143 beating Hewitt. You can come up with some amazing stat like that every single week. It's not an exception anymore.
Q. So the key to your defeat today, in your opinion, has been what exactly?
ANDY RODDICK: Obviously, his serve was huge, but you go in expecting that. You know you have to deal with that. But I think what won him the match was the way he hit his return and the way he hit his ground strokes. I thought he hit them exceptional today. And I kind of blew my opportunity when I was winning in the second set.
End of FastScriptsâ€¦.