May 4, 2005
THE MODERATOR: Questions for Andy, please.
Q. Well, what about clay? You looked good today. Is it more comfortable? Are you more comfortable? What's going on?
ANDY RODDICK: Yes and yes. I felt like I put together a good little run in Houston. And, you know, I was winning, which I have there before, but I was winning kind of emphatically. I brought that confidence over. I feel like I'm in a little bit better shape, which helps on clay, a lot.
Q. A little bit better or a lot better?
ANDY RODDICK: I'm going to go with a little bit and let you guys take it from there. And I think that's definitely helping right now.
Q. You beat Costa, who's a former French Open champion and who is very accomplished on clay. Is that satisfying for you to beat someone like that?
ANDY RODDICK: Yeah, absolutely. It does a lot for my confidence to beat someone who has probably been one of the top five or six clay courters for the past ten years and, you know, who's had success at this tournament. You know, it's a big mental hurdle as well, to beat someone kind of at their game on their surface.
Q. Do you feel you have something to prove after you haven't had good French Opens, you haven't played very well here? Is there something that you feel everybody says, "Well, Roddick can't play on clay, he doesn't volley very well."
ANDY RODDICK: Today was one of the best volleying days I've had. I don't really have a chip on my shoulder or anything like that. It's almost nice where no one's expecting me to do anything, and all of a sudden I'm in the third round and people are shocked. It's not like that for me very often, so it's a nice change. And I feel like I'm playing well enough to maybe surprise some people. But I'm not upset about it. It's nice.
Q. You play Verdasco in the next round. Could you talk about that?
ANDY RODDICK: He's nasty. Throwing another Spaniard at me. You know, we had a tough match in Indian Wells, and he was getting the better of me in Miami before I had to stop. So, you know, it's going to be a tough one. I'm going to have to keep my level up.
Q. He's given you two tough matches. Do you feel you have to get even with guys like that?
ANDY RODDICK: Well, we're even right now, so I'm going to try to get above him. Not really. I mean, I think he's a very, very good young player, you know. The only thing missing is a little bit of consistency with him in his results. You know, but as far as just on paper, you know, forehands and backhands, I mean, he's very, very good. But, you know, obviously, I'd like to get the upper hand and not let him kind of think that he's in there against me.
Q. Every place you go is distinctive, whether it's Centre Court, Wimbledon... What about this place with those pines? Do you pay any attention to that, the setting, being in the Eternal City?
ANDY RODDICK: Absolutely. I mean, there's so much history here, and it doesn't stop with the tennis center here. I think it was built for the Olympics if I'm not mistaken, you know, a while back. So, you know, it's a nice change. Everybody's trying to get bigger and better in the luxury suites and, you know, the video screens. So it's nice to play in a place that has a whole bunch of history - even the grandstand court does. So it's pretty cool. It's definitely something that I can appreciate.
Q. Have you played on that court?
ANDY RODDICK: I have not. I've practiced on it before.
Q. That has the most history.
ANDY RODDICK: Yeah, they used to play there.
Q. Does the crocodile put teeth in your game?
ANDY RODDICK: No, just keeps me company (smiling).
Q. Did you wear it in Houston, or is this the first one?
ANDY RODDICK: I did not. This is the first one.
Q. He was a great clay court player.
ANDY RODDICK: Absolutely. He had company back then, too, from his country, no?
ANDY RODDICK: (Smiling).
Q. What do you think about the Davis Cup draw with Belgium?
ANDY RODDICK: Well, I mean, it's tough. We had about an 80% chance of going on the road somewhere. They actually had a battle with their last round, so it's going to be tough. I mean, they prefer clay and I'm sure, you know, there's no chance of playing on anything else. But, you know, we'll go in there and we'll try to get it done.
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