May 2, 2005
THE MODERATOR: Questions for Andy, please.
Q. It seems to have been a good match, a good first match for you here?
ANDY RODDICK: Yeah, you know, the first matches are always very, very uncomfortable, you know. Especially Greg was serving well early in the first set. You know, it's not his favorite surface, but his serve's good on any court, you know. So I felt like once I got into the points that I had the upper hand.
Q. Did you change your clothing company in order to get better on clay?
ANDY RODDICK: No, that's just a perk that goes along with it (smiling). I wish it worked like that. If a shirt helped me hit my forehand better, then you'd see a lot more people changing, I'm sure.
Q. Did you change anything in your preparation for the clay?
ANDY RODDICK: Yeah, I worked a lot harder off the court with my fitness. I think last year I was a little bit heavy, especially for clay; that's where you see it most. You know, after Miami my wrist was in a splint for about 10 days. I saw that as a very good opportunity to try to get in as good a shape as I could.
Q. Lost weight.
ANDY RODDICK: Yeah, thanks for noticing.
Q. How much?
ANDY RODDICK: I don't know, five pounds or so. I don't know.
Q. How did you find the court?
ANDY RODDICK: No, the court's a good speed. I think the balls are a little bit heavier than in Houston, but I think that's normal for over here. So, you know, the court's in great condition. I don't even remember having a bad bounce out there today. So, you know, it's good.
Q. Good speed?
ANDY RODDICK: Yeah. They could feel free to put some grass on the court. But besides that, it's nice (smiling).
Q. What about the weather? Is it hotter than in Houston or less?
ANDY RODDICK: I think it's less just because of the humidity. In Houston it's very humid so maybe you sweat a little bit more. But, you know, it was nice of them to make the nice weather for the first day. That's a good tournament director (smiling).
Q. You were sliding very well. Is that because of your preparation in Houston?
ANDY RODDICK: I think so. I'd like to think so anyways. When anything happens like that, you always want to attribute it to the work that you've put in. I felt good considering it's my first match over here.
Q. When you play someone like Greg first match, does it make you feel you've still got to get into the clay court event, two guys with similar attacking styles?
ANDY RODDICK: I don't know how similar we are. He comes in a lot more than I do. I think there's some -- the only significant similarity is the serve. But, you know, like I said, first rounds are always tough because you don't really know where you're at. I knew I was playing well a week ago, but you don't know what happened in the practice week. So I think the biggest thing is just trying to get through.
Q. When you play on other surfaces, you're always the strongest favorite or one of the two strongest favorite. Here you are seeded No. 1, but on the European clay court some people don't think that you are really the strongest favorite. What is your reaction to that?
ANDY RODDICK: I'd agree. I mean, you can only go on past results. Obviously, the last couple years over here I haven't played my best tennis so, you know, it would be tough to make a case for me to argue. But that being said, you know, I still think I'm a pretty good player. But, obviously, I haven't performed my best on this surface.
Q. But how confident are you that you could possibly win this tournament?
ANDY RODDICK: I think I have a long way to go, but I'll say that on any surface - hard court, grass court. If you're in the second round, you are feeling like there's a long way to go. But I feel as good as I have coming over to Europe on clay. You know, this is the most prepared I've been to this point in my career.
Q. What is your feeling when the clay court season is coming? Do you like it, or is it like Safin before the grass court season, saying, "I hate it"?
ANDY RODDICK: I think in years past it's kind of been here and there. But, you know, I've had some good results on clay and I've beaten some good players on clay before, so I know I can play well on it. But it's just a matter of getting into that comfort zone, and it's harder for me to get into that comfort zone on clay than on other surfaces. So I think that's the key, is just repetition and match play.
ANDY RODDICK: I think it's just so I have something to do on my off days (laughing). Obviously, I can work on my net game, when my coach makes me play. But, no, it's fun. It's okay. It's a little bit more relaxing. Just a good way to get some practice in.
Q. Nadal was in here yesterday and had some nice things to say about your potential on clay. He said it would take you a full four, five weeks' buildup here to get into a stride. With Wimbledon coming up after that, is that just too much for Americans to come for two months straight and play on clay?
ANDY RODDICK: Well, by the time I play Roland Garros, it will have been, you know, my fourth event. So, you know, I just don't know how much room there is in a tennis schedule to play every week, you know, for the whole year. You don't have time to train or do what you -- I mean, it's always a double-edged sword: If you're training and come out and don't play well right away, then maybe you should have played more; if you play too much, then maybe you're tired. There's a million ways to go about it. I think he's right, the more matches I get on clay, the better I'll feel and hopefully the more success I'll have.
End of FastScriptsâ€¦.