March 19, 2005
INDIAN WELLS, CALIFORNIA
THE MODERATOR: Ladies and Gentlemen, Andy Roddick. Questions.
Q. How wide was the last ball?
ANDY RODDICK: Not very. Not enough to make it a close call.
Q. How does it feel, you battle all the way two and a half hours, 3-All in the breaker?
ANDY RODDICK: I'm disappointed, but I'm not upset because I feel like I played a really good match, and I really kind of switched up the strategy and I feel like I applied my game plan pretty well. And I think it took -- I know it took the best of Lleyton tonight. You know, this is a lot better than I've played against him before, you know, with the exception of when I beat him at Queen's. I hit the shots I wanted to hit. You know, I just made him come up with the good stuff.
Q. Would you say the third set tiebreaker, he kind of took it at the end, or are there a couple things you thought you should have done?
ANDY RODDICK: I should have hit the last backhand pass about that much more to the right. I should have -- I hit a forehand about as well as I could have at 4-5, and he somehow got it back. I mean, I don't know if I could have hit that shot better. I pulled the trigger and I hit it exactly how I wanted to. You know, in Australia, I put a lot of the blame on myself - deservedly so. But here I think you have to give credit where credit's due.
Q. Did it occur to you at 5-5 --
ANDY RODDICK: Yes.
Q. Is there anyone in your experience on the tour who so relentlessly doesn't make a mistake in shot selection, makes you work?
ANDY RODDICK: There's guys who are consistent, but then there's guys who are consistent when running across the court as fast as they shot tracking down a ball that you've hit as hard as you can, putting it back in play in an effective position. You know, as far as people rallying cross-court, there are a lot of guys who can do it all day, but they're not as quick as him and they don't play defense like he does.
Q. You talked about changing up your strategy. What specifically did you do out there?
ANDY RODDICK: I was playing patterns a lot better. You know, I stuck in points a little longer. I thought I was coming to the net. With the exception of the first set, I was very successful doing that. But I kept to it and I tried to really stick to it. You know, I mixed up my serve a little bit better, not just going for the huge one every time. I can take a lot of positives out of this. Obviously, it's a loss and it's terrible, but I feel a lot better about this one than I do some others because I feel like I actually played pretty well.
Q. How about the crowd? Could you feel the energy going there? You served 149 miles an hour, it was out, but were you feeling the energy?
ANDY RODDICK: Yeah, they were great. You know, I could -- I think we could both probably tell they were enjoying the tennis. You know, we were giving them a show. You know, I definitely appreciated their support out there.
Q. How tough is it to know exactly when to come into the net because he passes so well? Seems like he's baiting you sometimes to come in.
ANDY RODDICK: These are the things that make him, you know, one of the best players. I mean, the guy's, he's been No. 1 for a reason. It's tough. When you do go in, you have to make sure your approach shot has something on it. You basically have to hit every shot that much better against him. You know, that's his game and that's what makes him tough.
Q. Your record in tiebreakers, are you on the plus side in the third set, 50/50?
ANDY RODDICK: All time or what are you talking about?
Q. In the last year.
ANDY RODDICK: I don't know. That's normally the media's job to know stats and stuff. You guys are normally supposed to tell me that stuff and I'm supposed to react and go, "Wow, that's great!" I'm terrible or I'm great, one of the two.
Q. John Elway told me what the best scenario to be in pro football is, is to be down by six and have the ball with two minutes to go. He dearly loved the tightness of the --
ANDY RODDICK: Okay. So you're telling me John Elway, if you put him in the Super Bowl and you give him the option of down buy six with two minutes left or up by 14 with two minutes left, he's going to take down by six? I have total respect for Mr. Elway, but I'm calling Yahtzee on that one.
Q. If you could, talk to us about possibilities that you talked about last year at this tournament, of establishing a foundation or a charitable venture on your own?
ANDY RODDICK: On my own?
Q. A foundation.
ANDY RODDICK: Brother, I've had one for four years now. You should check the books. It's something that I do pretty religiously and focus on a lot. You know, it's something I'll continue to do.
Q. Can I rephrase the question. Would you be kind to tell me what's the agenda for this year, considering that Andre is supporting kids from Vegas and Roger is supporting the kids from South Africa? What is the focus for you for this year?
ANDY RODDICK: Okay. Well, I'll give you a little background real quick. In the last four years, we've raised over $3 million for at-risk youth in South Florida. We're currently in the process of establishing an endowment fund for this place called Kids in Distress, which takes kids from homes where, let's see, the parents are unfit or the court's deem them unfit, whether they're brought up on drug charges, this, that and the other. We have on-site psychiatrists, schooling, computers, food, so on and so forth. And now we're starting an Austin site of the event as well. On April 26th Elton John is going to help us by performing. So we'll keep that going.
Q. When you look back on this match, if there's anything you could change about the way you played it, what would that be?
ANDY RODDICK: The way I played it? You know, like I said, I felt like I played pretty well. It's just a matter of, you know, I think the thing I'd change is the result, you know. I think I could have made maybe a couple more first serves in the tiebreaker, in the first set especially. But, you know, as far as anything else goes, you know, I had a strategy and I applied it. You know, I really feel like there was a lot of progress made from two months ago in Australia.
Q. How would you answer somebody who would suggest that you don't know how to close?
ANDY RODDICK: Oh, okay.
Q. You aren't replying, and I was suggesting maybe there was utter silence.
ANDY RODDICK: No, I was just thinking about how to answer that question politely.
Q. Or impolitely.
ANDY RODDICK: Yeah, no, that's what I'm leaning towards. I don't know if it's possible to -- I'm trying to really just -- I don't know if it's possible to achieve a certain level of success without being able to close. You know, with all due respect, you know, I'm not one to toot, but I have closed out matches; I have won a lot of matches; I have been No. 1 in the world. Bottom line is I played a guy who has also done that today, and he just stepped up and played well.
Q. Were you hitting the ball even harder tonight than you normally do?
ANDY RODDICK: I don't know. I don't know. I'm not sure. I mean, I felt like I was getting pretty good pace on the ball. But I didn't feel like I was just going for broke, if that's what you're asking.
Q. Did you feel you were as patient as you wanted to be?
ANDY RODDICK: Yeah. I was selectively patient. You know, I feel like most times I waited for the right ball. It just didn't work out.
Q. You've talked about this as being a non-rivalry before. He got you good in Masters Cup, outlasted you in Australia. Do you feel like you're going to turn it into a real rivalry or do you think he's still maybe a half a step above you?
ANDY RODDICK: No, there wasn't a lot between us tonight. You know, like I said, this is as good as I've pushed him, except when I beat him.
Q. You seem like you left a lot on the court tonight. Can you imagine Lleyton having enough to contend with Roger tomorrow?
ANDY RODDICK: He'll have enough. But the thing is, will he have enough to beat Roger? You know, the schedule, it was interesting, you know, giving us days off and then putting us on two nights, then having us play three-out-of-five at 11:30 on Sunday. I might question that or I'd like to hear what went on in the scheduling room. But it's just the way it goes. If anybody can handle it, it's Lleyton.
Q. Did you raise that as an issue?
ANDY RODDICK: No. What can I do? You know, they're going to make their decisions. I requested to play Thursday, and they put me Friday night. There's not a whole lot I can do.
Q. You mentioned a lot of positives you're taking away from this tournament. What are some of them?
ANDY RODDICK: I just feel like, you know, I kind of found my game this tournament. I played some really good stuff. You know, even tonight I played pretty well. Got through my first round not with my best stuff, still found a way to get through, closed that one out. You know, I feel like, you know, a lot of parts of my game came together this week. I was approaching the net pretty well. For the most part, I volleyed great last night, kind of used it effectively as well.
Q. How much better is his forehand than it was a couple years ago? He actually out-winnered you on that side, considering how tough your forehand is.
ANDY RODDICK: He hits it great selectively. The thing is, he's learned how to hit it all corners, whereas before he definitely had his tendency in the one that he went to a lot. You know, the same with the serve. He's mixing it up a lot more, keeping people off balance. I feel like a lot of people kind of caught up to him and maybe passed him. Now he's closed the gap and figured out new ways to win.
Q. Does he have enough to push Roger or does Roger have to play only 85%? Does Lleyton have enough weapons to get over on Roger at this point?
ANDY RODDICK: I mean, he hasn't recently. I feel like, you know, obviously that's a little bit of a rougher match-up just because of what Roger can do with the ball, the spins and the placement and stuff. You know, that's something he does extremely well. But, I mean, you can't count Lleyton out. You know, I mean, right now obviously Roger's the best player in the world. There's good reason for that.
Q. Tonight you talked a lot about improvements in your game in the last few months. Do you attribute a lot of that to your new coaching situation?
ANDY RODDICK: I mean, that's some of it. You know, a lot of it's being in better shape. You know, it's just a different mindset. I realized the game I was playing, while it had been successful, it's not something that had a lot of room for improvement, you know, standing six feet back. It was vulnerable. It's something that I'm trying to change kind of on the run. It's going to be a process, but it's something that I'm committed to. You know, hopefully it will help me improve down the line.
Q. Could the best-of-five sets tomorrow benefit Lleyton?
ANDY RODDICK: I don't really think so, I mean, after tonight. I mean, we battled for a good two and a half hours. That's another thing that's questionable, playing two sets the whole way, then three out of five, you know, all of a sudden. I mean, if you start a tournament, you kind of want to play under the same pretenses and circumstances the whole way.
Q. Might it allow him to get his legs back later on in the match, if it goes longer than three?
ANDY RODDICK: Okay, now, if you go for a run for an hour, okay - I'm dead serious - you go for a run for an hour, okay? At the end of that hour, if you decide to go for another hour, do you think you're going to feel better after the second hour's over? Yeah, I don't know if it works like that. I mean, I don't see how it can be advantageous to play five sets as opposed to three in this situation, but I could be totally off.
Q. Who makes that decision? Do players have any input?
ANDY RODDICK: No. Personally, I'm not asked about it. I don't know.
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