March 16, 2005
INDIAN WELLS, CALIFORNIA
THE MODERATOR: Questions for Andy.
Q. Had a little more of a workout today?
ANDY RODDICK: Yeah. You know, I was expecting a tough match from Fernando. I lost to him last time at the Olympics. You know, definitely a good feeling to get through this time.
Q. The number of good players has increased so dramatically, it seems like there are 50, 60 guys that can be tough on a given day. Is that the new trend?
ANDY RODDICK: Uhm, yeah. I mean, I think it's definitely something that's -- you know, it's more apparent now than maybe before. You know, it's not super surprising to see a guy 50, 60 in the world in the quarters of a Grand Slam. I think that happens every Grand Slam or every other Grand Slam now. I don't think that's a stretch to say that.
Q. Do you think tennis is still about consistency?
ANDY RODDICK: Yeah, it always will be. Bottom line is you have to put the ball in the court for it to count. I don't see -- that's never going to change. You know, I'm one of the only guys that people consider a pure power player, maybe with Safin, in the Top 10, 15 guys. I think rather than consistency, I'd say speed. I think you have to move well to be one of the top players now. You know, you don't see a lot of guys who are slow up there. I think that's a big key.
Q. Would you say your movement has improved as the years have gone by?
ANDY RODDICK: Yeah, absolutely. I think I've become a better athlete. You know, even like the bigger guys that you see that are at the top of the game like Moya and Safin, you know, they move really well for big guys. You know, I don't think that's coincidental.
Q. In former times it was four seconds between hits. Now it's two seconds between hits. Do you think that's causing more injuries?
ANDY RODDICK: It's a possibility. I mean, there's no question that it's more physically demanding now. But also, I mean, I think the biggest thing that needs to be addressed is the length of season. I mean, last year I played 11 months and change, you know, and expected to come back and do it all over again without sufficient rest. I think that's probably the biggest thing as far as injuries. Obviously, stopping and starting and going, I think that just creates the need to be in better shape.
Q. The players constantly make that refrain before the longer season. Who is dropping the ball on that?
ANDY RODDICK: If the players are talking about it and they're complaining about it, I'm assuming it's not them. I don't know.
Q. Do you think the players should be more demanding, threaten to strike?
ANDY RODDICK: You know, it's a Catch-22. You threaten to strike, then you risk losing the fans that you have. If you leave it up to -- the thing is in tennis, there's no, you know -- there's not one body that makes all the decisions. You have to go through the individual tournaments, this, then the ATP for the Masters Series, the Slams for this. You know, it's tough to get everyone on the same page because everybody's in it for their own interests.
Q. History has kind of shown if you do shorten the season, take a month off, players will play XO's anyway.
ANDY RODDICK: In all fairness, you go out and play in an XO, you're playing two a week or something, you're still resting in between there. It's not like tournaments where you have to be in super great shape. You're playing indoors in air conditioned arenas. Obviously, it doesn't take the physical toll that, you know, a real season does.
Q. You guys are hitting the ball like today, everything's going near the line. You see shots where the officials call them out, does that bother you, when you see it later on on TV?
ANDY RODDICK: I don't know how many of us watch a replay, unless it's an extremely pivotal point.
Q. You don't look up?
ANDY RODDICK: There's no screen in the stadium.
Q. Watch it on TV?
ANDY RODDICK: Absolutely. If you're in a stadium which has that, I think curiosity gets the better of players more often than not.
Q. Any thoughts on Carlos?
ANDY RODDICK: I got lots of thoughts on Carlos (smiling).
Q. Can you share some of them?
ANDY RODDICK: No. I mean, obviously, I had a tough one against him last time in Spain. But we're going to have a battle. I mean, we always have. I've gotten him on hard courts. But I think it's been three sets pretty much every time. You know, I'm sure it will be another one like that. You just kind of have to be ready to go to work.
Q. How important was the overhead that Gonzalez missed in the second set?
ANDY RODDICK: Yeah, it ended up being pretty important. But it's the -- the one I gave him was the one up the line because I figured he'd hit it about Mach 10. If he had to slice or hit it up the middle, I feel I could have stabbed at it. Gave it to him, he just missed it just by a little bit, but he went for it.
Q. You gifted it back the next game?
ANDY RODDICK: I did, yes. You know, I'm a nice guy.
Q. Is it more satisfying to know you're winning playing an all-around game as opposed to just throwing those bombs in?
ANDY RODDICK: Well, the bombs are falling in at the rate of about 75% today. That makes it a lot easier. I think, you know, it is satisfying when you try working on things and it kind of helps you through and you see it kind of working in a match-type situation. You know, it's definitely something that I need to do, is to have different serves to go with the heat.
Q. With the serve, they weren't overpowering serves, but very effective. Was that a game planned for Fernando?
ANDY RODDICK: That's the game plan. If I can serve 75%, you know, you don't need to go for huge, huge serves. If you can take 10, 15 miles an hour off of it, but get some good action on it, then you'll take that any day. But that also requires being in the groove and feeling really good about hitting your spots. It's easier said than done.
Q. When you see a guy like Tim Henman doing what he's doing, is that a comment more on how much of this game is mental or on how much of the game relies on the combination of conditions?
ANDY RODDICK: I don't understand. What is he doing?
Q. He's just got a great history here.
ANDY RODDICK: Well, obviously, I think players play well at tournaments repeatedly because they like the conditions. I think the ball travels through the air here a little bit, it carries a little bit, which makes his slices a little more effective. He can get in. Sometimes we're as mental as, you know, you like the place you stay, you're comfortable there, you come out and play. There's just so many things that go into it. You know, I think it is -- it's not surprising that you see players like Tim here or players in different places, they'll play well at a certain venue consistently.
Q. Two quick matches here. Do you feel you're in a groove now?
ANDY RODDICK: I feel good, yeah. You know, I didn't feel great my first round here. I really feel like I turned the corner the next day. In practice I started hitting the ball a little bit better, kind of doing what I want with it. I wasn't battling it so much. You know, I'm pretty pleased with the last two matches. But, you know, tomorrow's a new day.
Q. If you had your wish last night who would you have wanted to win between Dent and Safin? Who would you have preferred to play?
ANDY RODDICK: To play? They're on the other half of the draw.
Q. Semis or finals. Who would you have preferred to not meet, the serve and volleyer or the groundstrokes?
ANDY RODDICK: I don't know. I mean, I really hadn't thought about it much. They both had a lot of work ahead of them. I mean, sentimentally I was pulling for Taylor just because he's a young American. You know, obviously I want him to do well when he can.
Q. Taylor had to retire in his match. You're through, Andre and the Bryans are playing today. A potential the whole Davis Cup team could be still here tomorrow.
ANDY RODDICK: Yeah, we're about a week late, though.
Q. Taking you back to the Olympics six or seven months ago. Your memories off those two weeks in Athens, the highs and the lows?
ANDY RODDICK: Well, obviously the highs I think were just supporting Mardy and seeing him do well, you know, being in the village and kind of just living the whole Olympic experience. Obviously the lows is Gonzalez was responsible for the lows there. You know, he played a good match. Obviously, I would have loved to have done better, especially with, you know, Safin, Roger losing early and Lleyton not going. I mean, I felt like that was a decent chance that slipped away.
Q. Was that an experience you're going to remember for a long time?
ANDY RODDICK: Yeah, absolutely. I mean, I'll always remember. It's the first time I was at the Olympics. Not a lot of people get to participate in the first place. But then to be part of something that is so much bigger than what you go through on a daily basis is really cool.
Q. Did you see yourself differently when you had this tag of being an Olympian?
ANDY RODDICK: Do I see myself differently now?
Q. At that time. And do others approach you differently to being a regular tennis player?
ANDY RODDICK: Yeah, I mean, it was a little bit of weird dynamic because a lot of people that are Olympians there, they're not people that are known around the world. I think I was viewed a little differently by the other people. But, you know, I viewed myself the same. I was in the village with the rest of them, waiting in line for the preheated food, you know, all that good stuff. It was a fun change. But I was -- it was nice to get back to my spoiled existence afterwards.
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