March 12, 2005
INDIAN WELLS, CALIFORNIA
THE MODERATOR: Questions for Andy.
Q. What makes the difference, you're down, I've seen you do it several times, you come back and win when you're in a tough spot? What is the difference between a person who can pull out that win and a person who loses that close one?
ANDY RODDICK: You know, I think that's the biggest thing that separates the people maybe in the Top 10 who perform consistently and some of the guys 40 and 50 in the world, you know, is that we kind of try to find a way to win, even if we don't feel like we have our best stuff. Today was evidence of that. I think a lot of it's just sticking around, trying to give yourself as many opportunities as possible and trying to bear down when you do get those opportunities.
Q. Lleyton Hewitt said when he was down match point, I asked him what he was thinking about, he said all I know is the guy has to hit a hell of a shot to beat him. Does that make sense to you?
ANDY RODDICK: Yeah, especially coming from Lleyton, having the wheels that he has. I mean, that's a good attitude to have, you know, make the guy win the match.
Q. This guy has one of the better forehands I've seen for a while. He can really crack that thing. Has he been that consistent, that tough on the forehand side as long as you've known him?
ANDY RODDICK: Well, to be fair, he kind of broke out last year, and I didn't get to see him play much. But the pace that he hits on, it's probably the biggest forehand I've played against. He just absolutely kills it. I feel like it would be an amazing shot if he could find maybe a happy medium, you know, rather than just killing it the whole time. I mean, it's a pretty intimidating shot, though.
Q. Looking ahead to Jiri Novak, what are your thoughts on that?
ANDY RODDICK: He's just a solid player. I mean, he's not super flashy. You know, he's probably not going to make people ooh and awe, but, you know, he puts on his hard hat every day and goes to work. He returns pretty well. He's very steady off the baseline. He's the kind of guy that makes you beat him. You know, I'm definitely going to have to step up my game to get through.
Q. What do you think got you through today, Andy?
ANDY RODDICK: I don't know. I stayed out there (laughter). I don't know. I mean, probably the most positive thing I can take out of it is I played pretty solid in the tiebreaker. You know, I made every return. I put some first serves in the court in the tiebreaker. You know, I think obviously that was the big difference. But I felt like I was playing from behind pretty much the whole time in the third set.
Q. What's the word in the locker room about the event yesterday? Who won the Oscar? Who was the best performing, you or Safin?
ANDY RODDICK: No, Safin. You know, with him, he got a little further than I did walking off the court, so... I guess we have to give him the props there.
Q. What gave you the feeling you were playing behind in the third set.
ANDY RODDICK: Not in the literal sense, but from the fact that I felt like he was playing better than I was and I was trying to hang on, yeah.
Q. You're always asked to compare other players. You've done a lot of non-tennis shows. Can you give us a quick comparison between the fun you had on Saturday Night Live, Weakest Link and the Tonight Show with Jay?
ANDY RODDICK: They're all pretty fun. I mean, I think SNL was a lot more stressful because, worst-case scenario, on the other two shows, it's very quick, you know, it's pretty irrelevant. But, you know, I actually had to do something for an extended period of time there. That was probably the toughest.
Q. Tough to get your lines in with Robin Williams?
ANDY RODDICK: No. I was thankful he was there. You know, I don't know what the hell I'm talking about. Whenever there was kind of a lull, he just kind of took over. I was actually pretty happy he was there.
Q. He and his family have a little bit of connection with tennis, especially his mother. Did you talk to him at all about tennis?
ANDY RODDICK: Yeah. His wife's actually come out a couple times to the tennis. I've known them for a couple years now. Like I said, it was comforting knowing he was kind of there and that's his whole schtick.
Q. Any different thought process about going into tiebreakers?
ANDY RODDICK: From?
Q. Late last year.
ANDY RODDICK: No. You really need something to write about, huh? I mean, seriously. You can do better than that. I know you got it in you, Doug. You're better than that.
Q. You're on a two-tiebreak streak now.
ANDY RODDICK: That's good (giving a thumbs up). All of a sudden I don't know how to play a break anymore, huh?
Q. Can you speak about Agassi, what he means to the sport and to you personally, just the big picture.
ANDY RODDICK: Can I send you like a transcript of other press conferences or just this one (smiling)?
Q. The name Agassi.
ANDY RODDICK: Yeah, I know him.
Q. How big is he for tennis?
ANDY RODDICK: I mean, he's huge. He's probably the biggest superstar the game's ever had. If you kind of encompass all he's done for the game, the way he's just been an entertainer. I'm not saying he's the best player ever. He's certainly one of them. As far as how he's promoted the game, how he's helped the game, certainly his longevity, you know, puts him up there. You know, personally he's been a great mentor, both on and off the court. I just really can't say enough nice things about him.
Q. Does anything come to mind that you learned or would like to learn from him, like one thing?
ANDY RODDICK: You know, I think a lot of it is just kind of learning by watching, just the way he goes about his business and the way he treats people. You know, just little things, like always saying "please" and "thank you" if it's to the drivers or whoever, if you're kind of working your way around the tournament. Little things like that are probably the most impressive about him.
Q. Do you say "please" and "thank you" to the drivers?
ANDY RODDICK: Never (smiling). That's why I've got to learn. Thank you.
Q. The Davis Cup and today's match, how much bigger a problem would it have been if you lost today following on from last weekend? You were facing a guy who has been through what you've been through, too, in Davis Cup.
ANDY RODDICK: No, that wouldn't have been fun because then I would have had to come in here and talk to you guys about it (laughter). Obviously, I mean, it wouldn't have been great. When you come off something really disappointing, you want to come back and kind of regroup and get involved in something positive right away. You know, I think it was good to have a tough one and really get through it, kind of dig, even though I didn't feel like I had my best stuff out there. You know, it just gives me an opportunity to get better the next round and not have to wait around two weeks. I think that was -- it was big to get through today.
Q. How much of a legacy was coming off Davis Cup with the way you played today?
ANDY RODDICK: Sorry?
Q. How much of a legacy following Davis Cup?
ANDY RODDICK: Legacy?
ANDY RODDICK: No, I don't think it had, you know, a huge hang-over effect. There's been enough days in between where I've kind of try to get my mind right and really focus on this tournament. You know, had it been two days later, then who knows. But fortunately for me, I had five or six days, you know, really had some time to get in some practice and kind of get into the groove here and try to forget about last weekend.
Q. What do you think was the turning point in the tiebreaker?
ANDY RODDICK: Oh, obviously I think -- I don't know if there was a single turning point. I think just getting -- it's always nice when you get the early mini break and consolidate it. That's the name of the game in tiebreakers, is consolidating mini breaks. It's a huge difference. It's a 3-point swing there. I got up 2-0 right away, was able to hold my next two service points. All of a sudden we're looking at 4-1, and he's looking uphill. I think that's the biggest key when you go into a tiebreaker. You can use that one, Doug. I was thinking of you there (smiling).
Q. Did you forget to say "please" and "thank you" to the chair that got you that warning?
ANDY RODDICK: No. That was "thank you" in his language. French, right?
Q. There were a lot of stories about Davis Cup with Andre, the dinner you had, there were reports he went into the Croatian locker room after the tie. Was there one particular incident or story that he told or interaction with Andre?
ANDY RODDICK: Yeah, I don't know if it was too particular. I think one of the nicest things was after I lost, you know, the Bryans were there, everybody was there, he just said, "Whatever happened, it was a privilege to stand next to you guys and call you teammates, even if it was for a short time." You know, I thought that was nice. You know, he definitely tried to put a positive spin on things. You know, it was great having him around.
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