June 11, 2005
THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.
Q. What happened in the second set?
ANDY RODDICK: Yeah, I felt good about the win today... (laughing). Jeez... I mean, he played well. I was upset about one game where I was up 40-Love and I kind of played a very sloppy game to get broken. I can't believe that was your first question (smiling).
Q. You were coasting along, weren't you?
ANDY RODDICK: I'm glad it looked that way. I think the last game that he broke me, he played a lot better. The first break in the second I kind of let slip a little bit and he got on a roll on his serve. So I wasn't putting a lot of pressure on him, and I did a better job of that in the third.
Q. The weather got very, very cool out there. Did that reflect itself in the match? Was the ball moving not as...
ANDY RODDICK: I don't think so. I didn't notice it too much. I don't know if the conditions, cold conditions, affect a grass court as much because, you know, it's still pretty quick and you can still get the ball to move a little bit. But, you know, I didn't notice it too much.
Q. How did you find him as an opponent? Your first meeting with him, isn't it?
ANDY RODDICK: Yeah, he plays a really tricky game, kind of unpredictable. I can see where his style would be, you know -- it's very effective on grass because he hits the ball pretty flat, he's comfortable at net, he's comfortable serving and volleying. You know, he was putting a lot of returns in the court there for a while. So, you know, and I think one of the biggest things that, you know, may go overlooked is how quick he is around the net. He was tough to pass. He was moving really quickly around the net. Even if you hit a good return, it felt like, you know, he was there. I think that was one of the things that surprised me.
Q. A lot of people on tour apparently find him a bit more than tricky, they find him -- gamesmanship allegations have been made against him, haven't they? Did you clear something today with the umpire?
ANDY RODDICK: My only thing was between first and second serves, you know. What anybody wants to do on their own time is not my business, and, you know, they can do whatever they want. But, you know, I just asked the umpire, and I think he heard and he stopped then so...
Q. Was he stalling?
ANDY RODDICK: Just kind of finicking and, you know, asking me to hold up just a little bit. But to his credit, once I asked the umpire, it didn't happen again. So, you know, I think he made a conscious effort to kind of stop that, so that was good.
Q. When you did your little hop and skip in the second and third set, were you a little bit irritated or were you just having fun?
ANDY RODDICK: Yeah, well, I didn't want to miss out on all the fun and the hopping and the skipping and all that stuff. I mean, it looked like a good time, and it was.
Q. Did it do much for you?
ANDY RODDICK: Yeah, I was fully satisfied with the feeling.
Q. Will you do it going forward?
ANDY RODDICK: I might have to include that in the repertoire from now on. Get a little more height and try to get some distance (smiling). I can improve on the hopping.
Q. Few centimeters more on the hop?
ANDY RODDICK: Well, I don't know. It's my first time so, you know, like anything else, you don't really know what you're doing too much, you know (laughing)?
Q. Might get to break the Petr Korda record.
ANDY RODDICK: I don't know about that. Listen, this is my first time. Let's not get the scissors yet. I can't add style points, I'm still trying to get down the meat and potatoes of the hopping.
Q. You've obviously got another match to go yet, but how much would it mean to you to win three back-to-back titles here? You'd only join McEnroe and Hewitt in that achievement.
ANDY RODDICK: Yeah, that would be huge. You know, I didn't -- I came in here a couple of years ago not ever having played that well on grass. And, you know, to be going for a third, it's great. And to join names like that is pretty cool, too. You know, the biggest thing for me coming here every year is just winning enough matches to feel prepared for Wimbledon. I think regardless of what happens tomorrow, I, you know, I feel like I'm ready to go and ready to compete in a Grand Slam. So that's kind of the biggest thing, because there's a little trepidation, especially if you don't do well on the clay. Who knows if you lose early, then you're kind of reeling a little bit. The biggest thing for me was getting match preparation and getting through and getting prepared.
Q. Is the familiarity of the place now a good therapy for you? A couple times you turned up here after being pretty pissed off in Roland Garros, and the whole place seems to suit you, doesn't it?
ANDY RODDICK: Yeah, you know, I've -- I think you always play well where you're comfortable and where you're familiar and where you have good memories. I think that's why you see so many guys repeat and win tournaments a couple of times. That definitely has something to do with it. Even something as familiar as staying at the same place and going to some restaurants, having the same kind of routine that you can click right back into at a familiar place, it's a pretty big deal.
Q. Are you in London, or are you out at Wimbledon?
ANDY RODDICK: No, I stay in central London for this event and then move over. That way it makes it kind of feel a little bit more like two separate events.
Q. Last year you won here, obviously, then went on to the final and pushed Roger far. Do you sense any difference this year? Have you taken a step forward, your challenge may be even greater this time than it was last year?
ANDY RODDICK: I hope so. But like I said yesterday and like I will continue to say, that matchup is a long ways away. I think I've learned, I mean, it's not every day you play your first Wimbledon final. I hope I get back and get the opportunity to get another one. But I don't know. I mean, I think once you experience something, you know, it takes away the fear of the unknown, which is, you know, which is always there. So, you know, I would definitely look forward to doing it again.
Q. This four-week season, the grass court season, do you have time to work on your grass court game specifically, or do you just do it in the tournament?
ANDY RODDICK: Yeah, I'd like to see more of a grass court swing, you know. There's a Grand Slam on the surface and, you know, there's only a couple tournaments besides that. That seems a little out of place for me, that there's not even a Masters Series or something else like that on this surface. But I think it's just a matter of, you know, with grass more so than any other surface you have to learn how to adapt quickly. Because, like I said, you're going straight from clay, which is the complete opposite, and you get thrown on this stuff that we don't really play on that much. I mean, we don't see it for 11 months of the year. So, you know, I think it's a little bit of both. You come here hoping to play well and get, you know, live matches, and then if that falls through, then, you know, you have to rely on practice.
Q. This time last year you were with a very different coach to the one you're with now. Without going into the personalties, Brad worked hard with you on the volley. Is that still something that you're particularly working on? Is your grass court game evolving in that respect?
ANDY RODDICK: Yeah. And, you know, I think the biggest thing is having the option to do it. A lot of times it's not the best play for me. If someone's leaving returns short, I'd rather hit a short forehand to one of the corners than, you know, digging up a low volley, and that's kind of the way you have to think of it. But if the time comes when people are hitting really solid returns and someone's on it, then, you know, I'm feeling more and more comfortable in having the option of coming in a little bit more.
Q. You said you'd like to see more of a grass court swing. Could you realistically ever see that happening, the way the schedule falls at the moment?
ANDY RODDICK: I don't see it happening any time in the near future for whatever reasons that may be. You know, I don't see that, you know -- it's never really been taken too seriously, I don't think, which is unfortunate.
Q. For the next event, did you take much heart from the way Nadal took care of Federer at the French Open?
ANDY RODDICK: Uhm, I think any time he loses, because it's so rare, it makes him seem a little more human. But at the same time, can I apply what Nadal did to a grass court tennis match against Roger, I don't think so. I don't see a lot of similarities there. You know, so I think it's, you know, a hundred percent different circumstances, obviously. You know, but like I said, it's surprising when he loses.
Q. We were expecting to see Henman and Hewitt in the semifinals today as well. They're not. Does that tell us that it's more competitive than ever? Do you take any heart from that?
ANDY RODDICK: I don't know how much you can read into that. You know, Tim's, you know, done well here and then lost in the fourth round here before, and he's lost early here and then gone on to the semis of Wimbledon before. So I guess that's just a matter of personal opinion. I on't know if the track record -- the track record's inconsistent anyways. You know, with Lleyton, he was off for a little while. Then you play a guy who serves out of a tree and you don't get a lot of rhythm. When you're coming back from being off for a while, you want to hit balls and you want to get into a rhythm. You're not going to get that with Karlovic. So I doubt Lleyton's too concerned or too worried. You know, I still wouldn't sleep on either one of those guys come Wimbledon. I think they're right up there as far as contenders go.
Q. Can you speculate on what the confrontation between you and that guy that serves out of a tree would be like to watch tomorrow?
ANDY RODDICK: It probably would be pretty boring to watch. It's gonna be a lot of serving, and then there's going to be, you know, a couple of moments here and there that are going to be extremely tense. Someone's gonna try to convert on one of those, you know. Who knows, but you have to kind of be there and stay the course and be mentally ready if you do get a chance and try to take it.
Q. Do you have to just give up some of his service games? Do you have to say, "There they go, there they go, it's my turn next"?
ANDY RODDICK: Oh, absolutely. I mean, to realistically think you're going to have a shot in every service game, it's a little naive. But that being said, if you do get Love-30 and you get a look, maybe you can make him a little nervous somehow; you just don't know what will happen. You want to make sure that at least he's thinking about it and he's not just rolling through, kind of going through the motions and getting into that kind of a groove. You want him to at least think about what he's doing on the serve.
Q. A guy of 6' 10" has a trajectory to make the serve difficult, but what is a guy of 6'10" going to find it hard to do?
ANDY RODDICK: Obviously, I don't think it's -- obviously, movement is a big thing. A lot of the best movers are a little smaller, you know. But I think this surface more than any other kind of masks his weaknesses a little bit, and he's able to kind of go for broke and, like I said, roll through service games. But, you know, you can't teach 6'10"; that's just something that he has. I mean (laughing)...
Q. Shouldn't he be out playing basketball or something?
ANDY RODDICK: Well, if he wants to take the day off tomorrow if he gets through this one and go shoot hoops, I'll allow it.
Q. Does that mean you cannot work on your height?
ANDY RODDICK: Well, yeah, just grow. You can't teach 6'10".
Q. It will be a very contrasting game if you compare it against Johansson.
ANDY RODDICK: Completely different matchups. You know, with Thomas, there's probably going to be a lot more rallies. He probably returns a little bit better. I'll get more looks at his serve. So, you know, it's completely -- you definitely have to wait until this one's over to start preparing for tomorrow, because it will be a complete 180.
Q. You've always talked about enjoying your food in London. Are you enjoying your food this time out?
ANDY RODDICK: I am, thank you. It's very good...
Q. Any recommendations?
ANDY RODDICK: ...and I'm finishing it. Nope.
Q. Apart from working on your hopping and skipping, what are you doing next week?
ANDY RODDICK: What am I doing? That's going to take up the bulk of it, but...
Q. Are you playing, I mean? Are you just practicing?
ANDY RODDICK: No, I'm not playing anywhere. I mean, if I do --
Q. Stoke Park?
ANDY RODDICK: I don't know if I'm confirmed to play or not. The possibility's still out there that I'll play there if I feel like I need a match mid week. But, you know, since I've played pretty well here and gotten a lot of matches in, it doesn't become as much of a concern what goes on next week. It's more kind of maintenance and just trying to stay sharp.
Q. When you first played on grass, how did you feel about it at the time? Sort of were you happy with the thoughts then, with what you've achieved now?
ANDY RODDICK: Okay, grass more than any other surface is a little -- it's a little different when you're coming out of Juniors because it's not something that you ever see. You know, I hadn't played a match on grass for almost two years, you know, the first time I played here at Queen's. So it's a little bit different. Then something kind of just clicked my second year here, and I started loving it. I went from being very uncertain on it and not really kind of knowing what to do, to it kind of just clicked in and I feel very comfortable on it now. It's been a lot easier to adapt to it coming over the last couple of years.
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