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March 13, 2006

Andy Roddick


THE MODERATOR: First question for Andy.
Q. Happy with that?
ANDY RODDICK: Yeah. I thought it was pretty good. He's always tough. We've had some real battles before. So to get through comfortably, you know, it's always nice.
Q. What can you do to reverse the trend?
Q. Verdasco beating you.
ANDY RODDICK: Beat him (smiling).
You know, once -- it was tough. I didn't really think too much about that. One was a retire and one I was feeling a little generous. But, no, he's a great player. As far as just forehands and backhands go, he hits the ball as well as anybody. The way he gets the ball to jump off the court.
I knew I was going to have to try to get the first strike in against him. I felt like I did that well on my service games, taking the first ball and really doing something with it, not really letting him get into my service games at all.
Q. What have you done to kind of pace yourself, to peak at the right moments?
ANDY RODDICK: I wish I had that sort of control over myself. I play badly today, then I'm going to play great in three days' time (smiling). Nothing.
I think as tennis players, we just try to play well when we can. Obviously, you try to put yourself in position as far as physically getting ready. That's the one thing that you can control.
But as far as between the lines go, you just kind of -- at least I do, I take what I can get.
Q. How uplifting of a victory is this for you to get back on track?
ANDY RODDICK: It's good. I feel like I played well two matches in a row here against pretty good players. I haven't done that probably since last fall, you know, in Lyon and Paris. I played pretty well.
You know, it's good. But it's still a long way from where I want to be right now.
Q. Andre and Roger talked about Nadal, that his biggest advantage is being a lefty. You handled this lefty pretty well. Is it an advantage?
ANDY RODDICK: No, I think it's definitely an advantage, especially for him. He can get that heavy forehand and really roll it cross-court. It's a lot more effective than someone hitting a two-handed backhand. You haven't seen a lot of lefties who play that style of game. Normally the lefties are the big-serving guys that haven't really played too much like Nadal.
You know, I think it is an advantage.
Q. Just based on what you said, these last two matches are the best back-to-back matches you think you've played since Lyon?
ANDY RODDICK: Probably, yeah. I mean, against two guys that are top 35 in the world. You know, Acasuso has been playing pretty well so far this year. Verdasco, that's the easiest -- the best match I've had against him in a couple of times.
So as far as doing the right things, playing how I want to play, yeah.
Q. Do you think this is a spill-over from last night's second set?
ANDY RODDICK: I don't know. Maybe use that. I'm sure if I would have played terrible in the second set yesterday, I maybe would not have come out and played as well from the get-go today.
I don't know. I don't know if you really kind of think like that. There's a lot of separation, and you kind of go out hoping that you can start off well. But I definitely didn't think, "Okay, I played great in the second set, so it's automatic I'm going to play well tonight." You know, maybe.
Q. Is there a flipside to the whole issue of struggling the way you have a little bit, where maybe also you find yourself replenished at some point?
ANDY RODDICK: Yeah. I don't know about "replenished," but I like the challenge of it. I think maybe it's something that I needed. I've never really -- I said the other day, in four-some-odd years, I never really -- if I lost first round one week, I've come back and made a final or done really well the next week. So to having been tested for an extended period for the first time in my career, I'm not going to say it's fun, but it provides a challenge that I definitely want to be up for.
Q. Were you concerned, the fact that you lost a couple of first-round matches back-to-back?
ANDY RODDICK: I didn't lose a first round match back-to-back. I've never lost first round back-to-back matches.
But concern I've lost some matches? Yeah, obviously -- you know, tennis is a game where -- in basketball, you can have a good four-game series and be given a lifelong contract. Tennis is a game where you have to go out and prove yourself on a daily basis. You don't have teammates to pick you up. What you do is a direct reflection of how you're playing on that day. It's forgotten pretty quick.
You have to go out and prove yourself every day. Maybe I forgot that. You know, but like I said, I'm enjoying the challenge of trying to right the ship.
Q. What would be a satisfying result here for you?
ANDY RODDICK: Satisfying? I don't know. I want to keep getting through. I don't know if many players think like that, "If I don't get to this." If I keep playing the way I am through the first two rounds, that would be a nice start. That's kind of where I'm looking. I'm not going to go from struggling to get to the semis of an event to say I'm not happy unless I win a tournament.
But I want to continue along these lines. I like the progress that's been made the last two nights and I want to continue on that.
Q. What is the best thing that John has brought to your situation?
ANDY RODDICK: You know, instead of always kind of -- it was refreshing last week, like I said, to instead of always looking for "In the now," and "What are you doing," and, "What did you do today wrong," he kind of said, "Okay, let's look back to what you've really done well over the course of your career. Kind of go back to that and maybe find the comfort zone again instead of trying to force something that maybe you're not so comfortable with."
It was weird because that seems like something obvious, but something that no one had really been talking about.
Q. And the best thing you learned from going to the tapes?
ANDY RODDICK: Like I said, I don't know if it was a thing that you learned. I think it's just something you look at and you go, "Okay, I get it now." Like I said, there's a big difference between being told something and actually seeing it take place in front of you. For some reason, I felt like that clicked a lot more. I had a terrible day at practice. We went and watched some tapes. Before I'd even gone out to the court the next day, I felt better. Why, I don't know. It just gave me a little bit of peace of mind.
It's the not the "be all, end all." It just made me feel a little bit better, to see myself up on a screen doing something well.
Q. Tapes of what?
ANDY RODDICK: I was watching naughty tapes with my brother last week. Made me feel a lot better about my game (smiling).
Q. Which one?
ANDY RODDICK: Yellow Fuzzy Ball (laughing). "Which one?" Perverts. You tell me.
Q. Was it inspirational, kind of take you back a little bit?
ANDY RODDICK: I don't know about "inspirational." You know what, when you're kind of searching for something, you know you're capable of it, you've done it a million times, you can't figure out why it's not clicking for you like it always has, you know, it was just nice to see it and be like, "Okay, that's what I do." To put it in the simplest terms.
You know, I don't know if everybody's trying to read a lot deeper into it than what actually took place. It just made me feel better to see it.
Q. Golfers talk about when they get hot, sometimes it happens, the hotel room, they look at themselves in the mirror, instead of spending hours on the green. Is it that simple of a mindset that you reverted back to?
ANDY RODDICK: I don't know. I don't know. Maybe. I mean, maybe I was working too hard. Seriously, I've never put more into it than I have the last, you know, year and a couple months. I don't know. Maybe it just takes -- I don't know. I don't know. If looking in the mirror is a solution, my job would be a lot easier.
I don't know. Like I said, I'm going to give the same answer I've given for the last four questions: I just think it's easier when you can actually see it and you have a visual to go along with someone's words.
Q. I mean looking at yourself simply.
ANDY RODDICK: I got it. Simplify it. Maybe. Maybe it's just easier to simplify it and not overthink it.
Q. Can you think of the best match you've ever played?
ANDY RODDICK: I don't know. I think that's purely situational. There's times in 2001 against Pete, I felt like I played above myself or what I was capable at that time. Whereas, if I would have played the same match three years later, maybe I would have felt, "Okay, I can do that." I think that's tough. Then you have to separate best match from best memory, and blah, blah. I don't know.
Q. Did you watch the Dubai final?
ANDY RODDICK: I did not, no. I did not.
Q. You handle celebrities very well, mingle with them, you hosted Saturday Night Live. Was that a distraction at any point to your career?
ANDY RODDICK: Was it a distraction? I don't know. When I stopped doing all that crap, now I'm struggling. I don't know (smiling). Everybody made the big prediction that that was going to be my downfall. Then I stopped doing it. Now who knows.
I don't think it was a distraction. It was so much fun at the time. I didn't really think past the next day, to be honest. I mean, in retrospect, it's something -- going and doing Saturday Night Live the week before the Masters where I'm trying to clinch No. 1 is not something I would think of doing now. But I went there, won my first match and it was done. So, I don't know. In retrospect, I wouldn't advise someone to do the same thing.
Q. Are you waiting for a callback?
ANDY RODDICK: Yeah, man, I was terrible (smiling). Callback? You know how desperate they'd have to be. "That Roddick kid..."
Q. Missing link?
ANDY RODDICK: What did you say? You guys, get your heads out of the gutter.
Q. How much fun were the Lexus commercials to do and how hard a time did you have not breaking up?
ANDY RODDICK: They were a lot of fun, and it was great because it took the least amount of time out of any commercial shoot I've ever done in my life. But it was tough not to crack up because I was with, you know -- they shot two separate cameras. The people weren't really delivering the lines, they were just basically trying to say stuff to cut me up. It was tough to keep it together.
But I realized every time I laughed, that was another take, that was the longer I'd have to be there that day. I tried to keep it together.
Q. They were pretty subtle, some of them. Did people appreciate them?
ANDY RODDICK: You tell me. I haven't watched them really with an audience, to be honest.
Q. Everybody tells you about the trophy falling.
ANDY RODDICK: That's obvious. I've heard that. Every time I get on a plane now, everybody goes, "Is the trophy in there?" - I'm going to get off on a tangent - you know the funny thing about that, every person who asks, "Is the trophy in there," thinks they're the first person that ever asked me that. Then when I'm kind of like this, they think Roddick has no sense of humor.
Q. How was mojo created?
ANDY RODDICK: I don't want to talk about it. I don't know. Austin Powers, I guess.
Q. You're a proponent of instant replay?
Q. Is there much chatter about that in the locker room? Are you talking about it, how it's going to work, who is going to make the first challenge?
ANDY RODDICK: I haven't really heard much discussion about it as far as guys just sitting on the training table talking about it. I think it's great, though. I really do. I've said it a million times. There's a lot of positives.
One, there's a lot less likely chance you feel like you're going to get the short end of the stick. I don't think matches, the outcomes, are going to be dependent upon human error, which is just part of -- part of anybody.
And for TV, I think it's great. I think it's a lot better. I think it would be a lot more fun on SportsCenter to watch someone throw out a challenge flag. I think players have to be accountable and I think refs have to be accountable. It's all good in my mind. I haven't heard a whole lot of argument against it besides it will slow the game down. If you have two challenges a set and it takes 10 seconds to look at it, do you have two minutes in your day? That's about all the challenges it's going to take throughout the day. I do if it means getting it right.
Q. Do you think it's unfair that it's only going to be on select courts?
ANDY RODDICK: Like I said, I think the biggest part of it is it creates something for a TV audience. Sports has become, at least for the fans, entertainment as well. You look at the Super Bowl, it's one big show. Then there's a football game, as well, then a lot of other things.
While it could be a little bit unfair, I think you have to look at the bigger picture of kind of it's benefitting a certain amount of players and a lot of fans, as opposed to no players and no fans. So I'll take that.
Q. You could have many more than two challenges per set if you keep getting them right.
ANDY RODDICK: Hopefully you won't have to challenge six times and be right all the time. Hopefully they don't screw up that much. But you could have more challenges.
Like I said, I mean, my point was that it's not -- I personally don't think it's going to slow it down that much. If it does slow it down a little bit, but you get it right, then I think that's worth it.
Q. It used to be that America was really hard put to get its best players to play Davis Cup. Now we have a situation where arguably the three best players in American tennis all want to be on the team. Could you talk about that transition?
ANDY RODDICK: I think that's a better problem to have. Given the two options where, okay, maybe you have to go down to 4, 5, 6, 7, whoever, just find somebody who wants to play, and having a dilemma at number two singles because you have two great players that want to play. I'll take -- I think it's a good problem to have.
Q. Any gut feelings about Andre and James?
ANDY RODDICK: You know what, that's -- like I said, I'm happy with either one. I'm friends with either one. I have loads of respect for either one, and I'm glad it's not my decision.

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