August 28, 2006
THE MODERATOR: First question, please.
Q. Nice way to start things off, Andy? Feel pretty good about the way it went out there today?
ANDY RODDICK: Yeah, it felt clean. I didn't hit yesterday. I got a very short warm up. You know, but I feel like I've been hitting the ball pretty well. I've maintained the way I've been hitting the ball since Cincinnati. It's a lot better than last year. Better start.
Q. Coming off the results from Cincinnati, are you feeling very confident the way you're playing?
ANDY RODDICK: Yeah, I'm really, really confident right now. Feel good.
Q. Tonight's a very special evening for Andre Agassi, and some say for a lot of players that know him well. Where do you plan on being for that event? Plan on coming back?
ANDY RODDICK: As much as I would love to, uhm, I probably need to focus on my tournament a little bit. It will be a great night, and I hope I can grasp a little bit of the atmosphere by watching on TV with Billie Jean's ceremony and the electricity in the air for Andre's match I'm sure will be unparalleled.
Q. Can you comment a little bit on the renaming of the National Tennis Center to honor of Billie Jean?
ANDY RODDICK: I can't think of a more fitting person, you know. You have Arthur Ashe Stadium. What he stood for kind of went beyond tennis. Now they're kind of sticking with that motto with Billie Jean and what she was able to do for a lot of people, and especially women in sports.
You know, she was she is revolutionary. I think, you know, in the understatement of the year, it's extremely deserved.
Q. Was this the second time that Connors was in the stadium? This is the second time that Jimmy Connors was in this stadium to watch you?
ANDY RODDICK: It was the second time?
ANDY RODDICK: That he was here to watch me?
Q. In the stadium.
ANDY RODDICK: Here? He was at a couple matches in LA.
ANDY RODDICK: Yeah, he was only in LA and then he's been here all week.
Q. So this is the second tournament?
ANDY RODDICK: Second tournament where he's actually been in the stands, where his butt has been stuck to his seat.
Q. Can you tell us about the influence Jimmy Connors has on you? In what matter can he help you the best, do you think?
ANDY RODDICK: I don't know where to go with that. It's pretty vague. I don't know if I can do much with that question. I mean, it's just nice to I just enjoy his presence. I'm excited every morning when I wake up to go try to learn new things. You know, I've said it before, his passion for the game and, you know, for this process is huge. It's contagious.
Q. Andy when you broke his serve for the first time in the first set you showed a lot of emotion there with the fist pump. Kind of looking a little bit like the Jimmy Connors of old. Have you talked at all about showing that emotion on the court? What was going through your mind at that point?
ANDY RODDICK: We haven't talked about that once. Just felt it. I felt like, Okay, well, now the Open's started. I'm getting up. I feel like I'm playing okay. You know, wasn't forced by any means. I was just excited to get off to a good start.
Q. Did you say that to yourself, Now the Open has started? We heard a little bit of that.
ANDY RODDICK: I did. I felt like it had.
Q. Speaking of breaking, you feel like you're returning pretty well right now?
ANDY RODDICK: Yeah, I hit 'em well today. Little short in the first couple games, but I think I broke him more than he held serve today, and that's a large step for me.
You know, I'm putting a lot of returns in the court and I'm doing something with them. It feels clean right now.
Q. Jimmy ever going to be a full time coach for you, do you think? Will you have to work something out?
ANDY RODDICK: He is a full time coach, he just watches on TV sometimes.
Q. How much of the time do you think he's watching TV?
ANDY RODDICK: I don't know. I don't know. I think he's more about preparation. You know, before Cincinnati he was with me for eight days in Austin. When it was time to go, he said, All right. Go put this on the court. He watched every match on TV. We talked probably 30 minutes after the completion of each match there. Beyond that, I don't know what else I got for you.
Q. When you're saying "put this on the court," can you explain more what he's teaching you specifically?
ANDY RODDICK: No (smiling).
Q. There's a Long Island band that's done a song dedicated to you. Have you heard it? What do you think about someone doing that?
ANDY RODDICK: The kind of reggae ish one? Yeah, I heard that.
Q. What do you think?
ANDY RODDICK: It's a little weird to hear it, to be honest. But it's fun and a little corny. I don't know. It was okay.
Q. It's a little weird, meaning for somebody to be writing something about that?
ANDY RODDICK: Yeah. Yeah. You know, the first time someone played it for me, I thought it was my friends like spoofing something, you know. It was a little weird, but kind of fun.
Q. What role does your brother, John, have now? Is he still working with you to some extent?
ANDY RODDICK: Yeah. I mean, I don't know I don't do titles that well. He's there. He's at practice every day. He sees what Jimmy and I are doing. You know, I don't know if I'd be at this point without his help as well. He takes care of a lot of the odds and ends, and maybe is a little bit more familiar with the tour right now as far as players and that type of thing. You know, it's all I guess we're all a team.
Q. The women are trying a thing with on court coaching. Does that work in tennis? Would that be a good idea to have coaching on court?
ANDY RODDICK: Well, I don't know. Personally, I don't really like it, because I think tennis is unique in the fact that you actually have to think for yourself. I don't really know any other sports you know, most other sports you got a coach talking to you or a caddy talking to you or a pit crew talking to you or something. I like the fact it's kind of one on one.
Then you get into the argument if someone's 60 or 70 in the world and doesn't have a full time coach traveling with and someone else does, is that an advantage? I like the fact that the powers that be are thinking of things outside of the box, the challenge thing and, you know, different setups and how to present tennis in a different way. I like that. It's just I see a lot of holes in that idea, personally.
Q. Are you surprised that the challenges come out less than 50% in favor of the players?
ANDY RODDICK: Not really, because I've done it a couple times where, you know, it's breakpoint and the ball is really close and you're not really sure if it does either way. But it's 5 All in the first set or 5 All in the second set and you figure you might as well. I've challenged probably 60% of the times hoping as opposed to because I have two challenges.
I think that stat's a little deceiving. Sometimes you go with your pot odds and, you know, hope for the best.
Q. Are you less likely to challenge in a match that's lopsided? If you're way ahead, third set in a Grand Slam?
ANDY RODDICK: Hell, no. If I think they're wrong, I'll challenge every time. That's what it's there for. I don't see why you would change it. You're still trying to win every point, right?
Q. How much does coaching really help? 10%? 20%?
ANDY RODDICK: I don't know. I don't know percentages. I don't know if we think along those lines. It's definitely I don't know. I think it definitely makes an impact.
Q. You still think the responsibility, a lot of it is on the player and execution?
ANDY RODDICK: Yeah, Jimmy can't go out there and play for me. That's what his career was for, you know.
That being said, he can bring a lot to the table as far as preparation and different ideas and maybe seeing the game through his eyes a little bit more. You know, he knows a lot more about tennis than I did, and probably ever will. You know, you can only get better from something like that.
Q. What is the best piece of advice he's given you so far? Has anything been surprising about learning from him?
ANDY RODDICK: The best? I don't know what the best piece of advice has been. You know, I mean, I don't I don't know. I wish I could expand for you. I can't think of just one thing.
Q. Are you more confident with Jimmy as your coach than you were prior to that?
ANDY RODDICK: Yes.
ANDY RODDICK: Because I'm winning.
Q. Do you watch Jimmy Connors tapes with Jimmy?
ANDY RODDICK: I don't have to watch the tape now. He goes out there and hits for about 25 minutes after I'm done with practice every day. I can sit there and watch it. We were close to the tape today. It was a rain delay for two hours. We almost saw Connors Krickstein again, right (laughing)?
Q. Does the challenge system change your emotional reaction to questionable calls?
ANDY RODDICK: Personally, for me, I think it's a good thing because I spend less time whining about calls because it's pretty much on my shoulders whether I challenge it or not. So, you know, I think you'll see less banter, though. I tried to challenge a let today, but they wouldn't let me.
Q. Does it change the character of matches at all? Maybe players don't get as upset or take much time to argue with the umpires?
ANDY RODDICK: Yeah, definitely. It's up to us now. I think it takes some heat off the umpires a little bit. Maybe takes human error out of it. If you have used both your challenges and you were wrong and a call comes, it's kind of your fault, isn't it?
You know, so I like it. I like everything about it. I think it's great for the fans. I think it adds another dimension to watching it on TV, that three or four second clip where you see the ball going through, the crowd ooohhh... I think it's good.
Q. Last time you went Cincy, you went skydiving. Do you do anything like that to celebrate?
ANDY RODDICK: Yeah, I fell out of bed the first night I was sleeping here. That's about as close to skydiving I got this week.
FastScripts by ASAP Sports...