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August 30, 2006
THE MODERATOR: First question, please.
Q. Pretty good, Andy, two matches in a row. Talk about your level and how you felt out there.
ANDY RODDICK: I felt all right. I hit the ball a lot cleaner the other day, that's for sure.
That being said, I mean, it's nice to walk off the court not feeling like you played your best and looking at a stat sheet and seeing 40 winners and 22 errors, you know, being plus 18. I guess that's a good thing overall. But I think I can hit a little better.
Q. You also had 21 aces. Do you feel like you're in a great rhythm right now with your serve?
ANDY RODDICK: I'm getting a lot of action on it. My wide one on the deuce side, really, they're having to hit it from outside the alley. That makes the T one, the harder one, even tougher. I'm hitting a good kick on the first serve on the ad side, as well.
So I think by mixing it up a little bit, it makes my big one more effective.
Q. Besides 21 aces, how do you feel protecting your serves instead of hitting winners?
ANDY RODDICK: Yeah, I guess if you get through and you don't get broken, that's a good job of protecting it. You know, I feel like, you know, with the exception of the first my first service game, I think I was down breakpoint and then I played a sloppy game in the third. He had a decent look at a pass on.
But overall, I felt like I was kind of cruising through service games pretty comfortably.
Q. What's the key for you on the return games now? What are you really looking to do?
ANDY RODDICK: I didn't hit my first serve return great tonight but I'm not missing second serve returns really and I'm getting decent depth on them. You know, I think I'm throwing a little bit of a different look at people now and, you know, maybe making them hit their first shot, you know, off their back foot a little bit, a little bit more, as opposed to letting them get prepared.
Q. Happy how the schedule has been working out for you?
ANDY RODDICK: Yeah. I mean, I thought early on I was told I was gonna play I definitely wasn't gonna play Monday, then all of a sudden I was Monday at 1:00. That was a little bit of a curveball which surprised me. I guess it worked out, you know. They had to throw me in some time before Andre, so (laughing)...
So, yeah. I mean, it's nice to be, you know I think you like playing from ahead as opposed to playing catchup.
Q. Will you try to watch the match tomorrow night live or on TV?
ANDY RODDICK: Uhm, I'm not sure. I'm not sure. You know, like I said, I have to try and kind of try to draw the line between being a huge fan, which I am guilty of, and playing my own tournament and kind of being selfish as far as what times I need to be eating and all that stuff. So I don't really have a plan. I'm sure if it's on, I won't turn away, though.
Q. Is part of that 'cause you know, I mean, in some way, there is a possibility that you actually play him. You're one match away from that round.
ANDY RODDICK: Yeah, thanks.
Uhm, I don't know. I haven't really thought along those terms. Like I said, I said in Cincinnati when people were asking me about so on and so forth down the line, I haven't played well enough to look ahead this year. And that's no different. I've got to get through this next round.
Q. Both matches on center court tonight were pretty efficiently played. I know there's been a lot of buzz in the tennis world about you and Maria. Can you say if you guys are dating.
ANDY RODDICK: We're not dating. I've said it a million times already, but you guys refuse to write it. Uhm, you know, we're friendly. We're in the same places. I think she's a great girl. You know, we'll talk. You know, that's about it.
But, I mean, I think you'd have to, you know it's a little bit of a stretch when we both travel. She's actually busier than I am. That's a little bit of a stretch. But, you know, I think she's great. I can't say enough nice things about her.
Q. Did you see a couple points of the match?
ANDY RODDICK: I probably saw a total of four points in the match, but they were great ones (smiling).
Q. What's the first critique you got in the locker room from John or Jimmy?
ANDY RODDICK: Uhm, I'm not sure. I don't know if I don't know if we all thought my depth was good enough tonight. He might have been getting a crack at it a little bit early. I'm not sure if in the cooler conditions I should have loosened up the tension a little bit or what it was. That's probably the biggest critique I had.
I don't know if I have been getting the depth I had been getting on my shots, on all my defensive shots. I've been getting so many looks to come in because I've been getting good depth off the ground. That's something that I need to improve before the next match.
Q. How much more comfortable at net are you now than say last year?
ANDY RODDICK: I don't know if you can go in years. I think it goes in matches. When I'm playing with confidence, it's okay, you know. I think the biggest thing it's not so much gets written about it, you know, at the net. I think my net game is made by the position I put myself in at net, you know. If I can get the guy off the court and hitting a running passing shot when he has to continue running, and all I got it's all about positioning more so than the actual volleys.
I can put away a volley and, you know, I can, you know but if I'm consistently forcing myself to dig out tough volleys, you're gonna see guys pass me a lot more. I think it's a lot more about positioning before the actual volleys.
Q. It's the approach shot and then where you position yourself after you hit the approach shot?
ANDY RODDICK: Yeah, a lot of it is the approach shot. A lot is sneaking in. You know, no one really notices, you know, when you sneak in off a shot and you get a late start and you kind of catch someone. You know, I think a lot of it also is committing to coming in before you hit the shot sometimes. You know, it's all about the position that I put the ball in in order to give myself, you know, an easier volley.
Q. Last year you said that 23 is a pretty forgettable birthday. How does 24 feel this year?
ANDY RODDICK: You know what, it's so tough 'cause I try to be such a hardass all day before I play. You try to get pumped up. Then you're getting like candy sent to your room and like, you know, mom's calling and, "Hey, son..." You know, like packages.
You know, you come out here, this guy that you've spoken to three times in your life comes up, "Happy birthday." So you know what, I don't you know, birthday, it's kind of lost on me during this tournament to be honest. If I had the choice, I'd probably choose to move it back a couple of weeks.
Q. When is the last time you had a chance to really celebrate a birthday? Last year you did in Vegas, right?
ANDY RODDICK: Yeah, well, there's a difference between celebrating it and celebrating it on your birthday. So I never miss celebrating a birthday, but sometimes it comes later.
How the hell do you know that? You're like Magnum PI?
Q. You talked about going to Vegas.
ANDY RODDICK: That's probably why then.
Q. Maybe it was your buddies.
ANDY RODDICK: I withdraw my statement.
Q. I was there, don't you remember?
ANDY RODDICK: You could have been, I probably wouldn't. You might have been. Oh, no.
Q. I wasn't invited.
ANDY RODDICK: He wasn't either. Don't worry about it.
Q. Do you feed off the momentum of these wins or is Ashe too much of an equalizer when it comes down to it?
ANDY RODDICK: No, I mean, I think you always feed off wins. For every time someone goes above and beyond and plays above themselves because they're playing on Arthur Ashe in the night session, there's times when I have been out and guys haven't put a ball in for the first set or so, you know. So it's kind of anybody's guess to see how someone's gonna react when they haven't been out there that much.
Q. Used to seem like you were more reluctant to come to the net. What changed in your thinking?
ANDY RODDICK: Today?
Q. Just in general.
ANDY RODDICK: I'm more reluctant to come to the net?
Q. You used to be.
ANDY RODDICK: Oh, okay. Yeah, like I said, a lot of it has to do with court positioning and just looking for it. You know, I don't know if anything changed. I think you just try to make the effort to maybe consciously go for it a little bit more.
Q. Andre has a cortisone shot yesterday. Obviously, he's a great champion, legend, everyone understands that. If he's not in full health tomorrow night, does he have a shot at beating Baghdatis or will Baghdatis have to be a little bit down?
ANDY RODDICK: I don't think you can sleep on Andre. He said he could barely stand after his match the other night, and I actually thought it was a pretty high level of tennis the other night from both guys. You know, he's gonna leave it out there.
You know, I've never had a cortisone shot, but from what I've heard you feel like you can run through walls and not feel it. So, you know, I'm not gonna sleep on Andre, you know. He's been playing through that pain for a couple years now, so I think he's pretty used to it.
Q. Sam Querrey won earlier today. He said that when he was practicing with the Davis Cup team you were the one that razzed him the most. Was that sort of payback?
ANDY RODDICK: Absolutely. But then he doesn't say I razzed him and then he comes and sleeps in my house for ten days.
Q. He said you had him make sandwiches.
ANDY RODDICK: Let's be clear about this. When I make a bet that I say I can beat my trainer left handed in a baseline, he says, Let's bet, and I say, That's fine. I'll put up 200 bucks, but if I win you have to be my sandwich maker the rest of the day. Absolutely, if I win, I'm gonna have about six sandwiches that afternoon.
Q. He didn't elaborate. He said you said, "Go get me a sandwich."
ANDY RODDICK: That's bad reporting. You should look for more detail. That's on you.
Q. I'm doing my reporting now.
ANDY RODDICK: That's true. Yeah, I probably got it the most from Andre also, but it's kind of it's a little bit of a Davis Cup tradition, you know. You got to make the rookies do something. It's the only time we're on a team. I kind of have to make the most of it. I missed the whole college experience. He's pledging.
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