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September 4, 2006
ANDY RODDICK: I don't know about you guys, do you think this is product placement? What do you think? I'm guessing (holding up an Evian bottle).
I could just be calling myself a loser, too.
THE MODERATOR: First question, please.
Q. You seem to be going about this in an extremely kind of motivated, business like manner. Today was, Let's get it done and get off quick?
ANDY RODDICK: Yeah, you can't draw motivation from six months of bad results, then you're not gonna draw it from much. Especially with having played three and a half hours yesterday, I don't know if it would have been good to extend that much more. So I definitely wanted to try to close it out in three.
Q. You said you're somebody that looks up at the board sometimes, look at your statistics and stuff. Do you have a number in mind, first serve percentage wise? You served 76% first serve today. Do you have a number in mind, if I get over this I should be in good shape?
ANDY RODDICK: The high 60s is normally really good. I'll take that most days. I think with Cincinnati and here I've been close to or a little bit above 70, which is really good, you know. I'll take that any day.
Q. What did you think, I found it amusing when the person yelled out very loudly, Come on, Andy, do it for Andre. Did you even hear it?
ANDY RODDICK: I did. I did. I thought, you know, I definitely knew the crowd was conscious of the fact that he was the one who played Andre for the last time, you know. But that being said, I don't know how much stock I could put into it today. You know, I was selfishly trying to win my match.
Q. Yesterday, you referred to whether or not, if you had to play Agassi in this match, you said you didn't want to be the guy who shot Bambi. How did it feel beating the guy who shot Bambi?
ANDY RODDICK: Shooting the guy who shot Bambi (laughter)? I guess it feels better than shooting Bambi.
Q. Given that you guys are both big hitters, were you surprised there were as many long points played in this match?
ANDY RODDICK: Were there?
Q. Seemed like there were. You got the best of them, most of them today.
ANDY RODDICK: I don't know. I think the biggest factor was just that the wind was pretty tough on one side. So I was trying to make him play a lot from the side that's against the wind, 'cause every shot was kind of a battle from that side. Maybe that's why it was a little bit tougher to pull the trigger out there today, because the conditions were a little tricky.
Q. Is that why you stayed back on the baseline a little more than you've been lately?
ANDY RODDICK: Yeah, I mean, it's tough to get in when you've got a 30 mile an hour wind coming at your face.
So, you know, it's tough to get that ball to jump on.
Q. You won your last 10 matches, going back to Ohio. Do you sort of have a feeling of a couple years ago, you're getting that confidence, really, Hey, I'm playing well again?
ANDY RODDICK: Yeah. I mean, I definitely feel like I'm playing well again. You know, doesn't really do me any good to try to compare too much. But, uhm, I said in Cincinnati I felt like in the second match, the first couple games I knew that I had kind of found something.
Even in Indianapolis I thought I hit the ball a lot better. You know, so I've been I guess since Wimbledon I've been playing pretty well.
You know, it's a lot more fun that way, I promise you.
Q. You play what strikes me as such a quick pace. Maybe I'm wrong, but I didn't see you look much over in Jimmy's direction. My question is, do you get any information from him or any affirmation during the course of a match?
ANDY RODDICK: I can't get information I can't get information. That would be illegal in tennis, wouldn't it?
Q. Oh, I'm sorry.
ANDY RODDICK: No one does that.
ANDY RODDICK: No, I don't think I look at him any less than I have any I don't I mean, I don't know. I don't think so.
Q. Do you feel there's still another level given little changes in your game and stuff that you can still
ANDY RODDICK: Yeah, absolutely. You know, I feel like I've played well so far at this Open. I've played okay. I've gotten through my matches. But I still feel like I was playing better in Cincinnati. And I feel like the last set today maybe, I was down 3 2, and to run it out is the kind of tennis I want to play. I was a little bit more aggressive on my returns.
So I'm glad that I closed it strongly because, you know, this year, sometimes I've been getting up and I haven't really put my foot on the accelerator.
So, uhm, I definitely think there's some room for improvement still.
Q. When you see the board flash a serve at 145, do you take personal pleasure in that, that you hit it so hard, so fast?
ANDY RODDICK: If it goes in. If it goes in and I win the point.
You know, I've said of the stuff that I've done in my career, what gets talked about is fast serves. I don't put much stock in that. I don't really. I guess it's a fun fact to everybody, and even people who don't understand tennis understand a number like that. But, uhm, if anything, I'll use the radar just as a gauge for what serves I'm hitting well on that day. Some days you hit your wide serve at 110, and some days it's coming in there at 120.
I think I use that as a little bit of a gauge early on. But this is gonna sound bad, but hitting a serve 140 something isn't a new experience for me, so, uhm, I don't make it that big of a deal in my own mind.
Q. When you talk to Jimmy, he keeps pinpointing the thing that he feels most is that you guys have become friends. I'm wondering if, A, you feel the same way, and, B, kind of the dynamics of a friendship with somebody who's obviously old enough to be your father, how you bridge that generation gap.
ANDY RODDICK: To be honest, when I went to California for those four days, I think it was just before Indianapolis, I was scared 'cause I didn't know what to expect, you know. I didn't you hear things and you know someone's reputation. You just, you know, I think we were both taking a leap of faith, just hoping that something would click. You know, it did.
You know, he came to Austin and stayed in one of the upstairs bedrooms and, you know, I just feel like maybe it's been a while since he's just been one of the boys, you know, playing pool and poker and hanging out and, you know, we'd practice, he'd come home, kick his feet up on my couch, have a beer. It was pretty surreal.
But, you know, I definitely get the sense that he enjoys being maybe back in the locker room and just kidding around. You know, it's huge. I mean, coming from we didn't really know each other. I mean, I think we made we might have met one time before I went out there.
I was definitely anxious before we started working together, and I didn't know if it was gonna last more than three days, you know, 'cause that's kind of what he gave me. I'm glad it has.
Q. It's curious, but he was known as a guy who never fraternized. Do you think he's starting to rediscover some of his potential?
ANDY RODDICK: He would probably be able to answer that better than me. I just know, you know, the Jimmy I've come to know over the last couple months. I think he gets a little bit of a bum rap because when he sees all the other players, it's like long lost, you know, friends.
So, uhm, I think if you are on his bad side, he might let you know it. Thankfully, I haven't gotten there yet.
Q. Did you ever just sit there and think, Jimmy Connors in my upstairs bedroom (laughter)?
ANDY RODDICK: Wow.
I mean, that question is about a 70 mile an hour fastball, huh? I had never really thought much about Jimmy Connors in my upstairs bedroom.
Q. Just that such an icon would be a guest.
ANDY RODDICK: Yeah, no, I know what you're saying I hope (laughing).
It was a little weird 'cause we'd be watching Toronto and I think this is just one example but we were sitting there. The TV's on, you know, I think we had just come back from practice. You know, it's like showing Roger's stats as how many weeks at No. 1. But the all time leader at 160, consecutive leader, is Jimmy Connors. I'm kind of going, So that's how it is? I understand.
Q. You're the first generation, your Davis Cup team seems to really have become a team and friends and everything. It's been since probably back to the Stan Smith and Arthur Ashe where they actually were friends. Is there something about the dynamics of, like, the guys that are, James and you and maybe the Bryans or whatever, that's making it mesh, that you would be friends anyway?
ANDY RODDICK: I don't know. I don't know. I mean, in my mind, the first thing I think is that it's coincidental that we all get along. I think I don't think it hurts there's a history with all the guys on the team. I've known Bob and Mike since I was eight. Mardy and I used to race our cars to school, you know. But of course we were safe about it (smiling).
You know, James, since, you know, I probably knew him least when I got on tour, but we've become good friends, as well. You know, I don't know the reasoning. We have the same interests, you know. We all kind of are on the same page. Beyond that, I don't really have a concrete reason for you.
Q. Same interests like poker?
ANDY RODDICK: Yeah, poker. We're always talking about sports. You know, I think, you know, other things (smiling)...
You know, I don't know. I think it's fortunate, though.
Q. Jimmy was away from the game for a good number of years. Now he's come back. It's so obvious he has just such an excitement and dynamic for the game. Ultimately, do you think that is what he's really given you, a certain dynamic and excitement and confidence?
ANDY RODDICK: Well, it's definitely reinvigorating, you know. The passion he brings to the court is huge. It's contagious.
But I think first and foremost, I mean, I get the opportunity on a daily basis to have information from one of the greatest players that ever played, you know. You can't really say that too often.
So, uhm, there's a lot he's bringing to the table.
Q. Did you ever, in one of these kick back sessions on the couch with a beer, find yourself asking Jimmy about moments in his career?
ANDY RODDICK: Yeah, I try to bait him because, to be honest, he doesn't bring it up that often. That was one of my first Opens. I was one of the kids sitting way up in the stands watching him, you know. Every once in a while, I will throw a sky hook into practice, kind of glance over, he gets this little smirk on his face.
But, you know, yeah. He'll talk about it if I ask about it.
Q. Do you find he's reluctant to talk about his own career?
ANDY RODDICK: Little bit. He definitely doesn't volunteer much, that's for sure.
Q. In LA, you weren't very comfortable talking about Jimmy because you just started this relationship. Looks like you've become much, much more comfortable in discussing him.
ANDY RODDICK: Well, I guess I had a choice to make. I was either gonna be uncomfortable for a lot of a significant amount of time, or, you know...
There were a lot of questions in LA that people asked, that we were just starting together, you know. Instead of just, you know, showing up, you know, it was a transitional process. It was still kind of new to both of us. I think we were a little noncommittal. But like we've been talking about since then, things have gone nicely. You know, I don't I guess maybe I'm just a little bit more comfortable now.
Q. Andre is very articulate about the game and about, you know, what he's picking up. Jimmy was always very tight lipped about that stuff. His mom and grandmother were his coaches, stuff like that. Without giving away any State secrets, is there a lot more there in his overall comprehension of the game? We sort of tend to think of him as a confidence guy, and as kind of a spirit guy, but is there more there technically than might meets the eye?
ANDY RODDICK: Yeah, I think so. But one of our things, you're probably right, I don't know if he wants I don't think he thinks that our business on the court is everyone else's business, as well, you know.
So I think that, you know, a lot of the stuff that we work on will probably for the most part stay between us.
Q. What are your initial thoughts about the HawkEye at the Open and how you've used it, if you think it's correct.
ANDY RODDICK: Yeah, I'm not very good at it, but I think it's good. I think I've said it a lot, that I just think it adds something else to the game, you know. Fans can shout out, Challenge it. They show the instant replay, and for that four or five seconds it kind of has a little bit of a buzz. Then the oooh and the ahhh whether it's in or out.
I think it's good.
Q. Marat says it's inaccurate.
ANDY RODDICK: (Smiling). Surprising.
Q. As far as your strokes go, what do you think your biggest challenge is in trying to win this?
ANDY RODDICK: How much time do you have?
Q. Plenty of time.
ANDY RODDICK: Oh, not me.
Q. Could you talk about your possible quarterfinal matchups. If it's Hewitt, has the dynamic changed a bit from earlier in your career? You're only 23, he's 25. Previously, he was 22 and you were 20.
ANDY RODDICK: That would work out. I don't know. I mean, I think it's actually been our careers have been kind of similar. We both, you know, have been at the top and then we've had our struggles. You know, so they're kind of similar.
But, you know, I think I get your point that the first time I played him here I had been playing pro for about six months and he had already been out there for three years. You know, I think that's changed a little bit.
But he's been playing well. I mean, he came in as a pretty big question mark with his knee and whatnot, and, you know, yesterday was pretty impressive.
Q. If you don't mind looking back for a minute for me, the first time you made the Tennis Masters Cup, what that meant to you, what kind of experience that was. This is a little bit different dynamic than a regular tournament.
ANDY RODDICK: Yeah, it's I think it's a great event. I remember in 2002 I could have gone as an alternate, and I didn't want to because I wanted the first time that I went to have earned my spot and to not be going there hoping that something bad happens to someone so I can play, you know.
So, you know, I definitely took that very seriously.