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September 6, 2006
THE MODERATOR: Questions for Andy.
Q. You look pretty happy.
ANDY RODDICK: I am happy.
Q. Can you talk about your happiness a little.
ANDY RODDICK: Yeah, I feel good. I mean... (smiling).
It feels nice to be answering that question as opposed to, "Describe what you're feeling," after losses, which has been a little too frequent for my liking this year.
I just appreciate playing good tennis again. It feels really good. Just competing. You know, it feels really good.
Q. When Michael asked you on the court, Is this the old Andy, you said, "No, this is the new Andy Roddick." Is this important for you to parlay this? This is a rejuvenated new and improved version?
ANDY RODDICK: Yeah, I think I spent too much time this year, and I think everybody has, looking back. What's done is done. I got to focus on what I need to do to improve every day, and I might have lost sight of that a little bit.
It's not the old, I think it's a different way of playing than that was also. So, you know, I feel like it's a new chapter.
Q. How is it a different way of playing?
ANDY RODDICK: Well, you guys are the analysts, you tell me.
Q. You're the player. We like to hear it from the horse's mouth.
ANDY RODDICK: That's all right. Go buy a horse.
Q. I don't have the money to buy a horse.
ANDY RODDICK: It's maybe just a little bit more aggressive. Maybe not hanging back as much.
Q. Obviously, this is the first time you've beaten Lleyton at a Slam. What did you particularly like, not tactic wise, but what made you satisfied?
ANDY RODDICK: I competed well. I didn't panic, which is maybe what I've done against Lleyton at Slams a couple times before, most notably in Australia when I lost to him there. I didn't play myself out of points. I was down a couple breakpoints in the third set and a breakpoint in the second set, and just was patient and try to make him come up with the goods as opposed to forcing. You know, I did a good job of waiting for my shot, and then when it came, pulling the trigger.
You know, it was that was a mentally tough match for me, you know. Lleyton has gotten the best of me, especially in some of the bigger situations before. So, you know, it was a good mental hurdle, as well.
Q. It's early still, but are you surprised at how quickly it's come together?
ANDY RODDICK: Yeah, yeah. Actually, I actually just asked Jimmy that. I said, "Did you think it would happen this quickly?" He said, "No, I was looking at Australia."
You know, but I'm not, you know for all my faults, I'm not scared to work. I never have been. So, uhm, you know, that's one of the positives. I was willing to kind of do my best to try to work through it and not kind of give up, I guess.
Q. Are you surprised that you have to play Youzhny now instead of Nadal?
ANDY RODDICK: Yeah. I mean, I think Nadal was the favorite, but if you look at the way their games match up, I thought it could be a little bit of a test for Rafa. I thought a lot of it was dependent upon how Youzhny handled the situation. He played a great match. He played flawlessly. You know, he's the man who deserves to be in the semis.
Q. How do you match up against him?
ANDY RODDICK: I hope well. I don't think I'm going to give him as many balls to hit as Nadal did. Hopefully, I'll be able to make him play a little bit more defense than he's had to play against Ferrer, Robredo and Nadal. I think he's been getting pretty good looks at taking swings at the ball. Hopefully I can affect his rhythm a little bit.
Q. He had an upset in the doubles also tonight.
ANDY RODDICK: I saw that.
Q. Maybe making a statement for Davis Cup. Is this something you can reverse the statement, playing him in singles?
ANDY RODDICK: Wouldn't that require him playing with another Russian in doubles?
Q. Good point. It's late.
ANDY RODDICK: It is late (smiling).
Q. Your first serve percentage was high. You were just dominating on it the whole match. How long have you felt that good on the serve? Is that the best you've served ever against Lleyton?
ANDY RODDICK: You know what, I've actually served well against Lleyton before, but I proceeded to miss the first ball after the serve a lot.
You know, besides percentages and stuff, I think the biggest serve was the one that I hit really slow.
Q. The kick serve.
ANDY RODDICK: In the second set, when I was down breakpoint, I threw in I think it was 93 miles an hour. I don't know if he was expecting that. I don't think I've ever done that against him in seven years. You know, just I think the most effective thing is I'm mixing it up, and then, you know, I think by throwing in some off pace stuff, it makes my big one look maybe a little bit faster.
Q. Is that just a natural maturation that you know that you have more tools and you know when to use them?
ANDY RODDICK: I think it has to do with confidence, being able to know that I can use them and use them confidently. I feel like I'm hitting every serve pretty confidently right now. You know, maybe sometimes when you feel like you're not getting good slice on it or you're not hitting your kick that well, then you have to go to the, you know, fastball a little bit more.
So I think it just has to do with feeling like the options are available to me right now.
Q. You were running well and had some sweet winners, as well. At certain times, did you feel that you were in the zone tonight?
ANDY RODDICK: No. No, I was too worried about the task at hand to feel that way. I just kept telling myself to compete, compete for every point. If you go away for two points against Lleyton, all of a sudden it's Love 30 and you're looking, you know it's uncomfortable.
I tried to stay in the moment as much as I could. That thought didn't cross my mind.
Q. Lleyton in straights at the US Open. When was the last time after a win you felt this good?
ANDY RODDICK: I don't know. I felt pretty good after Cincinnati. You know, I don't know. I don't know. It's, you know, maybe I appreciate it a little bit more right now.
Q. How does it feel, this Open, to reach the stage in 2006, compared to how it was in '03? Only three years ago, but maybe a long time ago?
ANDY RODDICK: Yeah, I feel it's a completely different story. Maybe similar to what I touched on earlier. It was a completely different scenario then. It was all new and exciting. I hadn't really had anything tough in my career yet, you know. It was kind of, you know I kind of shot up real quick, and then, you know, had a hot summer, and maybe I didn't realize what was going on. I think now maybe it's a bit more gratifying. I'm really excited.
Q. You were talking about your frustrations when you played him in Australia. Could you feel and hear his frustration tonight?
ANDY RODDICK: No.
Q. Third set, he had the two breakpoints. You screamed in delight, he screams in agony, he's cursing out. Could you feel him mentally breaking there?
ANDY RODDICK: I didn't even notice he did that. I didn't even see him do that.
Q. What about James against Roger?
ANDY RODDICK: Popcorn match. Get some popcorn and watch it.
I'm excited about it. You know, the thing is, is that, you know, James has weapons, and he can go for his shots. So if he gets hot, he could make it interesting, you know. You know, it's just a matter of if he can do it for three sets.
Either way, it's gonna be exciting to watch, just the way their styles match up. I mean, they're both pretty explosive. You know, so I like Roger a lot, but I'd love some company from James in the semis.
Q. Other than Roger's obvious talents on court, what makes it so tough for people to break through him mentally in these big situations?
ANDY RODDICK: Well, 'cause they just know he's been there a lot, you know. He kind of ho hums his way through breakpoints and stuff like that. I don't know if it's so much mental might be a little bit mental of the other guys but I think it's just his ability to play big points well.
Q. There were some comparisons being drawn recently with Roger and Tiger Woods. How do you assess their respective dominance in each of their sports?
ANDY RODDICK: I think the comparison I think it's a pretty intriguing comparison. I think it's a pretty fair comparison. I think Tiger has done it a little bit longer and he's kind of been through, you know, a year where he didn't win. So I think it's a little bit different.
But as far as the way they've dominated their respective sports recently, you know, and kind of Tiger being the best player, and Phil getting his wins in a couple times, but then reasserting himself, it's kind of similar to Rafa and Roger. So I think it's a pretty good comparison.
Q. Roger said today when asked about that comparison, he said the one quality that he thinks they both share is the ability to do it, do it over a long period of time with consistency. You were talking about, you know, maybe having taken some things for granted in '03 and getting back to this point. Just looking at the ability to do that for such a long period of time, I mean, is that really what you're striving for now?
ANDY RODDICK: Yeah, absolutely. Not on Roger's level, but the thing I think the thing that caused, for lack of a better word, concern when I started playing not so well this year is the fact that I had been pretty consistent for the three and a half years before that. One, two and three, I was always a contender. I was always, if not not on Roger's level of being favorites, but probably that next tier.
So, you know, I think you definitely have to respect someone who can do it week in and week out. That's what makes people really good players and great players, you know. I'd love to be a great player, but I feel like I'm very good right now.
Q. Could you see the picture over there of Jimmy?
ANDY RODDICK: Court 1 (smiling).
Q. What does it say?
ANDY RODDICK: I can see a right elbow and a wrist band (laughter).
Q. It's the classic one of him fist pumping. What does that picture mean to you?
ANDY RODDICK: Yeah. (Looking at the picture on the interview room wall. ) I don't know. I'd really love to come up with something very sentimental and clever for you.
I've touched on the fact that I was actually there for that run. Probably the only thing that runs a parallel with it is what I saw with Andre this year, you know, as far as people tennis being like a rock show, you know.
So, uhm, I'm lucky enough to say I was there for both of them. That's pretty cool.
Q. Were you pulling for Courier or Connors in that semifinal, do you remember?
ANDY RODDICK: I think I was eight. I think I had money riding on it. I don't remember. I was you know, Jimmy is probably going to be mad at me, but I was probably going for the feel good story. I had been at Connors matches. I think whenever you're seeing the old guard on his last stand, you figure the young guy's gonna be there for years. I don't really remember, but I think I lost money on it.
Q. Were you there for Novacek and Haarhuis?
ANDY RODDICK: Yeah, I was there for both of them. I think I left before the semis.
ANDY RODDICK: I had to go to school.
Q. Do you remember, was it as loud a crowd as you've ever heard? Is there anything you remember from it?
ANDY RODDICK: Yeah, I mean, it was just chaos. I mean, you're eight and nine years old. I don't think I totally got what was going on, but I promise you when I was going on the subway out there every day, I couldn't wait to get there.
Q. Do you remember when he retrieved the Haarhuis?
ANDY RODDICK: Yeah, I think everybody remembers that. I'm thinking that could be the most famous point in tennis, you know, just as far as people. Whenever someone runs down an overhead or two, you automatically think of that. You know, I don't think I'm in the minority as far as people remembering that.
Q. You've never set Jimmy up against the fence and said, Let me take a couple overheads?
ANDY RODDICK: I do try to fire them at him. I hit one away and he's like, I don't want to run. He's done running (smiling).
THE MODERATOR: Couple more questions.
ANDY RODDICK: You said last question like five minutes ago.
THE MODERATOR: No. I said, Any more questions.
ANDY RODDICK: Oh, okay.
THE MODERATOR: Not, Last question.
ANDY RODDICK: That's true.
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