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September 9, 2006
THE MODERATOR: Questions for Andy.
Q. You must be pretty pleased with the way you were in all his service games, holding pretty easily. Didn't really seem to get on top of him. Must have been somewhat nerve wracking?
ANDY RODDICK: Yeah, it was tough. I felt like I was making him work a lot more. I don't feel like I was playing bad points on breakpoints, he would kind of just step up. I didn't feel like it was it was almost fair to be in a breaker in that third set and have that be decided because I felt I was getting the better of him for the better part of the match.
That's the way it is. I just worked through it. I felt like I was gonna get my opportunities. And luckily in the third set I was able to sorry, the fourth set, I was able to bust.
Q. When Pete Sampras won the US Open so young, he said that in a way that was a bad thing because he hadn't learned how to lose before he won. Can you relate to that now that you're back in the final of a major?
ANDY RODDICK: I've definitely learned how to lose (smiling).
I don't know. I wouldn't trade it for anything, to be honest, the experiences. You know, Pete said that, and Andre said something pretty good, too, about how important the process is, how it makes you enjoy it that much more. You know, I definitely wouldn't have wouldn't trade it for anything.
That being said, this time is I'm appreciating it a lot more. You know, there were some low points not too long ago, so I'm excited.
Q. How are you able to stay focused in that first set tiebreak, especially when towards the end of that first set, it seemed like Youzhny was kind of delaying the game while you were serving.
ANDY RODDICK: Yeah, that was a touch annoying 'cause he would get set, then when I was about to serve, then he'd do it. It wasn't like he was taking a while between points.
But to his credit, I think when I did say something, I felt like he realized it and stopped. So I thought that was a nice, nice move on his part. You know, I didn't think about it too much. Like I said, I only noticed it just a couple times.
Q. You go into this Roger match on a big streak. Is it going to feel different emotionally than going into a Federer match than it has in recent years?
ANDY RODDICK: I hope so. You know, I'm just gonna go out and throw it all at him. I'm just gonna go for it. Just play the way I have. You know, we've been simplifying it. Just go out, do what I've been doing in practice and how I've been playing. If the guy plays too well, then he plays too well. But I'm not gonna lay down. I'm gonna go out there and try to win the US Open.
Q. How important is the confidence level? You seem to have that swagger on court again.
ANDY RODDICK: Well, that's what it's all about, you know. It's just a matter of playing yourself into that point. You know, I definitely have been a lot more confident the last couple weeks.
Q. What is the most important thing that Jimmy Connors brought to you since you're working with him?
ANDY RODDICK: I don't know if I it's tough to be general and vague about it. You know, I just the sense of belief that he brought from the beginning was a nice change. Like I've said before, just his excitement and his passion for this game, it's nice.
Q. You're playing more from inside the court these days, yet at times you also seem to be backing up some. Is that reflex or old habit? Are you having a dialogue with yourself out there trying to keep yourself moving forward?
ANDY RODDICK: I think to be honest with you, I think it has more to do with a 30 mile wind going one way as opposed to another. You know, it's tough to step in when, I mean that court has a very, very sneaky wind on it. It always blows the opposite of the flag for some reason. But, uhm, you know, when it's going what feels like 30 miles an hour one way, it's sometimes tough to get the upper hand on one side.
So I think that might explain it a little bit more.
Q. From the last two points of that first service game in the third set through almost the end of the match, the serving was just about impeccable.
ANDY RODDICK: Yeah.
Q. How long has it been since you've had that feeling where in a match this big, not a first round match, where you felt totally in command of your serve?
ANDY RODDICK: What was it, Wednesday night? Wednesday night.
Q. Well, the semifinal or final...
ANDY RODDICK: Quarters, that's almost semi.
I don't know. You know, I've been in a groove this whole tournament. I felt like I didn't serve that well in the first set. My percentages were down. The thing that kind of I looked up at the stats and saw that I wasn't playing that well and I barely lost that first set. That gave me a little bit of confidence.
But serving, I feel like I've been serving well this whole tournament.
Q. What elements of your game are better than they were when you played Roger in the two Wimbledon finals?
ANDY RODDICK: Well, '04, I played real well against Roger. That's probably one of the best matches I've played and lost.
2005, I don't feel like I played my best tennis through that tournament. It was more about surviving.
But I feel like I'm hitting my backhand pretty solid here, even using it as a weapon up the line, believe it or not. I'm returning. I'm returning okay. Mentally, I'm in a good place right now.
Q. Is it extra significant or special to you that this is all happening at the US Open? There's been all this celebration about the history with Billie Jean and Andre, Jimmy Connors is in the stands. It's a very American tennis...
ANDY RODDICK: Jimmy who (smiling).
Q. Is it extra special that this whole new Andy is coming out at the US Open?
ANDY RODDICK: Yeah, I mean, I think you want to do it where you get support. You know, it's nice doing it. Especially, you know, it's one of three tournaments that my parents go to every year and that my friends are able to come up to if you get further into the tournament.
So, uhm, you know, it's nice that it's happening here.
Q. You've spoken of how you've been pleased that you have a friendship with Jimmy, too. Of course, you know, he's the great legend, the icon. What are the one or two things that you like about Jimmy Connors, the man, what qualities?
ANDY RODDICK: I like that he's been an absolute gentleman with my family and with my friends, and even the little things you don't really think of when he's cursing on the court, as far as opening doors for women and little things like that, that, to be honest, I didn't expect (smiling). It's nice to be around. That's probably the things that stood out most to me, and kind of the way he's old school and kind of simplifies things.
Q. Have you gotten to know his son and daughter a little bit?
ANDY RODDICK: I know Aubrey a little bit. I haven't spent that much time with Brett. I just met him here for the first time. Aubrey has been around, and she's sweet, as well.
Q. Have you ever gone into a match with Roger with more confidence and does he have to have a bit of a down day for you to win that match?
ANDY RODDICK: No, no. I have to go in and I have to have a good day. I just want to try to make it a war tomorrow. That's what I'm gonna try to do. I'm not gonna overthink it. I'm gonna sleep well tonight, come out tomorrow, throw everything at him and make it a battle.
Q. It seems you're setting up the point really well before coming to the net now. That's worked for you all tournament. Is that something you've been working on with Jimmy or is that something you've been working on for a long time but it's clicking into place in this tournament?
ANDY RODDICK: Probably a little bit of everything. I don't know if it's one or the other. It's something I've wanted to do for a while. I think with my court position and the positions that I'm putting myself in, once I am at net, makes it a little bit more successful.
First set today I was kind of coming in on some of the wrong shots and not coming in with a lot of force and was letting him set up. So I'm glad I've made the adjustment. I'm feeling more and more comfortable up there.
Q. You've been working on backhand down the line for a few years now. It looks like now you're just clicking, you're releasing, you have confidence. What did Connors tell you, and what's changed so much?
ANDY RODDICK: (Smiling). No, I just feel confident on it right now.
Q. A big part in any war is decision making. You seem to be making good decisions out there. Can you talk about that process, as you get victories and your confidence builds. Do you think your decision making is improving?
ANDY RODDICK: Yeah, absolutely. Like I said, it just comes with confidence because you don't panic and you don't second guess what you should be doing. You know, I feel like I have options, whereas a couple of the other matches here I've gone to the chip a little bit more. It wasn't working today as much, so I started to step in a little bit more and just drive through the ball. That started to work a little bit more.
When you're hitting the ball well, the options feel a little bit easier, therefore the decisions are easier, I think.
Q. You said you've got to have a good day tomorrow. Is that a matter of waking up and getting out on the right side of the bed, a
ANDY RODDICK: Probably more along the lines of playing well in a match (smiling).
Q. How much do you think is within your control, how you feel, what you eat, any preparation you can do, making decisions on the court?
ANDY RODDICK: Yeah, but that's an everyday process for us. Sleeping well and eating the right things, that's something you do as a tennis player, not just before all of a sudden a US Open. I think a lot of it's in my control. I'm pretty confident I'm gonna go out and hit the ball well tomorrow, which is a good thing and it's a good feeling.
Q. Have you ever even visualized yourself beating Roger in a huge match like this tomorrow? Can you try to picture what you'll feel like if you beat him?
ANDY RODDICK: No, I got to get to that point. I don't know if I can create it in my mind before it happens. You know, like I said, my approach to tomorrow is going to be very simple: I'm gonna go out, try to play well, lean into my shots, and, like I said, try to make it a battle.
Q. A lot of Roddick fans would like to see more of Andy Roddick coming in behind his first serve against Federer, knocking off some of those block returns he hits. Are we going to see more of that tomorrow?
ANDY RODDICK: I don't know. I haven't talked to the boss yet. We'll see.
Q. In a little bit, if you were sitting down before the TV, would you see the Texas State game or women's final?
ANDY RODDICK: (Smiling). Well, I mean, there hasn't been a 1 versus 2 game in Texas since 1956, so there's a women's final every year. So I don't know.
Q. Have you ever watched any of the tapes of Jimmy's finals here?
ANDY RODDICK: I've watched, yeah. I mean, I've watched tapes of everybody, yeah.
Q. Recently? Have you done it recently, since you've been working with Jimmy?
ANDY RODDICK: Not of the finals here, no.
Q. Krickstein, I know.
ANDY RODDICK: No, no, I don't need to sit down and watch that video. I've seen the match 52 times. Didn't get as much play when it was raining this year, though. Was a little disappointing.
No, I haven't gone out of my way to watch tapes since we've started working together.
Q. When you were watching Blake play Roger the other night, did you think, Well, he doesn't serve that well, and he didn't serve that well against James, I can attack that second serve?
ANDY RODDICK: Yeah, I think there's a few guys on tour whose second serves you can't get a hit on, you know. Yeah, I mean, I thought James definitely had his chances.
Q. Of all the matches you played in your career, in your life, what's the best you've ever felt on court, where everything was working, where you felt almost flawless out there?
ANDY RODDICK: I don't know. You know, to be honest with you, I don't know if you ever feel like you're just flawless. You're always worried about, like, trying to stop, you know trying to keep it going. I don't know if you ever feel like, Oh, wow, I just can't miss. You're literally thinking, okay, I haven't missed that far, but if I get down Love 30 in this next service games...
You're always guarding against it.
I don't know. There's different times. The first time I beat Pete, that was better than I had ever played before. I was 18, I think. I played well in the final here. I played well in the final in Wimbledon against Roger in '04. I don't know. I don't know if I can pick one, though.
Q. Do you remember the semifinal the last time you won the championship? How does it feel different going into the final this time?
ANDY RODDICK: I felt pretty fortunate to have gotten through that semifinal match. I feel like maybe this was, you know, not so much in doubt. I felt like I was in control of this one.
Q. Is there any value in watching tape of how you've played against Roger in the past?
ANDY RODDICK: I know how I've played against Roger in the past, and I've watched him play enough. I kind of know what I know what he's gonna try to do a little bit. You know, I don't know at this point, uhm, if tape would do much. I'm pretty confident as far as knowing what we're gonna see and what I need to do.
Q. Back in 2003, you were obviously playing some of your best tennis, winning the US Open. Do you think you're playing your best tennis now?
ANDY RODDICK: Yeah, I think so. If you matched up, I'd take now just because of the positioning on the court and everything that's involved. You know, but I think that's pretty tough to say.
Q. What separates Roger from the pack?
ANDY RODDICK: He wins a lot more than the rest of us.
Q. I'm talking fundamentals or mental.
ANDY RODDICK: Yes (smiling).
Q. Is it possible to overthink about Roger Federer instead of just going out with your weapons, trusting that your weapons on the right day can be better than his weapons?
ANDY RODDICK: Well, that's the plan for tomorrow. I've said it three or four times already. That's the way I'm going in, you know. I'm just gonna go in and worry about what I can do.
Q. Is he going to be like Pong tomorrow?
ANDY RODDICK: I hope so. I won that one in the commercial.
Q. Do you have any input on those advertising campaigns? You have your Mojo back.
ANDY RODDICK: Oh, God. Yeah, it's I probably should have had more input on that one (smiling).
I mean, I see 'em. I see 'em beforehand, you know. But I guess I could agree to do it or not do it. That's definitely a decision I have to make. But definitely I don't know if I am concerned enough to be in the boardroom going through the whole ordeal, you know. They have professionals who do that.
Q. Will you sequester yourself tonight, will you go out, have dinner, stay in, watch football?
ANDY RODDICK: I haven't decided yet. I'm kind of on the I don't know. If I do stay in, it won't be because of the final, it will be because of the football game (smiling).
Q. Who's gonna win the final?
ANDY RODDICK: Sorry?
Q. Who's winning the final?
ANDY RODDICK: Tonight?
ANDY RODDICK: I don't know. I don't know. I'm kind of on the fence, to be honest. You know, I think a lot of it depends on how Maria plays. You kind of know what you're gonna get from Justine the whole time. I think yesterday was a big step for Maria so, you know, who knows?
I wouldn't I don't know if I'd feel safe betting either way, but it will be interesting.
Q. Who's gonna win the football game?
ANDY RODDICK: Who's gonna win the football game? I think Texas could win the football game.
Q. What do you tell the freshman quarterback, second game, going out in a money game. What do you tell him?
ANDY RODDICK: Ah, no pressure (smiling).
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