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September 10, 2006

Andy Roddick

TIM CURRY: Questions, please.

Q. Can you summarize your match tonight.

ANDY RODDICK: Uhm, I can try.

I thought it was a pretty high level of tennis, especially those two middle sets. There wasn't much between us. I feel like I gave myself a chance. I had some breakpoint opportunities there in the third and played some decent points on them. I competed hard, you know. Disappointed, but I'm also proud of the two weeks that I had here.

Q. You said the other day that you felt that Roger, I mean, you described him as great, and you said, "Right now, I'm very good." Is that the difference tonight, greatness and being very good?

ANDY RODDICK: I don't know. Probably. I mean, I'm still trying to prove it, you know. There's no question if he's great, but, you know, that's for you to decide.

Q. Well, how about yourself, though? In terms of how far you've come this year, do you feel like, you know, today, although obviously not the result you wanted, is a stepping stone, though, in terms of getting to where you want to be?

ANDY RODDICK: Yeah, absolutely. I leave here excited about where I'm heading right now. You know, the last month, with the exception of the last set there, I was in there with him, you know. You know, when he gets out in front, he tends to do that, you know.

I felt like I had him a little bit off for, you know, for a little bit of that third set, and it could have gone either way. You know, so maybe I was flirting with it for a little bit.

Q. Can you talk a little bit about that amazing game at 2 3 when you were serving in the third set. You found a way to hold him off.

ANDY RODDICK: Yeah, I mean, that was that was a big game. At that point, we were pretty much fighting tooth and nail. You know, I just kept trying to fight and came up with some big serves when I needed to.

But, you know, I thought he played a pretty good game there to break me to win the set.

Q. Those first five games of the match, was there a feeling that just said, I just need to get on the board here or I'm gonna get overrun?

ANDY RODDICK: Yeah, absolutely. The thing is, my serving percentage was a little low those first five games, but as far as hitting the ball, I wasn't hitting the ball bad at all. Like I said, you definitely don't want to let him run it out. Once he gets ahead of you, it's tough.

So I thought those first two games I won in the first set and actually broke were, you know I think those were key. Otherwise, you know, you don't want to get embarrassed out there, that's for sure.

So it was nice to be able to claw back a little bit and take that second.

Q. Was it at all tough and I apologize if this has been asked to look up and see Tiger Woods in the other guy's player box?

ANDY RODDICK: Uhm, I don't know. I didn't really notice until they showed him, you know.

But, you know, he's a big boy. That's his decision.

Q. Comparing to the other matches you played in the two weeks, would you agree that Federer is still a step above? You played a lot of good players.

ANDY RODDICK: That's pretty that's kind of that's obvious, isn't it?

Q. It's really tough to beat him?

ANDY RODDICK: We know the answer to that, don't we?

Q. The other day, James Blake said, Forget about tennis, Roger Federer could be the best athlete in any sport. What are your thoughts of that?

ANDY RODDICK: He's definitely earned the right to be in that discussion without it being much of a stretch at all. He's a hell of a tennis player and a hell of an athlete.

Q. What memories will you take of your overall play from these two weeks?

ANDY RODDICK: Yeah, well, I mean, it was a good two weeks and a good last month for me with Cincinnati, and especially coming back from an injury that kept me out for three weeks or so.

I'm excited, you know. I can't wait to spend the off season working with Jimmy for an extended period of time, as well. I still feel like I have a lot to learn, and there's a lot of upsides still there.

You know, from another standpoint, I think this event was amazing, you know, as far as story lines. I think it really should belong to Billie Jean King and Andre Agassi and Martina.

Q. You and Blake were the only guys to win sets against Federer. You and Blake, maybe a few other guys, what do you have to do to step up your game, and what can you do personally to be perhaps more competitive against this guy?

ANDY RODDICK: Uhm, just more of what I did today, you know. Like I said, you convert those breakpoints there in the third set and it could end up being different, you know?

I gave myself a shot today, you know. That's what I could ask for. I wanted to make it tough. I played my heart out. I tried my best. You know, I'm excited. I feel like I have a lot of room for improvement still. I just got to keep working. That's it.

Q. Would you be comfortable sharing with us some of the first things that Jimmy said to you after the match?

ANDY RODDICK: No, I mean, he said, "Hell of a run," you know. He said he was proud of me. I don't know if it was anything completely out of the ordinary. He said I might have been a little brain dead in the third set in that one game (smiling).

But, overall, it was good. Like I said earlier, I asked him the other day, and he said he was looking for this kind of run starting in January, you know, when we first started working together. So we feel like we're ahead of pace right now as far as our goals together.

Q. I don't know if you were asked this, I don't think you were. At 5 5, I think you turned to Patrick McEnroe and said, "This is so much fun," or, "I can't handle this much fun." Can you talk about how much fun you were having at that moment?

ANDY RODDICK: It was. It was great. The atmosphere was great. I was really enjoying competing, you know. You want to be on that stage. At that point, it was a real battle. I was really enjoying myself out there. That was a lot more fun than a lot of the losses I've had this year.

Q. Two questions, Andy. You played 49 net points and won the majority of them. Did you make the decision today that if he was gonna beat you, he was gonna have to pass you? That seemed to be a change in strategy from past matches. Second part, is he a different player today than he was at Wimbledon a year ago? You haven't played him in a while.

ANDY RODDICK: Yeah, I mean, I think, you know, he's improving, as well, which is scary.

But I don't know if it was just today, I've been playing that way for the better part of a month now.

Q. Against him, though.

ANDY RODDICK: Well, no, I mean, as far as coming in. Strategy is strategy. It's not like I haven't been to the net at all in the past month and all of a sudden try to do it today. It's something I've been committed to doing recently.

Q. I wonder if you could talk about how much you appreciated being where you were today as compared to this tournament a year ago. Do you just appreciate being in that position more than you might have a couple years ago?

ANDY RODDICK: Yeah, yeah. I was real happy, you know. I woke up in a real good mood. I was really excited. Like we've covered already, I had a lot of fun out there. I really did enjoy myself and I really did enjoy the experience.

You know, I just want to keep doing it. You know, if I lose to him in eight Grand Slam finals, that's fine. You throw enough crap against the wall, something's gonna stick one of these times.

I really did have a blast out there.

Q. I have a follow up, actually, too, about Jimmy. It's almost a cliche that great athletes are not great teachers of athletes. I'm wondering how Jimmy has broken that mold a little bit with you.

ANDY RODDICK: Well, I don't know if his athleticism was the greatest, but his heart was the greatest and his mind was the greatest. So maybe that's where the difference lies. He is a very good teacher.

Q. Dick Enberg said on the court, Welcome back to the top, you were very quick to correct him and say, "Almost the top." How important is it for you to let people know it's not good enough to be almost at the top?

ANDY RODDICK: Trust me, I don't need to let people know. It's extremely apparent, if you read anything.

But, uhm, yeah, I don't know. It wasn't I was just correcting him. Obviously, Roger is at the top and he's the only person at the top regardless of how much people want to make rivalry comparisons and this, that and the other. He's the best player in the game. There's no question in my mind or if you ask any player's mind about that.

He's deserved that spot.

Q. In terms of your performance today against Roger, how would you say it rates against past performances? Do you think you're closing the gap a little bit?

ANDY RODDICK: Closing the gap from where I was earlier this year, you know, it was like the Grand Canyon (smiling). You know, it's definitely, definitely closer.

But this is probably close to the Wimbledon in '04, you know. I had shots to win that third set, as well. I was actually up a break in that one. This one, I just had a lot of breakpoints. So, uhm, you know, I don't know. I don't know. I guess I'm not that great at rating losses.

Q. Winning the Open championship, your run to the finals here, is that going to help you personally when you guys go to Russia in the Davis Cup competition?

ANDY RODDICK: I don't see how it can hurt. You know, going there as a confident player as opposed to going there as a not confident player, that should help.

Q. Plan to play the same schedule next year that you did this year, or are you going to maybe juggle things around? You pulled out of Vegas before Indian Wells.

ANDY RODDICK: You know, it's tough to say because, you know, who knows how I'm going to be feeling in March right now. You know, a lot of it is dependent upon, uhm, how I'm playing, how I'm feeling physically. A lot of times you don't know until, you know, four and five days before events how you're feeling physically.

I think it's tough to answer that right now.

Q. Will Jimmy have some input as to how much you play early on?


Q. Maybe plot a different strategy?

ANDY RODDICK: You'd have to ask him, but I'm definitely I definitely value his input. I'm sure he's going to have a hand in it, for sure.

Q. Will you go to California to work out with Jimmy after the off season? How much time will you spend there?

ANDY RODDICK: I'm not sure yet. You know, I don't know how much he's going to travel in the fall, you know, but I'm sure we're gonna spend a bulk of the off season together trying to improve.

Q. Speaking of looking ahead, do you have a tangible goal for the rest of this year, any particular objectives?

ANDY RODDICK: You know what, I haven't thought about it yet. I'm sure I can probably sit down and be a little more unbiased in a couple days' time.

TIM CURRY: Davis Cup.

ANDY RODDICK: Yeah, well, he said personal goals. Obviously, we'd love to win Davis Cup (smiling). But that's not really...

Q. Wasn't asking about that.

ANDY RODDICK: No, well, that's not really personal, that's part of a team, Tim (laughing).

I'm not sure yet.

Q. How much has it helped having your brother John with you?

ANDY RODDICK: It's been great, you know. When Dean and I decided to part, it was a little bit of an unfair position for him because I was struggling with confidence and he came in. I asked him basically to do me a favor by traveling with me and helping out. And then he got thrown under the bus a little bit, which I thought was unfair.

You know, so my success is his success, as well. He's the one there on a daily basis helping me and helping me put in the sweat and the hours. You know, he's there every day for me. I love him very much, so, uhm, you know, I'm glad we got to experience this after a rough year. And my trainer, Doug, too; he's been with us the whole time.

Q. Tough question. You had to boil it down to two or three aspects of Roger's game that makes him so tough, what would be the two or three elements that you'd focus on?

ANDY RODDICK: Well, I mean, I think his ability to play big points. I think he sees the court a little bit differently. I don't know if you can boil it down to two or three. I think his movement's underrated, and what he can do with his hands is unparalleled.

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