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August 15, 2006

Andy Roddick


THE MODERATOR: Questions, please, for Andy Roddick.

Q. Can you just talk about your injury. Was it your back? What was it?
ANDY RODDICK: Well, it's the same one I've been fighting. Had a little tear in a tendon that connects to my rib and, you know, I definitely wasn't expecting to be a hundred percent. I started serving full-out yesterday. So, you know, I think it would be ambitious to think that I was a hundred percent.
But, yeah, I was just a little worried. It got a little bit worse as the match went on. I just wanted to make sure that was normal and that I wasn't risking anything. The trainers and the doctors seem to think that that's just from fatigue, from not using it that much. You know, so as long as they think that's normal, then I'm okay with it.

Q. Did it get bad enough where you thought you might retire at one point, maybe the second set?
ANDY RODDICK: It crossed my mind, but it never got to the point where I was giving it serious thought as opposed -- you know, going point to point. I don't know if it got to that point.

Q. Was it distracting? Was it harder to focus on what you were doing?
ANDY RODDICK: Not really. When you haven't played for three weeks or so, it's just tough getting into the flow of a match a little bit, especially against a guy who gives you pretty much no rhythm. He's taking one ball and hitting as hard as he can. It's tough to kind of get into a groove.
Third set I felt like I finally found some rhythm. Started hitting the ball. When he wasn't hitting service winners, I felt like I was getting the upper hand in the rallies. So that's good.
Basically what I accomplished today is I just gave myself a chance to play better tomorrow.

Q. Did that injury come at a particularly annoying time for you? You went to the finals in Indianapolis.
ANDY RODDICK: Yeah, it was disappointing because I'd been looking to kind of hit a form all year, and I felt like I did that in Indy and I felt like I was unlucky to win -- to not win there. I'd won a couple matches in LA and then this comes when you feel like progress is being made, and especially during, you know -- I've won every tournament in this summer series before, so, uhm, it's one of my favorite times of the year. So that's disappointing.
But, you know, something that was out of my hands.

Q. Did it feel like there were times he just kept pulling things out of nowhere, just hitting winners and getting let cord winners, just kind of not missing at some points?
ANDY RODDICK: Yeah. I mean, I felt like I was starting to get to him a little bit at end of the third. But, you know, that's kind of his way of playing, going for broke a little bit, not giving you a whole lot of rhythm. You know, if he's on, he's very tough, you know. So, uhm, that's kind of what I expected, I guess.

Q. This injury can't get worse by playing, is that what you're saying?
ANDY RODDICK: I hope not. I'm sure the risk is always there.
But they said it's a slow-healing injury because it's something you use on everything. When I first did it, I couldn't laugh without it hurting. And, you know, when it first happened, my trainer had to take off my shoes after the match because I couldn't reach down. It's at a point where it's pretty much everything you do from leaning up out of bed to, you know, pretty much anything, you can't really get away from it. I think, therefore, they say it just takes a little bit longer to heal completely.

Q. So you still feel it?
ANDY RODDICK: Oh, for sure. For sure.

Q. How did it start?
ANDY RODDICK: Just in LA. I did it when I was running, and one shot.

Q. You felt it instantly? It didn't come on over --
ANDY RODDICK: Yeah. No, no, it was like this (snapping).

Q. Can you win this tournament with this injury?
ANDY RODDICK: We'll see. We'll see.
I hope so. I mean, I served better than I thought I would, to be honest. I didn't start serving until yesterday or the day before. So, you know, I don't know if it was my serve today that was wrong. It was probably the rest of it.
So, uhm, it feels fine. You know, I'm -- we'll see. I think, you know, maybe it's good to get out there and maybe work it out a little bit and exercise it. We'll see how it goes.

Q. Have you put a number of rounds that you feel that you really have to play this week to do well in the Open?
ANDY RODDICK: No, no. I mean, I just want to keep winning matches here. You know, I don't know what one -- I'd love to play matches going into the Open, but obviously the circumstances are a little different 'cause you're bringing injury into it. I'd love to win some matches here, though.

Q. Are you happy with the way you fought through everything just to get to the next round?
ANDY RODDICK: I'm happy I won, you know. I don't know, you know. I was fortunate in the tiebreaker. I'm not going to sit here and pretend I played well today, you know. But, like I said, I gave myself a chance to play better tomorrow.

Q. You've played well here the past few years. Is there something about this tournament?
ANDY RODDICK: I just like it. I like the conditions. The fans, they helped pull me through today again. You know, they're real good to me here. I feel comfortable here, you know. Sometimes my family comes down to this tournament. It's just nice. It's a very comfortable place for me.

Q. Are you surprised there are no more Americans playing at your level than there are?
ANDY RODDICK: Uhm, well, let's look at the bright side. I mean, after Andre and Pete, you know, for a couple years then if I was out, there was pretty much nobody. The way I see it, we have James now, and that's more than we had before, you know, save Andre and Pete, you know.
Not really. It goes in waves. That's just the way it is. It's amusing to me that other countries go, you know -- they're throwing 25th anniversaries for when Noah won the French Open, you know, and we go three without and all of a sudden everybody's going crazy, you know. I realize that that's because we've been spoiled in the best possible way with champion after champion after champion, but there was a similar kind of phase-in, phase-out from I think it was - was it '86 to '88?
You know, I think everybody was freaking out then, too. It's just a matter -- I'm confident I'll get my game back on track, you know. That's fine. I think James is playing well. You know, Mardy is healthy again. You know, we'll see. But I think people have to just understand that it does go in waves.

Q. Do you think that this rivalry that people have been talking about between Federer and Nadal is actually going to shape up to be something that could be good for the sport and generate a lot of fan interest as past rivalries have, or not? Do you think Nadal might not have it to keep it up?
ANDY RODDICK: Well, that remains to be seen, but right now it's very good for the sport, you know. The fact that I think he matches up well against Roger, you know. Other people are going to beat Rafael. I don't think there's any question about who the best player in the world is, you know. But, fortunately, for the game of tennis and for that rivalry's sake, Rafael matches up well against Roger by being lefty, by kind of playing a little bit heavier. So, yeah, I mean, tennis thrives on rivalries and, you know, right now I think it's very good for the game.

Q. How is he different than other lefties? Roger is able to beat a lot of other lefties.
ANDY RODDICK: There's not -- name another really, really --

Q. Fast, hard-hitting --
ANDY RODDICK: -- good lefty right now. I think it was a couple years ago, I don't know if there was one in the top 40 when the rankings finished. So, uhm, you know, I don't -- I think Rafael might just be a lot better than a lot of the other lefties out there right now. That's the simplest answer to your question.

Q. How would you assess your year? You talked about getting your game back. Are you pleased with how your year is going?
ANDY RODDICK: No, it was terrible. I don't know if I could have worse results for me than I have this year. That's not a secret. I'm not running from it. You know, I'm not in denial about it.
But it's getting better. I mean, for three months there, you know, I go on the practice court and wouldn't feel like I could hit a tennis ball, you know. So it's getting back there. Right now I can honestly say I'm confident that it will be the same as it was.

Q. Was it a mental thing?
ANDY RODDICK: Uhm, it was probably just confidence, you know. I went four years without ever having two bad results in a row, you know. So when you do, it just plays tricks on you. Maybe I was paying too much attention to what -- to everybody else pushing the panic button, and maybe I pushed it a little too soon as well.
But you live and learn. I definitely feel like progress is being made. I'm excited about working with Jimmy. I think he brings a lot to the table. I learn on a daily basis with him, so I'm not worried anymore.

Q. You talk about pushing the panic button. Media criticism, does that get in your head kind of, or has it in the past?
ANDY RODDICK: I don't know about get in my head more so than pisses me off, you know. I just think that it's just tough, especially for when it comes from some places, you know. I've done pretty much -- I've given my heart and soul to American tennis, as far as Davis Cup and trying to do the right things and treating the media with respect and trying to be available, you know. For them to kind of not give you the benefit of the doubt two months into the season is a little -- I thought it was a little quick, you know. If it had just started now, I would have completely understood. But I also realize that that's kind of where we're at as far as playing in America, you know. There's just been so many good players that I think that's expected at all times. So, uhm, you know, I guess I understand it, as long as there's not a personal slant on it.

Q. Jimmy was known as a pretty fiery player. Is he like that in your practice sessions? Does he yell at you?
ANDY RODDICK: No, he doesn't yell. He's very kind of -- he's very understated, you know. I don't know if we've gotten to the point where I've pissed him off yet, you know, so I'll keep you posted on that.

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