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August 19, 2006

Andy Roddick


THE MODERATOR: Tomorrow Andy will appear in his third final here in four years. He will try to win his fourth career ATP Masters Series title and the 21st title of his career.
Questions for Andy.

Q. At what point for you does what's been a bad year turn into a good year? Certainly the last month maybe since Indianapolis things have been pretty good for you.
ANDY RODDICK: Yeah, I mean, I don't know if I think about, uhm, the year as a whole now, to be honest. You know, I didn't play well through a good portion of it and through three majors.
So right now I'm just trying to play well right now, and I'm just trying to get better. I'm not really thinking of it in context of the entire year.

Q. You served very well, and you came to the net a lot, did well there. Were you pleased with it tactically as well as the actual performance?
ANDY RODDICK: Yeah, I felt the key to the match was whoever got, uhm, on the aggressive early in the points, because we can both fire the ball a little bit, you know, but I wanted to make him resort to defense as opposed to offense. I felt like I did that pretty well tonight.

Q. I was looking at some of the stats. You won 45% of the points on his serve, which with your serve, obviously if you're gonna do that, you're gonna be successful out there. That might be key?
ANDY RODDICK: Yeah, that's a high number. I'll take that most days, that's for sure.
Yeah, I think the key to this week is I've been breaking serve, with the exception of the first match, pretty regularly. So that's a pleasing stat.

Q. Is part of your excitement that you're showing on the court because people have been writing you off in public and you're almost saying to them "I told you so," by doing this?
ANDY RODDICK: I'm a long ways from "I told you so," I think. But, yeah, for sure. Instead of kind of focusing on the negative, I decided to try to use it as motivation. It was weird to me how you spend four years building up a reputation and being 1, 2 and 3 in the world and then all of a sudden in two months, it's like it's all for naught. You work for four years and then two months, it pretty much means nothing, which was surprising to me, especially here in the States, you know.
You know, I think you definitely have to try to use that as a motivational tool.

Q. Who do you think was writing you off?
ANDY RODDICK: Oh, I think there -- I don't know if there was a shortage. I had to stop watching Wimbledon coverage after I lost and I got home. I couldn't. After about the first day of it, I couldn't watch the coverage anymore.
Uhm, you know, it was just. It was absolutely just, you know. I'm not saying it wasn't fair because, you know, I did play badly. But there is, you know, such thing as a slump and it's happened before and it wasn't the first time it ever happened, it's not going to be the last time it happens in sports, you know.
But I just had to try to turn it into -- turn negative into a positive, I guess.

Q. A lot of grand statements were made about your career as a whole at that point. What did you think about that?
ANDY RODDICK: That was probably one of the -- yeah, that was probably one of the parts that got to me. I mean, you can say what you want about my year, but I turn 24 this month, you know? If any other American comes up right now and he's 23, then they call him an up-and-comer. Those are the facts.
You know, I thought that was a bit unfair. I don't know if you can talk about someone in kind of past-tense in terms of a career when, you know, you don't even know if they're midway through their career yet.

Q. What was the difference in strategy compared to the match you played with him a few years ago, quarterfinals, and you lost in two sets?
ANDY RODDICK: I don't know. That was four years ago. I think we've both become better players since then. To be honest, I just remember the balls were being hit very hard at that time. To be honest, I don't have a real good grasp on what took place that night.

Q. Who do you feel more comfortable playing against, somebody who hits the ball hard, or somebody who is consistent, as Ferrero?

Q. Yeah.
ANDY RODDICK: Well, I think Juan Carlos hits the ball pretty hard, as well. The thing that's been very good about him this week is his court positioning. I think court positioning is going to be key. He's been playing up on the baseline and kind of moving people around. I've kind of been trying to do the same thing this week. So it should be interesting. I think that's gonna be a key in the match.

Q. Is there a parallel between your career and his career since people don't talk much about him any longer either?
ANDY RODDICK: Uhm, I mean, in a sense. In a sense. You know, I'm not gonna pretend to know what goes on in Spain as far as that stuff goes. I don't really, uhm -- I'm gonna plead ignorance on that, unfortunately.
But, you know, I definitely think so. I definitely think we both felt like we needed a big week, and the opportunity has presented itself. We've played well, and we're in the final.

Q. When you hear people criticizing you, watching Wimbledon, turn it off, I mean, does it hurt? Does it upset you? Do you want to go vomit? What's the emotion there?
ANDY RODDICK: Uhm, it's not really hurt because, you know, I, uhm -- like I said, it's fair. I haven't had good form for the first six months of this year. That's fine.
But, like Dustin said, they were talking about my career in terms of, you know, it being finished almost, you know, which was surprising to me and, you know, almost discounting everything before. And it was also weird to me because they said, uhm, you know, I was an underachiever, but I couldn't really do anything besides serve. So the way I figure it, if you can't do anything besides serve and you're No. 1 in the world, I mean, you can't be both, can you? You can't be an underachiever and have no game, right?
So it was a bit confusing at times. I don't know if I got a grasp on it. To say I was slumping and I'm not in good form and it was a disappointment, that stuff, that's all fair game, absolutely.

Q. What has Connors said to you the last couple days? Have you talked to him at all?
ANDY RODDICK: Yeah, I talk to him every day. He's excited with the way I'm playing. He said more importantly than winning and losing is you're playing the right way, and you're playing the match on your terms. He's excited because of things that we've worked on, I've gone out and not been scared to try and apply them in situations like this. So, you know, we're both excited right now.

Q. Is that a mental hurdle that you had to get over, going out and not being scared to try some of those things?
ANDY RODDICK: Uhm, not really. Not really. You know, he just gave me new ideas to try to apply. I'm playing a lot differently right now than I was three years ago when I made my summer run, you know - a lot differently. I think that's because the game's evolved. As I said last night, it's turned more into a running guys with guys standing way far back, hitting passing shots from eight feet behind the baseline.
So my -- the way I used to play, I used to stand five feet back and crank, but guys were standing up more, so it was a little bit more effective. I think it's just a matter of recognizing that and maybe switching it up a little bit.

Q. Some players don't read what's written or listen to what's said. Do I take it from what you're saying that you do?
ANDY RODDICK: No, I couldn't get away from it. I couldn't be a tennis fan without it.

Q. You seem to know what's been said and written.
ANDY RODDICK: Well, what's been said more so than written. Uhm, you know, if I tune in -- I've watched Wimbledon every year since I was seven years old, but I couldn't watch it anymore, to be honest. You know, it was self-inflicted, you know, obviously by me not playing my best, but it still doesn't make it any easier to hear, that's for sure.

Q. I wanted to ask you, I wasn't here early in the week, but what goes through your mind when you see a guy like Agassi leave? That's another chapter of American tennis going away.
ANDY RODDICK: Yeah, well, that's a tough question for me because I have to -- I have to kind of -- I can answer that like in a personal relationship type of way, which I'm just gonna miss him. He's been a mentor to me. So it's bittersweet because, obviously, I think the US Open should be pretty much a celebration of his career overall, you know. And, selfishly, he's been great to me.
You know, as a fan and on the tennis side, I don't know if you can replace a guy like him. He's probably the biggest crossover star that our sport has ever produced. You go in to the stuff that he's done off the court which is probably more important than anything he's done on the court.

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