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March 27, 2007
KEY BISCAYNE, FLORIDA
THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.
Q. Is it fair to say that last year you had this opponent who beat you, is that in your mind or is it old or do you want to beat him more?
ANDY RODDICK: If I had that I'd have it with a lot of people this year. I lost it with a lot of guys last year. I think just the fact that it's the same tournament and we had actually both close to the same round, not quite the same round.
You know, I guess I thought about it but not so much while I was actually out there on the court.
Q. Your first three opponents, you're going to get tougher opponents as you go deeper, but you play around the net in the first three matches, been pretty good. What's your take on that?
ANDY RODDICK: It's been okay. I don't really feel like it's been that amazing.
Q. 78 percent conversions.
ANDY RODDICK: Is it? Well, that's surprising for me. I don't feel like I've been volleying that great. Maybe I've been hitting decent approach shots then if you're telling me that number.
I feel like I've actually bricked a couple of volleys. That's part of it. I've been trying to come forward and take my chances a little bit more. But I think today was about being patient from the baseline.
I had a lot of errors the other day against Simon, and I wanted to cut down on those a little bit today.
Q. Have you heard Nadal is not going to play Davis Cup?
ANDY RODDICK: Yeah, I mean, I heard some things. Is he hurt or --
Q. He's hurt but he's still playing here. He's planning to be hurt in ten days, seriously.
ANDY RODDICK: He pulled out with an injury but he's playing here?
ANDY RODDICK: All right. I mean, I don't really know what to say about that.
Q. Patrick was saying that it's just kind of a shame. That it would be nice for tennis to have all the top players, but he understands, also, that the scheduling is hard for some -- you know, it's hard.
ANDY RODDICK: Well, I mean, I guess the first thing that pops into my mind is he's sees the clay court season around the corner and sees Monte-Carlo and sees those tournaments, and maybe it's more important to prep for that.
Personally I don't know if you can play Davis Cup at your convenience. I think it's a year-long commitment. I don't know, that's surprising to me to say the least.
Q. Are you disappointed both on a sort of a competitive level and a Davis Cup team level?
ANDY RODDICK: Well, obviously it's kind of like a double-edged sword. I was looking forward to playing him on a court that was more suited to my game as opposed to his, and I don't know if I'll get that chance any time soon now.
You know, at the same time, he's a tough out, that's for sure. I don't know, it's kind of a mixed bag of emotions. It's a little disappointing, because I think if you want to play a team you want to play their best and you want to beat their best, but you can only play the guy across the net. It's out of our hands.
Q. Speaking of patience, Andy Murray next. What have you learned about playing him? You've had a few matches with him.
ANDY RODDICK: Well, it's tough. It's always a fun match-up when we play. He almost kind of tries to bait you into coming in, and he almost likes being approached on. It's almost a backwards match from a lot of matches that you play.
But he finds a way to get through matches, and he fights. It's a tough match always.
Q. Are you surprised by what Serena has done at the Australian Open and what she did today to Maria?
ANDY RODDICK: No, I told -- who was it? Peter Bodo, we did a day-long thing where he followed me around, and he got on me about the Williams sisters and my opinions.
You can go back and check it. I said she was going to kill everyone this year. I talked to her in the off-season, and she was -- she seemed to be pretty fed up with losing to people she didn't feel like she should be losing to, and she kind of had that little bit of an edge in her voice.
When she starts talking like that, you probably should take her seriously.
Q. Is she just that good that she can come back, and when she plays her best, can anybody beat her?
ANDY RODDICK: Well, I mean, she can be beat. Apparently she is that good (laughing). Venus, too. Everybody kind of sleeps on them, and she comes out and wins Wimbledon in '05, and nobody takes Serena seriously and she wins the Australian Open in '05.
Everyone starts sleeping on her again last year and saying she's done and finished, and I think she's into proving all you guys wrong.
Q. Is it surprising that she's playing as well as she is as infrequently as she plays? She has not played since the Australian Open.
ANDY RODDICK: Personally I don't think I could do that, no.
Q. They've talked about changing the -- they've kind of mandated this tournament change to best two of three for the men's final. How do you feel about that?
ANDY RODDICK: Whatever they choose, it's just you want it to be consistent. It's tough to go -- kind of get your mindset two out of three, two out of three, two out of three, and then three out of five. To me it doesn't make sense.
So I'm probably partial to the two out of three set final if you've played the whole tournament like that. In the Slams you can kind of mentally prepare for the long haul, but I feel like it totally changes the tournament when you can have someone who plays better in three out of five set matches, and then all of a sudden it's a different match-up than it's been the whole tournament.
I'm for just -- I like the sense of consistency. You know, it's always tough just switching it up, kind of the way you've been playing the whole tournament.
Q. How many really great five-set matches have you ever seen?
ANDY RODDICK: How many great five-set matches have I ever seen? God, I mean, that's not -- I don't know if that's a question that I could answer.
Q. It's sort of rhetorical because you think of great matches you've seen, maybe Agassi/Sampras at the US Open four sets. But how many great five-set matches do you really remember?
ANDY RODDICK: I think a lot. Are you saying there's not a lot?
Q. I'm not saying there's not a lot, but compare the total number. If you really want to play five sets every time, is it really worth going five sets every time you go out there, except in a Grand Slam?
ANDY RODDICK: I don't think so if it -- I just think it has to be consistent throughout the tournament. I think it totally changes the dynamic of a match when you play three out of five as opposed to two out of three.
And if you play three out of five the whole way, who says those guys are in the finals? I guess it was done for TV and for longer, and that's above me. That's business decisions that I'm not going to pretend to understand.
But from a player's perspective, or at least from my perspective, I just feel like it should be consistent. I feel like that's the things that makes the Slams special and different, that you get these five setters that we've been talking about.
Q. It's getting into the final stretch here. Do you feel like you really need to take it up another level from here on out?
ANDY RODDICK: Yeah, I've kind of been doing that this whole year. I've kind of been plugging through matches, and it's a good thing. But I feel like when I hit my shots, when I start hitting the ball really well, it'll be a real good thing.
But tomorrow would be a nice place to start, that's for sure.
Q. You haven't felt it really this week?
ANDY RODDICK: I felt a lot better today. My backhand was consistent. I wasn't missing returns today. I wasn't playing myself out of a lot of points. So today was a definite step in the right direction.
Q. Can you imagine a day where there are no best-of-five matches, even in Grand Slams? It's sort of a slippery slope you start taking away best of five.
ANDY RODDICK: I probably wouldn't see that happening at Grand Slams.
Q. But history would --
ANDY RODDICK: I just haven't heard anything about it. This is the first I've heard of even talking about getting rid of it. I just don't really see it happening. Like I said, I'm good with it as long as it's consistent.
In Davis Cup you know you're going to play it, you can kind of prepare. You start preparing on Wednesday for -- Friday, day off, Sunday, but as long as it's the same way throughout, then I think it's okay.
Q. You mentioned that Murray in his way baits you. Do you think that maybe a couple of years ago you would have been easier bait than you are now?
ANDY RODDICK: I don't know. You know, he's gotten me a couple times, so I'm not sure.
Q. You're more patient, there's more patience in you.
ANDY RODDICK: Well, I'm working on it. I feel like I have maybe a different option because you're getting these influx of players who are playing with -- playing with their legs a lot more. They're running balls down, and it kind of did -- everybody was predicting tennis to go this way, left, and it went extremely right. That shows how much any of us know.
But it forces you to adjust. I can't play the way I played in '01 or '02 because a lot of guys are running those balls down now. I kind of have learned on the job and midway through my career to switch things up a little bit, and it's an intriguing process.
Q. Speaking of legs, as a fan, are you keeping an eye on Guillermo Cañas, and if so, what are your thoughts there?
ANDY RODDICK: About what exactly?
Q. Just his comeback and how quickly he's risen back into the Top 50.
ANDY RODDICK: Well, I mean, let's -- the guy didn't drop out because he didn't know how to play tennis.
Q. No, he was on suspension, of course.
ANDY RODDICK: No, I think you expect that you don't really see him sitting around getting out of shape in that time off. Maybe I'm a little surprised how quickly it's happened, but I'm not really surprised that he's come back and is playing well again.
I mean, the guy competes and doesn't really give away much. The question never really was about his tennis. He could always play.
THE MODERATOR: Thanks, everyone.
End of FastScripts