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June 23, 2007
THE MODERATOR: Questions for Andy.
Q. Did you get to see any gigs on your week off?
ANDY RODDICK: I didn't. I was talking big. Tuesday came around, I was a little tired, so I wimped out a little.
Q. How does it feel to be back at Wimbledon, a place you've had some great results?
ANDY RODDICK: It feels good to be back here and it feels good to be back here feeling like you're playing good tennis. Last year was pretty forgettable for me. I felt like I was kind of limping in.
This year has a little bit of a different feeling.
Q. Maybe that wasn't your greatest tennis at Queen's, but you won the title. That's the bottom line. Can you go over that week, talk in some detail about what you got out of it.
ANDY RODDICK: Well, you know, I felt like I fought off a couple of guys who were playing their best tennis. There's something to be said for that. I felt like I did what I wanted to do. I got a bunch of matches in. I got some great match preparation as far as being in tough situations, getting out of tough situations, coming from behind.
I definitely got better as the week went on. I felt like I served well, returned well. I was happy with that week.
Q. The final was an example of what grass court tennis is like. On paper you would have been the hot favorite to have won that. He gave you a hell of a game, didn't he?
ANDY RODDICK: Yeah, he played fantastic. He had me up against it the whole time. I remember him missing maybe three or four volleys the whole match. It's pretty impressive. That being said, I heard a lot about how great he played, how average I played, and I was able to get a win. That's a good thing.
I think more importantly is I played well in the tight moments. I didn't miss a ball in either tiebreaker, so that was key. I was able to kind of give myself chances there.
Q. When did you first step on grass of after Paris? Can you describe the feeling when your sneakers first get on that stuff.
ANDY RODDICK: I played in Paris for probably four or five days, was practicing on some fast indoor courts there. Came out here shortly after that. It's always a fun first hit, when a deep approach shot becomes relevant again, you can hit a slice. You kind of get rewarded for driving the ball through the court. All the things, you know -- clay challenges a lot of my strengths, grass helps a lot of my strengths.
It's one of the good days in the year when you first step on it.
Q. What do you feel emotionally?
ANDY RODDICK: I feel like a good player again when I step onto the grass courts (laughter). There's a certain sense of excitement, anxiousness. I got over here really early. I had to guard against getting too fired up the first couple days in practice because there was still a long time before I was even going to play a match.
You definitely get easily excitable when I step onto the grass.
Q. Justin Gimelstob. What can you say?
ANDY RODDICK: Well, I mean, you know what you're going to get with Justin. He's not going to stay back. He's going to kind of try to bring constant pressure.
You just hope you put him into positions enough times where he has to play high-risk tennis enough that maybe some of those risks don't work out sometimes. That's kind of the way you have to approach it.
Q. Could be kind of a loud match, couldn't it?
ANDY RODDICK: With us? No. No chance. Neither one of us say much (smiling). It should be a very polite, polite match, I'm sure.
Q. What effect has Federer's dominance had on your psyche? When you go into Wimbledon, see that he's done so much here, every year for the last few years, so much in Slams in general, what effect does that have on your psyche?
ANDY RODDICK: Well, I mean, it's disappointing. I mean, you know, I've run into him in latter stages six -- I don't know, a bunch. But at the same time, you know, I know I'm going to get questions about it after every single match, at every single press conference. But I can't do anything about it until we get to that point.
I've said it before. I just want to keep giving myself that opportunity. In order for me to be successful here, I have to beat him one time, and that's kind of the way you look at it. What are you going to do? You wake up, you work hard, you go after it again. That's what I'm going to keep doing.
Q. Until you have to play him, what sense of appreciation do you have for his accomplishments and the way he's done things?
ANDY RODDICK: Well, I mean, it's a broken record. I mean, I can sit here and talk about how much respect I have for Roger all day long. You know, I think that's a pretty easy answer.
Q. You said you can't do anything about it till you play him. What can you do when you do get there?
ANDY RODDICK: I'll get there first.
Q. Slight difference this year. Federer didn't play Halle. Seemed to particularly have taken the French Open defeat in the final quite badly, for a few days at least.
ANDY RODDICK: Did he say that or are you guys saying that?
Q. It's another year, isn't it? It's another French Open final, isn't it? Another defeat. Maybe he's thinking, Am I ever going to win this damn thing?
ANDY RODDICK: Know what that's like.
Q. Any difference this year? Any chink of light because of that?
ANDY RODDICK: I don't know. I think the one thing that we're not privy to, and you guys can read as much into it as you want, was how his body was feeling after that match. If he's beat up, he's not going to go out there and risk an injury at Halle.
I'm sure in a perfect world he would have wanted to prepare there. Obviously he's been successful doing that. I don't know if we're psychiatrists or if we're able to kind of read into his psyche. I promise you, he's one of the most mentally strong guys we've ever seen. I'm not going to throw a pity party for him, I promise you (smiling).
Q. There's been a fair amount of time passed since your redesigned backhand. Can you talk about how that's helped your game, whether it's been something of a revelation for your game, maybe even the split hands a little bit.
ANDY RODDICK: I don't know about the split hands. That's not something that's really conscious. I don't know if that's just happened.
I feel like it's improving. It's not going to lose me matches anymore. I'm able to kind of hit better returns, hit better passing shots on it, not rely so much. It's just nice now where I can -- last week at Queen's, for example, when I get myself into tough situations and have it hold up, have it be a solid shot, it's a good thing.
Q. Do you feel like there are situations on the court, particularly when you have to hit a running backhand, where you can get more power with the backhand that way?
ANDY RODDICK: Yeah. I mean, it's a more solid shot. It's not as hit or miss on the day. I kind of find a way to put it in the court now most days, which is better than the alternative.
Q. With the Davis Cup title a looming possibility, you have a vested interest in James playing well. Can you talk about what you think is going on with his game the last few months?
ANDY RODDICK: The game is not any different. It's just a matter -- we were talking about it last year with me. I told you guys, it's one or two matches, this thing turns around. I think it's the same situation. I believe that.
I practiced with him yesterday. He's not hitting the ball any differently. It's just a matter of being confident enough and having played enough matches to be able to step up and do it at a deuce point, something like that. It's not an overly complicated answer, but it's the truth.
Q. Any reason he shouldn't play well on grass?
ANDY RODDICK: Not that I can see, no.
Q. How would you describe the state of your game right now, how it compares with previous Wimbledons going into the tournament?
ANDY RODDICK: I'm playing as well. I feel like I'm able to maybe vary it up a little bit more with chipping. I'm a little bit more comfortable at net. The Wimbledon runs before, I played good tennis as well, but I feel as prepared as I have for this tournament.
Q. Have you ever been in a similar situation to Andy Murray finding himself, a niggling injury days before a major tournament? How difficult a decision is it to make when you're obviously desperate to play?
ANDY RODDICK: Well, it's a tough decision. You have to be so careful when you answer these questions, right? It's going to be front page somewhere if you say something stupid. It's like national news. I have to watch myself here (laughter).
No, I mean, obviously it's difficult. You kind of have to gauge if you think you can manage versus the long-term ramifications, wrestle with it back and forth. Your heart's telling you to get out there and play. It's not an easy situation to be in.
Q. You mentioned last year as a forgettable experience. Is that something you want to forget or something you can use positively, making sure that doesn't happen again?
ANDY RODDICK: I don't know if I've forgotten it, but also I don't get up in the morning and think about it. Maybe somewhere in the middle of those two.
Q. What do you make of the chance to have calls corrected here this year?
ANDY RODDICK: I mean, I've always been a very, very big supporter of Hawk-Eye. On top of kind of not leaving the court with a bunch of questions in your head, it's good -- it translates well to TV. There's always a buzz in the crowd when someone challenges something.
If we're not good at it, we get a little bit of stick. If we're right, they can give the umpire a little bit of stick. I think it's a good thing.
Q. What about other changes, equal prize money, the roof?
ANDY RODDICK: That's stuff that's out of our hands. I don't really concern myself too much with that. Equal prize money is fine. The roof is going to be great. You know, it is what it is. It doesn't really change my tournament too much either way.
Q. Do you see Rafael Nadal as a potential winner? He reached the final last year obviously. He's a year on. He's confident beating Roger in France. Do you think he'll be there or thereabouts?
ANDY RODDICK: Yeah. He's definitely one of the top contenders, there's no question. I don't know how much a relevance a final in Paris has against a final on grass. I don't see how that is really relevant.
He's proven time and time again, we don't need to sit here and state the obvious that he's one of the best players in the world.
Q. Mardy Fish taking any ribbing about his football experiences in Germany?
ANDY RODDICK: Yeah, yeah. I was disappointed 'cause I texted him and wanted to know how he -- he told me he left the kick short also, in addition to spraining his ankle.
Q. He said it was long enough, but low.
ANDY RODDICK: Long enough but low? How does that happen?
Q. He said it went 35 yards but didn't go over the crossbar.
ANDY RODDICK: That would be short, right?
Q. Okay. Short height but not short length. Line drive.
ANDY RODDICK: So he missed it wide?
Q. He said it went under the crossbar.
ANDY RODDICK: That's short. You can't miss a field goal long.
Yeah, I mean, I was just disappointed. It would have been a little bit more forgivable had he done it and made it, but he didn't. There weren't a lot of positives coming out of that kick.
Q. Almost got to the end of a press conference without a question about Jimmy Connors.
ANDY RODDICK: Don't ruin it (laughter).
Q. Has he given you any particular insight about the club on arriving, historical tales he's told you?
ANDY RODDICK: He walks around, he goes, I don't know where the hell I'm going in this place any more (laughter). I don't know how much he's going to tell me about getting around here.
I've said it time and time again. He doesn't talk too much about his good stuff here. It's nice because he's a member. We get a half hour more sometimes on the practice courts if he smiles nicely, stuff like that. But, you know, he talks more about sometimes the matches he loses than his wins.
Q. Last year you made a point, you came with some friends, to the All England Club, went to the museum like a tourist. Did you do anything similar this year?
ANDY RODDICK: I snuck in, actually got into the stadium like three weeks ago. I can't get arrested for that like after the fact, can I?
Q. Could be.
ANDY RODDICK: Don't tell anybody.
Q. Didn't pinch the roof, did you?
ANDY RODDICK: No, I didn't, I didn't pinch the roof.
Q. Why did you do that?
ANDY RODDICK: We were practicing out here at Aorangi. I think curiosity got the best of Jimmy and I. I think we wanted to go in there and see what it looked like, like everybody does. You're driving from the outside and you don't see the roof; it's different. I think just morbid curiosity got the best of us and we wanted to see it.
Q. How close do you think Sam Querrey is to doing something fairly major? He has quickly gotten his ranking into the 60s.
ANDY RODDICK: You know what, it's going to be more about -- a lot of the matches he's lost against the top players has been he's been up a set and a break. I think it's going to be a matter of him closing out that first one, then I think you'll see it happen with a little bit more regularity.
Like you said, it's been a pretty quick rise for him. Seems like he got to 60 in the world in five or six months. Now he's kind of taken his first couple lumps here the last couple weeks. I think throughout the summer, this tournament, it's going to be interesting to see how he reacts.
I like Sam's game. You can't teach 6'6". He serves huge. That alone is going to keep him in enough matches.
Q. Do you also have a sense that he doesn't know how good he is?
ANDY RODDICK: You got to understand the kid was pretty much an after-school tennis player three years ago. They said he went and played Nationals. He was playing like in like a jersey or something. Got to the final. They told him he could play in the Junior US Open. He goes, There's a Junior US Open?
Definitely, I think you're spot on. I don't think he realizes how good he is. He's a fun kid to be around. I think he's better than maybe he knows right now.
Q. What do you think of Centre Court without the roof?
ANDY RODDICK: It looks bigger. You don't realize how many seats that roof actually covered.
End of FastScripts