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June 27, 2007

Andy Roddick


THE MODERATOR: Andy Roddick. Questions, please.

Q. In the past you've talked to us about working on, improving various areas of your game, your backhand, return, volleying.

Q. Do you feel like it's still a work in progress or more like a finished product at this point?
ANDY RODDICK: No, I mean, I'm not a finished product. But, you know, getting there.
You know, I think you're always kind of looking to improve.

Q. Is there some specific area you've been working on lately, something you feel needs improvement at this point?
ANDY RODDICK: You know, I don't know if you choose the middle of Wimbledon to start working on something. I think it's been kind of -- been a common sentiment since we got together to get forward a little bit more, drive the ball a little bit more. You know, it's an ongoing process.

Q. You seemed to be enjoying yourself out there today.
ANDY RODDICK: At times. At times. It was kind of an up-and-down match, even the way I played. Mentally I was a little bit up and down. You know, got through it.

Q. Have you heard many noises like that from an umpire before?
ANDY RODDICK: I don't know what that was.

Q. His microphone.
ANDY RODDICK: Sure it was his microphone. It was barking frogs.

Q. As you play, how much of it is the technical side and how much, as you win, is getting the confidence to go on to the next round in a Grand Slam tournament?
ANDY RODDICK: I mean, technically, I don't know if you're sitting here in the middle of a tournament and you're worrying about your technique. You're not worrying about like following through and stuff like that.
I think you're more worried about how you're going to develop points, you know, how you're going to win points. So I'd say a lot more of it has to do with confidence and just kind of trying to survive in advance.
I don't think a lot about technique during a tournament. There's kind of a time and a place for that.

Q. Does each win add to the confidence?
ANDY RODDICK: Sure. I mean, I came into the tournament pretty confident, so that was a good thing. You know, just the thing is, just give yourself another opportunity to play another day. That's kind of how you get deep into a draw in a Slam.

Q. You were talking last week a little bit about concentration was a thing you were working on. Are you better in your mind at that? Have you erased that problem?
ANDY RODDICK: It's not really a problem. I had a bad game in the second set of a match against Cilic at Queen's and played a tournament full of concentration where I was winning tough matches.
Today I probably had a bad two-game stretch. I don't know if two bad games in the stretch of three weeks is necessarily a problem.
But it's something that you don't get away with later on in tournaments.

Q. Everyone has been talking about the quality of the grass out there on Centre, I think because it's open now, the grass in even better nick than it has been in years gone by. Do you sense that as well?
ANDY RODDICK: It's tough to say today just because you know it's different than the conditions you're used to because it's cold. It's kind of inconsistent winds. It's blowing one minute, it's not, and then it's blowing kind of hard, and then it switches directions. It's a little bit unpredictable. I don't know if I would be the best to get a true read on how it's playing considering the other variables.

Q. Because it is more open and the wind is going to be a factor, do you sense it's going to be a trickier championship to win in those terms? Because it's going to be like this the next few days as well.
ANDY RODDICK: I think for every person -- I don't know if I can analyze closed, open, all that stuff. I think for every person you find that's going to say it's open, the wind is going to get there, you're going to find someone who says, Well, when there's a roof it's going to swirl, something like that.
I don't know, windy is windy. Not windy is not windy. You know, you're probably smarter than I am. You can go into the cause and effect of it.

Q. Do you feel like The Championships were more open to clay-courters or baseliners, Rafael Nadal, for example? If so, what is the reason?
ANDY RODDICK: Is it more?

Q. Open.
ANDY RODDICK: Yeah, sure. I think you'd find that it's pretty common sentiment that over the last 10 years this tournament has slowed down and you're getting a truer balance. I think, therefore, you give -- it opens the chance up to a lot more different styles of play.

Q. There's a real chance for Nadal to win, for the others?
ANDY RODDICK: You're asking me if he has a chance to win this tournament?

Q. Real chance.
ANDY RODDICK: Yeah, sure. I mean, he's proven he can play big matches. He's been to a final here. I don't know if you'll find someone who says he has no chance.

Q. As a player I'm sure you like the truer bounce. Is there anything lost in having some of that quirkiness taken out of the surface?
ANDY RODDICK: Well, I think a lot of it's -- if it's worn, I think the more it gets worn in it becomes less soft and the ball starts shooting a bit more. I think earlier on you find it's a little bit spongy, maybe starts checking a little bit.
But if it's a normal grass court and the conditions are right, it's still quick enough.

Q. I'm talking about funny bounces.
ANDY RODDICK: What about them? Sorry.

Q. If the condition is so even, the condition of the court, you miss the bounces?
ANDY RODDICK: I think the way I feel, I feel like I'm one of the best grass court players. I'd like to take away as many of the equalizers as possible. I think that would work against me in this tournament.

Q. You've been in London for a few weeks. You appeared on the Jonathan Ross show. Not too many tennis players do. Can you tell us how you enjoyed it, how you found the evening?
ANDY RODDICK: It was fun. I had seen the show before. I had heard his kind of reputation. I knew that I had to come out aggressive. I was able to take that mindset to the stage, really follow through on the game plan (smiling).

Q. Jonas Bjorkman has spoken today about a quite serious issue, about how a few things have been disappearing from the player locker room. Your thoughts on whether you've had anything stolen, how unusual it must be in this environment for things to disappear?
ANDY RODDICK: To be honest, I'm as informed as you are. I glanced at it this morning in the paper probably the same as you did.
Obviously, I mean, if that's the case, that's what's going on, that's really disappointing 'cause the locker room is a place where you feel like you can leave your stuff and not have to worry about it. If it's happening, that's pretty disappointing.

Q. This is a very special tournament for you. Can you tell us how you feel the first time you played here? Were you nervous, excited? How was it?
ANDY RODDICK: Yeah, probably all of those emotions kind of jumbled together. You know, as an American, we wake up, and I remember my family, we'd make time, we'd have Breakfast at Wimbledon every weekend. My mom would cook. We'd all get up before we probably should have, get ready for the tennis, kind of do it as a family. To be playing in it was surreal.
Now it's to the point where my mom just gets up and cooks for my dad. It's an easier work load now that I'm over here playing.

Q. How do you feel about Fernando Verdasco in case you have to play him?
ANDY RODDICK: I mean, there's no question about his talent, kind of what he's capable of. We've played many times. Never on grass. I don't know if there are going to be a lot of secrets out there.

Q. It's a big day for the Brits today. How do you feel about Gordon Brown taking over?
ANDY RODDICK: The funniest thing that I saw that was great this morning when I woke up was they televised the moving van literally pulling up, and they followed the moving van down the street when he's moving his crap out. I think that's hilarious. We need to get a moving van in the States somewhere. That would be hilarious. I think it's pretty funny.
But, you know, on a serious note, I don't really talk to -- I'm not going to pretend too much to know about the political views of Gordon Brown. I think I'd be on the verge of ignorance if I touched on that any more. But I'm a big fan of the televising of the moving van.

Q. You mentioned watching Wimbledon as a kid, the ritual. As usual there were articles in the paper about how Wimbledon doesn't have the edge that it used to.
ANDY RODDICK: That's probably written by someone who didn't bother to make the trip over, correct?

Q. You are absolutely correct.
ANDY RODDICK: Then we don't need to touch on that anymore, do we?

Q. If there were one or two ways you could improve tennis in America, not saying it's good or bad now, but to make it even more dynamic, what would that be?
ANDY RODDICK: I don't know. It's tough to say. All you hear is, and pretty much this is the case with every sport, you always hear about how past generations were the greatest. It's almost like we should appreciate what we have before we have to look back and remember how much we miss it.
America's tough just because it's so big, it's so spread out. We don't have the training center that everybody goes to. It's a different culture with kids not wanting to give up their high school experience. It's tough.
But I think they're doing a better job of getting past people who have experienced, who are in the tennis, kind of developing the talent now, past players. I think that's good.
I think the move to Boca will be a good thing, having on-site living so people aren't paying out-of-pocket like they would in Key Biscayne. For a touring pro to stay in Key Biscayne during a training week, it's not easy. I think that's a good thing.
I think they're moving in the right direction. I think they just need to utilize people who have kind of been there and who want to try to help.

Q. Would you like to see Andre having a more direct role in terms of player development in America?
ANDY RODDICK: I think the obvious question to that is, any capacity you can get Andre Agassi giving advice on tennis will help America. But at the same time his priority is going to be his family. There's only so much of him to go around.
I think he's earned the right to kind of dedicate himself to whatever he wants for a little while.

Q. Did you catch any of James' comments yesterday? He was a bit defensive about American tennis with you and he in the top 10, two guys in the top 10, is doing pretty well, and the Bryan Twins, et cetera. We got into how do you make tennis more popular in the United States.
ANDY RODDICK: The thing about the popularity and stuff, you know, we're going bigger stadiums, you're still selling out in a lot of places that we go to. I think the biggest thing is just, you know, and I've said it ad nauseam for some of the people in here, you're kind of getting over the best generation ever from one country. Before that you probably had the second best generation. It's cyclical.
But to sit here and say there's something wrong with it when, like you said, with the exception of Fed, Nadal, who else is winning Slams right now? Outside of Fed, who else is winning Slams on any other surface? So it's all relative.
We continually kind of have guys pushing at the top. I think James had a good year last year. The reemergence of Venus and Serena is a good thing. You look at the ratings for the US Open last year, we're up. It depends on how you want to define "popularity" I think.

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