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June 29, 2007

Andy Roddick


THE MODERATOR: Questions for Andy.

Q. Another 7-6. I'm sure you're aware you're winning a lot of tiebreaks. Just the way it's falling? Are you playing them differently?
ANDY RODDICK: Just confidence. You know, I'm making guys play in breakers. I'm making them play on their serves. You know, I think he had something like 47 winners and 26 errors today in three sets.
But you try to see if you can do that if a set's on the line. More often than not, the answer's no.

Q. Has Jimmy had some input on how to play tiebreakers?
ANDY RODDICK: No. I mean, I've been one of the best tiebreak players for a long time. It's not anything new. Right now I just feel like I have the confidence to hit the shots kind of regardless of the score.
I'm just competing. I'm just competing out there every point, not hanging my head, not getting down, just trying to fight back. You know, that leads to opportunities.

Q. You must have been really happy to pull that third set out.
ANDY RODDICK: Yeah, I was having visions of the Bracciali match when we finished just before the night falls. Wondering if I was going to have to walk off again (laughter).
I think, if anything, it just makes tomorrow a lot less stressful. It is a bit of a relief.

Q. Paul-Henri Mathieu. Once as a pro, once as a junior.
ANDY RODDICK: Yeah, lost to him both times. We played in Canada I think a couple years ago after I won Washington. He got me the first round. But, you know, this is different territory. It's the fourth round of a Grand Slam. I don't think he's ever been to the quarters. Mentally I feel like I have a bit of an edge going in.
He's beaten some quality, quality players in the first three rounds, with Stepanek, Ferrer and Ljubicic. They've all been pretty comfortable. That's quite a statement. I'm definitely aware that he's playing good tennis.

Q. Have you always had sort of the warrior mentality since you've been a kid where you want to go out and get at it, doesn't matter what the match is, you relish the fight?
ANDY RODDICK: Yeah, and it's nice, because right now I'm playing well enough to go in there and fight without worrying about how I'm hitting the ball. When you can do that, it's fun.
I like getting in there and making it a fight, bringing something else to the table besides just forehands and backhands. That's kind of what I'm focusing on right now.
To be honest, that's what got me through today. If you look at the guy's stats, it was absurd. I think he served 78%, had more aces than me. Like I said, he had a plus one winners-to-errors ratio.
Somehow I got through in three. Those are the kind of matches that you want to get through. To get through in straight sets, it's a good confidence boost.

Q. You followed tennis for a long time. Looking at some of the exchamps, that's one thing that separates the good players from the pack, guys that really like the fight.
ANDY RODDICK: Sure, absolutely. I don't think that's a quality you can be successful without. You can be successful to a certain point, but at a certain point I think it comes down to intangibles.

Q. You got on just after James lost.

Q. Juan Carlos, former No. 1. You played him a ton. French Open champ. Is that a match that James should win on grass now?
ANDY RODDICK: I think it's a match -- I mean, I think we thought he would win it. We thought he was the favorite going in. But, you know, to be fair, I thought Juan Carlos played pretty well. I watched him in his first two rounds. Especially his first round, he looked real shaky. I think he lost to Berloq last week wherever it was. He's kind of played his way into shape there.
I'm sure James would tell you he might have been able to play a little bit better today. It's probably a tough loss for him.

Q. In terms of your fighting spirit, where did that come from? Was it being the younger brother? Watching other sports?
ANDY RODDICK: I don't know. I don't know. I don't know how to really psychoanalyze it here. I've always just been annoyingly competitive. I've been the guy you can't play golf with because he really gets that pissed off and upset and ruins everybody's day.
Fortunately most times that's a good thing for me on the tennis court. One thing that I make it a point of is, after everything's said and done, you know, with my career, I can take all the criticism and everything else, but I don't want anybody to ever say I didn't give it the effort and I didn't work hard enough. That's something that I'm pretty sure nobody can say.

Q. Is that the thing you're most proud of in your entire career?
ANDY RODDICK: I don't know. It's tough to put it in line. But it's something I'm definitely proud of. I go about things the right way. I go about it pretty professionally. I go out there and I work at it. You know, I have to.

Q. Going through your teenage years with Mardy Fish, Martins, how much did that contribute to the fire?
ANDY RODDICK: You know what, everybody asks -- I've been hearing what's the thing with American tennis, this, that. It's not rocket science. You go to Bollettieri's in the '80s, you get 10 talented guys together, kicking each other's asses on a daily basis, three or four are going to come out. We were together. We had six guys trying to beat on each other every day. Two of us came out.
I think it's just -- you know, competition's healthy, especially in those years.

Q. It's already got to be in the players in the first place.
ANDY RODDICK: Sure. If it's not tested a lot, maybe it's some new thing, you don't know how to handle it. If you're seeing it in practice every day, you don't want to go on a losing streak for two weeks in practice, I promise you.
It's contagious. If you're around people who are competitive and working hard, you don't want to be the guy who's not working hard. That's just the way it is. It's just easier to do it that way.

Q. Do you ever compete with the other guys on the tour in other sports like golf? Ever challenge Rafa to a game of golf?
ANDY RODDICK: Man, here's the deal with golf. Every time I play golf, I got to buy a new set of clubs. It's not relaxing for me. I go mental. The ball's not even moving and I can't hit it right. I haven't reached the point in my life where I have the patience level it takes to play golf. And I don't have the pants.

Q. Any other sports you challenge the guys at?
ANDY RODDICK: Challenge them. Like, Hey, Rafa, want to go play one-on-one? That doesn't happen that often, no.

Q. Off the court, have you done any competitions with Connors? He was pretty fiery. Cards?
ANDY RODDICK: Seems like most things we do turn into a competition. Yeah, I don't want to talk about us playing cards because it hasn't been good for me this week. I have to win my next round just to... Never mind.
He's more mellow than people know. People are disappointed most times when I tell them that. When we're on the practice court, doing anything, you don't hear him yell. If he tells me something, he kind of walks around the side of the court, says it, walks back.
I don't know if he's the same guy that everyone remembers.

Q. What is your card game of choice?
ANDY RODDICK: Well, I like playing poker. He realized that's a losing proposition there. We've been playing more blackjack. I haven't been getting many blackjacks.

Q. The Jimmy Connors we all sort of know and love going ballistic...
ANDY RODDICK: He has his moments. I don't think he's going to get too upset about a card game, especially when he's winning.

Q. Do you think he's changed as a person since his playing days?
ANDY RODDICK: You know what, I don't know because I only saw what it was on the court. A lot of times what you see with people on the court isn't what you get off the court.
But from stories I've heard to now, you know, it's amazing. Little example. If we're going out to eat with my mother or sister-in-law, he's the first guy to open a door, pull out a chair, very soft spoken, Yes, ma'am. He's not the kind of fiery guy that was abusing umpires and doing that whole thing. He's definitely a gentleman.

Q. You talked earlier in the tournament you're going to have to probably go through Roger to get a win here. Notwithstanding the French Open, do you feel with the losses to Cañas, Volandri, is there a sense he's a little more vulnerable maybe than a few months ago?
ANDY RODDICK: Sure. I mean, I think any time he takes more losses than he normally does, I think collectively everyone's pretty fired up about it, you know. I don't think we're sitting here feeling sorry for him. I don't think we're upset to see him lose. No way.

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