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March 31, 2008

Andy Roddick


THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. From People Magazine.

Q. It's begun. It started.
ANDY RODDICK: Thanks for breaking the news. Appreciate it.

Q. We wanted to know how you popped the question, where you were? Did you get down on one knee and what kind of ring you had. Just little details like that?
ANDY RODDICK: Just little details I'll probably keep to myself. It's our business. It was nice.
I got down on a knee, but I think the details we'll keep close to our family and friends. Thanks.

Q. Do you have at least a date that you did it?
ANDY RODDICK: Couple weeks ago.

Q. So does it feel any different to be an engaged man other than, you know, questions in People Magazine and all that?
ANDY RODDICK: Yeah. I think so. I think it's a life choice, so it is a bit different. I think I lost half my fan base today.

Q. You did. I think so.
ANDY RODDICK: No, but, you know, I'm happy, and, you know, Ivo Minar played the same way. I don't think he really cared. (laughter.)
That was my main concern today.

Q. I think he was trying to give you an easy win.
ANDY RODDICK: Then I'll take it. Apparently I should have done it sooner, then.
THE MODERATOR: Are there any tennis questions, by chance?

Q. Yes. How do you feel about making the fourth round and your match tomorrow night?
ANDY RODDICK: I feel good. You know, I still feel like I could probably hit the ball a little bit better, but it was pretty windy out there and the conditions weren't easy.
You know, whenever you play someone who's won I think five matches in seven or eight days, whatever it is, including quallies, he's got to be hitting the ball well.
I said the other day that that doesn't happen by accident. So I knew it was going to be tough. He plays pretty high risk, and a lot of times there's not a lot you can do besides let him take his swings and hope eventually he might punch himself out.

Q. Why did the second set look so much different than the first? Was there some kind of pattern that you cracked?
ANDY RODDICK: I started serving a little better. I didn't serve well again, which I'm going to have to fix. I felt I was solid all around. If he was going to win points it was maybe six or seven shots as opposed to two or three and over the course of a set that makes a difference.

Q. How much do you know about Benneteau?
ANDY RODDICK: I know a lot. I forget how many times -- I think we played three times as pros. Yeah, three times, and I think I lost the last time. We're similar in age, so I've seen him since juniors.

Q. You know what the ups and downs are of being in the spotlight, and I know Brooklyn has been in the spotlight herself. But do you feel like she knows what she's in for?
ANDY RODDICK: Yeah. You know, she's a very, very smart girl, so I think -- I think so. But, you know, to be honest, I think it's big news today. I don't know if it will be big news next week.

Q. Are you and Mardy going to share wedding planning tips and stuff?
ANDY RODDICK: Hopefully that's -- I was just trying to take heat off Mardy. Hopefully they can talk wedding plans and maybe we can go do golf or something.

Q. Who introduced you?
ANDY RODDICK: Guys, let's get to tennis, please.

Q. At what point when the draws were published and everything did you notice that you and Federer are kind of on a path for each other in the quarterfinals?
ANDY RODDICK: I mean, I don't know. I wasn't really looking for it. Probably about the same time you saw that the draw was out.
You look at it, but it's irrelevant. I'm not playing Roger Federer. I'm playing Julien Benneteau. If that match comes to fruition, then we'll talk about it then.

Q. You're a fan of all sports. Do you think tennis belongs in the Olympics?
ANDY RODDICK: Umm, yeah, I think so. You know, it's just -- it's just unique, because I don't think any other sport plays 11 months a year and all of a sudden every fourth year has to put the biggest sporting event in the world smack dab in their season.
So I think if you're going to have the Olympics you have to make some adjustments. I don't know if you can fit four pounds of dirt into a three-pound bag.
You know, so I think the -- playing tennis at the Olympics is a great thing. It's just we have a full schedule on a nonOlympic year, so when it is an Olympic year, you know, and you do have to make a 20-, 24-hour trip, it is tough.
You know, I'm watching Sports Center last week and I'm getting a chuckle because I see where they're debating whether the Red Sox or the As are going to have jet lag and that's going to affect them six months down in the season.
I said, You've got to be kidding me. We do that three weeks in a row. But it is pretty extreme. Unfortunately this year I had to make a decision.

Q. Do you get the sense most of the top players are excited about the Olympics, it's something they really want to do?
ANDY RODDICK: Sure. And being at the Olympics was an honor in '04, and I'm really glad that I got to experience it, and really glad that I went. It's one of the neatest things that I've done.
That being said, maybe let one of the other guys have the experience. At this point in my career I'd like to put another major on the board, and that's my focus.

Q. Was it a tough decision for you?
ANDY RODDICK: Yeah, it was extremely difficult, yeah.

Q. You brought up just now that you want to get the talk on tennis and everything. How much would winning out the rest of this do for that?

Q. You talked just now about wanting to bring the attention away from maybe your love life and back to tennis. How much can you do toward that this week?
ANDY RODDICK: Well, I don't know if me winning here would bring up my love life more or if I lost and disappeared for a couple of weeks I wouldn't have to talk. It's kind of maybe a little bit of a Catch-22, but it is what it is. I'm here this week to play a tennis tournament.

Q. When you talk about tweaking your serve, what do you mean exactly? What are you trying to fix?
ANDY RODDICK: I know how to serve. I was almost overthinking it. When I kind of got back and just let it go it worked a little bit better.

Q. They're not going to have a five-set final here anymore. How do you feel about that?
ANDY RODDICK: I like that, just because I feel like if you start a tournament one way you should finish it one way.
I feel like a three-out-of-five set tournament is a totally different beast than a two out of three set. So it's almost changing the dynamic. If someone's hot and then all of a sudden -- it's a different dynamic, and I think it should be consistent across the board, so I like it.

Q. There's always been talk that this tournament is considered like the fifth Slam. How is it among the players? Do you feel the same, or do you feel something the media is hyping a little bit?
ANDY RODDICK: Well, I mean there is no question there's a lot of hype around events. It is in Miami, and there's a certain vibe that goes along with that. There's a lot of attention that goes along with that maybe from outside the sport here.
Yeah, I think it is -- I think it is a big event. You don't see very many of the past champions who haven't gone on to be really successful in other events, and in Grand Slam events, and I don't think that's coincidental.

Q. How would you assess Etienne's job after two and a half years?
ANDY RODDICK: Well, I think there are really good things. I mean, he's not scared to make a move. Tennis had been the same for a hundred years, and changes isn't necessarily a bad thing.
The thing is, if you're going to step up and make decisions, you can't ask a guy to change things and then if he does and there's something in particular that you don't like you criticize him for it.
I think a lot of the players were asking for change, and he came in and is swinging for the fences and isn't apologizing for it. I can respect him in that regard.

Q. Although you're not playing the Olympics because of your concern for the US Open, you're probably aware some athletes feel very uncomfortable playing in China because of the human rights issue. I just want to know, is that part of the factor, or was that any consideration at all for you?
ANDY RODDICK: No. That wasn't -- that wasn't a factor in my decision at all. It was purely from a tennis standpoint.

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