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April 3, 2008

Andy Roddick


THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. Great evening, Andy. What, besides the score, pleased you the most about what you did?
ANDY RODDICK: I thought I stood the course mentally pretty well. I feel like, you know, for the second set and a lot of the third he was -- he was starting to play pretty well, starting to hit that first ball.
I think he might have missed -- I think he had one unforced errors in the second set, and I kind of just tried to stay there. I didn't get discouraged, I didn't, I don't know. I just stayed in there mentally, which was a good thing.

Q. You did say you'd hang around until you beat him. Here it is.
ANDY RODDICK: I'm just glad I have a little hair left.

Q. How encouraging is it, in all seriousness, to actually put an end to this run that everyone kept popping off about?
ANDY RODDICK: Well, it's nice. You know, and to kind of build on Dubai and to have wins over 1, 2, 3 in the world early in the season is a good thing. It's probably what's been missing the last two, three years, so it is encouraging.

Q. Does this mean that you're now -- I mean, maybe giving yourself more chance again of winning Slams and moving up to the top positions of the leading boards?
ANDY RODDICK: Well, unlike most, I don't think I ever gave up on having a chance to win a Slam. That's why I came to work even in the rough moments of the, you know, the days after Roger had beaten me.
I told you guys I'd get up and keep going, and that's so you give yourself an opportunity to, you know, for feelings like tonight after you win.
That's, you know, definitely not going to hurt my chances.

Q. Were you stunned? I know you are were on the other side of the court, to see him unravel like he did in that little string at the end there?
ANDY RODDICK: Yes and no. I figure I was due. He hadn't missed a ball in a crucial moment for about six years against me. I figured the law of statistics had to come my way eventually.

Q. Your body language had a lot of relief. Is that a fair statement?
ANDY RODDICK: Yeah, that's a very fair statement. Especially after that first match point where had that one and I jumped that much too early.
I was wishing after that one I was just a little bit more athletic. But coming from 40-Love to 40-30, that's -- it felt like I was still a long ways away, so I probably was relieved.

Q. You had 11 straight points to get to that 40-Love lead.
ANDY RODDICK: I did? That's good.

Q. I was going to ask you, three match points got away. What was going through your mind as you were getting ready to serve that last one?
ANDY RODDICK: Please hit a big serve. Hit a big serve and let it be done. I was telling myself when I step up to the line, You have an opportunity for this to be over in about two-and-a-half seconds. Let's try our best to make one.
I didn't play bad points on the two that I lost, but I didn't put big serves in like I had been doing all night. I didn't want to give him a look at a second serve, because he's able create off that.

Q. Did that feel like a final? It looked like a final.
ANDY RODDICK: It did until I went into the locker room and the guy said, You're playing at 7:00 tomorrow. And then it didn't anymore. Because you normally don't have to play at 7:00 the next night after a final.

Q. You talked about the mental aspect of the game. Does your current satisfaction with your personal life translate to confidence on the court?
ANDY RODDICK: I knew it was either going to go one way or the other. Either the engagement was going to be the end of me or -- if I would have lost the first round, or the reason I beat Roger tonight. I think it's somewhere in the middle.
I think being happy and content off the court is only going to help in my mind.

Q. Clearly you're aware he hasn't reached a final this year. When you're in a semi under those circumstances and you get yourself into a position to perhaps beat him, does that click in, do you think? No?
ANDY RODDICK: I didn't think of what year he was having at all tonight. That didn't...

Q. Just the year you were having?
ANDY RODDICK: Our history goes a lot further back than three tournaments he's played this year. I didn't really think about it at all. I wasn't really feeling much sympathy for him at that moment.

Q. You've been very complimentary and respectful of Jimmy Connors, especially talking about how he's helped your backhand. Do you take even more pride in this accomplishment that you did it with just your brother in your corner?
ANDY RODDICK: I don't know. To be honest, I hadn't really thought about it until you just said something. You know, I know there are some journalists to write a story about why Jimmy and I break up and then head for the hills and don't show up for the next tournament.
I think that's kind of cowardly, but I promise you, Jimmy and I are still on great terms. Like I said, I'm just thankful for the time he did give me, but I don't know if that adds to the satisfaction. I'm just happy because I beat Roger.

Q. Did you feel to date it was the best to serve against him or that his return was not as sharp as it used to be?
ANDY RODDICK: That's probably the best I've served against him. I hit my second serve pretty well, also. Like I said, I just kind of stayed the course from the baseline. I don't know if I tried to overplay. I mixed it up when I was coming in and when I was staying back.
I didn't have one game plan and commit to it the whole time and bang my head against the wall, which I guess was good.
But I served really well. I mean, I served 75%, and I was -- my arm was alive tonight and I was getting pretty good action on it. That's something that he would probably answer better than I would, but I know that I served pretty well.

Q. Was he giving you sleepless nights with this streak?
ANDY RODDICK: Sleepless nights? No. Luckily I think I've always been able to separate tennis and life, and in the grand scheme of things I've never once felt sorry for myself or said that, you know, I live a blessed existence.
I get to wake up and play tennis in the morning, and my by biggest problem is losing to the best player possibly ever, that's still better than most people's.

Q. You've always said that you go on the court every time thinking you have a chance to win. How much more does an actual win push that need for the next time?
ANDY RODDICK: It's definitely not going to hurt, you know. Who knows? I could go out -- I could go out and very easily lose to him next time. It's going to help, but to be honest, I haven't thought about the next time yet.
I'm probably going to enjoy this one tonight and try to come out and make a final tomorrow.

Q. At what stage did you feel that Roger was beatable today? I mean, obviously last week you witnessed Mardy beating him in Indian Wells. At what stage did you feel Roger was beatable today?
ANDY RODDICK: I don't know if it's just today. I know if I -- you know, last year at the Open I played about as well as I could, and if he doesn't stick a return off a 140 serve on the line, I know there's always a chance.
I'd be lying if I said I wasn't encouraged by Mardy's result last week. I had got home from a long kind of a day of practice, and I had just gotten off the phone with Mardy's fiancée. She was going nuts, and I parked my car and went out again and went for another run because I think I was excited and optimistic.
I had a sudden burst of energy and kind of ran till the sun went down because I was starting to feel, you know, hopeful and I was happy for Mardy.
You know, so I was probably encouraged by that result.

Q. You probably envisioned in your mind many times what that would feel like to finally, after so many times, beat him. What exactly were you feeling? You had one moment there they were showing your face close on TV where you just really seemed like, you know, maybe not on the verge of sobbing but pretty emotional?
ANDY RODDICK: I don't sob.

Q. What were you feeling? I've seen you sob?
ANDY RODDICK: Okay, so I sobbed a little. I don't know. I was just -- you know, I think I was pretty relieved and happy and, you know, I saw my box and they were -- I think they were relieved and happy.
You know, my brother and my agent, they've seen me lose to him a lot of times and they shared a lot of nights with me afterwards where they were trying to convince me I'm going to beat him one time. I was happy for them, too.
I don't know how to explain it. That's what you wake up for. That's what you go to the practice court for. You can have the low moments, but those kind of -- those 10, 15 seconds after a big win probably make up for a lot of bad days. Maybe not all of them, but, you know, that's -- I think that's what you play for.

Q. Given the frustration narrative, you know, you get in a position to win, have to be pretty tough position to handle mentally what potentially could have been, but you take it totally with the...
ANDY RODDICK: Well, it was. I sat down afterwards and my hands were shaking a little. I've been a point away before. You know, so, I got to 5-3 and I just kind of tried to pretend -- I was literally trying to pretend that nothing had just happened.
Go up and serve the ball and at least try to hit a couple of big serves and kind of do what I had been doing all night and it's easier said than done, but I was able to put a couple of big first serves in and that helped a lot.

Q. In the break game, 3-4, Federer serving, third set looked like it was a couple of inches off the ground. Did you have a sense after you hit that shot that maybe this was the game where it's finally going to get him?
ANDY RODDICK: It's a big difference playing Love-15 and 15-Love. Roger rarely loses a lead in a game or in a match. He plays from the front about as well as anybody I've ever seen.
It just makes that next point so much tougher being down Love-30, you know, been there. So I wanted to put an emphasis on winning the first point, and I didn't know if I was going to make that shot.
I kind of just flipped it up there and it found a piece of the court that wasn't out, which was nice of it. You know, I don't think you get overly excited when you're Love-15 but you're closer to Love-30.

Q. How low was that ball when you hit it?
ANDY RODDICK: It was low. (laughter.)

Q. How good are the lights here? Roger was saying because they're kind of low on the court, it's a different sort of perspective of the players. Where we sit they look duller than some courts. Is it any different for you guys?
ANDY RODDICK: Yeah, I mean, they sit a little different. You know, I think you can still see the ball, and I think he's won a lot of matches under those lights over the years. I don't think they were any dimmer than years past.

Q. Can you describe how, what role John has played in helping you hang in, especially with this particular opponent and keep yourself belief?
ANDY RODDICK: Well, you know, he's -- he's just been there through them all, even before he was traveling with me, he had seen a couple of Wimbledon finals and he -- you know, to his credit, I don't know if he ever really gave up, you know.
I think he always believed that, maybe more so than me at times, that it would happen, you know. So he -- he does his research, watches the matches and he checks them out and he stays here, you know, late and he's kind of like a court rat sometimes doing research and even watching -- if he's seen the guy play a week before he's came out and -- he's seen Roger play a million times, but he's still there maybe seeing what tendencies he's playing to right now.
So he's played a huge role in it.

Q. Do you feel that tonight you were stronger mentally than of the both players?
ANDY RODDICK: I don't know. I don't know if I was stronger. I know it was -- it was a good match mentally for me. It was probably the best part of it for me.
You know, even when I got beaten at 4-All and felt like the tides were turned and all, I felt like I was able to hang on, maybe 1-All I had a tough game in the third set and stuck to it after I missed a pretty easy ball. That was probably a big difference for me tonight.

Q. Was this one of those zone nights with your serve where you felt you could crash anything in there?
ANDY RODDICK: You know, contrary to what the stats say and how it looks when you play, I don't know if you ever, in that situation, feel like, oh, gosh, you know what? I'm probably just going to breeze through the next service game. Hope I make first serves here that would be great.

Q. If you would focus on your record against Roger going into the match, do you see those reports? What was your attitude going into the match?
ANDY RODDICK: Yeah, I mean, you know, I'm as aware of it as anybody. You know, I've been through them. I don't just look at a piece of paper. I've actually lived those matches, so I'm aware of it. You know, let's not act like -- I'm not going to sit here and act like all of a sudden I've fixed the problem. I think I'm batting 2 for 16. Still pretty crappy, it's a little less crappy.

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