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April 13, 2008
WINSTON-SALEM, NORTH CAROLINA
THE MODERATOR: Questions for Andy, please.
Q. Yesterday right after the Bryans' match ended did you sort of immediately turn into 'go' mode, like I'm back on?
ANDY RODDICK: I came to the courts. I think I expected the Bryans would win, as you would in pretty much any match. You got to consider them the favorite. They got down a set all and a break. I kind of said, Okay, we're a couple games away. The way that ClĂ©ment and Llodra were serving, I definitely started thinking about it a lot more.
Kind of went to the locker room and watched it from there. It's tough being out there because you get so nervous. So I tried to at least mellow out a little bit more.
Q. How does the emotion of winning this match compare to the emotions of winning some big matches you've won on tour in the last few weeks?
ANDY RODDICK: Well, they're different. I knew going in it's a little bit different just because I felt like I was in control the whole way. When you feel like you're playing from ahead, it's just a matter of closing it out. You feel a little bit more comfortable and there's not that huge spark right away when you win. If I'm up two breaks in the third, I kind of expect that I'm going to win.
You know, that wasn't the case with some of the other matches that I played in the last couple of weeks or months.
Q. You only lost 13 points on your serve in the match. If you could address how well you felt you were serving. Also you're 10-0 in clinching the tie. Talk about that.
ANDY RODDICK: I felt like I served well. I think I started out serving better the other day against Llodra. But I hit the ball. I wasn't giving him anything. The points he was winning, he was having to step up and crank two or three balls to the corners and really execute his shots. I think that's probably more telling than the actual serving. I don't know if it was any better than I normally do, but I backed it a little bit better.
I think everyone makes a big deal about the 10-0 thing. But, you know, I have to be up 2-1 in order to clinch. So I've been put in good positions a lot of times.
Q. My French colleagues are in a bit of an uproar because apparently Gasquet said he would play the fifth match but not the fourth. Do you consider that any kind of a compliment to his feelings about playing you here on this surface?
ANDY RODDICK: I don't know. I'm not gonna sit here and pretend to know the ins and outs of the French locker room. I mean, I guess it would seem logical that if you're healthy enough to play a fifth match, then you're healthy enough to play a match two hours earlier.
You know, that being said, I don't -- to be fair, I'd have to hear what they said before I'd really go for it. You know, if he didn't want to play me, then so be it.
Q. You don't find it shocking that a country's top-ranked player would do that?
ANDY RODDICK: It's surprising. I don't know. And, again, that's surprising to me. But, you know, I don't know if he felt that was their best chance of winning. I don't know.
Q. When did you find out who you were playing and did that affect you at all as you were preparing?
ANDY RODDICK: I told everyone I had a hunch that I was going to play Gasquet last night and this morning. And then, you know, we saw the first warmup session, which is normally when you find out. First match normally takes the earlier warmup session. Mathieu was out there hitting. There was no sign of Richard. Right then I knew I was probably going to play Paul-Henri. I think an hour before is when you have to officially announce it. They came in at that point, and I don't know if it was too surprising.
Q. The way you were playing, would it have mattered to you?
ANDY RODDICK: I don't think it would have mattered the way I played today, no.
Q. Your third Davis Cup trip to Winston-Salem. How was that experience compared to the other two?
ANDY RODDICK: It was great. You know, I think the best thing about it is we've played three here and we've won three here. We just feel so welcomed. Downtown, there are banners there. It's almost like they treat us not only like an American home team but as a home team of the city, which is great.
Instead of, Nice to see you, we're kind of having to learn the ins and outs of roads, the hotels, whatnot, it's, Nice to see you again. You know, I know where I'm going around the coliseum and everywhere else. Little things like that make it nice to come back to.
Q. What is your schedule now?
ANDY RODDICK: What's my schedule? I'm not sure. I've been done with the match for 20 minutes.
Q. Any clay at all?
ANDY RODDICK: Yeah, probably.
Q. Rome, Paris, same old stuff?
ANDY RODDICK: Yeah, I'm not planning on skipping the French Open. I promise you that.
Q. You got into kind of a robotic rhythm out there. What was going on that you seemed to be able to do no wrong?
ANDY RODDICK: I don't know. I mean, I think the pace of the court really allows me to do a little bit more from the baseline. It kind of brings back the element of a slice, which is kind of, you know, lost sometimes on the slower stuff because it just sits up and guys can, you know, take their strings and just swing as hard as they can. So I was able to play a little bit different, slice the ball around, move it around.
Paul-Henri is very good at playing inside of his comfort zones, his patterns. So I was trying to make it, if he won points, he was at least hitting the shots that he didn't like. That almost simplified it for me where I was almost not playing the score, I was just trying to play each point and put him in the wrong positions.
Q. Not that I don't want to leave you time to enjoy this, but the draw is pretty brutal from here on out. Can you talk about the possibility of playing two away ties on clay and against the nations we're talking about? Spain first.
ANDY RODDICK: It's gonna be tough. I don't know if it's gonna do any good to sit here and freak out about it for the next three or four months, whatever it is.
I can assure you one thing: I know it's not convenient for us, I know we're not gonna be the favorites, but we're gonna go and we're gonna try. The thing about this team is we don't play when it's convenient. That's probably different than some of the other countries.
Q. You talk about you always play whether it's convenient or not. Can you talk about the last year and a half, what it's been like, how much fun you've had. I noticed after you won today you waited for your teammates to make that lap with the flag as well.
ANDY RODDICK: Well, you know, I feel like we earned what we got last year. I started as a practice partner in 2000, and have been a fan of it way longer than that. It's been nice to get rewarded for all the rough losses that we've had. I've been a big part of a lot of big losses for us in Davis Cup.
So now when you kind of have to try to keep an even keel when things are going your way, as well. But obviously it's been fun, you know, having won the last I think six ties.
Q. I realize that the clay season and the French Open is quite a distance from September in Spain. If you and James could at least show the Spanish that you could go deep at the French or into the second week, would that send do you think a message that you have a confidence on the surface to the Spanish?
ANDY RODDICK: I don't know. That would probably be a better question for them. I think it will show us more rather than them. I don't see them being intimidated by us coming. We could do really well and I don't see them being intimidated by us on clay very much, if I'm calling a spade a spade.
That being said, if we put a run together, we're going to feel a lot better about ourselves, which I think is maybe more important than their opinions.
Q. I realize you took the series from Spain here last year. Do you feel like you owe it to them a little bit from the final several years back?
ANDY RODDICK: Owe 'em?
Q. They beat you, and you want to go get them on their home soil.
ANDY RODDICK: Well, we got 'em. We got 'em here, like you said. But, you know, maybe more so than any other country matchup, home court's huge in that matchup. I think we were glad to get 'em on this surface or something similar to this last year.
You know, they're not really gonna have a whole lot of deliberation about what they're going to put us on.
But I don't know about proving this, proving that, doing this, doing that. We're going to go. We're gonna try. We're gonna bust it. We're not going to be the favorites. But weirder things have happened. You know, we got to get to three.
Q. A little bit old news. You talked a lot about enjoying representing your country in Davis Cup. You've decided not to go to China, Beijing, for the Olympics. Why did you make that decision?
ANDY RODDICK: Well, you know, you can only fit four pounds of stuff into a three-pound bag is what I said. It just comes to a point where, you know, the schedule and the ATP Tour is too long without the biggest sporting event in the world shoved right in the middle of its busiest part of the season, and probably my most important part of the season. As an American, the one tournament you probably want to win is the US Open.
Coming off of '04, I don't know if going to Athens was the best preparation for me. It's something I wanted to do. It's something that I had a blast doing. I can't tell you how hard the decision was for me, you know, and the amount of respect I have for that event. I promise you I'll be watching.
But it was a tennis decision first and foremost. It's not one that I'm probably proud of. It's not one, like I said, that was easy. But it just came down to, you know, having the best preparation possible and trying to have the best summer possible, especially when I feel like I'm maybe on the verge of playing some really good stuff.
Q. Can you talk about the difference between your own confidence in away Davis Cup matches on clay between, say, 2004 and now. You've won some good ones. In fact, all four of you have.
ANDY RODDICK: Yeah, it's a different tie. That being said, Nadal has won a couple clay court matches since then also. I'm sure he's licking his chops because it's gonna be nice conditions for him. So he'll show.
I'd love to say I've improved a ton. I think I've become a better Davis Cup player. I still have a lot to prove on clay. And I'm not gonna sit here and try to tell you that I'm fixed and I'm great on clay and all this stuff. But I'm better in Davis Cup situations and I'm better in away tie situations. So, you know, that's not gonna hurt.
Q. You've played on hundreds of tennis courts. Is this the fastest one you've played on?
ANDY RODDICK: No. I think when I first started on tour eight years ago, there were a lot of courts similar to this. I think San Jose last year was pretty quick. I remember the Aussie Open awhile ago, maybe even when I played juniors, was lightning.
I don't know if it was out of the ordinary. All you got to do is go watch an old tape where they're swinging half as hard and the ball's getting through the court. I don't know if it takes a rocket scientist to figure out the difference. Go watch a Wimbledon match and the way they used to be and the way they are now. Guys weren't serving as big and aces are coming.
We sit here and preach about it all the time. I don't know if it's just my opinion. In my head it's just factual information. If you go do the research, ask a Henman, a Wayne Ferreira, people that played through the course of this change, you're going to get a pretty common sentiment, I think.
Q. But this is fast enough for you?
ANDY RODDICK: It's fine. It allows you to play different styles of tennis. Whereas one style's running, that gets rewarded. I feel like other styles should be rewarded, too. I think there should be a mix.
Q. Speaking of the winning streak that your team has here. If the Davis Cup does return to Winston-Salem, do you feel like you have to defend that winning streak?
ANDY RODDICK: If we return here? No. I think there's enough pressure. If we do return here, it's gonna be in a big match or it's gonna be next year. I'm sure our thoughts are first and four most going to be we have to get to three, who am I going to play to get to three, who are they going to play to get to three, and we'll go from there.
If anything, it's going to be a comfort that we know the surroundings, kind of similar to what I touched on earlier.
Q. I'm sure the Bryans were pretty down last night. Do you see them bouncing back okay next tie? Did you or James or anyone say anything to them?
ANDY RODDICK: I don't think you can say anything other than, Tough one. You know, they lost yesterday. We got done practicing and we were goofing around on the court. We came back in the locker room, they were still here. They waited for all of us before they went back on the bus. I didn't expect them to be still in the locker room. They waited. They had all their stuff. Seemed like they were just waiting to go back with the rest of us, which I thought was amazing.
I was about three balls into warmup this morning and they were there shagging balls for me, picking up balls during warmup. You know, I think those two examples maybe just show the example of how they are team guys. Even that surprised me. I mean, that's above and beyond anything that they had to do. It's probably more than them saying anything.
End of FastScripts