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August 31, 2008
NEW YORK CITY, NEW YORK
A. RODDICK/A. Seppi
6-2, 7-5, 7-6
THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.
Q. You seemed very much in control out there today. Are you quite pleased with the way you handled the match?
ANDY RODDICK: Certain parts. You know, I felt like I was a little bit up and down. I know I played a sloppy game in the third set, and that kind of, I guess, put a little bit of a bad taste in my mouth. Besides that, it was all right. I was in most of his service games, and, you know, there's some stuff to improve, but I thought overall it was good.
For the first time in a little while, I feel like match tough. I've gotten in some tough moments here and played my way out of them pretty good, so that's a good sign.
Q. How much of any athlete's, particularly tennis players, makeup is the confidence you bring to the game? As opposed to the physical part? Are you believing in yourself now?
ANDY RODDICK: Yeah. I mean, I don't know if I ever stop believing in myself. It's a matter of going out there having the repetitions to go out there and do it. I can't pass the ball off. I kind of have to face it and deal with it. There's no such way as kind of working your way back in. You're working your way back in. The guy's trying to beat you from the word go.
You're in the breakers, you're in the 5-all points, and you have to play them tough and I felt like I did that over the last -- the other night and today, so that's good.
Q. Was there any point during the Olympics at all that you, for whatever reason, regretted your decision not to go and what did you watch and how much did you watch?
ANDY RODDICK: Oh, sure. But I mean I don't think -- I think I've been pretty honest with you guys saying I could make this decision and look back and have it be the absolutely horrible one. I saw the potential for that both ways, especially dealing with the injuries. Doing two tournaments for one I thought was beneficial.
Oh, but absolutely, I mean, every time I watched it, you know, I thought about it and, you know, especially after, you know, James won and beat Roger and it was kind of a big thing. Yeah, I mean, I'm not going to sit here and pretend like I'm fully confident in my decision. I don't think I ever pretended to be.
Q. Is this match something to lift your game at this moment, like down a break with Gulbis down a break here? Is that what you're talking about?
ANDY RODDICK: I don't know. I hear lift game all the time, and I don't know if it really makes sense at this level. I guess it's not like we can kind of go like that and press a button and, ohhhh. I think it's matter of -- I think it's more a matter of maybe being able to execute just as well in the tough moments as you do when you feel like you're cruising a little bit. And I think that's what separates the confident players from the guys who are trying to get to that state.
Q. You're a baseball fan, and you hear guys say, Mr. October, certain people can produce when the pressure is on.
ANDY RODDICK: Sure.
Q. Same thing in tennis?
ANDY RODDICK: Same thing in any sport.
Q. Any sport?
ANDY RODDICK: You know, you can -- I mean, the examples are probably endless, but, you know, it's not so much just about the timing. You have to put in the work to be able to perform well on a certain stage, and, you know, I'm getting there. I'm getting to the point where the last two were good. They were tough, and, you know, I was able to kind of play well in the tight moments.
The one sloppy game I played was when I was up two sets as opposed to kind of falling behind. You know, it's a step in the right direction. We're by no means there but it's getting better.
Q. What month are you?
ANDY RODDICK: Sorry?
Q. What month are you?
ANDY RODDICK: Oh, I don't know. We play tennis from January to November, so pick one.
Q. You pick one.
Andy, you said during Saturday's press conference, 2003, it's almost so far removed that you can't really draw upon it anymore.
ANDY RODDICK: Yeah.
Q. That was going into the tournament. Now, as you do advance into the latter stages, you know, and the pressure gets tougher and so forth, can you begin to at least draw back and say I have been able to do it before?
ANDY RODDICK: I don't know if it's so much drawing back just to that year. I think drawing just from my experiences at this tournament; you know, not just '03, but, you know, '06 and I've lost first round, I know how that feels and that's not good, so you want to stay away from that one.
But I think even just going into that stadium and playing and there's a deceiving wind out there. It blows a little bit differently. I think I just feel comfortable with the elements here, because I've been through them so many times. I think that helps.
Q. Murray thanked his fitness coach on court last night. Is having a traveling fitness coach now pretty much a requirement if you want to be in the top 10?
ANDY RODDICK: I don't know about a requirement. I think there's plenty of guys who -- it's certainly a privilege to have it. That's for sure as opposed to staying out here. You can do it in the comfort of your own home, and you have somebody who knows, maybe has direct knowledge of your injuries as opposed to going in and trying to explain it every other week. You know, so I think that kind of relationship is extremely beneficial nowadays, maybe more so than ever, just because it's tougher. I think it's more of a grind and the game's becoming more physical.
Q. What is the physical report, your shoulder and your back?
ANDY RODDICK: Oh, good, Bud. What's your physical report?
ANDY RODDICK: Fair?
Q. Fair. I'm on a crutch.
ANDY RODDICK: I feel like I'm better than you right now.
Q. Absolutely. I wouldn't want to play you today?
ANDY RODDICK: Maybe not in spirit, though.
Q. You're okay, though?
ANDY RODDICK: I'm good, Bud.
Q. Everything's fine?
ANDY RODDICK: I'm awesome, thank you.
Q. I have a follow-up on that shoulder question. Has it only been recently you've been able to play the matches without having any worry about feeling a tweak or twinge or...
ANDY RODDICK: Yeah, I think the biggest thing with my shoulder is I went to the doc and he said, okay, listen, you played a pretty heavy schedule. For some reason you might have irritated it. Basically we're trying to avoid the big, you know, the big miss where you're out for -- he goes and you're flirting with that now with how kind of sensitive this thing is. It's a matter of shutting it down, but then I mean coming back you can play three days fine and all of a sudden it flares up and you're just thinking, oh, god, you don't want that big thing.
I think probably in the last three weeks or month, I've gotten to point where I haven't felt it at all, which is good. I mean, you know, with that kind of thing, it's almost two steps forward, one step back, two steps forward, one step back. There's days of extreme optimism followed by the next day you're still wondering.
Q. Is that specific to serving or...
ANDY RODDICK: No, it wasn't completely a serving injury. I could come out some days and at Wimbledon I lost but my speed was there. You know, it was kind of just dependent upon the day. And I think the biggest thing was getting action on my serve. I can go up and hit a flat serve with half an arm and it's a matter of getting slices and spins and that was difficult when you put it in awkward positions.
Q. Is it tendinitis?
ANDY RODDICK: Yeah.
Q. Do you think that's something you're going to have to deal with as long as you're playing competitively?
ANDY RODDICK: No, they said the structure of my shoulder is fine. And it's strong, and, you know, if we're sitting here and saying I serve like I do in eight years, later I've had a problem with it for a grand total of two or three months or four months I'd probably take another eight years of that. But as far as everything else, as long as I do my best to keep it in shape. By that, you know, I played pretty much almost two months straight at the beginning of the year and maybe fell off of my -- I was doing okay in tournaments but I fell off of my exercise and I think that's something I'm going to have to stay on top of during tournaments but as far as anything else it's fine.
Q. On court you made a funny comment about all the success, all the jobs that Pat McEnroe has. What qualities does he bring that has made him so successful and that you enjoy in terms of working with him?
ANDY RODDICK: You know, he's very direct. You know, it's not going to, you know -- for these three weeks it was perfect. I don't need someone to come in here and -- I don't need to get to know someone. There's a certain comfort level and he knows my game. He's seen me in tough situations before, you know, probably similar to playing US Open as Davis Cup, and he's great. It's just an overall knowledge of my game and kind of how we go about things. There's definitely a comfort level there.
Q. Along those lines, the ATP is looking for a new leader. What would you like that person to be like, and is there one...
ANDY RODDICK: Really hot (laughter.)
Q. Is there one issue, Andy, that you would like that person really to tackle when he or she comes in?
ANDY RODDICK: When she comes in, I think -- you know, we've been talking about schedule length for a long time with not a lot of success, you know. There's been, okay, new schedule, new schedule, and we're all supposed to celebrate but it all ends kind of at the same time, and we have to travel to another part of the world and back.
I think that's something that needs to be addressed. Not only from a player's perspective as far as injuries. That's probably the main concern. But even giving the fans a chance to miss the game, you know.
You're seeing, you know, these NFL shows, these preseason things have been going on for two months now. I think you need a little bit of buildup, maybe a little bit of time to miss it. I think that's something that never really gets talked about. Because you guys get to go to great, fun places, like Basel in the fall.
Q. You've been on both sides of fan support. I mean, J Block had a warning last night in the match. Do you think that someone's fans can go too far in a situation like that?
ANDY RODDICK: I mean -- I'm probably on the extremely liberal side of fans and sports, and as far as like being on the court, you know. If I complain about anybody carrying on during a match, I'd be bordering on hypocracy.
You know, it's sports. You're supposed to go after someone. There's supposed to be tense moments, you're supposed to yell, you're supposed to scream. All of a sudden if there's a net and racquets involved, you can't do that.
As long as it's -- if someone tosses a ball up and you yell, then I think that's a direct distraction. If it's between points, yeah, they can do whatever they want. I think as long as you're respectful of the rules of the game, have a ball. Do what you got to do. It only adds to the atmosphere.
Q. So the umpire was out of line?
ANDY RODDICK: I don't know the specific thing you're talking about. If you're talking about yelling during a point. I hear people saying, why do you have to be quiet? We use all of our senses. If someone slices, if someone really cracks the ball, that's programmed into our minds. So I think that's important. People moving and whatnot, we're trying to see a ball moving at a hundred and whatever miles an hour. As long as it's in the framework of being respectful, then I'm all for it. You can do a handstand if you want.
Q. Did you watch the match last night, and if so, was it very difficult between close friends?
ANDY RODDICK: Yeah, it was weird. And it was -- and it wasn't enjoyable for me to watch. I was thrilled for Mardy for the way he played and I felt just as bad for James, you know, that he had to leave this tournament. It was just weird afterwards.
I was talking with my fiancĂ©e afterwards and she said, you seem a little off right now. And it was weird, because there was like I'm so happy for Mardy to do well. But you get the shot of James walking off, and -- it was weird. You know, it's not something that I like to watch every day.
Q. Do you think the code of conduct is a bit too much, bit too strong, so if a guy cracks his racquet down the court, so what, there's no harm?
ANDY RODDICK: I don't -- I mean, show me a fan that doesn't listen. You watched, you know, McEnroe for years, if you loved him or hated him, you watched him. You know, you break a racquet. If a guy wants to break a bat in the dugout, he doesn't get warned. It's not hurting anyone.
If it's affecting your opponent, then that's probably disrespectful, then keep it out of there, but my racquet. Not anybody else's. (laughter.) I wouldn't break your stuff.
Q. The match, here's a guy you hadn't played before. Doesn't have much of a serve. Blasted him in the first set. Did he pick up his game a little bit or did you change yours?
ANDY RODDICK: No, I think he started -- it was probably -- I think he started playing better. To be fair, in the second set I had a lot of games that went to deuce. Those deuce points I might have converted in the first set I didn't in the second set. Third set I wasn't playing well until the end of the night, probably played some of the best stuff of the match, but I think he got a little bit better. You know, normally it's an advantage going out there for the first time because that court feels a bit different than a lot of the ones you play on.
Q. Nieminen or GonzĂˇlez, you've never played Nieminen --
ANDY RODDICK: I haven't played Jarkko before, which is surprising. I've played Gonzo a lot. I've played well against him the last couple of times we played. So either way it will be tough, but I think if I serve well and take care of my own I'm going to have looks at their service games.
Q. No athlete wants to think he's really got it going, but do you believe you've got it going? You obviously are pleased that now you're into the fourth round, and moving along and you sort of in your mind say, could be?
ANDY RODDICK: I think it's too early for that, but you can go -- you're always moving in two directions, and I'm going in the right one right now.
Q. Do you look at, think about Federer differently at all? I mean, he still made two Grand Slam finals this year. He's won a couple tournaments, but he's not playing the way he has over the last few years.
ANDY RODDICK: You guys are brutal. Absolutely brutal. (laughter.)
Yeah, I mean, the guy has only made two Grand Slam finals this year. I would love his bad year. I would love it. It would be great. I'd be really happy with right now. I mean -- I guess at a certain point, the guy has the best four-year run ever, and we're all sitting here in shock that it's not the best five-year run ever. We have to use a little bit of perspective here as far as how good he's been. I've said it before, and I think he's said it, he's created a little bit of a monster for himself, and I don't think -- you know, I remember reading a lot of stuff after, you know, Tsonga beats Nadal in Australia, and everyone's like, okay. It was Djokovic for two months and you guys were like, going off, and then Nadal now and you guys are all jacked up.
You know, you got to give it some time. One big result and he's just clicked in.
I think if you have to hear about anything every day you start thinking about it a little bit, and maybe that's where he's at.
Q. You talked about how -- you say you'd love his bad year. But the way you feed off this place and your history here and the way you say you're going in the right direction, I mean, do you view this as I guess your best shot at another Slam final?
ANDY RODDICK: Yeah, I think so. Yeah. I mean, there's not really much to elaborate on. Yes.
End of FastScripts