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January 19, 2009
A. RODDICK/B. Rehnquist
6-0, 6-2, 6-2
THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.
Q. Ten unforced errors in a first-round match. Have to be pretty happy with that.
ANDY RODDICK: Yeah, it was good, especially considering he's the kind of guy where you're pretty much playing every point on his serve. So overall I was pretty happy with it.
Q. What do you take out of a match like that looking forward?
ANDY RODDICK: Well, you know, a match like that, you got to go out and beat somebody. He's gonna put the ball in the court. He's probably not gonna do much to kind of blow you off the court.
But you got to go and execute. I was able to do that today. You know, it was a good start.
Q. Since you were here last year, do we see any changes in your style of play?
ANDY RODDICK: Yeah. I mean, you're kind of always evolving. I was a little bit probably more aggressive out there today than I was my first round last year, so that's a good sign.
Q. Can you say it's aggressive but simple at the same time?
ANDY RODDICK: I think I know what you're saying. It's not a type of aggression where you're just kind of going for a winner right away.
But I think that had something to do with matchup also. You know, I was able to kind of get away with it in the chip today, because I think he liked it when it was flat into his backhand. So it was something conscious. I would wait back until I had a forehand and I could bully him to this corner.
How you play, as much as we like to generalize it, a lot of time, it's matchup dependent.
Q. It's because of your new coach, this little change?
ANDY RODDICK: Yeah, I mean, we've made adjustments. If I'm being honest with you, I don't think there's a huge 180-degree difference between today and normal.
Q. Next up is Malisse. Your thoughts on that?
ANDY RODDICK: Xavier is tough. He's gone through quallies. He won pretty handily today. He's got matches behind him. I think everyone knows he's extremely capable when healthy. So, you know, I'll have to be ready.
Q. How dangerous can he be?
ANDY RODDICK: He's proven it. I think he's been in the semis of a Grand Slam before. You know, I think his track record speaks for how dangerous he can be.
Q. Are you surprised to see him back?
ANDY RODDICK: No, I'm not surprised.
Q. You won in less than two hours. How important is it to conserve energy in the early rounds?
ANDY RODDICK: Yeah, I mean, obviously if you can you take that option, especially it wasn't getting any cooler out there as the match went on.
I wasn't too disappointed to see that I was first up out of the gate. You know, first thing is you want to win and then you worry about the specifics of it. But obviously you don't want to be on court for four hours every time you're out there.
Q. Do you think that will help in the later rounds the fact you had a quicker first-round match?
ANDY RODDICK: Who knows. I got to get through the second round. Hopefully it will help me for the second round.
Q. Looks like you're back to the breadsticks. Are you carrying less weight?
ANDY RODDICK: A little bit less weight, yes.
Q. How much? You look trimmer.
ANDY RODDICK: Than what?
Q. I don't know. This time last year.
ANDY RODDICK: I don't know. Probably about 15 from the start of the off-season.
Q. We've seen in the last 18 months a bracket of younger players emerging to challenge Roger. People talk about the big four, and you're not in that. Do you feel you still belong in that top group?
ANDY RODDICK: Not until I earn my spot back. They absolutely deserve to be the four that get talked about right now. My results last year, especially in slams, don't warrant me being talked about.
The thing about sports is no one really remembers yesterday, and that's fair. You have to go out and prove yourself on a daily basis. I have no problem with that.
Q. Confident you can still beat those players regularly?
ANDY RODDICK: Well, I have. Last year was an exciting start to the year, and then I kind of plateaued and felt like I was playing catch-up the rest of the year after I was out for a little bit.
But, sure, I think I can.
Q. Taylor Dent is back. Have you been in touch with him? What are your thoughts?
ANDY RODDICK: I mean, when I've seen him, obviously he was at tournaments working some commentary. He was around a little bit. But it's good to see him back. I mean, he's one of the guys you see in the locker room. He's always got a pretty good outlook. He's always got a smile on his face.
From the sounds of it, for a while, you didn't think he was going to come back with how severe his injuries were, you know. So it's a testament to him wanting to get back. There's definitely plenty of room for another American out here.
Q. Have you had any chance to work out with him?
ANDY RODDICK: I haven't, no.
Q. What do you think of moving the tournament to February?
ANDY RODDICK: Well, I've actually had conversations with Roger. I think his quote got taken a little out of context. I'm assuming that's what you're asking about.
It's not like you can take a tournament and just move it. There's a million logistical things that I don't think get mentioned enough in an article that's written like that from the fact that this is probably the biggest sporting event going on right now, with the exception of back home with the NFL.
But worldwide, it allows it to kind of take center stage a little bit more. You have kids being off from school, people on vacations down here, which is only going to help the tournament.
There's a lot more factors than just move the tournament back. I don't know if it's that easy. I think, you know, if there's a bunch of reasons why not to, I don't know if it makes much sense from kind of an outside-of-the-box perspective.
Q. You've been No. 1. You won a Grand Slam. You've been here for a few years. Is it sometimes difficult to keep motivation? Is it a reason why you may have changed coach?
ANDY RODDICK: It's weird, you know, with the exception -- there have been a lot of guys who have had some coaches and it doesn't really get talked about a whole lot. For some reason with me it gets talked about an awful lot.
I don't think the reason for me switching coaches is a lack of motivation. I don't know if you would find someone who would say that I haven't really been motivated, especially this off-season. It was nice to actually have some time to train and get prepared.
It's long. I mean, one of the things I'm most proud of is, you know, being top 10 for seven, eight years now. I think there were only 12 or 13 guys who have done it that long. I think that is a testament to me being able to compete week to week, even when I don't have my best stuff or I'm coming back from whatever.
But I don't think that has anything to do with coaches.
Q. Larry has been pretty specific about the adjustments he'd like to see you make in your game. How easy is it to do that during a match as opposed to practice?
ANDY RODDICK: Well, if you practice it enough it gets easier in the matches. That's kind of his philosophy. For right now I feel comfortable doing it. I mean, I played pretty well in Doha. It was pretty comfortable today.
You know, that's pretty much all we have to base it on so far. So, you know, so far, so good.
Q. If you could help Adam Helfant prioritize things when he comes into the job, are there a few things you'd like to see him look at first?
ANDY RODDICK: I actually was lucky enough to have dinner with him the other night. I was pretty impressed. He didn't come in with kind of this braggadocio attitude of what he's done, whatever. He kind of came in and he had his notepad and his pen and he asked questions and he wrote down notes. He didn't come in like a know-it-all. He was kind of very concerned about a number of issues. If he didn't quite understand it, he would ask why we thought that.
It was an impressive meeting, that's for sure. After the meeting, I was glad that they had chosen him.
Q. Can you say what some of those issues were?
ANDY RODDICK: Well, there's the normal stuff. There's the schedule, there's surface, balls, different things to promote the game, different campaigns, how to make it more relevant on a day-to-day basis at home.
I guarantee I'm forgetting five or six things we covered. But, you know, it's not anything new. I'm sure it's all been talked about amongst all of you, as well.
Q. Do you have any theories on why this tournament produces more one-off finalists than others?
ANDY RODDICK: I got nothing for you. I mean, I feel like this tournament has always rewarded the people who are most prepared. You know, I don't know if maybe some people don't get in the swing of it right away. That's the only thing I could possibly come up with. I'm not sure.
Q. What would be a big year for you this year? What would be an okay year?
ANDY RODDICK: Well, I feel like last year was disappointing for me. A good year is obviously winning, you know, a big tournament and trying to get back into that - like we discussed earlier - get back into the conversation. You know, I guess anything between the two would be okay.
Q. How much time did you actually take off during the off-season other than recuperating from the ankle injury?
ANDY RODDICK: Yeah, about five days for the ankle.
Q. Just bringing it back to today's match. Obviously you had a pretty quiet lead-up. How did it feel to be back out on court? You look a little bit drained. I'm not sure if that's the heat.
ANDY RODDICK: Drained? You're wrong (smiling).
Q. How did you feel out on court?
ANDY RODDICK: I felt great. I don't know if it was a quiet lead-up. I think the only reason it would be viewed as quiet is because it didn't solely take place here in Australia. You know, I actually played one more event coming in than I normally do, and probably three or four more matches.
You know, one of the things is -- I love the tournament at Kooyong. It was just trying to switch something up, different preparation. I hadn't done great here last year, so we just tried to mix it up a little bit. Not really any reasons beyond that.
Q. Your second-round match on Wednesday is a pretty big day back in the U.S. with the whole Obama things. Any plan to get up early and keep an eye on how things are producing pver there?
ANDY RODDICK: No, I'm sure they'll get it done without me (laughter).
Q. Lance Armstrong is over here. Are you surprised by the Australian media attention? I'm not sure if you've met him. You probably have. Are you surprised by the attention he's getting over here?
ANDY RODDICK: Yeah, I live about two miles from Lance in Austin. But, no, I'm not really surprised. I mean, he's an icon pretty much wherever he goes. In the States, he wears so many hats from athlete to, you know, he's gotten into the political side of cancer research and fund-raising. You know, he wears so many hats that I'm not really too surprised by it.
Obviously, if it was a normal year and he hadn't retired and this was just part of it, you know, and this is his first comeback race, so I think that probably adds a little drama to it.
Q. One of the things your coach has said is that he is anxious for you to improve your balance on your approaches to the net and you can become a more effective volleyer. Is that a sound reasoning?
ANDY RODDICK: Yeah. He's the boss.
Q. Do you think you're getting better at it?
ANDY RODDICK: I sure hope so. I think so.
Q. Are you surprised that the Arizona Cardinals beat the Philadelphia Eagles?
ANDY RODDICK: They've been pretty good at home. They haven't been very good on those West Coast to East Coast 1:00 games. I think they're about 0-5. I doubt the Super Bowl is going to be played at 1:00 in the afternoon, so they should be all right.
Q. On that level with Lance and everything, a lot of tennis tournaments bring in a lot of different celebrities, like even Boyd Tinsley. Is that kind of fun for you when the celebrities come and watch?
ANDY RODDICK: Yeah, I mean, I think it's good for the tournament. I think it's great for the US Open when you have everyone there, and it gives you something else to talk about. It's not only a tennis tournament, but it becomes an event. I think that's similar here. I think it's similar probably at the slams.
Q. Miami maybe?
ANDY RODDICK: Miami, for sure. You know, they got a whole heap of stuff going on there. It is very cool. Boyd is a friend now. I've been obsessed with their band since I was 11 years old. I don't know if that ever becomes really normal. But I still kind of geek out at it sometimes.
End of FastScripts