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August 31, 2009
NEW YORK CITY, NEW YORK
A. RODDICK/B. Phau
6-1, 6-4, 6-2
THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.
Q. How did you injure your ear?
ANDY RODDICK: I have no idea. I have absolutely no idea.
Q. Come on, tell the truth.
ANDY RODDICK: No, I have no idea. I didn't go out there with it like that, I don't think. And then, I don't know, I saw like blood on my towel. I was looking around like this. No idea.
Q. Possible shaving accident?
ANDY RODDICK: No. My ears aren't actually that hairy.
Q. You played your share of very late night matches here. On a night like tonight when it looked at some point the over/under on you getting out ahead of midnight was iffy. What is your take? Would you like to see some change?
ANDY RODDICK: I don't know how much of a change you can make. The only change that I would make, if all things are equal, we would play first sometimes. I think that's reasonable.
Beyond that, I think late-night tennis, that's part of the Open. It's kind of what separates it a lot.
And also opening night they normally do a pretty good job of kicking off the tournament with -- they've had some great ceremonies the past couple years. You can't take that away.
They were good about letting us know tip off wasn't going to be about till 8:00 for the women. So, you know, it is what it is. It's the same for everyone.
I think also the fact that there's -- probably the earliest is I think they play second round Wednesday night, most likely Thursday, I don't think you get that psyched out about it.
The worst part about finishing that late is just the recovery time.
Q. Have you ever said anything or tried to get that message to the USTA?
ANDY RODDICK: I promise you, you all are my best voice. We'll see, you know. I think it makes sense, at least sometimes.
Q. There's just not another sport where the event starts at 11:15 p.m. and that's considered okay.
ANDY RODDICK: Yeah, you know, but there's also -- I'm having a hard time thinking of another sport that doesn't have a set time that you play either. Sometimes baseball, but only one game to follow. It doesn't really affect a waiting team too much.
You know, it is what it is. It's just something that's always been there in New York. It's tough sometimes. It's all part of it. Kind of the crazies that stay till 1:00 in the morning, there's something fun about that.
Q. How is that fun? How is that different from playing somewhere else?
ANDY RODDICK: It's just unique. You know, you play in all sorts of atmospheres. You know, there's not as many people, but the ones that are there sure are vocal/drunk.
Q. After midnight the crowd turns into crazies?
ANDY RODDICK: I think so. I think so. I guarantee half the people out there were probably here all day, too. They have to be pretty passionate and really enjoy what they're seeing and the whole experience of it.
It's 1:00 in the morning. I guarantee you, they all have to work tomorrow. They certainly have to get up earlier than I do.
It is kind of unique and pretty cool.
Q. I assume some players really get a charge out of those kind of eccentricities of this tournament. Others may not. I assume you fall in the former. If so, why does that work with you?
ANDY RODDICK: You know what, it's all part of our game. We don't play on the same surface. We don't use the same balls. We don't play in the same place. It's all different all the time.
The thing that makes Wimbledon so cool is the tradition and the whites. I get into that when I'm there. I love it. I think it's great.
I think the equivalent of that here is the night sessions and the craziness, the fact that it's a show and it's an event as well as a tennis tournament. The more things that we have that make our events unique, I think the better our sport is for it.
Q. Andre talked about his foundation today. One of the things he said was it's like a baby after you start it. You have to care for it.
ANDY RODDICK: Uh-huh.
Q. He started his while he was still active and stepped up his level more now that he's not as busy. How are you juggling that responsibility with playing? Have you sought him out for advice on that?
ANDY RODDICK: Andre was probably the impetus behind me starting my foundation. Goes back to a conversation a long time ago before any of you knew who I was. He was really good about mentoring me.
You know, I asked some questions. But a lot of times I just watched the way he kind of went about things, the way he handled his business.
I can't do the work for my foundation alone. I know that I have to be the face of it. A lot of the big decisions come to me. But I can't sit in an office and answer phones all day. So it takes a big group of people, hard-working people, that kind of have the same passion for it that I do.
I think that's the thing that you need while I'm still playing.
Q. What was the conversation?
ANDY RODDICK: Well, I was -- geez, what was I? I think I was 17. I filled in last minute at a one-night exhibition in Houston. I think I was 350 in the world or something.
After the match he said, Do you want to go -- I'm going back to Boca, because I think Stef's mom was living there. Do you want a lift? We didn't fly on Southwest. Nothing against Southwest, but...
Anyway, this is a long story. But we were about a half hour in. I hadn't really said much, which as you know is rare for me. He said finally, Listen, kid. We have an hour and a half left. It's me and you. If you have any questions, let's knock 'em out.
I said, All right. That was the last time he ever asked me to talk again. I asked everything, you know, from Grand Slams to one. I said, What was your biggest regret, expecting to hear like, I fell off a little bit; I didn't stay on top of my career. I mean, we all lived in the rollercoaster of the mid to late '90s, whatever it was.
He said, I didn't start my foundation early enough. Of all the things he had kind of gone through, that kind of hit home. He kind of preached that you don't really have to start with events where he has Elton John and Billy Joel and Usher, and pretty much anybody else he wants playing his events at the MGM Grand.
I asked Venus and Serena to come and we played an exhibition pretty much in a parking lot. We raised $40,000, and we thought it was the best thing ever.
Now we have Elton and we're raising $2 million a night. It was all kind of part of the process. He was a huge inspiration as far as that goes.
Q. You've won your last four opening-round matches here pretty routine. Did that match change the way you prepare for these matches?
ANDY RODDICK: No, I just laid an egg that night. There's no other way around it. I was nervous. I was tight. I went out and played that way. To be honest, I don't really think of it. I've had plenty of success before that match and plenty of success after it. It was a bad match.
Q. Your court coverage was tremendous tonight. Talk about your renewed commitment to conditioning.
ANDY RODDICK: Yeah, it's been better all year. It was probably necessary tonight because he definitely takes his cracks at the ball. You kind of have to fight him off a little bit. It's just nice to have the option of playing differently according to what you need to do versus said opponent.
Q. In baseball they have hitting coaches. In the NBA they'll have shooting specialists, free throw specialists. Why do you not see serving gurus in tennis?
ANDY RODDICK: Well, I feel like the team pays for the free throw specialist. You know where I'm going with this, right?
Q. It's a matter of economics?
ANDY RODDICK: Well, I mean, yeah. Let's be honest with ourselves for a second. If you're looking at making six figures a year, you're going to have to be in the top 80 as a tennis player. You have to pay for all your own expenses. You're not going to see that much.
I think you've seen kind of the precedent. I think Andy Murray hired Corretja for clay. You have to be making some bank in order to take on those expenses. We pay for all of our own stuff.
So I think that's probably the difference. We would probably all have everything if that was the case.
Q. How much are you running on the track, and is that something new or something you've always done?
ANDY RODDICK: It's something I'm doing a lot more and more consistently, and really carving out kind of weeks out of the schedule to make time for it. That's another thing that Andre did great in his career. You know, he started managing weeks he was playing versus training. He was really diligent and organized about how he went about it.
That's something that I'll probably do more and more of.
Q. Do you do like sprints, 400s, 100s?
ANDY RODDICK: It varies. We don't go out and do the same workout every day. Some of it's speed work, some of it's endurance. I work with a guy named Lance Hooton in Austin who worked with a bunch of track and field athletes, various athletes. We get out there and have a pretty good time.
Q. Do you enjoy it or endure it?
ANDY RODDICK: I love it. It's actually pretty cool. In the off-season we have 8:00 a.m. call time. We have a bunch of kind of athletes from around Austin. It's baseball players, Jujitsu masters, all sorts of that stuff. We all meet out there in our gloves and mittens at 8:00 in the morning.
If you're the one that doesn't show up, you better believe you're getting seven or eight phone calls.
Q. Are you pretty fast?
ANDY RODDICK: It's okay. It's okay. Sneaky.
End of FastScripts