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April 2, 2010

Andy Roddick


4-6, 6-3, 6-3

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. Is this one of those matches where you look at a lot of hard work over a lot of years and this is the payoff?
ANDY RODDICK: Yeah, I mean, I think you play a match on a day and you feel good on that day.
You know, I took a lot of risk there in the last two sets. I said it on the court and I've it said a couple times: The best thing I can think of is I rolled the dice a lot and came up Yahtzee a couple times.
That's what I have to do. My comfort zone of moving the ball around and maybe chip ping it around a little bit doesn't work against Rafa. I had to try to come up with something that at least took him out of his comfort zone a little bit, and it paid off.

Q. How much did you decide to change your approach with the way the match was going when you got into the match a little bit?
ANDY RODDICK: Well, we talked, and, you know, I have been playing well over the last month. So going into the match, we said, Well, let's go with what you've been doing. Let's not come out and be desperate right away.
So I waited a little bit to be desperate. (Smiling.)

Q. When did you become desperate, exactly?
ANDY RODDICK: Well, it's all a matter of how you're asking that question. But, no, I don't know. I think, you know, in the second set, you know, I wanted to come in on some more second serves just because I wanted to take away the middle of the court. I didn't want him to be kind of be comfortable hitting that heavy ball in the middle and kind of going from there.
So that was an conscious decision. I had to go after returns a little bit more. If I was just getting it back in play, then it was like water torture. You know, it was five or six shots, but I was never really feeling comfortable.
So the return was the key to me being able to get two feet under and hit a couple of those forehands, I think.

Q. How confident are you in the third set? You get your nose down in front of the break, and it seemed like you almost coasted on his serve. To have that 135 in the pocket, how effective was it?
ANDY RODDICK: It's nice, but, you know, the 135 wasn't gonna win me the match today. It does a lot of times. Don't get me wrong, I enjoy it. But that's -- I don't think that's the thing that won it for me today.

Q. In the eighth game of the second set when you broke at Love and you were ripping and/or taking some nice cuts on your forehand, what's prevented you in the past in some big matches from doing that in those matches and doing it today.
ANDY RODDICK: Well, like I said, you can't exactly plan on sticking three returns in a game on the line and backing him up. It's not as easy as, See ball; hit ball.
If that was the case, a lot of us would do that. I started sticking returns, and I got hot on my first and second serve returns.
I think that's what enabled me to really kind of get two feet under myself and take a cut.

Q. How often in the past have you served and volleyed on the second serve and been that effective as well? You've got to be proud about that.
ANDY RODDICK: Yeah, well, to Rafa's credit, normally I don't -- I win, you know, 55%, 60% of my second serve points because guys don't handle it as well as Rafa does.
So he forced me into something that probably isn't the most comfortable thing more me. I did it well today.

Q. What's it like charging forward against Rafa?
ANDY RODDICK: It's kind of like driving into head-on traffic times. (Laughter.)
But, you know, the way I rationalized it was, you know, I'm trying to get the upper hand in a rally. It's very tough once we get neutral. I don't hit the ball like him. I hit the ball straight through, and his ball comes up and down and he can switch directions a little bit easier than I can.
So basically I was sitting here thinking, all right, well, is my second serve my best approach shot against him? I thought it was, so that made the decision kind of, I guess, a little bit easier in my mind.
Doesn't always work, but I thought that was my best shot.

Q. In every year there are certain boosts to your morale or a player's morale. Where does this one rank in terms of morale boosters?
ANDY RODDICK: I don't know. You know, one thing Larry always says, and it kind of keeps things pretty simple, is: You're never playing as well as you think and you're never playing as badly as you think. So that kind of keeps it -- every day you start over.
Today was a good day. Hopefully tomorrow will be okay, and hopefully Sunday will be another good day.

Q. You were talking on TV about how you felt after Memphis with your shoulder and knee and stuff. Did you think going into the next two tournaments it might be kind of tough for you? How pleased are you that it didn't turn out that way?
ANDY RODDICK: Yeah, I remember I had lunch with Gimelstob, which is suspect decision-making in the first place, and he asked, How are you feeling? That was right before we drove down to Palm Springs. I said, I really feel banged up. I don't feel real good about much.
That's the thing about sports. I mean, sometimes that happens when you're not really expecting it. Maybe that makes it easier sometimes. I don't know.

Q. Andy, Soderling? Berdych?
ANDY RODDICK: A lot of similarities. A lot of similarities. I don't know that I have much of a preference. With both guys you're gonna get guys who hit very hard and very flat, you know, aren't interested in rallying too much.
A lot of times they'll take it out of your hands a little bit. Both have been playing great. We'll be able to start preparing a little bit already mentally for what kind of match.
It's not like you're playing two guys who are on extreme ends of style.

Q. How about emotionally? I mean, a match like this, it really almost felt like a final out there. The crowd and it's Rafa and all that. How did you keep that level of intensity for Sunday?
ANDY RODDICK: Well, intensity hasn't been my problem. Execution has been my problem sometimes, but intensity I'll be okay.

Q. You just said something really interesting...
ANDY RODDICK: Really? (Laughter.)

Q. I thought as professional athletes you always expect to win. Coming into this tournament you really didn't see yourself as getting into the...
ANDY RODDICK: Well, there's a big difference between hoping to win and expecting to win. If I come in and I'm banged up and I don't feel super-confident in what I'm able to do, we are -- we are experts in the art of delusion.
I mean, I probably would have figured out a way to Jedi mind trick myself into thinking I had a shot.
But, you know, there's a big difference between hoping, and expecting. I think you always hope for the best, but if someone doesn't go -- you know, they're coming off a month lay off and playing their first basketball game saying they expect to be right back where they started, it's a lie.

Q. How would you say Rafa responded to your tactics? Did you feel like he fell off at the last two sets, or was he right there?
ANDY RODDICK: I don't know. I mean, he would answer that better than I would. I executed as well as I could. I had a -- I mean, I literally took really, really ridiculous cuts at a lot of forehands.
They found the purple part. I might have missed a couple. So, you know, it was tough from there. I executed pretty well.

Q. How do you feel about upcoming clay season?
ANDY RODDICK: I'm not worried about it right now. I'm worried about Sunday.

Q. What was the immediate thought or feeling right when you won the match? What did you think or feel?
ANDY RODDICK: I was like, I can't believe he actually just missed a ball on his forehand. Once I got past that, I was pretty happy.
You know, obviously I was a little bit more pleased not having to go through the war of a service game to serve is out. That's always a nice feeling.
You know, but, again, there's still tennis to be played this week.

Q. Are you looking forward to participate tomorrow in the charity event for Chile?
ANDY RODDICK: Yeah. I committed to that. I'll honor that for sure. I'm excited about it.

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