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June 21, 2011

Andy Roddick


6-4, 7-6, 6-3

THE MODERATOR: Andy Roddick. Questions, please.

Q. Things better than usual here?
ANDY RODDICK: They're usually pretty good. I like it here.

Q. Serena just talked about how it was such a relief to get out of the first round, that she was thinking to herself, Please don't let me lose in the first round.

Q. Can you address maybe how much more difficult the first round is than maybe the quarterfinals.
ANDY RODDICK: I mean, yeah, as far as -- I think it's impossible not to be anxious for the first round of a slam. There's so much buildup. I can only imagine for her. I mean, she's been looking at it for a year now, so...
I know we normally feel it. There's always a little bit of, you know, anxiety before you play your first round. You kind of got to work it out. You saw last night with Murray, and then he found his groove. It's kind of just a matter of getting through.
By the time you're in the quarters, your game is there, you've played matches, it's just a matter of executing at that point. I can certainly relate to her sentiment, yeah.

Q. How good did that tiebreak in the second feel?
ANDY RODDICK: It was a big difference between two sets to love and one set all. Yeah, I felt like I was serving well. I felt like I was playing better than him. Last thing I wanted was to feel that way and be even, you know.
That was a big breaker for me.

Q. He came up with a pretty special backhand volley on the first set point. Did that make you think, Oops, I have to play well here?
ANDY RODDICK: You know what? For the last probably four or five games of that set, he was coming out of his shoes. He had a pretty smart game plan. He wasn't going to rally much. He was just going to take his shots and go really aggressive.
It worked most of the day. Normally when you have that mindset, you can count on someone making errors in bunches. Luckily he made two when he was up in that breaker.
He certainly, you know, had an obvious game plan and executed it for most of the day.

Q. Talk about your friend Serena and what her fighting spirit, what makes her special in this comeback.
ANDY RODDICK: Well, I think one thing we've never really questioned with Serena is her competitive spirit. I think especially when she gets out there, I think she just hates losing.
You know, I don't count her out of any situation. I don't think it surprised anybody in this room if she went on and won this tournament. I don't know how many people you can say that about after a year.
And a lot of that she's proven she can even not play well early and then almost play her way into shape. You know, she goes from spring training to mid-season in like three days.

Q. Is there something a little other worldly about her fire, competitiveness?
ANDY RODDICK: Yeah. I mean, you can insert whatever superlative you want. She's a fighter. She always has been since I've known her. Since she was eight years old, she's been that way.

Q. Do you think it would be possible on the men's circuit? Serena, Clijsters, they come back after one, two, three years, and they're still competitive.
ANDY RODDICK: It hasn't. You know, we've had a lot of great champions, you know, try to come back after a couple years. We're not talking months; we're talking a year and a half, two years.

Q. Now you have Del Potro.
ANDY RODDICK: Still, not even a year. I think it's more difficult. It's proven that it can be done in the women's game. I don't know that it's been proven that it can be done in the men's game. For whatever reason that is, I'm not sure. We don't have to worry about having babies, so...

Q. For sportsfans back home, how would you explain or describe the level of attention or scrutiny Andy Murray is under here these two weeks, and Tim Henman before him?
ANDY RODDICK: Sure. You know, I've been front and center as far as tennis in my own country for a long time. I don't think it compares to what those guys go through here. I don't feel like I can relate.
You know, he gets the full rundown of he practiced for 36 minutes, then he ate a Snickers bar and then continued for another 14 minutes, and then it's like -- and that's on page four. We already read the first three pages of the day. You know, it's a little tough (laughter).

Q. You've been here a long time now. At one point you were the bad guy upsetting Tim Henman.
ANDY RODDICK: Actually, I never played Tim Henman here. But I'm still the bad guy. Point taken, but... (Laughter.)

Q. Do you feel you're a popular guy with the locals now?
ANDY RODDICK: I don't know. You know, I think a lot changes over the course of 10 or 11 years. You almost look and say nothing's really the same, as it was.
There's a lot of stuff that changes. It's tough for me to kind of look at my relationship with the fans here objectively.
I know from my end I certainly enjoy it. I'm not going to speak for them, for sure.

Q. You got good support today.
ANDY RODDICK: It felt great. They've always been great to me, even when I was fake-beating Tim Henman (smiling).

Q. Do you ever think about your past or you always think about the present and future? I mean, 16-14 in the fifth set is still something that sticks out in your mind or you try to forget?
ANDY RODDICK: No, I don't think I've ever said that I'm going to try to forget it. I get asked about it a lot. But that was one of the most enjoyable tournaments I ever had. I'm not trying to forget it.
If there was a major event in your life, you probably wouldn't forget it. It's no different for me. It's just that I play tennis and you guys watched it.

Q. It still gives you confidence two years after?
ANDY RODDICK: Listen, I didn't need to play that match to know that I could play on grass. It's something that I feel like I can do pretty well. I understand a lot of the nuances of it. I made runs in the slams before.
I'm healthy for the first time in a while. You know, I don't feel like I'm compromising my game right now. So I feel good about where I'm at.

Q. Do you feel like the last couple years you've had a lot of mini comebacks from injuries?
ANDY RODDICK: Yeah, I had a pretty clean bill of health through '09, and then I tore up my knee a little bit. Yeah, I think that's fair. I feel like I've been stopping and starting a lot; then playing through something.
There's been a lot of those decisions: do you go or shut it down and get it right? I've done both. You know, I don't know if there's a perfect solution.

Q. Right now Tiger Woods is going through injuries. For an athlete, your body is so important. What is it like when you can't play at the level you want to because you're injured?
ANDY RODDICK: It's very frustrating. I mean, you have injuries and then you try to play around your injuries. You know you can't play completely comfortable or completely by instinct or the way you'd want to. That's what I meant when I said, you know, you don't want to play compromised.
It's tough. You have the physical dynamic. But then I think almost worse is the mental dynamic of knowing you're not completely right. The small margins that represent a win or a loss in sports, you know, become even smaller when something isn't perfect.

Q. Are you going to stay for the Isner/Mahut match?
ANDY RODDICK: Stay? No. I have to play tomorrow. I can't stay here three nights.

Q. Is it kind of surprising that Roger Federer hasn't really had any kind of injury to take him out?
ANDY RODDICK: Not really. He doesn't even look like he's trying when he plays, so how you gonna get hurt (smiling)?

Q. Apart from the top four seeds, is there anybody that catches your eye, predictions, anyone that could make the semis or finals?
ANDY RODDICK: Anyone outside the top four that could make the semis or finals? I can make the semis or finals. I've done it before.

Q. Apart from yourself and the other top four.
ANDY RODDICK: I'm focused on what I'm doing. I'm not in the business of predictions. I'll leave that to you all.

Q. The top four here coming in all playing well, all having proven how well they could play on grass, how would you describe the strength of the top four seeds here?
ANDY RODDICK: They're playing great tennis. You can point at any one of them and certainly compliment their pedigree. Seems like they're all in form right now, which isn't always the case. I mean, they deserve all the credit and attention they get right now.

Q. Of all the tournaments you've been in, can you compare the strength at a particular time the top four seeds with this group?
ANDY RODDICK: No. I mean, I think we always have a tendency to overexaggerate the present, but they're certainly playing very well. You know, I came up with Agassi and Sampras. They weren't too bad either.

Q. How would you describe the difference in tone and press coverage here of Murray and maybe of yourself and other athletes in the U.S.?
ANDY RODDICK: One, tennis isn't one of the biggest sports in the U.S. Two, the beginning of my career, I had the cushion of Andre and Pete. Even now I'm the second American, and there are guys consistently ranked 20 and 30. Here it's Murray or bust, kind of. So I think those are the differences.
Obviously we're not pulling from 50 states, either. It's not as big of a thing, so...

Q. You said you feel like you can reach semis and finals. You've been on and off all year with injuries. You feel ball striking-wise, coming off Queen's, that your game is in a place where, like you said about Serena, if you can get in a couple good matches you can make a decent run?
ANDY RODDICK: I feel healthy. I know what it takes to go deep at this tennis tournament.

Q. We heard John McEnroe saying the other day we should get rid of the prematch knock-up. Do you find the knock-up is important to you?
ANDY RODDICK: The knock-up meaning the warmup?

Q. Yes.
ANDY RODDICK: I think it's easy to not have the warmup when you're not the one not doing it anymore (smiling).

Q. There's some who talk about the role of luck in our sport, draws, health, what generation you're born into. Talk about the role of luck in tennis.
ANDY RODDICK: Well, what was it Gary Player said? The harder you work, the luckier you get. That and what? Hard work meets opportunity.
Luck affects a very small margin of matches, I think. There's one or two a year where you feel like you got through 'em even though maybe you definitely shouldn't have and probably one or two the other way, so maybe people that are unlucky maybe just need to get better. I don't know.

Q. Can you remember a lucky moment and an unlucky moment?
ANDY RODDICK: I can remember one lucky moment, for sure. Semifinals here, fourth set breaker against Johansson. He served wide and I hit the ugliest hack return of all time, like literally it was rising as it hit the net. It hit and just bounced over to give me match point and I hit a serve. That was it.

Q. You spoke earlier about Serena Williams coming back. When Serena and Venus are not able to play, how would you describe the void there is on the women's tour?
ANDY RODDICK: Well, again, you want to answer this question without being disrespectful to the current players, because I certainly understand how hard it is regardless.
But they are the biggest crossover stars that we have in the women's game. I think that's undisputed. I feel like people who don't care about tennis still care about what Serena's wearing. I feel like they still care about what she's going to say or what she's going to do. Oh, she hasn't played in a year? I'm going to watch that. They bring that sort of attention to the game, which can only be beneficial for everybody involved, even the players, you know, who are playing when they're not there.

Q. Ryan Harrison, you've had a lot of involvement. Talk about where you think he is, what you like to see from him in the next seven or eight months.
ANDY RODDICK: He's got ability. He's got to harness that energy a little bit. He goes a little mental sometimes. That's coming from me, so... (Smiling).
For him, I think it's been the ears at this point. He certainly serves well. He competes. I think everything that's going to be tough for him is going to make him better, too, because he cares so much about winning and losing, which I don't think we've had enough of, frankly, in the States as far as the up-and-coming players.
It's just a matter of I think him figuring out a comfortable line where it's not a different emotion every day.

Q. What are you listening to this fortnight, still the Wurzels?
ANDY RODDICK: I'm still trying to get that damn song out of my head (laughter).

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