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September 2, 2011

Andy Roddick


6-3, 6-3, 6-4

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. Have you needed to play this kind of a match?
ANDY RODDICK: Define 'this kind of match' for me.

Q. As well as you played staying in points.
ANDY RODDICK: Yeah, I guess today staying in the points is a good thing. It's the way it works. You know, you haven't played, you work yourself in. All of a sudden one day you come out and things feel right. You don't have to force it. That's just the way it's always worked in tennis. That's the way it's always gonna work.
Yeah, tonight I felt like the ball was doing whatever I wanted it to do for the most part. I was able to control it.

Q. How much fun was that tonight?
ANDY RODDICK: Yeah, it was. I didn't think I'd ever play another guy from Nebraska in my career. You know, it was just cool. I could draw so many parallels to what he was going through. You know, but also I could draw on my experience a little bit.
I had a good time.

Q. Do you remember your first night match on Ashe, kind of the emotion of it?
ANDY RODDICK: I played Slava Dosedel and I won 6-4, 6-2, 6-1 in 2001. I think I played every match on Ashe that year. That's when I lost to Hewitt in the quarters. The last match I played not on Ashe was in 2002.

Q. What were the emotions when you first stepped out?
ANDY RODDICK: I was pretty nervous. I remember I was pretty dicey till about 4-All, and then I kind of slimed a break where he just played a bad game and I was able to free up a little bit and started playing a little bit better.
I had some confidence because I'd won Washington coming in. But it's just exciting. You know, I said before in an interview on the way out, I certainly think I always appreciate the chance to get to play out there.

Q. At that time was there a lot of young American buzz going on? Did you feel the same kind of pressure?
ANDY RODDICK: I don't think that story's ever died in the 10 years I've been playing. When I was coming up you had Agassi still in his prime, Sampras still in his prime, and people still wanted to know who was next. They still wanted to know who was behind Venus and Serena. That's going to be a question that's never satiated, I'm afraid.

Q. Why is that? Is that the American dream mentality?
ANDY RODDICK: You tell me. I've been content with it many times.

Q. What did you think of his game? Anything about his game that surprised or impressed you?
ANDY RODDICK: Serve's gotten a lot better. I think he's grown about a foot in the last year. His forehand's got some serious rpms on it. You can't teach that. You can't teach 135 in your arm. You can't teach the ball jumping off the court. So that's good. He's going to have to learn some of the subtleties in the game.
But, you know, those are things that you can teach and can learn. Between him and Ryan, I think we got a couple of legit prospects. Like I said the other night, my favorite thing about them is that they compete. They really, really, really compete.

Q. Jack said you invited him down to Texas. Am I right that Andre did the same for you?
ANDY RODDICK: Andre was probably my mentor when I came out. I didn't go to his home, but we were in Florida the off-season in 2000 before he won the Australian Open 2001. We were together pretty much every day. From that probably three, four months when I was the No. 1 junior in the world, I think I was good enough to give him practice.
You know, I would pull out of tournaments to go hit with him for a week just because you learn so much.

Q. You have coaches, development. What does it mean for a young player to actually play with someone of that stature?
ANDY RODDICK: He was my hero. You know, it was surreal. I felt like I was in a daze. It was really cool because my dad put this court together in our yard in Florida. He would come over there and hit. So the neighbors who would complain that we were out there hitting balls at 6:00 in the morning all of a sudden would look through the bushes and they didn't complain anymore.

Q. Is it something that takes you to a different stage in terms of your development?
ANDY RODDICK: I think so. We'll see. I mean, I certainly benefited from it, but I've had 25 up-and-coming prospects at my house. We'll see how many get through. Just because they come and visit for a little while doesn't mean they'll automatically make it.
I don't know how much I know about anything, but I'm certainly happy to share what I do if they want to listen.

Q. Was it hard shut down? You enjoy being a mentor. Is it hard to shut that down? Because you really did have to shut that down going out there tonight.
ANDY RODDICK: Yeah, I wasn't too talkative beforehand. I think going in I had to treat it like a match. It's was always weird the first time I played Sam in a real tournament. He would always be in Austin. I haven't played Donald. I haven't played Ryan. Ryan has been at my house a million times. I think it's always weird the first time you play them outside of kind of a mentoring role.
I haven't spent as much face time with Jack as some of the others. But, you know, we certainly can if he wants.

Q. He didn't seem terribly nervous in that first game. Did you sense something different? What was your process of feeling out his level of confidence or anxiety?
ANDY RODDICK: Players of a certain ranking who haven't been on that court before come out above themselves or not being able to hit much of a ball. He came out and had breakpoints early. He wins those, I think it's a different dynamic in that set.
I was able to fight them off. He had one really good look at a forehand and he missed it. He took a swing at it. Those are the little subtleties in tennis that we could still be out there. It might have been a little bit more of an uphill battle.
Then you get to 2-All, 3-All, it become as real scenario as opposed to this thing you just hyped out of your whatever.
I think after those breakpoints went by, it became real for him.

Q. Is it a good sign that he was so aggressive that he went for that forehand?
ANDY RODDICK: Yeah, yeah. I mean, I don't think he was gonna -- he made some errors, but I think that's the way he was gonna win a match, was to go big tonight. You know, he wasn't going to do it by -- I felt like maybe I have maybe better legs than he does right now.
The serve and return were probably in my favor. He had to make something happen. He was going to have to execute well. But I think he went about it the right way.

Q. How much tonight were you able to exploit his inexperience on the court?
ANDY RODDICK: Uhm, yeah, I don't think it was that much. You know, inexperience, I think about it as someone like freaking out when they get there. I don't think he really did that. I think he has some stuff to learn.
But as far as what he's able to do right now, I thought he applied it pretty well.

Q. But like mental mistakes. You've been there, done that before.
ANDY RODDICK: Well, I don't think he came out there and was shell-shocked by any means. But obviously I heard a stat today that I've played there 27 times or something at night. I mean, yeah, that counts for something.

Q. How much of a confidence dividend can you get from one match?
ANDY RODDICK: Uhm, you know, listen, the thing is I'm getting hammered the other night. I'm not way too down on myself. I come in here, and I don't really know what to think about what people think they saw.
Tonight I'm getting praise, so I kind of stay in the middle. I'm not going to get way too up and down about it. I'm in the third round. One day I can't play tennis; one day I'm underappreciated, you know, whatever. I'm just going to play the third round.

Q. What do you expect from Benneteau?
ANDY RODDICK: He's playing well. It's a very, very serious threat. He qualified and almost won Winston-Salem last week. He's rolled a couple guys here early. He's in-form. I don't care what his ranking says, he's in-form right now, so it's going to be tough.

Q. With all these young American players that you host, do you relish this kind of mentor, elder statesman role?
ANDY RODDICK: I don't know if 'relish' is the right word. I certainly feel the need to pay it forward. This game has been great to me. It's pretty much an impossibility for me to do it.
But as far as leaving it better than when you came, when I came it was the best generation that has ever existed in a country.
But I enjoy having the young guys at home. I think I can help them. It's inspiring for me. You can kind of feed off of their hunger a little bit.

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