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August 31, 2011
NEW YORK CITY, NEW YORK
A. RODDICK/M. Russell
6-2, 6-4, 4-6, 7-5
THE MODERATOR: Questions for Andy.
Q. Were you pleased with the way you played? What were you frustrated by and what were you pleased with?
ANDY RODDICK: I'm pleased I won. The first two sets were all right. I kind of got myself into a hole. Was lucky I got out of the fourth set. I started serving better in the fourth set. But beyond that, you know, it wasn't pretty.
I thought Mike was playing pretty well. You know, definitely had a strategy. Was trying to take the ball early, work lines, not let me get set. It's a good play if you can execute it, and he did it for a while.
I got through it.
Q. Is this a match that can boost your confidence or not or just kind of neutral to get through it?
ANDY RODDICK: Well, every wins helps. You know, I'm certainly not fooling myself by thinking that was worthy of a championship performance by any means. But, you know, I don't know if I would expect that.
I started hitting two days before Cincinnati and I'm trying. I'm trying to get my form there, I promise you. You know, a lot of people when they're coming back do it on the side courts. I just have an audience. I'm working.
If I get my feet into this thing, it's only going to get better the more I play.
Q. Can you take us through from the match with Isner in Winston-Salem? Did you stay in North Carolina and wait out Irene? Were there some ways in which that was advantageous to be away from the hubbub here?
ANDY RODDICK: It came down to Friday evening. It was this thing we might be able to go, we might not. We might be able to take off, but you might have to stop and land. The draw came out. I was on the Tuesday/Wednesday part of the draw. I could have been forced to come up here and sat in my hotel room for two days.
I decided to stay there. We had all the practice facilities in the world and come up early Monday. It's only an hour flight. I requested a Wednesday start. I was lucky enough to get it.
It was a weird situation, but I felt like it was the best situation. I'm pretty sure -- with how little I played, I don't think I could have afforded not to play that weekend and not practice that weekend. I'm sure I was the only guy who practiced in the sun for two hours on Sunday.
Q. Again tonight we saw what a great game tennis is. There's so much emotions. Many have said that the rules bottle up the emotions too much. Do you think the Code of Conduct, when it comes to no harm fouls, should be loosened up so we can show the emotions of players?
ANDY RODDICK: Yeah, I mean, I kind of talked about this a little bit after Cincinnati. It's the only thing I know where you can break your own stuff and get penalized for it, you know. If you take your shoe and throw it and break it, what happens to you?
Q. I'm pissed off.
ANDY RODDICK: You're out of a shoe, but it doesn't really affect anyone else. If you're hurting someone, or someone is in harm's way, you know, I think if you took a poll of who would want to see someone go mental and hit something into the stands or something, I mean, people would probably vote for that.
I said in Cincinnati, there's a reason that Monday Night Raw gets better ratings than we do.
Q. So you think to loosen up players should be able to show their feelings, the fans would connect, and it would be more popular?
ANDY RODDICK: Let's put it this way: McEnroe is still getting endorsements and he's 87 years old, so... I mean, what does that tell you? Love it or hate it, but watch it.
Q. Where is line for you then?
ANDY RODDICK: I think if you're saying something at the umpire, I can certainly understand, you know -- I've certainly been verbally abusive to umpires in my career. I think they should be able to handle you for that. If you do that in the NBA to an official, you get penalized. And like most other sports.
I haven't thought about it enough to give you a full rundown, you know. I'm purely looking at this from a business standpoint, not trying to justify my own actions by any means. Let's not get that confused.
Q. Jack Sock, a teenager from Nebraska, have we heard this storyline before?
ANDY RODDICK: Yeah, it's certainly not a challenging story for you guys to write.
Q. Easy for you to say.
ANDY RODDICK: Well, I mean, I could draw about eight parallels for you right now if you want.
Yeah, I mean, I was joking with someone today. I said, I think we're the only two teenagers to play tennis in Nebraska in the last 30 years and we're both in the US Open. Maybe we're missing something. Maybe we need the corn-fed boys.
Q. Is it impressive no matter where you are to go through your high school career undefeated?
ANDY RODDICK: In tennis? No disrespect, but if you're really good, you're playing junior Grand Slams and stuff like that.
If I'm trying to justify his accomplishments, I would point a lot more to his junior national record as compared to the District Six A Nebraska league title.
Q. You're close to the Williams sisters. What makes Venus so special? What are your thoughts?
ANDY RODDICK: Well, yeah, that's a question that probably warrants more of my time than I have to give right now.
I mean, if you think about their story, if you actually think about it, I think we take it for granted. A lot of times they've drawn a lot of criticism. But, trust me, five years, when they're gone, everyone is going to miss them. Everyone is going to realize they're going to be living legends for the rest of their lives. Two girls from Compton dominating tennis, that's not an everyday story, the way they've gone about it.
Venus is just the epitome of class, the way she's gone about it. I don't think she's ever even had a sniff of controversy around her. She's just done it the right way.
Q. Is there a Venus moment you remember the most or a win that caught your attention from her?
ANDY RODDICK: Certainly enough to choose from. I mean, obviously when I think of her I think of Wimbledon. I feel like that's just where she belongs. You know, it just seems right there.
My memories are a lot different. My memories are when we're 10 years old and we're on the courts next to each other and it was all ahead of us. There was all this hype around these two girls but they weren't playing tournaments, so everyone was talking about how good they were, how good they weren't. Everyone had an opinion.
Turns out they were pretty good.
Q. When did you pass her in height?
ANDY RODDICK: I don't think I have (smiling).
Q. You had two young American girls winning today, and Jack Sock. Is this the next generation? Is the dearth of American tennis on a resurgence?
ANDY RODDICK: I hope so. Save me a lot of time.
Q. If the women had been on first tonight, you might have been in one of your late-finishing matches here. What is the difference between playing at noon and midnight?
ANDY RODDICK: It's a massive difference. You know, let's pretend like I played second. You fast forward two hours, you don't get a full day. You're up getting treatment, massage. We're out there for three hours. You're up doing stuff till 4:30 in the morning.
Then you kind of sleep what you can. You don't want to sleep till 12:30 because you don't want to get on that clock. It's just a tough thing.
You know, I don't think the guys should have to play second every time. It shouldn't be all things are equal except the schedule, you know. So I think at worst it should be a split.
Q. Is it hard getting something to eat at that hour?
ANDY RODDICK: Not in New York City.
Q. But to get something decent?
ANDY RODDICK: Possibly. I mean, I don't want to be a food snob. I'm happy with my diner that I go to.
Yeah, I mean, it's tough. We're here talking. Our night is starting as everyone is going to sleep. You have to hydrate. You have to get at least one full meal in, if not two. You have to get work done.
I certainly require more work off the court than I used to. Sometimes you're looking at 5:00 in the morning before you're going to sleep, so it's a tough adjustment. There's nothing like playing a night session here, but it is a tough turnaround.
Q. Do you have any idea where the state of your game is right now? Can you get a feel for where you are, what needs to happen tomorrow, the next day, for you to accomplish whatever you're setting out to do?
ANDY RODDICK: Right now I'm setting out to try to finish my second round. I know what I have to do tomorrow to put myself in position to win the next day.
I think it would be ridiculous of me at this point to think anywhere past that. That's where my mindset is.
Q. But game-wise on the practice court?
ANDY RODDICK: Practice court feels fine. I just haven't gotten enough match reps. It was a lifesaver last week playing four matches. That was huge for me. I don't think I win this match tonight without that from last week. There was some decent stuff last week. I was a let cord away from being up a set and close to a final.
First-round matches here especially are always a little jittery. You know, you're anxious. But, like I said, each time I play I'll give myself a better chance. I certainly know what I need to do tomorrow.
Q. You spoke about Venus a little bit earlier. What were your immediate thoughts today when you heard the news of her withdrawal?
ANDY RODDICK: I was surprised. We saw her the other night. She looked pretty good. I know she's been battling some physical stuff this year, which is not easy. I went through mono last year. Try to win a game where you have to be 100%, you're playing the best in the world, it's certainly not easy.
I do know one thing. I'm very concerned, because if Venus isn't playing at the US Open, it's got to be something. She didn't withdraw because she's sneezing too much.
Q. You had said on TV I believe just a while ago that there was a question in your mind at one point if you would even be competing in this US Open. Was that specific to the abdominal issue or just a general, I haven't had enough time to be ready?
ANDY RODDICK: Listen, if I can walk I'm going to play. That won't change. You know, I had a decent-sized tear in there. The prognosis at first was six weeks. That was from, you know, a week or 10 days after Davis Cup. Back out there playing a tournament in three and a half, so...
You know, Doug Spreen came down. Literally from the moment we woke up until the end of the day we had some machine attached to my body. You know, very boring, the whole process. But I've been pain-free. I played Winston. I felt pretty good there.
I haven't felt it, you know, at all in a couple of days. Luckily it wasn't a six-week thing.
Q. Besides the geography, what do you see in Jack that reminds you of yourself?
ANDY RODDICK: Yeah, I mean, he's pretty pumped up from what I've seen. You know, it's fun to watch the kids, I mentioned before, when it's all there, it's all ahead of them, they have this incredible journey ahead of them.
He's excited. He has nothing to lose and everything to gain at this point. Even he kind of has the half take-up with the serve. He's got the flailing elbow on the forehand and the backhand. I was watching his match today and I was kind of laughing a little bit.
Q. Do you remember playing Costa here in 2001 and you were around Jack's age?
ANDY RODDICK: 2000.
Q. Coming out on court, what were you thinking about your chances, all that?
ANDY RODDICK: I probably felt worse about my chances. I think he was seeded 9. I remember just how physical it was. I remember at the end of that, it was four sets and I was dead. It was a different animal.
I think might have been a little different for me. I think I made the quarters of Washington that summer and I'd beaten a couple top-30 guys already or something. Maybe I knew a little bit more what to expect.
But someone as veteran as Costa was probably not the best draw for me at that US Open.
Q. How does it affect your mentality going into a match when you know your opponent is somebody who, to a degree, has idolized you?
ANDY RODDICK: Uhm, I don't know. You know, I don't know. It's something I'll try not to think about too much. You know, obviously when I heard there was a hot-shot kid from Nebraska I was kind of excited. You know, he's had my number for a couple years now.
The things that I like about Harrison and Jack and a couple of the guys now, they don't expect anything. They want to go out and get it. More so than wanting to be rich and famous, they want to be good tennis players. I think maybe that's what we've been missing a little bit.
They're hungry. They want to work for it. That's what you like to see.
Q. Tough question, but in 10 years or so, who do you think we're going to be talking more about, Ryan or Jack?
ANDY RODDICK: That's impossible. That's an impossibility to say at this point.
Q. Any sense of who has the most...
ANDY RODDICK: You're trying to ask me the same question again.
It's impossible to say. For me to sit here and try to throw out a massive statement about two 18- or 19-year-olds, first of all, I won't do that to 'em. Second of all, I honestly like both of their games. They play big. They have weapons.
One thing you can't teach is pace and a live arm, and they both have that. They both compete. They don't get the hang-dog mopey look. Even if they get mad they compete, and I like to see that.
Q. You talk about the Code of Conduct for players. Do you think there should be a Code of Conduct for fans during your matches?
ANDY RODDICK: Listen, they pay to come watch our game. I think it is up to the official to make that judgment. At the end of the day we are entertainment. We are a business. The reason that we play a game for stupid amounts of money is because of the guy yelling who has had too many beers in the stands.
So I think I understand the scope of it. So the last thing I'm ever going to do is criticize our paying tennis fans.
Q. You brought up the Monday Night Raw thing. Do you remember two or three years ago when Youzhny was hitting himself in the head.
ANDY RODDICK: How good was that? Youzhny has never been so famous. Like Pacquiao, millions of hits. (Laughing.) No.
Q. At what does the chair umpire say to him...
ANDY RODDICK: Warning for hitting yourself in the head. You just concussed yourself and you get a warning.
Q. Tennis is not Monday Night Raw.
ANDY RODDICK: Really?
Q. Or maybe it is.
ANDY RODDICK: Well, it's not. What's the point?
Q. Basically at what point does the chair umpire say to Youzhny if he's bleeding all over his face, I know you're hurting yourself, but maybe you should calm it down a bit?
ANDY RODDICK: Listen, I have no issue if the umpire wants to punch himself in the head. I might encourage it. I mean, the guy hit himself in the head. What are you going to do? Give him a warning? It's not going to change anything. You give him a warning, he's not going to do anything else.
Q. Should there be less severe punishment if you're just mad at yourself?
ANDY RODDICK: If you're disrespectful to your opponent, I think that's a different issue. If you're disrespectful directly to the umpire, instead of saying to myself, You suck. I look at him and I say, You suck. He or she is at liberty to do what they want.
Q. That's what I mean, complaining about a line call as opposed to bad shots. Is there separation?
ANDY RODDICK: I think so. You're only doing damage to yourself. You get a warning on top of that? If anything, it's a disadvantage to your opponent if the umpire plays a part in you keeping composed. He should let you fall off the wagon.
If I see some guy going mental, the umpire is like, No, no, no, warning. I'm like, No, let him go. Let him fall all the way off.
Q. You sound like a hockey referee.
ANDY RODDICK: I'm just saying. I don't want him to play a part in the guy keeping it together.
Q. Was there an overreaction to John and Jimmy, that whole era?
ANDY RODDICK: Listen, I don't know the process of it. I'm just saying, you know, I feel like we're the only sport where we're talking about this. I'm not doing end zone dances. We're not on that level. You like watching the end zone dances, am I wrong?
Q. I love them.
ANDY RODDICK: Okay, so there you go.
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports