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January 17, 2012

Andy Roddick


6‑3, 6‑4, 6‑1

THE MODERATOR:  Questions, please.

Q.  A very emphatic start to your Grand Slam campaign.  You must have been pleased with the way you played today.
ANDY RODDICK:  Yeah, felt good.  The serve was real good.  I only missed a couple of returns.  You know, it felt as clean as it does for a first round in a slam.

Q.  How do you think the Kooyong preparation worked?  You've done Brisbane in the past as well.
ANDY RODDICK:  Kooyong was tough conditions last week.  The old bowl center court was pretty windy.  The one thing it does give you is guaranteed reps.  You know, that's probably what I was looking for off of a long off‑season.
I mean, I like both of the events.  Brisbane has been fine for me the last couple years also, so...  I should probably have a more definitive answer on that one.  But, you know, for me it was just the thought of being able to guarantee three matches.  That was enticing.

Q.  You've been through these cycles a few times now.  What are you looking for out of yourself physically and mentally this season?
ANDY RODDICK:  I want to make sure each time I go out there I'm ready to play.  I feel like last year, you know, it was the hardest one I've had, you know, physically.  And I think, therefore, mentally.  It was tough to start and stop.  I felt like I was playing out of shape a lot of the time.
At the Open, I even played well, but I couldn't sustain it physically for long enough.  It just caught up to me.  You know, so I think my days of playing 26 events a year are probably done.  But however many I do play, I want to make sure that I'm ready to rock each time.

Q.  What is the optimum number, would you say?
ANDY RODDICK:  I don't know that I'm going to put a number on it.  I probably will be smart about it.

Q.  Do you feel like you're back at your fighting weight now?
ANDY RODDICK:  Yeah.  I think strength‑wise I had a good off‑season.  I put in the work.  You know, I think nowadays it probably takes me six weeks to do what I used to do in three as far as I can't take that workload on a day‑to‑day basis.
It's a little counterintuitive for me to pull back a little bit, but I think I had a responsible off‑season and took care of myself.

Q.  Lleyton has won the first set.  If he gets through, you'll be playing him.  Bit of history.  How would you view that now?
ANDY RODDICK:  Well, same as I always have.  I think when we play, numbers go out the door as far as the number next to our name as far as ranking.  I don't pay much attention to it when it comes to Lleyton.  He knows how to win tennis matches.
He's a fighter.  I have as much respect for him as I do for anybody in the game, how he goes about his business, how he competes, how professional he is.
I've won the most recent meetings, but I think out of the six that I've won, four or five have gone the distance to the last set.  We always have a bit of a war.  I probably don't see it being any different.

Q.  Do you see a parallel in terms of it as guys of the same vintage, being No.1, you had to deal with recently physical issues, and he has also had to deal with an older body?
ANDY RODDICK:  Yeah, I think so.  I think the thing that's a little different, you see some people doing really well at our age.  I don't really put too much stock in a number, an age.  It's more about miles.
We both had success from an early age.  We were playing full seasons by the time we were, for him 16, for me 18.  There are a lot of parallels between us on a lot of levels.
I think we're pretty similar in the fact that we always compete pretty well, fight pretty well.  He's definitely maximized his game.  He's got a great tennis IQ.
I think there's a lot of mutual respect there.  For sure there is from my end.

Q.  Are you fascinated as to how this year might go off the court as much as on it?  Obviously been discussion here already about players' responsibilities, demands, thoughts about how the way the game should go.  I know you have some pretty interesting thoughts on the subject.  What was your view of the weekend and how the argument has progressed in the last 48 hours?
ANDY RODDICK:  You know, I don't know that it's so much of an argument.  I think a lot of the players, we know the fundamental problems, and I think we know the end goal.  It's just a matter of‑‑ I feel like the only discussion is about how to get there.
It is fascinating to see how it will play out.  You know, I think as the product, I don't think we should underestimate our leverage in this game, especially if we do have one voice.
I don't think it's smart for us to ask for permission to have less events.  That seems ridiculous if you're looking at tennis as a business.
U2 doesn't ask to go on tour.  They go on tour.  So I think, you know, that's kind of the fundamental issue at hand.

Q.  How much of Ryan's match did you get to see?  What did you make of what you saw?
ANDY RODDICK:  I saw pretty much the whole thing, bits and pieces.  I thought he did pretty well.  I want him to play like that when he's not playing a top‑10 player.  If he does that, then he won't be 80 for too much longer.
He had a pretty good game plan.  I thought he went out and was pretty aggressive.  You know, the difference being against a guy like Murray, you have to hit six, seven good shots in a rally where Ryan is probably only used to hitting two or three.  It's a different level.
Murray was kind of able to get his hooks in there in the last three sets.  But I thought it was pretty encouraging.  You know, it was a good performance.  But he has to bring that every time he goes to the court now.

Q.  When asked to name particular challenges of playing against you tonight, Robin said one of them is your quickness and your court coverage.  Do you think that's something that's evolved over the course of your career?
ANDY RODDICK:  You know, I don't think you have a choice now.  I made a change in '08.  I felt like I was falling behind a little bit.
You know, you have to move well.  You don't see a lot of guys that are just shot makers now.  If you go down the top 10 players, they can all move really well.  You don't find slow guys at the top of the game.
I'm certainly not fleet‑footed.  I'm not naturally gifted as far as foot speed.  But luckily that's something you can work at.  That's something that is largely a matter of putting in time.  It's certainly something that I've been conscious of.
It's definitely the way the game is going.  Especially it seems like the conditions are slower sometimes now.  That will lend itself to more roadwork.

Q.  How much do you think that your speed is better now than it was 10 years ago?
ANDY RODDICK:  I don't know.  I'm definitely more conscious of it now.  I've never really done much of a stop clock.  I didn't do track work early in my career, so I don't really have any numbers to compare.  But it's something that's extremely necessary now.

Q.  With the slowing down of the courts especially?
ANDY RODDICK:  I think ultimately there's a cause and effect to everything.  I think, you know, because the conditions have slowed, the whole thing in the late '90s was guys served too big and it was boring.  Now you're seeing guys that can run for days and days and days.  I don't think that's coincidental.

Q.  When you talk about less tournaments, is there a sensitivity to the fact that there are people who have run these tournaments for a long time and that's their living and how do you drop them?
ANDY RODDICK:  Who exactly are we talking about?

Q.  Just generic tournaments.  If you drop a tournament off the schedule...
ANDY RODDICK:  I'm not saying drop tournaments off the schedule.  In the ATP, the thing that we sign every year, they like to use the term 'independent contractor.'  Last time I checked, an independent contractor doesn't get told when to work until he signs up for something.
By no means am I saying get rid of events.  I don't care if everyone else plays a million tournaments.  I feel like I've played long enough and I know myself well enough to know what I need to play.

Q.  If I can ask you to describe the mood of the meeting last weekend, how would you describe it?
ANDY RODDICK:  You know, I think the players were passionate.  I don't want to misconstrue this.  I like everybody that works on the ATP and everyone that we're talking to.  It's not just the ATP.  If anything, they're the most cooperative and willing to listen.  I feel like they actually have a passion for the tennis players, more so than some of the other entities in the sport.
I don't necessarily like the system that's in place as far as, you know, the board and votes and all that.  The definition of insanity defined by the dictionary is trying the same thing over and over and expecting a different result.
That's the process that's been in place since the late '80s or early '90s.  We're still having some of the same discussions they had then.
I don't think it was an angry meeting.  I feel like it was an opportunity to maybe articulate our issues.  There's not a lot of times when you can get 140 guys in the same room in an open forum.  I think it was constructive.  I think it was a good meeting.

Q.  Do you think it's unfortunate that it's been played out as a split between the game's two biggest figures basically?
ANDY RODDICK:  Well, if you guys reported the facts, the issues, it wouldn't be as exciting as Rafa and Roger.  Those guys have been the model of a respectful rivalry in sports.  So for it to be represented any differently is unfortunate.
Like I said, same fundamental problems, same end goal, difference of opinions on how to get there, which is fine.  There's going to be that.  We're going to have to kind of negotiate through that to get anything done.
But the last thing I worry about is Roger and Rafa getting along.  I mean, they've been great throughout the years.  So, you know, I think this is all new territory for us.  I think, if anything, it probably taught us that we have to choose our words very wisely right now when talking about it, because it is a sensitive issue.

Q.  At the US Open you expressed some doubt that that momentum would carry over.  It sounds like it really has.  Do you feel something is going to come out of this?
ANDY RODDICK:  I don't know.  I hope so.  We're not businessmen.  It's not a motivation thing.  It's not a thing.  It's an organizational thing.  It's an infrastructure thing.  It's a process thing, how to have a clear plan and kind of where to go.  It's the middle ground.
There was the exact same conversations in '02.  Then there was a divide.  Unity is a hard thing to attain.  While I think we have probably the majority, it's easy to talk about it, but it's another thing to go through the process and the work and the hours to try to get an angle.
So I don't think this is going to be a quick fix.  I don't think we should force a quick fix.  But I think we need to be unified and organized if we want to get something done eventually.

Q.  You were talking a few moments ago it's mandatory events.
ANDY RODDICK:  There's a lot of issues.  I mean, we could sit here and go through a lot of them.  I think if we have unity, it's our choice where we want to start.

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