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August 14, 2012

Andy Roddick


J. CHARDY/A. Roddick
7‑6, 6‑3

THE MODERATOR:  Questions, please.

Q.  Don't like to talk about body issues, but something was going on in the match there.
ANDY RODDICK:  Yeah, just a little bit of a back issue the other day in practice.  I was supposed to play yesterday and we had a late request to delay it.
I felt fine early on, and then I had one lunge forehand and, you know, we have all had it, you know, back kind of goes out or spasms a little bit.  It got progressively worse.
Yeah, it is what it is.

Q.  So nothing to do with the shoulder?
ANDY RODDICK:  No.  Shoulder felt fine.

Q.  So it's been the last what, six weeks, two months, little up and down?  You had a couple real good tournaments and then maybe not the level you wanted at a couple others.
ANDY RODDICK:  Well, no.  I mean, I'm not going to define it by before ‑‑last six weeks I have had four tournaments and two wins and losses to two top 5 players in the others.
So, you know, I feel a lot better about where my game is at now.  Today was one of those things.  What are you going to do about it?  But as far as confidence level and where I'm at, there's no comparison now compared to the beginning of the year, I think.

Q.  You played Jeremy at Eastbourne and beat him en route to the title.  Did he look any different today than he did in that match?
ANDY RODDICK:  We have played a lot of times.  He played pretty well.  You know, yeah, I mean, he played fine.  I don't know if there was too much of a true reading here today.  I think he realized it.  He executed the way he had to.

Q.  So by going out early here today, how does this change, if it does, your preparation for the Open?  Is there anything that...
ANDY RODDICK:  I don't know yet.  You know, we're going to have to figure this thing out.  You know, I don't have all the answers for it yet.

Q.  The back, it's a one‑off or something ongoing?
ANDY RODDICK:  No, I mean, it's here and there.  You know, it hasn't been something that's been bothering me coming into this event before the last two days or so.

Q.  It's been a tricky situation because you want matches but you don't want to get hurt.  You're going to be facing that next week too, I think, going into the Open, no?
ANDY RODDICK:  Yeah.  And, you know, it's the same thing.  I don't know that there is a perfect answer.
We will know more in two, three days than we do now.  So, you know, it's tough for me to say what side of the fence I'm sitting on.  I don't know where I'm going to be in two or three days.
So, you know, in a perfect world I'd love to play next week.  I feel like I'd benefit from that.  That's what we're going to try to do.

Q.  Looking like you're going to be seeded at the Open now.  Is that something that you take solace in at all?
ANDY RODDICK:  Yeah.  I mean, when you win some tournaments, you go up in the rankings.  That's the way it works.
You know, I think just as much as being seeded is being in that kind of area where you're what, 17 through whatever it is.  Then you're not playing, you know, whoever in the third round.  There's a look.  There's a look there to go a little further.
So that was big for me.  I don't have any points at all from last summer, so it looks like I should stay there for that.

Q.  Just in a general sense you have had success in NewYork.  What's challenging about that particular slam for a lot of players?
ANDY RODDICK:  I have always felt comfortable there.  I know some people don't.  You know, it's a different event.  I say every event is almost like a microcosm where it's played.  NewYork is loud.  It's in your face.  It's an event.  You know, it's not only just a tennis event, it's an event in itself.
So, you know, some people don't like it, but I tend to like it.

Q.  You have to block it out or embrace it?
ANDY RODDICK:  I don't know that I consciously do either.  You go and you play your matches, and when the mood hits you right, you feel it.  You kind of express yourself that way.
I think NewYork is the kind of place where if you're playing well, it helps; if you go in not playing great, it probably eats you up a little bit.
Like I said, I'm not worried about how I'm hitting the ball now or playing.  Practices have been fine.  You know, I have played pretty well in last however many events.  Right now it's just about getting right.

Q.  If you could change any one thing about the US Open regardless of money or space or anything, what would your dream sort of change be?
ANDY RODDICK:  Oh, I don't know.  I'd need more than a moment to ‑‑I didn't realize I had that power.  I'd have to think about it.

Q.  Have your expectations changed for NewYork because of the problems with the injuries?  I mean, can you go in there now and say definitively second week if I get there...
ANDY RODDICK:  We don't deal like that, man.  We go in and you deal with what's in front of you.  We're two weeks before the US Open has even started.  Hopefully I will play an event next week.  I don't think I ever said definitive for sure 100% I'm going to be in the second.  I have never taken it that lightly.
I have never been able to just say, Put me in there already.  You go through the process and have respect for the guys you play first, second, and third.
I don't know that I've ever gone in thinking, you know, The first week is a waste of my time; put me in the second week.  I'd like to get there, and I definitely feel like, you know, the last probably two months has been the best tennis I have played this year.
I have been in the quarters eight times.  I feel like I can do it.  I have done it many times.

Q.  Did you have a lot of friends and family here today?  I heard Homer Bailey was here to watch you.
ANDY RODDICK:  Homer is an Austin guy, so, you know, he wanted to ‑‑I have been out to watch him pitch a couple times last couple years and he hadn't been to a match.  He picked a good one to come to.  (Laughter.)
Q.Do you feel like there is a more robust presence here than there have been other times in past years?  Just in the order of play there are a lot of American men and women here.
ANDY RODDICK:  Depends how far you want me to go back.  We used to have a lot of American guys.
You know, I played here in 2000; there were some guys then.
No, I mean, I think the guys are doing better.  Nice to see Sam kind of take advantage of this summer, and obviously Baker is a good story this year.
You know, there are some guys playing well, you know, Levine qualifying and.  That's always nice.  I'm for that.  It's nice to see guys playing well.

Q.  Can you assess Harrison and Isner?  Ryan has had a couple first‑round losses.
ANDY RODDICK:  Uh‑huh.  Yeah, I wrote him the other day.  I said, Everyone has great character when they're winning.  I said, This is the time to test it and kind of test and see where you're at.
You know, you're supposed to be frustrated.  That's the way it works.  He works hard.  You know, if anything, he almost wants it too bad sometimes.  He'll figure it out, though.  I think he should‑‑ in my opinion, he should go anywhere he can to get some matches right now.
Obviously John's playing well.  You know, I thought he should have been there a couple years ago with that serve.  It's just such a weapon.  He's kind of really learned how to kind of figure out his way through matches a little bit.
Hopefully it will come strong in NewYork, too.  I think he's had a great year, but probably hasn't played his best in the slams.
He's where you would expect him to be, I think.

Q.  You have learned though earlier than he did how to break opponents.  He has a much harder time breaking.  Is that really important for him so he doesn't have to go out there and win tiebreakers every single time?
ANDY RODDICK:  You're talking about a guy who is seven feet versus a guy who is barely six foot two.  I don't know if you can make that comparison, apples to apples.
You know, listen, if he has to put himself in position to ‑‑I'm not going to criticize a guy for getting into tiebreakers when he wins about four out of five of them.  If I did that, I'd feel pretty good about getting to them.

Q.  Harrison at the Olympics went on TV the next day to apologize for breaking racquets and things like that.  Have you seen any of that?  And being someone who has been criticized for breaking racquets and such in the past, do you feel like there's something he needs to be apologetic for or something he should own?
ANDY RODDICK:  I didn't know he needed to go on TV, you know, for a warning.  I mean, I think there's a difference in taking a chunk out of a court at Wimbledon and breaking a racquet on concrete somewhere.
I think there is a fine line.  But, you know, obviously an Olympic event is a different scenario.  I don't think you can compare breaking ‑‑I don't think it's the same situation.
Obviously if he did it at the US Open I don't think he'd be on TV the next day.  I don't know that the situation is that simplistic.

Q.  Injury aside, do you feel you're going into the US Open this year in a better place than at the same time last year?
ANDY RODDICK:  Yeah, sure.  I missed all last summer, too.  Yeah, I was kind of getting able to get some matches in Winston and put together a decent run.  You know, I have been better.  Obviously winning Atlanta helps and winning in Eastbourne a couple before that helps.
I feel good about where my game is at.  It's just a matter of getting it right.  Last year there were probably a lot more questions, and I definitely had to work my way into that event a little bit.

Q.  Do you feel like it's bad luck with injuries, or does the sport just beat the hell out of its players?
ANDY RODDICK:  I don't know that it has to be either/or.  I think this sport beats the hell out of some players.  I have never been a guy who's super graceful about the way he goes about things.
It's a physical game for me.  There is probably a certain percentage of each.  How much, I'm not sure.  But, you know, certainly a combination.
I don't think it's coincidental as I get older I get hurt more.  I don't think I'm naive to that fact.

Q.  How much of a stress is it mentally just to have to deal with the injuries month after month?
ANDY RODDICK:  It's frustrating.  This year has been a test.  You know, it's been frustrating at times.  The last thing I like doing is being out there today knowing I'm compromised.
I feel like that's been a lot of my matches this year.  Certainly not fun, but I didn't complain too much about the 10 years I had of clean health.  You know, I've got to try to keep it in a little bit of perspective, which is hard in the moment.
But, you know, I have certainly‑‑ over the long haul of a career, my body has been pretty good to me.

Q.  After the Olympics there seemed to be some momentum from switching or phasing out best‑of‑five at Grand Slams, but best‑of‑three like in a major tournaments.  Talking about the injuries and the grind of that, how would you feel about that happening some day?
ANDY RODDICK:  I wouldn't be against it.  You know, it's tough, because I could easily argue both ways.  You know, I could easily argue both ways.
From a fan perspective and a TV perspective, it would probably be easier to put together a product for TV when you know the time slots a little bit more.
Sometimes at slams you get a match that's great, but it kind of makes it tricky as far as TV.  That's kind of the livelihood of healthy sport in general is TV viewership.  Ultimately it comes back down to what the fans want to see.
I think our opinion on that sometimes is secondary to what they can sell and what they can package.

Q.  There were a lot of questions about the scheduling and the court conditions and all this in the Open last year.  Where is that these days?
ANDY RODDICK:  That's what we're dealing with.  The powers that be continually bet against us coming together, and they've continually been right.
So what are our options?  You know, they're pretty drastic if we want to get something done.  I think from the sounds of it, I don't think the majority of players are willing to give up a little to get a lot.

Q.  James Blake mentioned after his last match that he's been getting razzed a lot about old jokes.  Are you getting the same from players?
ANDY RODDICK:  I get more bald jokes than old jokes.  (Laughter.)
I think with James it's probably more along the lines of him becoming a dad now, so kind of old man.  It's weird to see the boys all of a sudden being fathers.  That's probably a little bit more where it's from.  I'm not dealing with that right now.

Q.  There has been a lot of talk about Novak's results on clay and on grass, which were very good but maybe not completely up to...  Back on hard courts again, is it conceivable that he plays the same type of dominant tennis he played in Australia and Miami?
ANDY RODDICK:  Is it conceivable that he wins a big tournament?  Yes.  Yes, it's conceivable that he wins a big tournament.  I mean, he's pretty good.
I know we're to the point now where we're supposed to be asking questions what happened to Novak when he loses in semis of an event, but I don't know that I am completely buying into that.
I think last year was exceptional.  His confidence was as high as I'd seen.  You know, if we're comparing ‑‑it's the same as when we get questions about Roger.  Well, is he as good as he used to be?  Well, does he have to be?  He can still win majors.
Even if he doesn't go a year with losing three matches, he doesn't have to be that good.  Novak is plenty good enough to win the US Open even.  I don't think that would surprise anybody.

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