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INTERVIEWS

March 12, 2007

A. RODDICK/O. Rochus

6-3, 7-6

An interview with:

ANDY RODDICK

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. Pretty decent effort against a guy who has a lot of variety. You've seen him before. The tie breaker was especially pretty tough and you firmed it up.
ANDY RODDICK: Yeah, I felt the first set and the end of the second set was really good. I played some pretty marginal return games there in the middle of the second set, but, you know, he was hitting the ball pretty sweet today, you know. So it was better than the first round, so that's what you're looking for.

Q. What's your reaction like when you see Roger Federer lose a match? We were all shocked, 41 matches. What did you think?
ANDY RODDICK: I didn't get to see it, but I had just the scores on, you know, my computer. I was kind of watching the selection show and all that stuff. I'd cruise into my room every once in a while. He lost the first set, I was kind of like, "All right. Well, it might take him a little longer to win today."
You know, I kind of was a little shocked when I went in and I saw he was down two breaks in the second, and, you know it's not something -- it's not something you expect, but it is part of sports.
You know, I think we don't realize how consistent Roger's been, you know, and how he just doesn't lose matches, which is pretty impressive. I don't know if anybody in the game in history has been as consistent in just not losing a single match for extended periods of time. So it's pretty surprising what he does.

Q. It also shows how incredible Vilas's record is, huh?
ANDY RODDICK: I don't know if that was ever in question. I mean, that's, you know -- if you think of it like most players, six matches is a great streak, you know. Add 40 to that and that's, you know -- it's pretty impressive, you know. There's no doubt.
I think it's good that Roger's getting close made people realize that record and realize how extreme it actually was. I think it's, you know, a good thing that we all kind of sit back and take a look at that and realize what an accomplishment it is.

Q. Does it kind of put an extra spring in your step, though, when you see something like that or not at all? Does it just make you, you know --
ANDY RODDICK: Not really.

Q. No?
ANDY RODDICK: I'm here like you guys going, "Oh, wow. Is he going to pull off an upset," that type thing. But, you know, I've said I'd like -- I want to beat Roger, you know, I want to. And, you know, obviously, I think it helps out everybody. It takes the toughest player out of the draw, you know. It enhances our chances, but at the same time, you know, I'm gonna have to figure it out one of these times anyways, you know, and if it's not here, then it's a big situation or whatever. You know, you can't sit back and hope that he loses because that's not going to happen a lot.

Q. Obviously not having Roger takes a lot of the luster out of the tournament, but do you think it might be a more interesting tournament without him?
ANDY RODDICK: I don't know. You know, I don't know. I don't -- it's rare and it's, you know, different, but who knows? I mean, it definitely gives you guys the story lines and who can step up when he's out, and, you know, if we can all take advantage of an opportunity and that whole thing.
So obviously, you lose a big draw to the tournament, but at the same time, I think it does add a little bit of a sense of intrigue there.

Q. If I could, pretty significant Davis Cup tie coming up in a few weeks -- months. Could you talk about what makes the Brians such an exceptional team on court and why they're exceptionally fun off court?
ANDY RODDICK: I mean, I've known them for a long time. They used to play a little 14-and-under tournament in Texas called The Texas Open. I remember they would always default to each other in juniors. They would take turns, their dad would make them take turns. I remember we called down to the little tennis center, "Are they gonna play? Are they gonna play?"

But they've always been good to me. We're really good friends off court. They're just fun to hang out with. More importantly, it's, you know, we can almost always count on them getting one on the board in Davis Cup. So, you know, they're the best team in the world without question, and that's nice to have on your side.

Q. And what makes them so tough is they've played together for so long, they're such a tight team?
ANDY RODDICK: Well, that and they make up for each other's -- you know, Mike doesn't serve the biggest, but he returns great, and Bob, you know, doesn't return the greatest, but he serves huge. I mean, they compliment each other in, like, every way.
Bob has a huge forehand; Mike has a good backhand. Obviously I don't think you can put a price on their intangibles. Like you said, they're kind of unspoken; they never talk to each other, they always mime this, that, or the other. It just is -- yeah, and the funniest thing, next time you're watching them is, watch if one's at the baseline and one's at the net, they split step at the exact same time every time. It's freaky. You guys haven't seen it? It's a freak show. They'll be going like this (indicating), you know. Seriously, you guys got to see it if you get a chance. It's pretty funny.

Q. Can you tell them apart?
ANDY RODDICK: Yeah, yeah, I've been -- Bob's taller. Bob's an inch taller and about 20 pounds heavier. They don't -- I mean, I can tell them apart from 150, 200 yards away. And then obviously, if you don't know who they are, then you just -- Mike has a mole, but it's fun 'cause I see more people, like he'll be talking to them, they won't even be looking at his eyes, they'll kind of be going (indicating).

Q. When you look at that, will you look at the tapes of that Canas match with Roger and see if there's something in there that you can use to figure out how to beat Roger?
ANDY RODDICK: Yeah, I mean, I think Jimmy watched the whole match. You know, I think, you know, credit to Canas, for sure. But I think, I don't know, from what I've heard, I don't know if Roger had his greatest day. They said he was fighting off some balls down the middle.
(Feedback over speakers) It's the ghost of Federer (laughter).
So, you know, I think there's some stuff, but also I don't know if you can count on Roger having an off-day deep in a slam unfortunately.

Q. With Roger out of this tournament, who do you think is the favorite now in your mind?
ANDY RODDICK: I don't know. There's probably a list of four or five guys. You know, same old ones, same old names, the guys who have won these kind of tournaments before.

Q. With Canas' loss today, does it give credence to how deep the talent is in the ATP now?
ANDY RODDICK: I think the talent is pretty deep, you know. Canas lost before he beat Roger, too. So, yeah, I don't know. I think it is pretty deep. I think you look more at kind of the losses by, you know, really good players, Robredo, Hewitt, you can get picked off any one of these days, you know. Anybody can play ball out here.

Q. You feel like the ball's flying a bit this year due to the heat maybe?
ANDY RODDICK: Yeah. It -- I mean. It normally flies. The air is a lot thinner here than it is -- than it normally is anywhere else. So it's gonna fly. The first couple of balls I hit here, it's always kind of funny 'cause, you know, you don't really get that close. But it is two different matches, I think, at night and during the day. During the day the ball just kind of takes off and jumps. You know, it's what makes tennis unique, though, is the changing conditions from week to week.

Q. Are you making any adjustments between string tension between the day match and night match?
ANDY RODDICK: Yeah, but that's pretty much par for the course anywhere, maybe a little bit looser at night, maybe a little bit tighter when the balls jumping off the court during the day and jumping off your racket. I don't think that's out of the ordinary. You do that at a lot of places.

Q. What kind of string do you use?
ANDY RODDICK: Sorry?

Q. What kind of string do you use?
ANDY RODDICK: I use half of the -- I use like a blend, half gut.

Q. And Luxilon?
ANDY RODDICK: Not Luxilon, Babolot, Doug. Don't you put Luxilon on. Don't you do that (laughter).

Q. Have you been able to gauge Gasquet's progress over, say, the last year? Have you seen a significant jump in his composure in the game and all that?
ANDY RODDICK: He's always had game. I mean, that's not -- that's not a -- I don't know if that's been questioned before. Sorry. I don't know. I mean, I think he got hurt, and so coming back, I mean, he was 15 before he got hurt and now he came back and he's 15 again. So he's kind of gotten himself back into contention there and in a pretty short amount of time. So I don't think anybody's ever questioned his talent or his ability.

Q. This tournament still has a week to go and you're just about the only American left standing of either gender?
ANDY RODDICK: What about -- what?

Q. You are almost the only American man or woman still left in the event. What's that tell you about American tennis at the moment?
ANDY RODDICK: I don't know. I mean -- I mean, you have a pretty short memory, considering the girl who just won -- you know, Serena just won in Australia, and, you know, we've been in Grand Slam finals. I mean, we were a couple of the highest ranked. If you combine two people's rankings, we're about the highest from last year, maybe Robredo and Nadal. It tells me there was -- there was a bad week. You know, it happens.

Q. Talking about the Brians, it's 3 in the afternoon, Monday, it's Court 6, it's 95 degrees, the place is packed, so beyond Davis Cup, what's the impact, when you point to the Brian brothers, for doubles in men's tennis?
ANDY RODDICK: What's --

Q. What's the importance of the Brian brothers in doubles?
ANDY RODDICK: I think it's paramount. I mean, you know, they're -- they're marketable. They're -- also, I think you see all those kids out there? I mean, for the last ten years, pretty much every kids' clinic that's been done, you know -- they put a lot in the game to help promote the game. I mean, I think they are kind of almost the torch bearers for doubles. They definitely put in the hours trying to promote it, trying to talk about it. It's their passion, so it's nice to see it kind of pay off for them a little bit. But, you know, doubles definitely doesn't want to lose them any time soon, that's for sure.

Q. Will doubles ever have value for you. I mean Federer is playing here; Nadal is playing here; I know it's not your favorite part of the game. Have you thought, "Wow, maybe I'll play four times this year"?
ANDY RODDICK: Well, I won in Indie in my last tournament. I think I'm finished. Like last year, I was struggling with confidence a little bit. So I played a little bit more.
You know, I'm motivated to play singles. That's obviously my priority. So I haven't thought about it.

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