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INTERVIEWS

March 15, 2007

A. RODDICK/I. Ljubicic

7-6, 7-6

An interview with:

ANDY RODDICK

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. That first set was pretty good tennis. Did you think it was good tennis? It was good to watch?
ANDY RODDICK: Yeah, I thought the second set was pretty good, too, but, you know, we were both taking care of our serves pretty well. And then, you know, the breakers, we had some pretty good points in each of them. Luckily, I was able to win a couple of the longer points there in the breakers.

Q. So you've served incredibly well four matches, no break points and volleying, too especially tonight.
ANDY RODDICK: Yeah, I mean, I don't know if you ever count on that. When you're on one of those things, you always feel like the next game could be the one where you get broken. So I think the biggest thing, I'm hitting my first forehand pretty well after my serves. I've been kind of using that shot real well, and I think that's more of the reason why, 'cause I didn't serve amazing tonight. I think I was in the fifties for my first serves in first set, didn't have many aces. I think it's that first ball I've been hitting well.

Q. Just talk more about the second set tie breakers. Four match points, but he played some pretty good points there, too.
ANDY RODDICK: Was that four?

Q. The four points he won it on, yeah?
ANDY RODDICK: You know, I had a -- you know, I had a couple pretty good looks at match points, and especially that volley. I drove it into the ground a little bit too much and he kind of -- I don't know. He had a continental grip while he was falling over the thing. I was thinking ,"Oh, no, don't" -- "Let's not do this."
But, you know, I was excited because I was playing the way I wanted to in the breakers. I kept going forward. I won some points. I lost some points. I hit a new little chip short one, that won me a couple points. I was happy with that.
You know, I thought all in all, I gave myself a chance to win and eventually was able to do it.

Q. How long have you had that chip short one?
ANDY RODDICK: I don't know. I was trying to hit it in practice, some last week, and hit some really, really bad ones. But, you know, you kind of got to throw it into the fire if you want to try to improve a little bit.

Q. Andy, something about the passing shots, do you have to alter your game plan at all playing a person like him?
ANDY RODDICK: No, I just -- have to make sure he doesn't like them hitting them off the deep approach shot when I hit them really hard. I can't let him get away with just -- you know, if you tell me if he's going to hit balls on the service line and I'm going to stay and just rally with him, or I get the chance to really take a crank and go to the net, I can tell you right now which one I'm going to have more success with.
So I understand that he passes well, and I understand that he moves real well, but, you know, that being said, I have to move forward and I think I have to play aggressive against him.

Q. Do you feel he invites other guys to take the initiative, see what they can do and then just responds, or do you think there's more force coming from his side?
ANDY RODDICK: There's both. There's both. I mean, if you leave one short, he can jump on it and he kind of whips the angles off the court. I think that's probably the difference between him and a lot of guys who kind of play the high heavy stuff, is that he can attack. You leave one short, he's going to rip a forehand, and he can hit his backhand real well, too.
Obviously, one of the strengths is retrieving. But he bullies around his fair share of points, as well.

Q. Aside from his big serve, he's very pragmatic on the court.
ANDY RODDICK: Pragmatic?

Q. He's taking the time. He's different than other players. Is that challenging also and more difficult to play a player like that, takes long time between the points and balls?
ANDY RODDICK: No, not -- I mean, it is what it is. You go in expecting it, you know. You know, if anything, you think that he's -- he kind of puts a physical hurt on someone. I think that's what made Agassi so tough is that he'd put such a physical hurt on you during the point and he'd be ready to play again right away. He wouldn't let you kind of catch up.
So if he's trying to put someone in the grinder, and he's sitting there letting you kind of regain your breath for 40 seconds, that's a good thing, as far as I see it.

Q. Andy, is this a brand-new match? You haven't played the guy in over two years now.
ANDY RODDICK: It's weird, because we played once, you know, in '04, when he wasn't really the Nadal that we know now at the U.S. Open. I won pretty convincingly. And then, you know, we played on clay at the Davis Cup, so I don't know if -- I don't know if you can take much stock from either one of those, considering the match-up that we have here.

Q. So how important is it to hit very good, deep, and smart approach shots against him, because he catches up to the ball pretty well?
ANDY RODDICK: Well, you have to. You have to. You know, you have to -- you have to get in there and, you know, you kind of -- I'm going have to -- like I said, I've been hitting that forehand ball pretty well from the middle of the court, short balls this week. So I'm going to have to continue do that and be ready to volley. I might have to hit a couple more, a couple more volleys and close in a little bit.

Q. Are you going to unravel the secrets of left-handers from Jimmy or --
ANDY RODDICK: I don't know. I'm sure he has some pointers for me. I hope so, anyways.

Q. Andy, when you were returning his serve, is it important just to get it back or do you need to do something a little bit more with it?
ANDY RODDICK: I mean, you've got to make him play. You know, if he's getting cheapies off of his serve, then that's a bad thing. But you can't really -- at the same time, you don't want to leave it hanging in the middle of a court because then he's got this one that he's going to get you with. So probably both.
THE MODERATOR: Thank you.

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