March 9, 2007
An interview with:
THE MODERATOR: All right. Questions, please.
Q. Recently it seems like your game, perhaps because of Jimmy's involvement, has become a little bit more diverse than it had a couple years ago. And it seems like you and another guy like Fernando Gonzalez, originally were playing a lot with more power, and now it's succeeding more with a variety. Can you speak to how the game is changing and why this is happening now?
ANDY RODDICK: I think the biggest thing that doesn't get talked about enough is you don't see a lot of slow players in the top 10, and I think that's -- that's been the adjustment. You know, starting with and Andre started moving really well late in his career. I think that's the biggest thing. You kind of have to find new ways to construct points because if it's just power, I think people are able to run balls down now and, you know, that's my best guess to it.
Q. Do you enjoy this style of play perhaps more than, you know, staying back in the baseline and slugging it out?
ANDY RODDICK: Well, I still do a fair share of that, but, you know, I'm okay either way. I just want to try to win tennis matches. That's -- I have fun when I'm winning so whatever it takes do that.
Q. What's your take on the round-robin and the future of it? James came out pretty hard against it.
ANDY RODDICK: I mean, I think it's -- I think it's -- personally, I think we've seen the last of it. You know, I don't see how you can get around, you know, pull-outs, going to a match and having to win five games and hit three dropshots to advance to the quarters and, you know, a million other things. You're going to have guys -- it just leads to too much -- there's too much left, you know, to the players, whether it's, you know, if it's a friend, you know maybe dodging a game to let another one through or whether it's -- I just think there's too many holes in it. And I think it's a good example of why you can't look at tennis and treat it as a business because there are players involved and, you know, matches are won and lost. It's not completely a show, you know. So I don't -- I think and certainly hope we've seen the last of it.
Q. Roger Federer in Australia was pretty disappointed with the challenge system, said it embarrasses players. Do you feel that way?
ANDY RODDICK: No. I don't remember the last time Roger was embarrassed on the court. No, I've always been a big supporter of the challenge system. Granted, we can look stupid sometimes, but that's in our hands, you know. If we challenge one that's really bad, then, you know, I guess we almost deserve it; right?
And I think it's good for the spectator. I think it's good for the fans. I think it ads another dimension to watching it on TV. Even when you don't challenge, they can show the Hawkeye and I see a lot of positives in it. I've always liked the rule.
Q. As that match you played against Roger Federer in the Australian Open, is that the best a guy has ever played against you?
ANDY RODDICK: Probably. You know, it's definitely up there.
Q. Specifically, I think it was early in the second set he played just an incredible game where he had like half-volley win from the baseline, cracked the backhand, and then the forehand. Do you recall that game?
ANDY RODDICK: Yeah, I mean, it seems like it was most games to be honest. But, you know, that was two months ago, so I'm going to be done talking about that.
Q. And in practice, is the serve something that you work a good deal on or is it you sort of take it for granted now or could you talk about how much you work on your serve?
ANDY RODDICK: We work on it when it needs to. I mean, it's a fine line because, you know, you have to take into consideration how your body is feeling. You know, like just now, I finished -- you know, Australia, I had a little bit of time off, played Czech Republic, San Jose, Memphis, so the last thing time I'm going to go do is go out and hit buckets and buckets and buckets of serves on a week where you should be giving your shoulder a little bit of a rest. So but definitely, in the weeks leading up to this one, it's something you work on.
Q. And I watched you in practice yesterday, was marvelous. I was wondering that you have three coaches on-call with you. Can you talk about the different parts?
ANDY RODDICK: When has Doug Spreen been a coach?
Q. Jimmy Connors was there and two different --
ANDY RODDICK: It doesn't make him a coach.
Q. Okay. What are they responsible for?
ANDY RODDICK: What?
Q. What are they responsible for?
ANDY RODDICK: Well, John travels year round with me, you know, helps me out on tour. Jimmy's my coach. You know, he comes when he can, and Doug's, he's a physio; he's not a coach. He takes care of injuries and make sure we can get out there on a week-to-week basis.
Q. How has it been working with Jimmy?
ANDY RODDICK: Yeah, it's been great. So far so good.
Q. And what about mandating eight Master Series (indiscernible)? Safin and Blake don't seem to think it's going to be a great thing for the trial players if you're forced to play every single one and then might face a suspension?
ANDY RODDICK: I mean, I don't necessarily see the positive in, you know, if you lose a top -- the whole goal of it is to, what, keep your top players in the events, right? And then if they don't show up for one, you suspend them from another? I don't really see how that's keeping your top players in events. I don't know if that's common sense and I'm just missing something, or -- you know, I don't -- I don't know. We'll see how it works.
Q. How many would be fair to you, five or six? Should the guys just divide up?
ANDY RODDICK: I just don't think you can set it in stone because the injuries play a part in it. You know, from what I understand, I mean, basically the way they've said it, is they need to see -- you can't -- you can't make things black and white when there's a lot of gray areas as far as injuries and, you know, what happens. You're going to get suspended because you have a sprained ankle and, you know, they want like MRI proof or something like that?
I mean, I think that's a little bit ridiculous, and I don't know if it totally makes sense in the scheme of sports, you know. You can't take injuries out of an equation when you're playing a sport, you know. I just don't see how that's completely feasible.
Q. But I'm sure you understand the Master Series wants the top players.
ANDY RODDICK: I agree with it, as long as there's -- as long as they can understand, you know, that the rigors that take place in tennis. I like the fact that, you know, obviously, to get the support for it, you have to have the guys showing up, and I understand the premise of it. And I respect the premise of it. I just hope there's a -- you know, for example, there was no wiggle room in the round-robin. You see what I'm saying?
I just don't want to run into another problem like that and I fear that might happen.
Q. Please, will you forget finally second Grand Slam?
ANDY RODDICK: Did you say when?
Q. Will you?
ANDY RODDICK: Will I? I hope so.
Q. Finally get -- to get second Grand Slam title?
ANDY RODDICK: I tell you, when I do, I'll call you first.
Q. And obviously with Jimmy, there's obviously a different era, but is there any way you can compare his great return of serve with Agassi's which you've faced so many times, two strokes which are --
ANDY RODDICK: It would be tough for me, because I haven't -- you know, I didn't see Jimmy's firsthand, you know, playing against it. They're probably similar in the fact that there's forward movement on them; they had short swings; they make flush contact every time; they put pressure on you. But I haven't been on the other side of Jimmy's when he's been playing, so I don't know if I'd be the best person to ask.
Q. Another question to Connors, when he's joking with fans while you're practicing, does it disturb you or is it relaxing for you?
ANDY RODDICK: I like it. It's fine. It doesn't really happen that often, but, you know, I think that's another way of just him keeping practices light. It's fine.
Q. Roger, has a chance to break Guillermo Vilas' record. Can you give me your thoughts, what it must be like to try to win 46 matches in a row at this level?
ANDY RODDICK: Once again, I can't provide a lot of insight because I haven't really come close to that, so, no, I can't really tell you what it's like.
Q. Can you talk about someone actually doing that.
ANDY RODDICK: It's an amazing record. There's no doubt about it. You know, it's a record that's been around for a long time for a reason, you know. So it's pretty impressive.
Q. Can you tell us how Jimmy felt when he lost his record to Roger one week ago?
ANDY RODDICK: I mean, we haven't really talked about it. I know, that, you know, I know he has a great deal of respect for Roger and thinks a lot of him as a player, but, you know, it's not exactly like I'm starting off our conversations on the phone, "Hey, you lost your record yesterday, huh? That sucks." You know, "Oh well. Sorry."
Q. The last press conference you had in this room you said you were pissed and you weren't gonna put on your "fun face." I wonder if you found your "fun face" in the last year?
ANDY RODDICK: Fun face. Why did I say that? It's been there at times. It's a selective face.
Q. How do you keep things fun, you know, when you feel like everyone is pressuring? How do you manage to enjoy what you do?
ANDY RODDICK: I think it's a matter of perspective, you know. At the end of my worst day, yeah. At the end of my worst day, I'm still pretty lucky and still pretty fortunate and I don't think I lose sight of that.
Q. James was saying earlier a key thing he learned from Pete Sampras was having a short memory that was just critical in tennis. Is that something you deal with in?
ANDY RODDICK: I try, but when you ask questions from matches that were two months ago on a certain game and shots that were hit, it makes it a little difficult, but I try my best.
Q. It's a good game. James also said that he had a hole-in-one yesterday. I guess he was beaming all over the place. What's the best achievement outside of tennis and sports that you've had?
ANDY RODDICK: I bowled a 56 -- at the Disco bowling about six weeks ago, and then I threw a party.
Q. As long that we're talking about the Australian Open two months ago --
ANDY RODDICK: No, we're not anymore.
Q. You played a pretty good match against Safin; right?
ANDY RODDICK: Yeah.
Q. Is that something to be proud? Do you remember that match pretty well?
ANDY RODDICK: Yeah, it was fun. I played well the whole tournament, to be honest. I just ran into a -- I just ran into a guy who played better than me that day. I mean, he played great. He outplayed me.
Q. Okay. But you said the word "fun" and that's what I was going to ask. Every time Safin comes on court, the fans know they are in for a fun match. What's the first thought that goes through a player's mind when they go through to see Safin in the next match, is it going to be fun, how do you react when you're about to play him?
ANDY RODDICK: Well, I mean, I don't know if you're, like, put on my fun face. But I think -- I don't know if players are as interested in watching him when you're playing against them as the fans are. I think you realize, you know -- I think we all have fun watching him play, but when you're on the court, you're more concerned with what he's bringing to the table, you know, between the lines and on the tennis court, which is not something you can overlook, you know.
I don't know if we're concerned with having -- with him having a great time if we're going up against him. You know, I think our priorities lie more in what's going on with the match.
Q. Is it easier to beat him, get into his head when he starts losing it?
ANDY RODDICK: I think it's easier to beat anybody if you get inside their head and they start losing it.
Q. Since the Australian Open to now, I know you've played a few events, but as far as your game is concerned, do you feel you've added any new dimensions, you feel you've added things to it?
ANDY RODDICK: I thought I was really happy about the way I played in the Czech Republic. I don't know if I played that well in San Jose or Memphis. I felt like I was maybe not hitting the ball great, but I also think you can take something positive out of that. I didn't feel like I was playing that great and moved up a spot, and, you know, still won some matches. So, you know, it's been fun, but I think the biggest thing is getting a little bit of time, getting ten days out here to really work on stuff and try to fine-tune stuff while not in the tournament.
Q. What's disco bowling?
THE MODERATOR: Do you have another tennis question? Any more questions?
ANDY RODDICK: They turn off the lights and play fun music while you bowl. It's kind of what you would guess it was.
THE MODERATOR: Any more questions?
ANDY RODDICK: Do we really --
Q. And I'm just trying to figure out how far down memory lane you're going to go Davis Cup against Tursunov, where does that rate in the greatest losses or greatest matches? What do you remember? Will you be telling your grandkids about that?
ANDY RODDICK: Don't you remember my answers that I gave then?
Q. I don't read press conferences. I only go live.
ANDY RODDICK: You said you were there, though.
Q. Not seen you since.
ANDY RODDICK: Okay. Okay. All right, then. I mean, it's definitely one of the memories that I'll share. Obviously, you can look back on tough losses like that a little more bitterly than you do your wins. I mean, I think that's normal, but, you know, it's definitely a memory that's -- that I'll always remember, you know. No, definitely not a forgettable match.
Q. Can you talk about the tie that's coming up against Spain and particular significance? Obviously, any Davis Cup tie is critical, but in light of past matches and where we are now, can you talk about that?
ANDY RODDICK: I'm pretty excited about it. You know, obviously it's a good opportunity for us. But to be honest with you, the thing I'm most excited about is there's actually some interest in it. You know, I think they've sold something like 14,000 out of 14,500 thousand seats already. Sold 11,000 in the first day or something like that. So that's nice.
You know we've been on this kind of mission for five years now. Haven't gotten it done, but yet there's still a little bit of interest there, at least in the Winston-Salem, North Carolina area, so that's exciting. And I think just with the potential match-ups that are there, you know, it's going to be some good tennis and I look forward to being a part of it.
THE MODERATOR: Last question.
Q. Did you consider coming back here to play on the grass?
ANDY RODDICK: I don't know. To be honest, I don't know. We've gotten that grass question a lot, but I don't know if that's anymore of an advantage in that tie rather than a slick hard court. I don't -- I don't know if that would have been a bigger advantage to play them on grass. I mean, he did get to the finals of Wimbledon last year, so he likes it a little bit.
THE MODERATOR: Thanks very much.
ANDY RODDICK: Thank you.
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