Roddick interview after the match against Djokovic

roddick-djokovic01271

Q. Not a satisfactory condition out there, but were you better prepared for the conditions, do you think?

ANDY RODDICK: Yeah, maybe. I don’t know. I felt pretty good out there. I wasn’t really feeling too much.

To be honest, from watching the news and everything yesterday, I thought it might be a little bit worse out there. But I’m just happy to be through.

Q. What worked well for you today?

ANDY RODDICK: I was pretty happy with everything. You know, I was leaving returns a little bit short in the first set, and fixed that. You know, he played a great first set. I finished that set thinking that I hadn’t really done much badly.

I just kind of stayed the course. I felt pretty good.

Q. Do you feel as though you’re getting into position for shots, that little step quicker at the moment, and therefore able to do what you want to do rather than responding to what other players are doing?

ANDY RODDICK: Yeah, I noticed it a lot on the first ball. When they hit a return, I’m able to stabilize on that one, or at least get there a second quicker and at least neutralize that one. I’m not getting hurt on that ball as much, which helps.

When I get going, I’m able to kind of move a little bit, and that’s nice also.

Q. Could we expect to see an Andy Roddick diet book coming out soon?

ANDY RODDICK: No, no. I don’t write well.

Q. What about the Larry Stefanki effect. Obviously you’ve had a big difference.

ANDY RODDICK: Yeah, getting in better shape was his impetus. He kind of put me up to it. I think we have similar minds. We both like going to work and have a lot of same interests. We’re kind of on par as far as our energy levels. We don’t like sitting around being bored.

So you can only judge it on what we’ve done so far. It’s been really good so far.

Q. You’ll work through this year with him, 2009?

ANDY RODDICK: We have a three‑year contract.

Q. When did you notice that Novak was starting to struggle?

ANDY RODDICK: I didn’t. I was kind of just playing my side of the court and I didn’t notice until the umpire said that they had someone coming out to see him.

Q. You seemed to be getting up from the changeover before the umpire called time. Are you trying to put a little bit of mental pressure on him?

ANDY RODDICK: No, if you go and pretty much watch every match that I’ve played, I’m not good at sitting still. I’m normally up pretty quick.

Q. What do you think of the rule that allows the opponent, any player, to have a massage when they feel a little bit off and delay match?

ANDY RODDICK: I would disagree with it for ‑‑ if it’s for ‑‑ let me preface this so no one twists it. Everything Novak did today was well within his rights and the rules. It’s simply about my opinion of a rule.

I don’t think you should be able to ‑‑ if you want to get something on a switchover for cramping, I think that would be okay. Actually, one of the trainers came and talked to me afterwards, and he said his idea, but you have to get it put through a council, is if you’re going to take that for cramping, an extended break, make it a rule that you have to do it before your own serve. I thought that was a pretty well‑thought‑out idea.

But as for physical condition, it’s very easy to say, you know, it’s one injury, but you can get rubbed for a cramp ‑‑ I looked over and I was confused, because I thought it was one injury per timeout, and I saw a calf, a neck, and an arm. But I guess cramping is one condition.

There’s obviously some wiggle room, a little bit of gray area there. Hopefully we’ll be able to do something about it. I think the one that you have to take it before your own serve, and if you don’t want to do that then you concede the game until it is your serve, I think that’s a good idea.

Q. Do you feel like there is a question mark of his physical durability?

ANDY RODDICK: He’s gotten through tough matches. Today just wasn’t his day physically, I guess.

Q. In the game after you came off the break you made three double faults. Was it just a rhythm thing?

ANDY RODDICK: It’s tough. Never mind the fact that your adrenaline’s pumping. If you go for a 30‑minute run and sit down on a couch for 12 minutes and you get up and try to run quick, you feel terrible.

It’s no different than when you’re trying to get a rhythm on your serve and nerves are playing a part. It’s not easy to get up and play right away after that.

Q. How much of what you’ve achieved here so far is to do with the self‑control that you seem to be showing out there? Good or bad, it doesn’t seem to matter to you. Your reaction is very level and noncombustible.

ANDY RODDICK: Noncombustible? I love you English dudes. I don’t know. I don’t know how to put percentage points on how well I’m playing or compared to being in a little bit better shape compared to being noncombustible.

But I think when you get the combination going, it bodes well.

Q. How much of how you’re playing and when you’re playing better is four to five years of work trying to improve certain things, and how much of it is the last two months?

ANDY RODDICK: I don’t know. I don’t know. I wish ‑‑ again, I wish I could break it down to 50% here, 50% there. I’m sure it’s a combination of things. I’m sure that there has been two good months with Larry, and having a good result isn’t coincidental.

But I don’t know. I don’t know how to divide the two. With me, they’re all kind of under one roof.

Q. You already looked very confident in Doha. And now, of course, again, and even more. Did you go to Doha knowing that because you had done all this work it was going to be a good year, or did it come with the first few matches?

ANDY RODDICK: No, I mean, there’s ‑‑ you can be in great shape, but if you’re not hitting the ball well it doesn’t really matter. You have to give yourself an opportunity to kind of use it. I went into Doha excited and anxious. I felt prepared, but by no means did I automatically feel like I was entitled to playing well or anything of the sort.

The thing about our sport is you can constantly get knocked down. No one really cares about yesterday. You got to kind of prove yourself on a daily basis. So I try to come into this year knowing that and knowing that I’ve been ‑ still have been ‑ bumped down a couple of notches. Kind of just go at getting back there very workmanlike.

I didn’t know if it was going to happen this fast, but I’m ready to keep at it.

Q. How did you feel about his decision to walk off?

ANDY RODDICK: Honestly, you know, at that point, you kind of ‑‑ obviously you know he’s hurting. When you know he’s hurting, all you want to do is just deliver that knockout blow.

You don’t want to keep playing the game of wondering if he’s going to do it or not or if he’s close. Only he really knows. At that point, you don’t want to see anybody go out, but I was happy that I was able to get the last break in there, the last blow. If anything, it just gives your piece of mind a little bit of a rest.

Q. You’ve been really consistent on the tour for a number of years. Been a long time since you’ve won a Grand Slam tournament. Has that kept you going, improving, really wanting to win another one?

ANDY RODDICK: Keeping going is a different thing. I’m 26 years old. What the hell else am I going to do with myself? Let’s be honest. That’s obviously the motivation behind it.

You know, I think the other thing is you just don’t want to look back on the your career with regrets. As far as like an effort level or anything, I really haven’t so far. I’d like to keep that intact.

Q. Talk about your next match. Set that up.

ANDY RODDICK: Yeah, I mean, obviously it’s going to be really difficult either way. You’re dealing with kind of an upstart that’s extremely confident who you’re going to see over the next year or two how good he’s going to become.

Then you’re dealing with a guy who’s probably the greatest ever. It’s intriguing either way. It really does me no real good to talk about it until I know. I’m happy to be having some dinner while they’re playing tonight, though.

Q. You’ve had the experience of the monstrous early morning finishes here. How difficult is to finish a match at 2:00 or 3:00 and then have to come back and play less than 36 hours later?

ANDY RODDICK: It’s hard. To be fair, it’s very hard. And I’ve had to do it at the US Open probably more than anybody. You finish the match at 2:00 or 3:00, but if you want to take care of your body ‑‑ some people ‑‑ I’m not good at sleeping until 1:00 in the afternoon.

That night of sleep is suspect, at best. It’s maybe three, four hours, and it limits what you can do the next day in practice. So it is very hard.

Q. Do you feel something should be done about that?

ANDY RODDICK: Well, my whole thing is ‑‑ my only suggestion would be ‑‑ and hopefully this will be well received ‑‑ if everything is equal all across the way, I feel like maybe the men should get the first match every once in a while during the first week of a Slam. If all things are equal, then I feel like the scheduling should be the same.

Q. I think 2003, ’05, ’07, and ’09 you are in the semifinal here.

ANDY RODDICK: Uh‑huh.

Q. What do you think about it?

ANDY RODDICK: Well, that’s extremely coincidental. Beyond that, I don’t know what I got for you. I mean, if I ever play lotto, I’ll be sure to bet on odd numbers.

Q. You’ve talked about facing Federer, and now it will be 18th time without playing matches on your own terms. Talk about playing matches on your terms and not on his terms. Talk about what exactly that would mean.

ANDY RODDICK: Well, you know, the thing about Roger, one of the things that makes him great, is he makes that very difficult. You know, I think it helps that I, you know, stopped a big streak against him last year in Miami. It’s certainly not going to hurt at all.

I’m probably the least favored of anybody to make it to the semis here. I’m just going to keep going and keep my head down and keep working. I’m not going to get too excited. If it’s him, great. Then you’re going to have to deal with a lot of artillery, same with Del Potro. I’m just going to go about it and try to work through it.

Q. There is any phrase that Larry Stefanki keeps telling you that you never heard from Jimmy Connors?

ANDY RODDICK: No. I mean, no.

Q. Something that surprised you?

ANDY RODDICK: No, I mean, they’re different. Nothing in particular. Jimmy did a lot for me, and Larry has so far as well. I’m appreciative of both of them.

Q. Talk about Roger in the last year or so.

ANDY RODDICK: Last year? Maybe last decade.

Q. If it turns out being him, is this a better chance for you than it has been in the past few years?

ANDY RODDICK: No, I was really happy to see Roger win the US Open last year. If I’m being frank with you guys, he was a lot classier in that press conference with everyone here than I would have been if I was in that position.

He has nothing to prove. He’s the greatest. He’s created quite an animal for himself, where if someone wins a set they’re questioning his form. The guy made two finals, a semi, and won a Slam last year and people are saying he’s off form. I think he deserves a lot more respect than that.

Q. When somebody walks off like that, does it in any way kind of deprive you of your moment?

ANDY RODDICK: No. It is what it is. That’s sports. That’s what makes it fun. There’s no script. I’m extremely satisfied with what I’ve done so far in this tournament. How you get there is details.

Q. Did it make any difference for you that in the beginning of the tournament you were sort of under the radar, that everybody was talking about lots of other players. For you, inside, when you approach a tournament, any difference at all?

ANDY RODDICK: No, because I agreed with pretty much the sentiment of everybody else. The four guys that you’re talking about are the four guys that deserve to be talked about. I said that from my first press conference here. And they still have put up better results than me recently.

This doesn’t put me in that category with them again yet. I certainly wasn’t bitter about it. I felt like that’s what I deserved.

When you’re coming in and you’re 6 and 7 and you’re not 1 or 2 anymore, that’s fair. That’s how it works. If you’re going to enjoy the spoils when you are there, you have to kind of be aware of when you’re not.

Q. Seemed like even when you were way off the court he was pushing you off and coming in and you were hitting the ball harder. Was that deliberate, or is it just on the day that you’re a little bit in the zone and you feel like you can hit whatever you want to hit?

ANDY RODDICK: No, it’s a little bit easier to hit the ball when you can reach it.

Q. Tell us what Novak said to you at the very end when he shook your hand.

ANDY RODDICK: No, I said ‑‑ I didn’t know what was going on, if it was an injury or cramps. He just said the heat was a little much and he was starting to cramp a little bit. I said, I’m sorry that you didn’t get a proper chance to defend. I told him I had a lot of respect for him. That was pretty much it.

Q. Were you consulted about whether it was an afternoon or night match?

ANDY RODDICK: No.

012709 tuesday /info-photo via Australian Open / Getty Images

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