Andy Roddick US Open Interview | 1st Round | Tuesday, August 28, 2012
Q. Crossing the threshold of 30 a little less scary in tennis now than it was 10 or 20 years ago?
ANDY RODDICK: I don't know. I don't know how to kind of try to rationalize what it was 10 or 20 years ago. It's not something I think about, really.
Q. The age of the top 10 players ‑ all the players ‑ has gone up dramatically recently.
ANDY RODDICK: I think the game has become a lot more physical. I think you have to be a fully grown human to deal with kind of the ins and outs of the physical grind. I think that's probably why you're seeing what you see now. I mean, you have to kind of be able to kind of take a beating week in and week out. It's not as much about shot making now as it is about kind of movement and that sort of thing.
Q. We have just been talking to Rhyne Williams, and he said he's basing his game on your game: big serve and big forehand. What do you think about him today?
ANDY RODDICK: He hit about as many dropshots today as I ever hit in my career, so... (Laughter.) Yeah, I mean, he has a good base. I mean, he can create something. Now it's just a matter of ‑‑ he's got to be a little bit quicker. I have dealt with an average backhand for many years and have had to kind of learn to get around it a little bit and become a better mover later on, you know, in my career. So there is plenty of things. I think if you can win free points off your serve it's a good start.
Q. What would you say the biggest differences are in the way you played today versus when you won the championship here?
ANDY RODDICK: I think the game has changed a lot. You know, you probably were able to get two feet under you and kind of launching the ball a lot more then. I had a massive serve at 135, and this kid today was hitting them that big. I think the game has gotten significantly better since then.
Q. What do you marvel at most about Roger's return to No. 1?
ANDY RODDICK: You know, I was never off the Roger bandwagon. I wasn't, you know. I was never ‑‑ I'm not surprised to see him back there. You know, it's not a story for me, because, you know, he never stopped being the greatest, you know. It's just a matter of who's got the hot hand. Novak was playing unbelievable last year. Roger was a little unfortunate in the match here last year and a couple of others. The fact that we can talk about his matches, kind of the negative ones on ‑‑ that we can all remember every one of them is a good thing, you know. (Laughter.) I mean, that's gotta tell you something about him.
Q. You talked about after you lost to Roger in Wimbledon 2009 how you felt that changed your public perception and what Murray went through recently. Do you feel like a loss can really change the way the public views you and also how you view yourself?
ANDY RODDICK: Yeah. I mean, I think any sort of positive or negative on a big stage when eyeballs are on you, people form opinions. You know, I don't think that changes. You know, I think you get a pretty good reading of someone in tough moments. You know, I can't really speak to Andy and what he's going through, but, you know, I felt ‑‑ I don't remember much about the post‑match stuff from Wimbledon, but I guess people liked it back then. I don't really remember much. It wasn't something that I was thinking about. I was kind of just reacting to what was in front of me. You know, maybe it was a different side.
Q. One of the things that people don't know so much about you is extraordinary grassroots working with your foundation. You obviously were inspired by Lance a good while ago. Now there has been that development. He's done so much good work. Seven Tour de Frances and now this. Could you just share with us what your thoughts are on that?
ANDY RODDICK: Well, I think when you're talking about it, it's tough to talk about it as a whole with what he's done as far as positive versus what he's accused of doing from a negative side. I think you have to pick your side of the argument and then, you know, have an opinion. You know, I don't think you can have this kind of all‑encompassing. I don't think it's that simple. Obviously regardless of what may or may not have happened ‑‑ I mean, I don't know anything more than you guys do, but he has done a lot of good. Hopefully that won't change, because he's a pretty big symbol for a lot of people. You know, it's almost bigger than his sport what he's been able to accomplish with his foundation. So you hope that one doesn't rely on the other.
Q. Do you think that the drug testing in our sport is important to maintain, or should it be changed in any way?
ANDY RODDICK: What do you mean, changed?
Q. Well, either intensified or not have them knock on your door at 6:00 in the morning.
ANDY RODDICK: So you're suggesting both?
Q. I'm asking you what your thoughts are.
ANDY RODDICK: I'm fine with it. I'm not always real thrilled when they show up at 5:30 in the morning. I think it's necessary. It's certainly not convenient when you're trying to have dinner somewhere and they say, Come back now and you've got to do it. You know, ours is probably better than any other sport, you know, as far as what we have to be accountable for. We've had a couple guys get suspensions in this sport for stuff that every person buys at GNC or buys at Walgreens. You know, Sudafed. So it's pretty intense. I'd rather have it that way than kind of us sitting around being in that position of not knowing.
Q. You have talked before about your admiration towards Serena and also for Venus, but what are your thoughts this summer on what Serena has been doing here dominating?
ANDY RODDICK: Again, I have a hard time seeing how that's a new story. You know, she's been great for a long time. I still feel when she's playing her best tennis ‑‑ throughout the course of her career, I feel like when she's been at her best that no one's really challenged her ‑ with the exception of Justine ‑ for a little while. But, you know, you take Serena playing well I think against anybody in the field any day.
Q. Would you agree with what Kim Clijsters said earlier in the tournament? She said for her money, Serena was the best ever?
ANDY RODDICK: Well, it's tough to ‑‑ I'm sure Steffi would argue that. It's tough to compare. If you're comparing their highest level at a given moment in a straight‑up match that's more of a conversation, but I'm not sure that Serena would sit here and tell you that you can compare 14 to 22 yet.
Q. On the court you talked about getting to the second week, you know, as a birthday gift. At this stage, is that a very acceptable result?
ANDY RODDICK: No, there is no acceptable result. You play your second round, try to win your second round. You go as far as you want. Or as far as you can. I don't think we think of it in the context of what's acceptable and what's not. You play a match to try and win a match.
Q. What are your thoughts on the future of men's tennis in America? Who are some of the guys that have really kind of impressed you with young guys up and coming?
ANDY RODDICK: Well, you know, as we said before, it's not always pointing towards the guys that are 18 and 19 now in tennis. You know, Isner has impressed me this summer. He's only a couple years younger than me, but he's coming into his own with that serve. And he doesn't have a lot of wear and tear. He hasn't been out here for 10 or 12 years, so he should have, you know, five, six good years left. Sam's been playing better. So I have liked what I've seen from the guys that we know.
Q. Before you came in, Milos Raonic was in here, and he says the thing he admires most about Federer is the fluidity in his game. When you watch Roger, what is the thing you appreciate most?
ANDY RODDICK: Fluidity is great. You know, I respect the fact that he's ‑‑you know, he lost No. 1 and he went back and got it. You know, at a certain point the way he's able to kind of come out here and be motivated day after day, you know, he's beyond reproach. You can't really say anything bad about him, but he still wanted to get back there. Seems like he's never satisfied, and that's pretty respectable, especially after what he's accomplished.
Q. You worked very hard, big serve and big forehand early on. Then you worked hard to add things to your game. Were you that kind of kid, meaning were you the kind of kid who was always adjusting, or did the game sort of force you into becoming a little bit different?
ANDY RODDICK: No, the game completely changed. I was able to kind of recognize it. It's funny, because the things I feel like I get criticized for have kept me around a lot more than my contemporaries. Let's say I came up with Marat and Ferrero and a couple other guys. Obviously everyone points to Roger, but we can all point to Roger all day. If that's the comparison we're drawing, then we're going to end up with the stories we have had. I saw the way the game was going. You have to get stronger and quicker. I don't think there was much room for a plodder who could hit the ball pretty hard. It was a conscious effort at times, and I feel like that's added to longevity a little bit.
Q. You have worked with a number of coaches in your career. When does the novelty and excitement sort of wear off, and when do you know when you're in a stable relationship and you know what to expect from that person, what they expect out of you?
ANDY RODDICK: I mean, I think you know pretty early on, to be honest. I never thought of it I guess in terms of novelty. You know, I have been pretty forthright with my coaches. I mean, even if I haven't seen eye to eye with them, they would tell you that they knew what they were going to get out of me. I think each situation is different. You know, with all the coaches ‑‑ I think it's tough to generalize personal relationships.
Q. How do you view your second‑round matchup with Bernard Tomic?
ANDY RODDICK: We haven't played in a tournament before. Obviously he's been talked about for a while now and he has a kind of very good feel for the game. He was able to kind of repeat what he needs to do out there. You know, it will be tough.
Q. Do you view him as a serious talent from what you've seen?
ANDY RODDICK: Yeah. I mean, he's very talented. He's played well. You know, I think now he's dealing with playing well on a consistent basis. I think that's the next step for him. Hopefully we can delay the process a week.
Q. There you were winning big tournaments on the ATP Tour when you were 16, and he has yet to win one and he's around 20. Is that the evolution you're talking about, the evolution of the game?
ANDY RODDICK: Yeah. I think it lends itself. You don't see a lot of guys like Lleyton who was winning it at whatever it was 15 or 16 now. Rafa I feel like was fully built when he was 17. Beyond that, I feel like it takes a little while to develop. You know, it's a physical nature. I don't think kind of the age thing that we have been talking about the whole time, I don't think that's a coincidence.
Q. Could you talk a little bit about your coach, Larry, and sort of what he brings and what his real strengths are and what you appreciate about him?
ANDY RODDICK: Yeah, Larry has a very high tennis IQ. It's funny, because if I make a small adjustment and I'm kind of just tinkering a little bit, he can see it right away. There's not a lot of people who can see that. You know, as tough as it's been on me this year it's been tough on him when I have been hurt the last year and a half. If I can't train all the time or do what I need to do, it's a tough ask of him. He's been very patient and he's been able to adjust. You know, he's a very smart tennis mind.
Q. This time last year the players were very forthright in their opinions about what needed to be done within the game, and now we're hearing about possible strike threats for Australia. What's your opinion on all this? How realistic is that?
ANDY RODDICK: I don't know. I'm on board with whatever the contemporaries come up with. You know, at this point it's the same old song. You know, the ATP, the ITF, powers that be, are betting against us being able to unify, and they have been getting away with that gamble for 25 years and we haven't proved them wrong yet. That's where we stand. U2 doesn't ask permission to go on tour. We ask permission do a lot of things.
Q. To sort them out, there is not an easy, quick...
ANDY RODDICK: Well, you're dealing with a bunch of different languages, different agendas, guys who play singles, guys who play doubles, guys who play clay, guys who play hard. I guess my view is more of a scope what's best for the game, not exactly what's the cut in Kitzbühel and how do we fix that? I'm not really concerned about that. So you're dealing with a lot of different issues inside of it. The end goal, I think ‑‑ maybe I have too simplistic of a view on it.
Q. What was your take on the move that San Jose is basically going under and going to Rio. I believe it's one of the second oldest tournaments, or one you played in many times. Your thoughts on that?
ANDY RODDICK: Well, you don't like losing tournaments. I don't like that trend that's been being set of taking tournaments from here internationally. I want to say when I started there were close to 20, 22 events here, and now I think we're down to 12 or 13. It just speaks to the popularity of the game has grown globally the last 20 years and people want ATP tennis. As with anything, you guys in your job, a lot of times you will follow the story that leads to the money trail. It's not any different for tournaments. So, you know, until we can step up in the marketplace, it's always going to be ‑‑ it's free trade, also.
Q. Just personally were you sad to see it go because you played it for so long?
ANDY RODDICK: Yeah, I don't like seeing it go. I think we have one more year, which is nice. But, you know, I'm more concerned with we need events like that for the generations coming up here.
Q. How would you describe James Blake's contribution to the sport?
ANDY RODDICK: Well, I'm biassed because I'm a big fan of James as a person. You know, I think he was great. You know, he always played for the U.S. when asked. You know, he was very smart, very articulate. I think he served on the council for many, many years. I think he was always interested in somehow trying to make the game better. I'm glad to see him playing better this summer.
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