2006 INTERNAZIONALI D'ITALIA
May 11, 2006
A. RODDICK/G. Rusedski
THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.
Q. You served particularly well today.
ANDY RODDICK: Yeah, I thought I did. I needed to up my percentages a lot. I felt like with Greg, if I got a high percentage of first serves in, that I'd like my chances of holding, and that's what happened.
Q. Interesting tactics, a lot of high stuff. That was obviously part of the plan.
ANDY RODDICK: Yeah, I mean, it's tougher to come in on a ball that's above your shoulders more so than -- or at least if you do, you know, it's not as comfortable. So that's kind of what I wanted to do. Even though I didn't break him in the first set, I liked the way the games were going. I was getting a 30 in most games, had a real good look to break, and just didn't get there. So, you know, that was definitely part of the plan.
Q. Do you think you might ever end up one day enjoying playing in these sort of conditions?
ANDY RODDICK: I never don't enjoy it. It's a challenge for me, you know. Obviously, there are times when it's extremely frustrating, but I enjoy the challenge of playing on all surfaces, you know. I actually have a lot of fun playing on clay. I'm just trying to get better at it.
Q. What sort of fun?
ANDY RODDICK: Sorry?
Q. What sort of fun?
ANDY RODDICK: What sort of fun? I like sliding. I mean, I grew up in Florida so we played a little bit on clay. Just trying to figure out, you have to totally change it. On grass, it's pretty simple. I'm just going to hit the ball pretty hard and try to get depth. Here, I've got to figure it out a little bit more with pace, varying shots, kind of play against my nature a little bit. It's frustrating at times, but it's also a fun challenge.
Q. What is your take on how the clay differs from here to Hamburg to Paris? Where are you most comfortable on it?
ANDY RODDICK: The clay is not really the thing, it's the ball and the weather more than anything. You know Hamburg is going to be a lot slower because the weather's a lot colder. It doesn't get up as much. In the heat, the ball reacts a little bit more.
And at Roland Garros the ball is different than what we use here at the Masters Series events, so every time you go there, that first hit is very interesting to see what the ball's doing.
Q. All the talk about Nadal and Federer must suit you pretty well.
ANDY RODDICK: Yeah, that's fine. I enjoy talking about it, too.
Q. How is the ball different? Is it faster or slower?
ANDY RODDICK: Traditionally slower. But if I'm not mistaken, I think there's a different manufacturer this year. So we'll see.
I think you pretty much have to put the history of the ball to rest if there's someone new or something new making it.
Q. Were you surprised that Federer won three times Hamburg where the clay there, as you say, is the slowest? I mean, is it a bit surprising? There is an explanation, a technical explanation, or just a coincidence?
ANDY RODDICK: I'll give you an explanation: He is a very good tennis player (smiling).
That was kind of my argument, I don't know if you were here, I don't know if it was yesterday or the day before when someone was trying to convince me that it would be very, very surprising if Roger won the French. I said, Well, he's won a Masters Series tournament in the worst conditions for him. So if the weather's okay in France and the conditions are to his liking, he's perfectly well and capable of doing that.
Q. Do you get a nice feel playing on this court? The kids seem to like you. There's a lot of good feeling and good appreciation for what you do.
ANDY RODDICK: Yeah.
Q. For how you play.
ANDY RODDICK: Yeah, yeah, I think the kids like me because they realize my maturation level is about the same as theirs (laughter). So maybe that's the reason.
But it's a good atmosphere. You like it when you're playing and you feel like you're putting on a show for people. When people are there to see it and they're enjoying the tennis, and it seems like the people here have a pretty good grasp and knowledge of what's going on out there and they have fun with it, too. They get as excited about a fun catch of the ball, or you hit the ball between your legs, something like that, they enjoy that kind of stuff as well. So it makes it fun.
Q. I don't remember seeing you hit so many so-called "moonballs."
ANDY RODDICK: Yeah, you didn't watch me play much when I was 11 (smiling).
ANDY RODDICK: I felt like yesterday I got in trouble early on in the first set by trying to hit through him a little bit too much. Today - I covered this question with Neil - but I wanted to at least get it out of his strike zone. So if he was coming to the net and if he was approaching, he was doing it from uncomfortable spots, be it above his shoulder, a little bit wider and higher. You know, a foot this way or that way can really affect someone's approach shot. That was part of the plan today.
Q. Pete didn't like Europe, Pete didn't like the food, Pete didn't like the fact that he couldn't see baseball and basketball on the TV. He found the European swing, this part of the year and the end part of the year, a bit of a drag. Are you happy in Europe? Are you content in Europe?
ANDY RODDICK: Yeah, I like Europe. I mean, I'd love to be watching baseball and basketball, it's the Playoffs. I'd love to be watching the Heat. But that's something minor. I actually -- I love the food here. If you don't like the food here, then something is wrong with you, you know. I'd have to question Pete on that one.
But, no, I like it. It was weird when I first came over here when I was 18 and 19 years old just because it was totally different than what I was used to. But I've grown to like it a lot, especially Rome, is one of my favorite cities with the history and everything. I mean, it blows my mind every time I come here.
Q. Do you try and speak any of the languages at all? Have you gotten that far?
ANDY RODDICK: Yeah, I... I think you're overestimating my intelligence right now (laughter).
I can understand some of it, but I do more of like just the pointing and the "unh," "unh" type of thing. I'm that ignorant American, I guess. I don't know.
Q. You have to play one Frenchman in your next match. What do you think of the two Frenchmen you may face.
ANDY RODDICK: Well, it's weird because the match is going to be totally opposite depending on who wins. You know, Fabrice is going to put you in uncomfortable spots. It's kind of like -- it's kind of like the difference between someone dying a slow death and having someone just come up and shoot you in the head, you know (smiling).
I don't know. Hopefully, I won't die tomorrow.
But, you know, it's totally different styles. So, you know, I can't even begin to think about a strategy until I know who I'm going to play.
Q. Have you been reading ever Mark Twain?
ANDY RODDICK: Mark Twain?
ANDY RODDICK: Yeah.
Q. Okay, thanks (laughter).
ANDY RODDICK: (Smiling).
Q. Ask him why.
ANDY RODDICK: Have you ever eaten a Jawbreaker (smiling)? No?
That was the most random question I've ever gotten in a press conference. Did you know that the human head weighs eight pounds? I mean...
Q. Ask him why.
ANDY RODDICK: Sorry, Bud. Yeah, why?
Q. Because, no, I don't know you very well but I felt you had some sense of humor and I think he had some sense of humor, too.
ANDY RODDICK: Yeah, so do Beevis and Butthead.
Q. What do you like about Rome? You say you really like it.
ANDY RODDICK: I mean, it's just cool. The first day we got here, I was trying as hard as I could not to fall asleep at 3:30 in the afternoon after the flight over, so my brother and I walked around. We walked to the Vatican, we walked to a castle that's been around since I think it was 173 or 178 A.D., which is crazy considering, you know, I'm from a country that's barely over 200 years old. So it's hard for me to fathom how much has taken place here, and to actually be able to see it firsthand is pretty cool.