SAP OPEN MEDIA CONFERENCE
February 5, 2009
THE MODERATOR: Good afternoon, Evening to some. Andy enters the 2009 SAP Open as defending champion. Last year he beat Radek Stepanek in the final. This will be Andy's sixth straight appearance, and eighth time in his career he's played in San Jose since turning pro in 2000. He's captured 26 titles, including three SAP Opens, 2004 and 2005 as well.
And Andy's also returning to Regions Morgan Keegan Championships in Memphis where he's accepted a wildcard. This marks the ninth consecutive year he'll be playing in Memphis. In 2009, he captured the title beating James Blake in the final. He was also a finalist in 2003 and 2007.
This season, Andy's off to a 9-2 start. He reached the semifinals at the Australian Open where he beat No. 3 Novak Djokovic along the way. He reached the final in Doha, where he lost to Andy Murray.
He's No. 6 in the South African Airways ATP singles rankings. And before we start, I'll turn it over to bill Rapp. Bill?
BILL RAPP: Andy, thanks a lot for joining us today.
ANDY RODDICK: Sure thing.
BILL RAPP: Just wanted to ask you a you two part question. We have media on from both San Jose and Memphis, so I'll ask you a couple of questions. First of all, when you won here in '04, '05 and '08, thought maybe you could just think back to -- I remember your match against Mardy Fish in the final. Maybe talk about that or any matches that stuck in your mind?
ANDY RODDICK: You know, I've always kind of the finals have been great. I mean, I think any time you win a tournament, it's a really good feeling. But I think the memories I have are just getting to the first couple of rounds there.
It's always been circumstances, and sometimes I haven't had great form going in. So I remembered a lot of the times the tough three setters and it's the first or second round.
You know, you call those matches that you just kind of have to get through. And I think getting through some of those through the years in San Jose have allowed me to get wins there.
BILL RAPP: In Memphis, you won in 2002 and had a great match against Blake. Maybe talk about that week Memphis.
ANDY RODDICK: Yeah, gosh, it's scary to think it's getting to be nine times and ten times at tournaments now. But, I mean, I always enjoy coming back to Memphis. I've been a little unfortunate as far as getting -- hopefully, I can stay healthy there.
I've had a little bit of a run of either getting hurt or sick or what not. So, hopefully, I just want to make it through the week healthy there.
Q. A lot has been made about you losing those 15 or so pounds during the off-season. What exactly did you use to cut the weight, and how much has that helped you down there in Australia?
ANDY RODDICK: Well, I don't think it was anything revolutionary. I think just discipline as far as diet went. You know, having kind of six weeks cut out where you could be disciplined and kind of program workouts and meals for an extended period of time. That definitely helped. It was probably as strict as I've been as far as dieting. We just went to work.
I don't think it was anything crazy or something that hasn't been done before. I think it was a lot of work put in on the track and at the courts. A lot of discipline as far as diet went. And actually just for a change having a six week window where I could kind of set forth a program for every day and every week.
You know, it was just a matter of doing the work from there and it helped a lot.
Q. Why did you feel it was necessary to carve out that time now? Just to start a new year and get back on track? What led into that?
ANDY RODDICK: Well, my coach told me to.
Q. Well with, that helps.
ANDY RODDICK: So that was kind of all I needed. I was really looking forward to it. I wasn't great physically from about, probably may on last year. I felt like I was, you know, when I got hurt, I felt like I was playing catch-up, and I was probably too heavy the end of last year just because I was going straight from the training table to play, to entering tournaments, which is tough to do. But you kind of do your best. I was just looking forward to trying to get healthy again.
Q. I was going to ask basically what went into your decision to make the change in coaches late last year?
ANDY RODDICK: Well, it wasn't really a change. I didn't have a coach from the Open on. I feel like a lot gets made of changing coaches, but if you look at pretty much every player with the exception of probably Rafa and James, everyone's kind of made changes before.
Basically, after the Open I wasn't going to rush the decision. I wanted to kind of see who was available at the end of the year. You know, Larry's track record speaks for itself. He was the first person that I kind of thought of. You know, I was lucky enough that he thought it would be a good fit.
Q. What struck you about his being the right fit? What does he bring?
ANDY RODDICK: Well, the thing that I was initially impressed with was, you know, if you look at the players he's worked with, first of all, a lot of them were pretty strong personalities, and he was able to have pretty good relationships with them.
Secondly, just the various types of players that he's worked with, you know. Sometimes you see a coach kind of gravitate towards the same style of play that's right they were or they've coached before. And he's gone from, you know, he's coached lefties, righties, net-rushers, baseliners. So I kind of like that he didn't just take one style to a player, you know, all the time. He's kind of able to adjust to maybe see the game through his player's eyes a little bit more. And that was appealing to me.
Q. In this short amount of time that you've worked with him, what have you liked about the relationship and your game?
ANDY RODDICK: Well, it's good. He has a really good positive energy. He likes to -- we're similar in that we like to get to work. We're not really big on just sitting around and waiting for something to happen. We kind of like to try to make it happen. You know, so far it's just been a really good working relationship.
Q. In your position or with tennis in general, just curious, after a loss and a major in your case, the Australian Open, especially when you get into a tournament like that, is it best to get like that in the court or is it sometimes preferred to step back for a bit just looking for a mental blow?
ANDY RODDICK: You know, you I think each one's unique. I don't think you can, you know, generalize every Grand Slam loss as the same. For me coming out of Australia, I felt pretty good. You know, I had played well in Doha, and I played well in Australia.
You know, Roger had a really good night against me. But there were a lot more positives than negatives for me coming out of Melbourne. So, you know, I'm excited to get back out there.
Q. When I say a lot more positives, is it just feeling good about your game? Is there anything specific?
ANDY RODDICK: Well, there's a lot. I mean, it had been two years since I made the semis of a slam, so. I felt great physically. I was healthy. I was able to kind of just be consistent over the course of, you know, the three weeks or a month in these tournaments, and that was a great sign moving forward for the rest of the year.
Q. I asked James about a rooting interest in fellow American players and maybe how much you pay attention to other Americans, especially when in tournaments maybe when they go against foreign players, is there that -- on is there something that you may pay attention to, especially maybe with buddies when they play non-Americans?
ANDY RODDICK: Well, I think whether, you know, if it's an American-American match-up we're certainly intrigued as well. But yeah, there's definitely a camaraderie among the guys. And take, for instance, Amir Delic doing well in Australia. That was great to see. And a bunch of us were in the locker room watching that match. Obviously, you pay a lot more attention to the way your friends are playing as opposed to someone you don't really know, so, yes, I think that's natural.
Q. A follow-up on who are your buddies on the tour? Who do you hang out with and watch matches with?
ANDY RODDICK: My probably a couple of my best friends are my Davis Cup teammates. James and Mardy, and the Bryan twins. You find yourself hanging out in the locker room. Normally the Americans are in all in one little area.
Being on tour is kind of like high school again. There are a bunch of cliques, and the countries normally stay -- obviously, if you speak a common language you're more likely to be friendly with that person. It's kind of like the same social circles. But obviously Bobby Reynolds, and Isner, and Delic, I think we all kind of cheer for each other and support each other.
Q. I'm not going to ask you to name names, but it will be a much more fun question. Is there anybody out there that nobody likes right now? That guy's a Jack ass, nobody wants to talk to him?
ANDY RODDICK: Well, you know, I don't know if it would be fair for me to answer that question because I haven't talked to everybody.
Q. A different line of questioning, because I don't want to get you in too much trouble. You played in a couple of matches last month at the Australian. How hot was it really to you on the court? And two, the officials are getting in a really tight spot on that conditioning rules, et cetera, on what's safe and what's not? How do you feel as a player when it's just too hot to play.
ANDY RODDICK: Well, I like it, I feel like the Australian Open maybe more than any other tournament should be about preparation and how you have to prepare physically, it's one of the only slams when you only have a month before to train. I grew up in Florida and Texas so, I'm all for the hot conditions.
But, you know, if someone ran into a serious heat problem, I mean, I could certainly see where the tournament's accountable. But I think I'm pretty much always for leaving it as an outdoor tournament.
Q. Has there ever been an occasion when you've been on the court where you or an opponent or somebody playing on the court next to you as a junior, there was an incident and you really thought maybe there are circumstances where it's not safe to play?
ANDY RODDICK: Yeah, absolutely. In the summer in San Antonio, Texas, you used to see kids, 13 and 14, you know, pass out on the court. But I also think it's a lot different. I think a different set of rules or standards should apply for 13-year-olds than grown men.
Q. As you mentioned a few moments ago you and James have taken opposite approaches to coaching in your career than he's worked with one guy and you preferred to have your more voices. To be sure his case is a little unusual. But I wonder if you can talk about how your approach has worked and the pros and cons versus having a consistent voice versus many.
ANDY RODDICK: Well, I mean I don't think it was a conscious decision or anything I set out at 18 years old to have four different voices over the course of the career. I think Brian and James grew up together. It's someone he trusts, he knows, they have a long history.
That wasn't the case when I came on the tour in 18, 19 years old. It wasn't somebody that I'd been with for ten years. You know, but again I don't think it's something that you can generalize. There have been different reasons for me, probably, each time. So it's tough to kind of give a general statement about it, I guess.
Q. Have you valued having influences from different sources over the course of your career? Can you imagine having done what James has done and only having one coach?
ANDY RODDICK: Well, that would require me finding a coach that could have put up with me for nine years also.
Yeah, I think there are pros and cons both ways. Obviously, continuity is a good thing, and there have certainly been times where I've been without someone or in transition and you're just kind of trying to make due.
But at the same time there's been a couple of times in my career where it's really jump started my playing just by having a fresh voice. So I can kind of look at it both ways. I certainly have been able to pick the brain of some of tennis's smartest people, so that's been a good thing.
Q. How long is the adjustment period generally when you really click with someone when they're new?
ANDY RODDICK: You know, it's, again, it's a case-to-case situation. You know, I've known Larry for a while. He's been on tour ever since I've been on tour. You know, we've done a hundred practices together when he's been with the other player and kind of joke around in the locker room.
So that scenario's a lot different than let's say Jimmy where we didn't know each other. I don't think we've spent ten minutes together in our lives. So that's obviously a little bit different. So, again, I think it's just a case to case thing.
Q. Looking ahead to the summer, did you decide not to play team tennis this year or is that still a possibility?
ANDY RODDICK: Yeah, it's a possibility. I, you know, I think a lot of it is going to depend on how much I play at the beginning of the year, and how well I do, he is, et cetera. I love team tennis. I like playing team tennis.
But I traditionally I played a pretty heavy summer schedule as well as far as tournaments, so I think once I get that schedule totally dialed in, I'll be able to make a better decision about team tennis.
Q. The Sacramento owner said that he was trying to trade for you. And what will the chances of you playing for the capitals?
ANDY RODDICK: I guess that would probably be a better question for him. You know, obviously, I know they have a pretty good tradition in team tennis. They've won a lot. I haven't played out there, I don't think since maybe '01.
You know, so I think more so than I don't think it would affect my decision to play positively or negatively if I'm being honest. I just enjoy playing team tennis. I like the format. I kind of like the kind of vibe that it promotes. You know, so I don't know if -- I'm certainly open to on wherever I play.
Q. You've been teammates with the Bryan brothers for a long time. What kind of relationship do you have with them?
ANDY RODDICK: We've been -- I've been teammates with them for a long time, but I've known them since I was 8 years old, also. So we obviously have a lot of history. We're pretty good friends. It's always good to see them.
You know, I certainly don't think that we would all have a Davis Cup title if it wasn't for them, so we're certainly grateful for that. It's just great to see what they've been able to accomplish.
Q. I asked James about this yesterday, wanted to get your take. I was wondering if you were surprised at how emotional Roger was after the loss or is that something that you can relate to?
ANDY RODDICK: Well, I mean, I think in sports you can certainly, you know, everyone can relate to being disappointed. I think the thing about, you know, kind of having to stay on for an awards ceremony and from what I read, I think Roger touched on it. Kind of going after a match, taking a shower, stretching, that's kind of all part of your routine to kind of cool down and to kind of almost try to grab a sense of perspective and get away from everybody watching for a second.
You know, when you have to go straight into the awards ceremony, you know, it's not easy especially after losing a Grand Slam final. I've been on the other end of that with Roger a couple of times. So I don't think it's surprising or out of the ordinary.
Q. What are your memories from standing there at Wimbledon center court having gone through that? Does it seem sort of surreal looking back or do you even remember those moments?
ANDY RODDICK: Oh, no. You certainly remember them. It's just that you're fighting between, okay, you did a great job and staying alive. You're playing in a Wimbledon final which is pretty great. But you obviously are disappointed. You're torn up. You don't exactly want to take loss that's Wimbledon final, that's for sure. So it is hard. It is hard.
Q. There was some photos of you at the super bowl. I imagine you probably saw the game, too. Arguably it's America's biggest, greatest sporting event. When you are in that environment sitting there, did anything, any comparisons to tennis go through your mind athletically or compared to the Open or Wimbledon?
ANDY RODDICK: Oh, I don't know. I wasn't really in analyzation
mode to be honest. But it certainly the thing about the super bowl, it's not a football game, it's an event as well. There's so much going on around it.
I feel like probably the majority of the people are as interested in the pregame concerts and the halftime show and the whole deal. I think they've done a really good job of marketing it to all demographics.
Q. Given your start to the year and your new coach and everything, what are your expectations for this year? Do you think you could possibly get a second Grand Slam here?
ANDY RODDICK: Well, I hope so. You know, it's impossible to kind of predict. You know, you're -- I'm just going to go to work and play well. I think there's two ways of going. Either progressing forward or you're not. For the last two years or three years it's been not.
So I think I just want to start that progression forward. I feel like I made a pretty good start at that in Australia, and I'll look to build on it.
Q. You moved back into the top six after Australia. Can you talk about what you liked about your game in Australia?
ANDY RODDICK: A lot of my game was good. I think the biggest thing is I'm breaking in 30% of my return games so far this year through two tournaments. And that's a good number.
If I can break one out of every three returns, you know, return games, I'm going to give myself a shot in a lot of matches with my serve being my strength.
That stat kind of tells a story for a lot of things, you obviously have to return well, but you have to be moving well to play "D" on that first ball off a return. So that was encouraging.
Q. As you've come along as a professional, they've instituted the challenges. How do you feel about those? Are they good for the game? Have they been good for you?
ANDY RODDICK: Well, I mean, it's, you know, it honestly depends on the day whether or not they're good for you. Yeah, I mean, you could probably come out about 50-50 on them, and some days good, some days bad.
But I think it's good for tennis overall. I think it creates pretty good theater. I think it holds the refs a lot more accountable and the players. You can't really complain much when it's right in front of you.
You know, I think the biggest thing is you don't really have matches that are decided on a bad call. Which is, at the end of the day as a player, is a lot easier to deal with.
Q. Do you prefer the current system over the old Cyclops system?
ANDY RODDICK: Yeah, I think so. Well, Cyclops was only on serves, so yeah. I think if you're covering the whole court as opposed to just serves, you know, that's a bonus. Plus the Cyclops, that beep was just annoying.