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Old 01-09-2007, 02:54 AM   #16
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Default Re: The "Let's Stay out of the Tabloids kthanks" 2007 News Thread!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Deb!. View Post
....conference call Monday to promote next month's SAP Open in San Jose...
SAP OPEN MEDIA CONFERENCE
January 8, 2007
Andy Roddick

GREG SHARKO: Good afternoon to everyone. Thanks for joining in for today's conference call where two-time SAP Open champion Andy Roddick joins us from Melbourne, Australia, where he's preparing for the Australian Open.

Last season Andy finished No. 6 in the ATP rankings, his fifth consecutive top-10 campaign. He won his 21st career title at the ATP Masters Series in Cincinnati and reached his fourth career Grand Slam final at the US Open.

Before we open up the lines for questions, I want to introduce the tournament director, Bill Rapp, who will make a few comments.


BILL RAPP: Thanks, Shark. Andy, thanks for joining us today. I just wanted to mention to the folks on the call, I was down a couple weeks ago at your event in Austin. Can you give us a quick recap. I know it's your charity to help children today for tomorrow. I guess you raised a few hundred thousand dollars. How did it turn out?

ANDY RODDICK: It was great. Between that and the Florida event, I think we raised about $1.8 million. It was successful.

BILL RAPP: Great. Also Andy, I was impressed at the beginning of the night, you very clearly thanked Andre Agassi for his inspiration. Can you tell that story about being on the plane with him, how that transpired in your younger days.

ANDY RODDICK: I was lucky enough to hitch a ride with Andre when I was about 17 on his plane. I was just asking him questions, probably being really annoying. I asked him what his biggest regret was. He said that he didn't start his foundation early enough. It really surprised me, made an impression on me. I started mine the next year.

BILL RAPP: We're thrilled to be involved with your charity, Andy. Also for those of you on the call that don't know, SAP, who is the title sponsor of our event, we're thrilled to have Andy recently announced as a three-year world ambassador for SAP. Also we'll be playing the SAP Open in San Jose from now through at least 2009. Glad to have you back, Andy.

ANDY RODDICK: Thank you. Good to be back.

GREG SHARKO: We'll open it up for questions.

Q. Your thoughts on this year's field with Safin joining in the mix here.

ANDY RODDICK: Yeah, I mean, it seems like it's probably the toughest field that I've played in since I've been playing in tournament. Definitely the deepest as far as top-tier players go.
I'm excited to get in the mix.

Q. I heard a story that Jimmy Connors is doing more traveling with you. How much do you think that will help you out?

ANDY RODDICK: It's great. I mean, I still don't think he's going to be out on the road every single week. It's just great kind of having a mentor and advisor who has been there before, who kind of gets what you're going through a little bit.

Q. Is Jimmy going to be in San Jose, do you know?

ANDY RODDICK: I'm not sure yet.

Q. What did you learn from the two matches you had against Federer, in the Open and Masters Cup? What can you carry over to this year?

ANDY RODDICK: Well, to be honest, I gained a little bit of confidence in that match-up. I've said recently probably for the first time in two or three years after those matches I felt like the gap was maybe going my way for once. So that's exciting. There's still a long way to go, but I'm a lot more optimistic about it than I was maybe the last couple years.

Q. Are you hoping to get an early shot at him this year in Australia?

ANDY RODDICK: Well, yeah, I mean, I've made it clear that I'd love to play him as many times as possible. Also that means that I'm deep in a tournament. That's a good thing, as well (laughter).

Q. Do you plan on playing the Davis Cup before San Jose?

ANDY RODDICK: Yes.

Q. Can you talk about how Jimmy has helped you the most?

ANDY RODDICK: You know, I get that question, and it's tough to come up with kind of a vague answer. I'm not sure. It's got to be a combination. I don't know if it can choose one. It's got to be the energy, his knowledge of the game, the intensity that he brings to the practice courts every day. A lot of it just has to do with the excitement that he generates, as well.

Q. Can you talk about some of the keys for you this year in order for you to be able to reach your goals, what you were thinking in the off-season, what you want to do the next couple months?

ANDY RODDICK: Yeah, I mean, I think a lot of it's just building on the momentum of the last five months of last year. I felt like I was on the right track as far as the way I was playing. I kind of adopted a new style on the fly. Now I've had an off-season to work on that, I think it can get better. Just kind of need to keep going along that same route.

Q. Can you talk about the style, what you consider it to be? You talked a lot about being more aggressive. You're also playing better defensive tennis, too.

ANDY RODDICK: Yeah, I mean, I'm trying not to play that much defense, so therefore I don't look at bad by playing defense on every point (laughter).

You know, I think it is just trying to get forward a little bit more, putting myself in good positions on the court.

Q. The evolution of your game, you talked about it, but the comparison between today and three years ago, how comfortable you are up at the net?

ANDY RODDICK: I feel good up there right now. I guess that happens with repetition, forcing yourself to do it, whereas times before that I'd have good and bad days. I think it's just a little bit more consistent now.

Q. It's been a little while since you played a regular-circuit tournament, probably Shanghai. Do you have the feeling of being refreshed at this point? Is there now an eagerness to go out on the circuit again?

ANDY RODDICK: Yeah, I mean, I definitely think there's always an eagerness at the beginning of the year, maybe this year even more than most just because I feel like I had a little bit of momentum on my side when I stopped. I felt like I was playing pretty good tennis. I'm really looking forward to trying to continue to improve this year. I definitely am eager to get out there.

Q. In terms of closing the gap with Roger, can you be more specific? Was it being more aggressive, returns? Some of the detail there?

ANDY RODDICK: Well, most obvious thing is just score line. Play him tough at the Open for three sets, have an opportunity to go up a break in the third, and obviously have match points in Shanghai. At least I'm providing myself with opportunities against him the last couple of matches.

Q. Obviously a lot of great prizes out there. If you had to choose one that would make your year, which one?

ANDY RODDICK: Are you talking about tournaments?

Q. Tournaments and Davis.

ANDY RODDICK: I'd probably say, with apologies to Bill Rapp (laughter).

BILL RAPP: We're going to have to end this call (laughter).

ANDY RODDICK: Probably, you know, Davis Cup and Wimbledon are up top for me. You know, I'm not picky. I'll take what I can get.

BILL RAPP: For the record, Andy has referred to our event as the Fifth Slam (laughter).

Q. You've been a big supporter of instant replay, right?

ANDY RODDICK: Yeah.

Q. Quickly, can you give me a comment on that?

ANDY RODDICK: What do you want to know about it?

Q. Why do you like it?

ANDY RODDICK: Well, I mean, I think it's good for a lot of reasons. I feel like it takes a certain element of human error out of the equation. I also think it's good for fans. I think it adds another dimension. There's a certain kind of buzz in the air when you challenge, it goes up on the scoreboard. Just adds another dimension to watching it on TV, as well.

I think it's good in a lot of ways.

Q. When you think about instant replay, it's one of a lot of innovations taking playing in the game the last couple of years. On-court coaching, scoring changes in doubles, round robin, Sunday starts. What are your thoughts on all the tweaks going on? Is that an acknowledgment that the status quo wasn't really working in tennis?

ANDY RODDICK: I don't know that it wasn't working. There have been changes in pretty much every sport. We'd been doing the same thing for a hundred years. Regardless of if we like each idea or not, I think it's worth exploring. You're writing about it, people are reading about it. That just generates interest.

It's worth the experimentation process. You can kind of weed out the bad ideas.

Q. Roger has had an amazing three years, perhaps the best in tennis history. He's about to pass your mentor on the consecutive weeks at No. 1. Can you put into perspective what he's done in the game the last three years?

ANDY RODDICK: It's been impressive, I can tell you firsthand. I can reel off a bunch of numbers right now. I think it's just the way he's done it. He's an impressive player.

Q. How would you describe Jimmy as a coach? Is he a hands-on type of guy?

ANDY RODDICK: It's weird because he's probably not as loud and boisterous as you all might think. He's pretty demure when he comes to me to talk about what he has to talk about. Very straightforward, very involved with the whole process.

Q. Is he a guy who shares a lot of his stories, experiences?

ANDY RODDICK: No. I don't remember one time where he's been talking about his matches, what he did. That's probably the part that surprised me the most. I ask him a lot of questions about it. He's almost a little bit reserved in talking about the way he played. He kind of focuses on what I have to do.

Q. Is that good or disappointing?

ANDY RODDICK: It's not like he doesn't give me answers. I'm asking him about certain matches that I remember. He's more concerned about what I'm going to do to beat the next guy I play.

From a fan's perspective, it's a little bit funny for me. From a coach/player standpoint, it's probably a really good thing.

Q. Having played both Federer and Sampras, who do you think is better and why?

ANDY RODDICK: That's tough. I personally probably have more trouble with Roger. It's tough to talk about a head-to-head match-up because obviously Sampras comes forward all the time. That style might have been effective against Roger. It's tough. You hear everything about it. It's almost tough to compare guys from different eras. That's kind of like a lost argument.

Q. If they met on a hard court, could you pick one over the other?

ANDY RODDICK: Like I said, it's kind of useless to talk about stuff like that. It's not going to happen. It's almost fantasy land.

Q. Is it fair to say that Nadal is struggling now? Or given his age, is he making adjustments?

ANDY RODDICK: (Laughter).

Q. I knew you were going to laugh. He hasn't won a title since the French Open.

ANDY RODDICK: It's fair to say that you're struggling right now (laughter).

Q. Seriously, though, hasn't won a title since the French. On hard courts, he hasn't been producing the same results.

ANDY RODDICK: You don't want to hear what I have to say.
No, dude, he's still winning matches. He's not losing first rounds. The guy made the semis of Masters on a hard court, on a fast indoor court. I'm sure he thinks he could play a little bit better. To say the guy's struggling, I mean, look at his age, with everything that he's accomplished. I mean, I'm going to give him the benefit of the doubt.

Q. Do you think there's an adjustment period now for him or not?

ANDY RODDICK: In what way?

Q. Teenage guy, knowing he has to make some adjustments to his game, moving on. He hasn't quite put up the same results. Maybe he's trying to do a couple things technically, mentally.

ANDY RODDICK: I don't know. The first six months of the year are on clay. Obviously that's a bit more of his comfort zone. You know, it's anything. He's got the game. He's going to have results. Obviously clay is going to be his best surface. That's not a secret. That's kind of the hand that he's been dealt.

I think he'll be just fine. I don't think he needs advice from me.

Q. The Davis Cup tie coming up. Tough results away on clay. Facing Berdych, but I understand Stepanek is not playing. Can you talk about the tie against the Czech Republic?

ANDY RODDICK: We've had some tough matchups on clay. Obviously I don't know if the Czech Republic has the depth that Russia has. The loss to France, they're a pretty deep team.

You know, if it's about getting to three first, I like our chances.

Q. It would be pretty important for us to win one away on clay, wouldn't you say?

ANDY RODDICK: You would think so, yeah.

Q. In terms of tonight's game with Florida and Ohio State, give me a quick score.

ANDY RODDICK: 31-24 Ohio State.

Q. Obviously you had some closer matches with Roger in the second half of 2006, put yourself in position to win. You said the gap is closing for you. Do you think we'll see him more challenged across the board in 2007?

ANDY RODDICK: He's going to have to be, otherwise he's going to go the whole year without losing one match (laughter).

I mean, I hope so. Personally I know I'm going to play a lot better than I did at the beginning of last year. There's one challenge. We'll see. Obviously he's the bar right now. We're all trying to get there.

BILL RAPP: Andy, can you tell us the things that you enjoy about playing here in the Bay Area, specifically San Jose?

ANDY RODDICK: I had some success there in the past. I enjoy playing in front of the fans there. It's nice to go back to a place you're familiar with. I played there I think since, what, 2001 now. I'm excited to get back there.

BILL RAPP: Looking forward to having you.

GREG SHARKO: Thanks, everyone. Andy, good luck in Melbourne.
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Old 01-09-2007, 11:14 AM   #17
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Default Re: The "Let's Stay out of the Tabloids kthanks" 2007 News Thread!

Thanks for the article and conference, Deb.
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Old 01-10-2007, 03:51 AM   #18
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Default Re: The "Let's Stay out of the Tabloids kthanks" 2007 News Thread!



http://www.foxsports.com.au/story/0,...rom=public_rss
Quote:
Love in the air for top three
By Mark Stevens
January 10, 2007

LOVE was in the air at Kooyong yesterday and it wasn't only coming from a smiling Radek Stepanek, recently engaged to Martina Hingis.

This was a blokey kind of love. Man to man. Legend to legend. Player to coach.

Days after Lleyton Hewitt's love affair with coach Roger Rasheed sensationally ended, three of the tennis world's biggest stars spoke about the virtues of a close relationship with a coach.

Andy Roddick said his life had become easier under idol Jimmy Connors, Roger Federer talked up his Australian mentor Tony Roche and Marat Safin revealed the juicy incentives he offered to lure his new coach, Alexander Volkov.

Roddick was too smart to buy into the Hewitt saga, but happily spoke about the changes to his game since Connors came on board in July last year to form a glamour partnership.

"It's nice to wake up in the morning and have a hit with one of your idols on a daily basis," Roddick said.

"That's a cool feeling, and I don't know if the novelty of that will wear off any time soon."

An imposing athlete who is known more for his bash and crash style than his defensive subtlety, Roddick revealed Connors had actually helped him realise he had to attack more.

"He kind of helped me turn my year around last year, I was playing a little bit more aggressive, so hopefully I can have a more successful run this year than last," Roddick said.

Asked if Connors had made tennis harder, Roddick replied: "He's made it easier. I was making it harder on myself. It's a lot of fun."

Getting along is just as important as gaining help to swot up on opponents and spending hours on the practice court refining shots.

"A lot of us spend more time with our coaches than we do with our families, so you have to be able to get along with that person," Roddick said.

Safin said he was concerned last year that he was becoming stale and needed a change. Enter Russian Volkov, the former professional who played a role in slashing the ranking of the 2005 Australian Open winner from No.104 to No.26 in the final three months of the year.

"I needed actually a change, a big change, and I asked him (Volkov) to travel a little bit with me to help me for a couple of months, because he had nothing to do in Moscow," Safin said.

"I offered him a few trips, a little bit of cash. And it worked."

Volkov, who has had the plum job since September, will not travel with Safin full-time this year to ensure there is no lovers' tiff.

"Otherwise we can get tired from each other and I don't want to have this kind of problem with the coach," Safin said.

"He's going to come definitely to the most important tournaments, the Masters Series and grand slams and a few others, and hopefully it will work because it worked for that few months of the season."

Roche has the enviable job of adding the cream to Federer's exquisite game.

It's not rocket science, either. There's deep respect between player and an old school approach, according to the world No.1.

"Just go through thousands of backhands and forehands and volleys, you know, do it over and over again and hardly take any breaks," Federer said yesterday.

What makes the repetition easier to stomach is the fact that like Roddick, Federer is working with someone he deeply admired as a player.

"A coach who is such a great player always helps and he's a nice guy off the court," Federer said.

"We get along really well."
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"What kind of shape am I in now? Well round is a shape." said Roddick with a laugh. "I had a very detailed retirement plan, and I feel like I've met every aspect of it: a lot of golf, a lot of carbs, a lot of fried food, and some booze, occasionally — I've been completely committed ... The results have shown."


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Old 01-10-2007, 11:05 AM   #19
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Default Re: The "Let's Stay out of the Tabloids kthanks" 2007 News Thread!



Thanks, Tangy.
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Old 01-11-2007, 04:33 PM   #20
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Default Re: The "Let's Stay out of the Tabloids kthanks" 2007 News Thread!

I'm really tired of people picking Andy's net play apart, as if he were trying to be elegrant like a more natural volleyer. The whole point of Andy's new aggressive net game is to finish off points quicker, not to play "pretty" and become the next Pat Rafter.

http://msn.foxsports.com/tennis/story/6354122
Quote:
Roddick to play a more aggressive style in '07
Matthew Cronin
tennisreporters.net
Jan 11, 2006


With the fire-breathing Jimmy Connors at his side, it will be impossible for Andy Roddick to be anything but confrontational this year.

Connors lived for mano-a-mano battles, and still does as Roddick's coach. He won't sit idly by and watch Roger Federer — who will soon eclipse Connors' consecutive weeks at No.1 record — continue to dominate his student.

Andy Roddick heads into next week's Australian Open having worked during the offseason to develop a more aggressive approach. He obviously is hoping to fare better in matches against Roger Federer. (Kristian Dowling / Getty Images)

"He wants to win," Connors said. "Everything else comes along with that. That was the first thing I asked him. I said, 'What are you looking for?' He says, 'I want to win.'"

Roddick may not have the same on-court repertoire Connors once did, but he does burn to be the best. He doesn't want to continue to be an afterthought in Federer's march through history. He wants to write his own chapter, which can only begin with a notable win over the great Swiss at a Grand Slam.

That's what great American players like Connors did — find a way to beat all comers, even if they were more talented.

Roddick held match points against Federer the last time the two played in the final of the 2006 Masters Cup in Shanghai. He reportedly busted a few rackets after the contest, frustrated with the lost opportunity. Now he's looking at the bright side.

"I gained a little bit of confidence in that matchup,'' said Roddick, who has a 1-12 career record against Federer. "For the first time in two or three years after those matches I felt like the gap was maybe going my way for once. So that's exciting. There's still a long way to go, but I'm a lot more optimistic about it than I was maybe the last couple years."

Roddick also pushed Federer for two sets in the 2006 U.S. Open final, before falling in four. Since hiring Connors after Wimbledon, the tough-talking Texan has played with far more confidence and direction.

His lethal serve is much more consistent, he isn't shying away from challengers with his brutish forehand and he is much more comfortable attacking the net. While he will never match the touch or instincts of a Pete Sampras; he's not longer shanking volleys.

Given that he's never been an outstanding defensive player and often plays too far behind the baseline, spending more time on the offensive isn't just beneficial; it's mandatory.

"I kind of adopted a new style on the fly" he said. "Now I've had an off-season to work on that, I think it can get better. (I) just kind of need to keep going along that same route. I'm trying not to play that much defense, so therefore I don't look bad by playing defense on every point. It is just trying to get forward a little bit more, putting myself in good positions on the court."

However, Roddick also has to play smart and, as he's found out on many occasions while rushing the net, if he doesn't hit a terrific approach shot and position himself properly, he'll be left standing with his mouth agape.

Roddick is a good talent (at the net), but he's not Patrick Rafter doing Spiderman routines while tracking down dipping passing shots.

"I feel good up there (playing at the net) right now," he said. "I guess that happens with repetition, forcing yourself to do it, whereas times before that I'd have good and bad days. I think it's just a little bit more consistent now.''

With Federer having won three Grand Slams last year and reaching the Roland Garros final, every other player will enter the Australian Open as a substantial underdog. Federer has only dropped one match in the past five months and is rarely pushed to five sets at the Grand Slams.

The other players are attempting to diversify in an attempt to catch up to him, but only Roddick came really close to beating him in the fall.

Who else could topple Federer?

World No. 2 Rafael Nadal danced on Federer's head during the first half of last year, but couldn't knock Federer of his perch at Wimbledon and then lost a rapid-fire contest to him in Shanghai. Nadal will enter the Australian Open with a sore right thigh and without a title since he repeated at the French Open last June. His confidence is wavering.

There are a host of other veterans who threatened Federer last year, including American James Blake, Croatian Ivan Ljubicic and Argentine David Nalbandian, but none managed to beat him.

Talented kids like Andy Murray, Novak Djokovic, Richard Gasquet and Tomas Berdych all bring positive qualities and a bevy of weapons, but none have shown enough guile or all-around skill yet to contend with Federer.

To date, neither has Roddick, but with the exception of Nadal, he's been closer than anyone.

That doesn't mean that Federer won't repeat his U.S. Open final performance and simply overwhelm Roddick with his talent, but it does mean that on a great serving day with some intelligent returning mixed in, Roddick will have more than just a big puncher's chance.

That's what Connors has been thinking al along and that's what he and Roddick are looking for in Melbourne.

"I've made it clear that I'd love to play him as many times as possible," Roddick said of a potential Down Under matchup. "Also that means that I'm deep in a tournament. That's a good thing. Personally I know I'm going to play a lot better than I did at the beginning of last year. There's one challenge. Obviously he's the bar right now. We're all trying to get there. "
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"What kind of shape am I in now? Well round is a shape." said Roddick with a laugh. "I had a very detailed retirement plan, and I feel like I've met every aspect of it: a lot of golf, a lot of carbs, a lot of fried food, and some booze, occasionally — I've been completely committed ... The results have shown."


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Old 01-11-2007, 04:55 PM   #21
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Default Re: The "Let's Stay out of the Tabloids kthanks" 2007 News Thread!

Thank you everyone!
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Old 01-20-2007, 02:05 PM   #22
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Default Re: The "Let's Stay out of the Tabloids kthanks" 2007 News Thread!

Here's Justin's blog that Fee mentioned

Andy's the man
Why Roddick is primed for a big year on the ATP Tour

In my past few columns, I've given a few updates on my rehabbing from back surgery and getting back on tour. But honestly, watching another of my fellow pros gear up for what will probably be a big year is almost as exciting as my eventual return to the court.

I believe Andy Roddick is going to have a huge 2007 -- starting with the Australian Open -- and I got to see the evidence first hand. About a month ago, I received a very timely and generous invite to practice with him at the Four Seasons Resort Hualalai in Kona, Hawaii. Not a bad place to prep for a major, right?

What I got to see there was pretty impressive. Along with fellow American phenom Sam Querrey, Roddick filled every day of his post-Christmas training regime with two tennis practices, a workout in the gym and tough uphill run back to his palatial digs on the resort's property.

On the court, Andy busted his butt to improve his transition game. His ability to bridge the gap between his penetrating ground strokes and the net is a part of his game that can and will improve. This will help him put more pressure on his opponents and is the best way for him to disrupt the rhythm of players like Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal.

Another thing that impressed me was Andy's desire and commitment to his fitness. He has always been a strong guy, but he was as fit and trim as I have ever seen him, which is of paramount importance with the soaring temperatures and brutal physical demands in Melbourne.

Andy seems inspired by his new coach, Jimmy Connors, and confident in the team he has around him. Roddick's older brother, John -- who assists in coaching duties -- and trainer, Doug Spreen, really understand Andy on and off the court. They also get that comfort level is an incredible asset when a player is confronted with the challenges and adversity of life on the tour.

Beyond that, there's nothing like a confidence booster to start your year. Roddick won his opening tournament of '07 last week at the Kooyong Classic, a warmup to the Aussie Open. It was only an exhibition, but Roddick beat his bugaboo of an opponent, the mighty Federer, in the final. A month ago at the Masters Cup, Roddick couldn't close out Federer and collapsed after taking a lead. The turnaround at the Kooyong will certainly give Andy confidence and the belief that he can do it again at the Australian Open.

Still, Roddick definitely seemed a bit on edge during his first-round victory over Jo-Wilfred Tsonga on Monday, but first-round matches are always tricky in the sense that every court plays differently and it takes a match or two to feel comfortable and settled in a big tournament. Andy rebounded nicely on Wednesday against Marc Gicquel, and a terrific matchup with '05 champ Marat Safin is up next.

I fully expect Roddick to find his rhythm and contend for this title. If he turns in a big showing, the sky's the limit for '07.

Outspoken ATP tennis pro Justin Gimelstob is a frequent contributor to SI.com. He is currently recovering from back surgery after his 11th year on tour.


Posing with Justin Gimelstob, Andy Roddick takes a break from his grueling practice sessions in Hawaii just after Christmas.
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Old 01-20-2007, 04:06 PM   #23
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Default Re: The "Let's Stay out of the Tabloids kthanks" 2007 News Thread!

Wow, that is such a nice read.

'...filled every day of his post-Christmas training regime with two tennis practices, a workout in the gym and tough uphill run back to his palatial digs on the resort's property.'

So that's like, more than he's done in his past 4 off-seasons put together, right?!
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Old 01-27-2007, 04:54 AM   #24
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Default Re: The "Let's Stay out of the Tabloids kthanks" 2007 News Thread!

SAP OPEN MEDIA CONFERENCE
January 26, 2007
James Blake

Q. Do you feel much pressure as the top-ranked American in the post Sampras, Agassi era?
JAMES BLAKE: Well, I don't know if I'll need to worry about that after Monday because I think Andy's going to pass me again.
I definitely felt honored to be a part of that list. The people you mentioned as the No. 1 Americans: Roddick, Sampras, Agassi, Courier, it's a pretty impressive list. To be a part of that is an honor.
While I was the No. 1 American, especially finishing the year the No. 1 American, it did make me think and stop to reflect on if I thought that was ever possible, how hard I've worked to get to that, how much I appreciate it.
The added pressure was something I knew was going to come with it. To be honest, I was helped out with that by people like Andy and Andre and Pete because they're always willing to give advice. Especially Andy to go through that at such a young age, deal with all the pressure. I was very impressed with how he did it. Having him around to talk to made my job a lot easier I think.
Proud of him for being the No. 1 American again, playing the kind of tennis he's playing right now. I think it's going to be, you know -- I think the two of us will hopefully stay up near the top of the game for a while. If we keep going back and forth, it will be hopefully fun for the American public, the viewers, the fans.
It's tough to have us holding up Grand Slam trophies all the time because of that guy Federer, but other than that, hopefully we're two of the more exciting players in the game that can compete with him.
.....................

Q. How would you characterize your rivalry with Andy? Do you think it's going to another level going back and forth as top-rated Americans?
JAMES BLAKE: It's funny, I hope it does. The fact that I won the last two definitely gives it a little more validity to have it called a rivalry, or the fact that I passed him in the rankings. You know, I've said it a few times, he's really the leader of our Davis Cup team. He's the No. 1. I got to be the No. 1 American with help from him, with the fact that he dealt with this pressure for so long on his own. We all felt like we needed to help him, kind of unburden him just a little bit.
I think the fact we're both up there, it is going to add some to the rivalry. We're going to kind of feed off each other a little bit in the fact that we don't -- there doesn't have to be any more one person that's bearing the brunt of all the pressure of the post Sampras, Agassi, Courier era.
That's why we get along so great. We're such good friends. We know we're doing this together. It's a lot of fun to have such a great guy and classy guy to go about my business with.
...............

Q. In 20/20 hindsight, maybe not such a great idea for Andy to pull on Superman's cape and win that XO just before?
JAMES BLAKE: I don't think that had that much to do with it. That exhibition tournament is great for the fans. It's something for the players. Great warmup, get totally used to the climate. It's right in Melbourne, right near the Rod Laver Arena.
It's a great tournament, but the players don't put a whole lot of stock in it, as much as the writing in the papers about Andy beat Roger or anything like that. It's more for the warmup. At least to me. I never played that event, but it seems like it's more just practice sets, practice matches.
If Andy had beaten him in a practice set three or four days before Australia, no one would have written about it. But it happened to be in one of those things where there are fans involved.
I don't think that was a big deal.
.......

Q. You and Andy seem different in a lot of ways. How would you describe your relationship?
JAMES BLAKE: We're probably different in a few ways, but we're great friends. He's the one that's a little more temperamental at times. I'm a little calmer. He really is a great guy. I'm happy for all the success he'd had. I'm proud of him.
I mean, he's a little younger than me, but in certain ways I look up to him in the fact that he was the No. 1 American for so long and really did it without the help of a lot of us. He was doing it alone. Dealing with all the pressure of the post Sampras and Agassi era. Dealing with all that kind of pressure on his own was very impressive.
He's actually come to Tampa to train with me a few times. I've been to Austin. Did an exhibition there in the off-season. We ended up hanging out with him for the whole night. We get dinners on the road together a lot of times. We're just really good friends. We play cards together. We do anything on the road. We hang out all the time.
Davis Cup, it makes it so much more fun to play Davis Cup because we get along so well. We're always kind of the same mind at Davis Cup. We know we're in it together to bring home a trophy hopefully one of these days. To have that feeling with a guy that I'm really friends with, I really do enjoy his company, would mean so much to me because we both really -- as much as we possibly can for any kind of tennis match live and die for those Davis Cup matches. Those are the ones that we're most proud of when we win, and those are the ones that sting the most when we lose.
We can see that in the locker room. When I come in the locker room after a loss, or he comes in the locker room after a loss, that's a time when that guy really needs to be picked up. I have done my best to pick him up every time he's lost in Davis Cup, and he has done his best to pick me up after I've lost in Davis Cup. That's something I think we'll both remember forever.

Q. What would you say makes him a great guy?
JAMES BLAKE: He's very generous. He's a genuinely nice guy as well. He cares about other people, not just himself, which is amazing given the success he had at such an early age. A lot of times that can lead to people sometimes feeling like the world revolves around them, that they deserve everything that's coming to them. But he really does appreciate when others care about him. He's loyal to friends he's had for a long time. He's loyal to Davis Cup. He's just overall a nice guy and also extremely generous. I can't count how many dinners he's bought me or times he's sent a gift out of the blue. Just generally a good guy.
I don't know. It's tough to describe what makes someone a good guy. He's just really nice.

Q. When you're playing Andy in poker, what is the best way to separate him from his chips?
JAMES BLAKE: Get him to get a pretty good hand. That's what is going to separate him from his chips. Sometimes he will overrate it just a bit. You got to wait for your hand, too. He's liable to make a play at a mediocre hand sometimes.
I haven't played with him in a little while. He says he's really been improving. He did well at his charity event. We'll have to see. Maybe next time he'll be taking my chips.
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Old 01-27-2007, 05:49 AM   #25
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Default Re: The "Let's Stay out of the Tabloids kthanks" 2007 News Thread!

Well that makes me like Blake a little bit more. Maybe it's because it was all about how amazing Andy is
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Old 01-27-2007, 05:52 AM   #26
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Default Re: The "Let's Stay out of the Tabloids kthanks" 2007 News Thread!

Well i edited out the parts not about Andy
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Old 01-27-2007, 06:30 AM   #27
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Default Re: The "Let's Stay out of the Tabloids kthanks" 2007 News Thread!

Oh man... the love between the American boys is so freaking cute!!!!!!!
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Old 01-27-2007, 06:45 AM   #28
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Default Re: The "Let's Stay out of the Tabloids kthanks" 2007 News Thread!

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Originally Posted by Deb!. View Post
Well i edited out the parts not about Andy
Maybe I'm a bit dellusional cuz I'm so tired, but I was wondering why they only asked him questions about Andy.
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Old 01-27-2007, 11:06 AM   #29
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Mary.
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Old 01-27-2007, 03:11 PM   #30
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Default Re: The "Let's Stay out of the Tabloids kthanks" 2007 News Thread!

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Oh man... the love between the American boys is so freaking cute!!!!!!!
It really is!
Guy Love
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