Andy Roddick Interview - French Open, May 25Posted on May 25, 2009
THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.
Q. Obviously you were playing another French player on a court that is notyour favorite. What were your sensationsout there today? How did it feel tostart?
ANDY RODDICK: I'm just glad I finally won a match outthere. You know, it was a weirdsituation, you know, with the whole ‑‑ I couldn't really find informationon him. It's a little weird, because younever really know ‑‑ from what I had gathered, he had enough fire power tomake you uncomfortable, but maybe he wasn't the most consistent guy ever.
I wanted to make himhit a lot of balls and see if he would maybe punch himself out of that a littlebit. He did that early, and it seemswhen I would get up in a set he would settle and play well after that,but ‑‑ no, I'm just glad to be through.
Q. You seemed to do quite a bit of damage with the kicker to his backhand. Do you think on clay sometimes that's evenmore effective than the heat? That courthas given you some pretty good grief. Any other rougher court in tennis for you?
ANDY RODDICK: Oh, certainly no rougher court as far as, youknow, my past record, as far as, you know, probably negative memories. But to your first question, I think youhave ‑‑ you definitely have to use a kick a little bit more as a tablesetter, because on clay it's probably the one surface where it's notmaybe ‑‑ you know, most courts, if I hit my spots with my good serves, Ifeel pretty good about where I'm standing in the point or I've already won it,and on clay maybe it's not the case.
Something Larry wantsme to do is show the kick a little bit more, and he thinks that will make mybigger serve a little bit more effective. Maybe it's just something else to look for. Today it was coming off. It was warm out today. So the kick was jumping around pretty good.
Q. Given your record here, and you make reference to finally winning, Imean, you might be forgiven for sort of not caring how you do at this GrandSlam compared to others, but was it important to you? Is it important to you to fair well here anddo better after the last couple years you've had recently?
ANDY RODDICK: I don't know if it's in my makeup to not careabout something. I don't know if I'veever not cared about a match in any tournament. Obviously I know there is more of a ceiling at this event for meprobably than any other event, you know,as far as what I'm going to have to do with my game and kind of the limits thatit puts on my style sometimes.
That being said, it isone of my goals, I'd like to make a second week here. I feel that's a feasible goal and somethingthat I'm surprised I haven't done to this point in my career.
You know, I'm certainly realistic about thistournament, but at the same time, I feel like if you take this tournament outof the equation, my record on clay has actually been better than a lot ofspecialists, you know. So I would liketo progress further at this event.
Q. Withthe time off, marriage and honeymoon, how would you characterize yourpreparation coming into this event versus other years?
ANDY RODDICK: I'm probably in better shape. You know, all those things said, I wastraining the whole time. The weddingtook one day, but the whole time I was training, you know. I trained the day afterwards.
You know, I feel likephysically I'm extremely prepared. Therecertainly was a fear of lack of matches going into Madrid. I didn't get a lot there, but I'm certainly prepared as far as from apractice standpoint and from a physical and mental standpoint. Now it's just a matter of, you know, tryingto progress my round further each time.
Q. Is that what it is with some of the U.S. guys? Is it really ‑‑ we know you're in greatshape. We know James is in greatshape. You're not going to wilt in thematch, but is it just psychologically, sort of being focused on every point fora five‑set match that...
ANDY RODDICK: I don't know if you can generalize why youdon't do well. I mean, you'd have tobreak down each point and the ball coming up here and what we're able to createoff that. All of these kind of theorieson what you're supposed to do better, you're never gonna build your game aroundthe worst part of your season. That justdoesn't make sense in anything.
You're not going totake your weakest job and focus on that. You're going to go after your best stories. That's kind of what we're going to do.
We're going to build around ‑‑ it'samazing, because you never hear the story of a clay court specialist, why don'tyou prepare and play better on grass? I've never once read that story in my life.
Q. TheSpanish have been criticized for a long time for not doing well on grass.
ANDY RODDICK: By who? But it wasn't a serious conversation. Well, it's almost like, you know...
So I haven't reallyunderstood it, but it's not for a lack of effort. It's not really psychological. I don't think we're psyching ourselvesout. I just think ‑‑ I can speakfor myself, you know, clay will turn me into ‑‑ makes my serve a littlebit more neutral. Puts me from a prettygood mover from my size to an average mover.
My backhand, the trajectory is a little bitflatter, those are all things that have to be dealt with on a point‑to‑pointbasis. You're trying to manage your waythrough that. That's realistic. But I feel like with my serve I'm able to gothrough matches ‑‑ I was looking, and I think my record for clay in mycareer is still very good.
I just have to, you know, as we werediscussing earlier, I think I just have to try and make an impact at thistournament sometime.
Q. Youhave long‑standing relationships with two French companies, Babolat and Lacoste. Obviously that's gone to another levelnow. You've joined Lagardére.
Doyou feel as if people recognize that? Doyou get comments from folks? Do youthink people here have any more affinity for you because you've associatedyourself with those companies?
ANDY RODDICK: I don't know. You know, I don't know. I thinkaffinity is built through success, and I certainly haven't had much here. I think it will take a lot more thanassociating yourself with French brands or endorsement deals.
I would love to do wellbecause of that here before, but Lacoste is very established here. They don't need me to establish themselves asa clothing brand here, more probably in the States and trying to move that way.
That's not really the grounds for what myrelationships have been built. But thatbeing said, I would love to do well here because of that. It's just another reason why.
Q. Itwas a dream for Romain Jouan to play against you here. Did you tell him something after the game?
ANDY RODDICK: You know what? I didn't feel like I needed to. Ithink the crowd was great to him today. They kind of did the wave for him at the end, and he kind ofapplauded. I think he had a real nicemoment there.
I don't really feellike I need to interject much there. Ithink, you know, I think the crowd was really great for him, and really, reallygood to him. And I feel like they kindof had knowledge of his story and how he kind of got there, and really gotbehind him today.
Q. Larry and his brother Steve are students or were students of the greattennis mind Tom Stow, who was Budge's coach. Has Larry shared much about Stowand his approach to the game and his ideas on technique?
ANDY RODDICK: Not a whole lot. I mean, I think ideas on technique is ‑‑technique is probably something built at a little bit younger age. I think we focus more on strategies inside ofa match.
Q. Is there a particular thing about playing on clay that he's brought toyour game that changes your approach at all?
ANDY RODDICK: Well, I think he's just been harping on, youput in the hours, you have been in better shape, you've won a lot more matcheson hard this year by being able to stay in points longer, so that can only helpon the clay. That does make sense to me.
He's more about pickingand choosing your spots. I don't have toplay just patient, you know, high ball tennis. I don't have to play just, you know, kind of going for it more aggressive. He's more focused on just being aware of whenis the right time to kind of go back and forth between the two, and I feel likebecause I'm in a little bit better shape this year that maybe it allows me theoption of going back and forth.
Q. Are you working with a different trainer or is it still...
ANDY RODDICK: It's Doug. I have a strength coach at home in Austin who I work with, and obviouslyDoug travels, and they kind of work together a little bit. He doesn't come on the road much.