A. RODDICK/J. Baker
7‑6, 6‑4, 7‑5
Q. Straights‑set match, but didn't seem very straightforward. Could you talk us through it.
ANDY RODDICK: Yeah, I mean, sometimes you have matches like that here. I feel like I played a match and a half ‑‑ or a set and a half yesterday and a set and a half today.
You just kind of chill out, and when they say, Go, you go. I'm not sure it's rocket science how to get through it. It's frustrating for everybody.
I thought he played really well. Came out and was aggressive. I'm happy to get through.
Q. Encouraged coming in here after the last tournament, which you won, all the problems you've had, are you really looking forward now?
ANDY RODDICK: Yeah, I mean, you know, desperate times call for desperate decisions. Certainly I think last week was a desperate decision but a necessary one.
It doesn't happen often in sports where you kind of make a call. You make a call with a perfect scenario in mind, and it rarely works out that way.
Last week it was kind of, Let's try to get some matches and we got a lot of matches. It went from not having won anything to riding out a title pretty convincingly.
It was what I needed. From the moment I got there I felt like I was hitting the ball really well; felt like I was playing the matches on my terms.
So, yeah, obviously you'd rather come in with a win than a losing streak.
Q. How bad would it be if his match doesn't finish today?
ANDY RODDICK: It's tough. Like I said, maybe my view on this whole thing is too simplistic. You just go play. They tell you to go play, you go play. You can't really stress about what's out of your control. I've done it a million times.
I think the last time I played a final here was the only time in five slam finals where hadn't had to play on Saturday before ‑ and then Friday before a couple times. You just do it. It's not always perfect, but you just try to get through.
Q. Does it change your physical performance?
ANDY RODDICK: If it does, it does. What are you going to do? If you play more your legs are more tired, but what's your option? You just got to go.
Q. Andy Murray was talking about how it was really hard for him to face the Olympics because he had gotten so close and didn't come through. He said he really respected you for coming back here after all you've been through and how close you've been. I wonder how you view it?
ANDY RODDICK: I'm a tennis player. Tennis players play Wimbledon. I enjoy it. Some of my best memories are from this tournament. You know, regardless of the fact that I didn't get it, haven't gotten it, it's a place I really enjoy.
I don't know that I'd do it in the same context. I think Olympics may be a one‑off event every four years and it's not the same place. You don't develop a relationship with the Olympics. You don't go to the venue and recognize people and know where you're going.
So I think it might be a little bit different.
Q. Jamie fought well and was aggressive. How impressed were you and how far do you think he can go?
ANDY RODDICK: We'll see. I think he likes the ball down. I think he likes the surface. The ball didn't seem to be getting through very well out there.
I thought he played really well. The first set and the third set definitely could have gone either way. I felt like I was hitting the ball fine. I served 75% and returned okay, too. He came out very aggressively, with an aggressive game plan, and executed. He played a good match.
Now, as far as what happens from here, it's tough for me to say.
Q. What is your take on the way American tennis is not as strong as it used to be?
ANDY RODDICK: Well, if we're comparing it to the days when we had seven guys in the top 10, I mean, unfortunately I think every country would come short in that comparison.
Q. No major winner since 2003, which is quite a few years.
ANDY RODDICK: Well, I can name the majority of other countries who are a lot worse than that. Can't place your accent yet, but...
We came on the heels of probably the best generation ever from a particular country. I've been dealing with that for the majority of my career.
But I'm not one to sit up here and try to play in the shadows of someone. I focus on my next match against Falla, and I'm going to try to win that one. Then we'll go on from there.
My job isn't to throw out numbers and stats, it's to try to get over the next obstacle, whatever that may be, on a given day.
Q. Barry MacKay has passed. Can you share a story you have?
ANDY RODDICK: Well, I remember Barry from ‑‑ you know, you remember when you're first coming up. There's about 90% of people who make you earn it a little bit, make it a little tough, as it's supposed to be. Little bit of hazing.
But Barry wasn't that guy. I remember the first couple years I played San Jose, he came up, and he's got that big, friendly voices. You could recognize it. You could be given a hundred voices and you could probably pick his out.
I just remember kind of the kindness. I was a wild card, 150 some odd in the world. He had been a tennis lifer. He had no need to seek me out or talk, but he always stopped. I don't know if he met my parents, but he knew their names, asked how they were.
So little things like that, you remember.
Q. Pretty cool that a tennis director was a former player? That was a plus in a certain way?
ANDY RODDICK: Yeah. I mean, I think that's the part that honestly I care less about. You know, I think I'll remember the personal interaction. You would be hard‑pressed to find someone who didn't like Barry.
Q. Mardy has had problems through a couple months. You've had your problems. Can you talk about your relationship, how you lean on each other.
ANDY RODDICK: My thing is a hamstring. It's less scary than a heart thing.
I was less concerned about tennis at that point. I just wanted him to kind of get it under control. I know he struggled not only when it acted up, but also not knowing when it would come again, trying to get it under control, and then you're dealing with the mental aspect of traveling.
It's been an ordeal. I know it's been really hard on him. It's unfortunate timing, too. He's on the heels of his best year last year; he's gotten his ranking up.
My hope for Mardy is he kind of gets back into it pretty quick, gets some matches under his belt, and is able to not only plays well here, but prepare himself for a long summer.
I'm just glad he appears to be okay now.
Q. You talked about many countries have not had Grand Slam winners in a while. How would you explain the dominant three players that have 28 of the last 29 Grand Slams?
ANDY RODDICK: Again, I could sit up here and reel off a bunch of positive adjectives. Those guys are just really good. They're consistent mentally.
I feel like it's almost a golden age in tennis with those three guys right now, I mean, with the way they're playing, the matches they've had. Every time they play, I see you guys writing Federer/Nadal 66, Djokovic/Nadal 28, and you have a full history. That's what they're doing. They're creating memories for tennis fans.
I think everyone wants to crack it, but it's going to take an extremely high level.
Q. You passed the 600 win mark. You've often talked about stats. Just wondered what you feel about that and do you feel like after Queen's this is sort of a second season for you?
ANDY RODDICK: Well, I mean, anytime you approach kind of milestones in tennis, 17 or 18 guys have done it, you know, it shows you're pretty good for a while ‑ you know, not a cup of coffee.
That meant a lot to me. I was excited to get to that number. The names on that list are certainly kind of ‑‑ it's a long lineage of really great players. To even be associated on a small level is nice.
Yeah, I think the spring was tough. I was battling as best I could. It was ugly most times. It's a choice I made to play. You know, it was better than sitting at home, I guess.
The clay was a struggle the whole time. How average I am on that surface right now is really obvious, so that was frustrating.
But obviously I get on a surface that I'm comfortable on. You hear guys say, Get matches, get matches. But it is that way. You don't want to practice. You want to get in to where you're in a match flow and you're in deuce on your serve and you're confident because you did it the day before.
I don't think that can be understated. Right now I'm a lot better in that scenario than I was when you're struggling a little bit.
Q. In talking about the top three players, you spoke about their mental toughness. Can you break that down a little bit.
ANDY RODDICK: Well, I don't know. I'm not inside of their heads. It's all what we see from the outside, so it's tough for me to kind of psychoanalyze how they go about it. They're three different personalities who go about it different ways and oftentimes get the same results. I'm not sure you can generalize how they go about it.
What I do know about them is they're very professional. You see them working. They know what they're good at. They can apply it at the bigger moments, their strength. That's what you want in sports.
Q. You talked about having relationships with tournaments, going to them each year. What small things do you enjoy when you come here?
ANDY RODDICK: Yeah, I mean, even Doug and Gary in the locker room, seeing those guys for the first time every year...
I think they've been here since the '20s. Maybe not quite that long. (Smiling.)
When you walk out to Court 1, there's this little dip. When you have grass court shoes on you trip on it every time, so I've tripped on it about 66 times throughout the years. That always reminds me that I'm back.
You know, going over to Aorangi, walking up to the practice... There's a million things. I could sit here and bore you for a while. This guy right here (referring to the moderator), I saw you this morning. There is a lot of things.
I think it probably is the most unique venue we have and the best showcase. Have if you wanted to show someone tennis, you would probably show them Wimbledon.
Q. Back to the top three again. Are you pleased you've played in this era with those three players, or would you have liked to have come at a different time and won a few more slams?
ANDY RODDICK: Obviously you want to win as much as you can. I'm pleased I have the opportunity to play tennis for a living. I'm not going to complain about anything that I've had. It's been a pleasure. I've gotten more out of tennis than I could ever give back.
The last thing you'll hear me do is complain about what era I was in.
Q. You alluded to the Olympic experience being a different experience. Can you describe what the Olympics mean to you.
ANDY RODDICK: Well, yeah, I mean, it's a certain thing. You can say you're a tennis player and that will resonate with some people. You can say you're an Olympian and that will resonate with everybody. It's a grander scope. It kind of takes over the world for a moment every four years.
You're playing for something different. Normally we deal in very selfish terms as a tennis player, especially as a singles player. Your team is trying to help you. It's about your serve, your matches, your draw, your everything.
It's a little bit different when you are playing for the U.S. and you're trying to win a medal for the U.S. I certainly take that responsibility seriously. It's something that I'm really looking forward to. I was there in '04, and I'm looking forward to doing it again.
It will be a little weird. I don't know what to expect when I see ‑‑ I'm sure we'll see McDonald's all over the place at this place which will be a little bit weird, not the green and everything else. Maybe they'll let you in still, but it will be a little different. (Laughing.)
Q. Are you at the point in your career where you can go on court, play your best, fight, come off without the W, and still be satisfied?
ANDY RODDICK: No. I don't think so, no. The whole reason you play is to try to win something. Winning is fun; losing sucks. I don't know that that will ever change. I don't think I've ever here to go through the motions.
I think I have maybe a little bit of a better perspective now. There are things that are probably more important to me at this point in my life on a personal level.
When you're 21 you don't know all that exists, but it doesn't mean you work any harder. It doesn't mean the losses sting less in the moment.
Q. At this moment in your career, which victory means more than ever for you?
ANDY RODDICK: I don't know. You could probably appreciate moments. Last week was really nice 'cause you don't know when they stop coming as opposed to, let's say, insert tournament name here in 2005 when you're 2 in the world and you know it will happen a lot.
You probably appreciate the little things. You have these little milestones, like 600 wins, which are not possible when you're young. Those things are nice.
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