FLUSHING MEADOWS, NY – On Thursday, his 30th birthday, Andy Roddick announced that heâ€™s retiring after the US Open.
On Friday night, the American delayed his retirement a little longer dominating Australian teenager Bernard and reaching the third round with a 6-3, 6-4, 6-0 win.
Roddick will try to prolong retirement by another match when he takes on 59th ranked Fabio Fognini of Italy.
“I look forward to it,” Roddick said of the match during an on-court interview with one of his former coaches, Brad Gilbert, “and I’m going to try to stick around a little longer.”
“Oh, man. That was so much fun. I really appreciate that,” Roddick told the crowd. “Thank you, guys.”
“I’ve been trying to be good all day. Had a rough patch there, about 15 minutes before the match. Made the mistake of walking by one of the TVs while they were doing slow, dramatic things. I assume it was set to an ’80s ballad. It got me a little bit.”
After the match concluded spectators yelled â€œOne more year!â€ to encourage Roddick. Heâ€™ll at least have one more match.
An Interview With: ANDY RODDICK
THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.
Q. So you ready to give your un retirement speech after that performance?
ANDY RODDICK: No. (Smiling.)
Q. You were in the proverbial zone.
ANDY RODDICK: I don’t know. I had no idea what was going to happen out there honestly, even before the match. You know, I’ve played a lot of matches. That was a different kind of nerves than I’ve had before.
That was surprising for me.
Q. Was it fun?
ANDY RODDICK: Yeah, it was great. It was great. You know, I took a look around and I didn’t even feel bad about it. It was a lot of fun.
Q. Did you feel like he had given up by the third set or was overwhelmed?
ANDY RODDICK: I don’t know. I wasn’t too concerned about what was going on over there. I liked what was happening on my side of the court, and I just kind of wanted to continue that.
I wasn’t too concerned.
Q. When you say you took a look around, what do you mean by that?
ANDY RODDICK: Literally I took a look around.
Q. Prematch, during?
ANDY RODDICK: During. I looked around. I had a good time. You know, when they’re doing the dancing and stuff on the switch overs I was just watching. That was fun.
Q. What did you see? Anything in particular?
ANDY RODDICK: Yeah, you know, the stadium, there were a lot of people that’s the smallest it felt to me. It almost felt cozy for once. It’s a big place for that.
Q. What do you mean? Why did it feel so small?
ANDY RODDICK: I don’t know. I don’t know. I don’t know why. It felt comfortable.
Q. When you say you let yourself look around, have you ever done that before? You’re known for your focus.
ANDY RODDICK: Yeah, I mean, I just don’t think it’s something that crosses your mind. When it’s what you do, it’s what you’re going to do the next week and a month from now, you kind of are so consumed by what’s going on in the next five minutes that you don’t really notice stuff.
There are no guarantees for me now, so I was trying to notice stuff.
Q. Were those shoes new for tonight or for this tournament?
ANDY RODDICK: No. I started wearing them at the beginning of summer.
Q. Was there any connection between knowing you’d announced your retirement and then going out and playing some of your best tennis?
ANDY RODDICK: I don’t know. Again, this process is new to me. I don’t have a lot of the answers. Who knows what will happen on Sunday again.
Felt weird before the match. Twenty minutes before it was kind of getting the best of me. I kind of had to like get my stuff together before I walked out there.
So by no means am I an expert on this. It’s still a little different. It worked. I played well. I don’t know why.
Q. Once the match got started did it feel normal?
ANDY RODDICK: Not for a little bit. It was still weird. I don’t know how to explain it. It was a little surreal.
Q. We’re six minutes in so we can do the Federer question. You once said that Roger had flash and artistry, but your advantage was that you could hit the crap out of the ball. Could you talk about that? Did it give you a certain amount of satisfaction that you maybe didn’t have the gifts of a few of the players, but you were right in there fighting and getting every ounce out of it?
ANDY RODDICK: Well, that’s what I had to do. I think as an athlete, for me, you know, a lot of times it was as clear to me as it is to you guys when you watch sometimes. You know, I knew staying back and playing cute shots and stuff against Roger probably wasn’t going to work.
You try different things knowing that you have to execute perfectly, so sometimes you look stupid if you miss a couple. We can all see it, but the hard part is executing, otherwise everyone would do it.
You know, obviously my record against Roger’s not good, but I did take a certain amount of pride in hearing about how good this guy is and how good that guy is, this guy looks so nice and he’s got the sweetest one handed shot or two handed shot, and I would look and I pretty much sucked at everything.
But then I looked at the rankings and I was 15 spots ahead of him, so I always liked that part of it. (Smiling.)
Q. Coming off the court tonight you’re not thinking, Wow, maybe if I play this way every match through this year and next year, get the ranking back up? This is a one off crazy miracle that happened tonight?
ANDY RODDICK: It’s a match. I played well. I’m happy that I played well.
Q. Late in the match you won a dropshot volley and you kind of had a smile on your face as you turned around. It was late in the third set. I don’t know if you remember it, but was there that moment, something you were thinking about, enjoying the experience?
ANDY RODDICK: I just realized it was probably a shot I never hit before. I kind of went after it a little bit. It kind of had a little of the fun stuff that you see the other guys do. I was excited about that.
Q. If I’m not mistaken, you’ve played a lot of matches, but something happened here for the first time tonight.
ANDY RODDICK: Yeah. I looked down. The women use a different ball than we do, and I did what I normally do. You get three or four balls and look for the one that looks the lightest to serve with or at least I do.
Ours have a black logo; theirs have a red logo. We had a red logo ball in our mix somehow. I have no idea where it would have come from.
Q. Did you serve it?
ANDY RODDICK: I thought about it. I thought about it. I think it was used in a women’s match. It was a little beat up.
Q. You’ll never play Tomic again. Do you have any advice for him on how to take his game to the next level?
ANDY RODDICK: He’ll be fine. I can relate a little bit. I’ve been in Australia before during the Aussie Open. He just kind of has to keep a little bit of perspective on it. He’s going to be great one day and not so good the next day.
If I had one piece of advice, I would tell him it’s probably never as good as it seems at a given moment, and it’s probably never as bad as it seems at a given moment as well.
Q. It’s been a climactic 24 hours for you. How do you refill your tank and do it all again?
ANDY RODDICK: I don’t know. I’ve never done it before. I told you that. I don’t know. We’ll see.
I’m going to go have some dinner and do what I normally do. Come out tomorrow and get a little bit of practice and try to fight another day.
Q. When you were feeling emotional before, was that in the locker room?
ANDY RODDICK: I was in the locker room.
Q. Just alone?
ANDY RODDICK: No. I mean, you’re never alone in the locker room really. I don’t know. I’ve been pretty good about everything. You know, kind of the moment hit me a little bit. You start realizing the finality of the situation.
Yeah, you think different things today. I walk out for warmup, and is this going to be the last warmup? Kind of everything. It kind of works along those lines. It got to me a little bit. Larry had to come over and kind of tell me to knock it off.
Q. Fognini said to us he wants to play you. He said a few days ago you told him, If I win, at the end of the year I could be in the top 30 and get the bonus. This is what he told us.
ANDY RODDICK: There’s no bonus for top 30.
Q. That’s why I didn’t understand. That’s why I was trying to understand. Maybe he misunderstood.
ANDY RODDICK: I think he asked me what I was. I said I was probably not going to finish in the top 30. Little did he know it was because I’m probably not going to play anything again.
Q. When you were a junior, or even younger than that, you were the best of all players around. I’m assuming you were better than everybody else. When was the moment you knew, I’m going to have to start working and adding pieces here?
ANDY RODDICK: No, I wasn’t certainly the best junior. I went from losing first round here in 1999, being 40 in the world in juniors, and then two years later I was 14 in the world in pros. When I was 16, I think I was 45 or 50 in the country. So that certainly wasn’t the case.
I think I’ve always been a worker. It was kind of like the way my dad worked, the way he did things. I’d come up and win my first challenger. Guys were like, You’re going to be in the top 100 in no time. I don’t know. We’ll see.
I don’t know that I ever put myself in positions before I actually got there.
Q. You were one of the first to send out a tweet after Kim’s last match. What are your feelings about her retirement?
ANDY RODDICK: It’s bittersweet, you know. It was weird. I was watching her. I kind of felt the way I did during my first round, and the next day I spent watching her match.
You know, she’s one of the most likable players that’s ever been out here. You could definitely find some people who have had issues with me; I dare you to find someone that’s had an issue with her. She’s a great human. I hope she’s happy wherever she’s at.
Q. Can you put in words what it feels like to be embraced by a big crowd like that?
ANDY RODDICK: I don’t know. You know, it’s a humbling experience, for sure. You know, it’s certainly nice to feel appreciated at the end of all of it. It’s a humbling feeling. I mean, you know, you have twenty four and a half thousand people there to see something. It’s a good feeling.
Kind of an outpouring of support from inside the tennis world and outside the tennis world in the last 24 hours is certainly not something that I expected to the lengths it’s come from.
I mean, obviously it feels great, though.
Q. Can you talk about this process. Tennis has its cycles. Every year you do half a billion press conferences. What is it like to go from the French press conferences with their existential questions, the British with the tabs, and all that? Can you talk about how tough it is to come out after a loss.
ANDY RODDICK: I’ve always felt okay with it. You know, I think even in my worst moments, you know, I come in here knowing it’s a vital part of our game, in growing it. I certainly am not always in the mood for it after a bad loss, but I don’t think I’ve ever been the guy who hasn’t come in.
I certainly get the process. I realize how vital this part is. It’s a reason why I’ve been as fortunate as I have, too. I certainly get all factors.
As much as I’ve been pissed off at you or you guys have been pissed off at me, I’ll certainly look back fondly and smile about it at the end.
Q. Lleyton was out on Court 11 for four and a half hours still trying to play as long as he can. Maybe a take on how much you admire his result.
ANDY RODDICK: Oh, man, he’s probably the best competitor I played against. It’s weird. This year we’ve probably become friends. At first we probably didn’t like each other much, and then it came to the point where we respected each other.
Then it was slowly like we kind of each give a little ground and say, How you doing? I’m good. How are you? Okay.
Now we’ll text each other back and forth after matches and stuff. It’s funny, the cycle we were talking about earlier, how that’s come full circle. I come in today and he’s in the throes of a battle. Our lockers are right next to each other. He came in and he was really pumped up.
It would be hard for me to respect what he’s done in this game more than I do.
Q. How big a deal can momentum be here? You have what seems like a winnable match in the next one. Momentum, does that matter?
ANDY RODDICK: Well, I’m sure it does, but it’s not something that you can consciously force. You can sit and think about it as much as you want. You know it might be out there.
If you’re playing bad, momentum doesn’t really mean anything. It’s kind of like a snowball effect. You have to start pushing it down the hill for it to gain any momentum, so hopefully can I do that.
Q. You talk about enjoying the ritual, obviously enjoying Ashe. Are you going to miss having an audience in your life?
ANDY RODDICK: I don’t think so. I don’t think so. It’s been a while since I’ve had to do a pretournament press conference, and I don’t really miss it. I don’t need it. The public part of it I don’t think I’ll miss.
Like I said the other day, the innocent parts I’ll miss, the guys. I think that will be the part on quiet days I’ll probably miss a little bit.
Q. How hard you hit the serve tonight, you probably didn’t care about your shoulder?
ANDY RODDICK: I haven’t hit these numbers in two years, what I’ve gotten in the last two matches. Who knows why. We’ll see. It didn’t feel very good after my first round, so we’ll see how it pulls up tomorrow.
Come watch practice tomorrow. You’ll be equally unimpressed.
Q. They’ve asked you about all your matches, the ones you remember and so on. You had so many press conferences and mostly funny or interesting. Ivanisevic said you are number one, two, three, four, and five as the best press conference man. Do you remember one press conference of yours that you were more proud of how you answered?
ANDY RODDICK: Proud of my answers in a press conference?
Q. Yes. Personally I remember, Can you read a book in the dark?
ANDY RODDICK: Are you writing a story about yourself (smiling.)
Q. I did already.
ANDY RODDICK: What do you want me to say to make you look better in your story? You tell me. You’re searching for something. Maybe we can just cut the shit and you can tell me what you’re looking for.
Q. I think your best conferences are when your wife is around even when you lost because you like to be funny.
ANDY RODDICK: I don’t know about that.
I don’t really rate press conferences. It’s not like I leave the room and start fist pumping down the hallway if I had a good one. It’s not something I really think about really.
But make up whatever and I’m good with whatever. No problem. I have no consequences now.
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Karen Pestaina is covering the US Open for Tennis Panorama News