2014/09/21

Notes and Quotes – Players Talk About Roddick’s Retirement

Q.  Could you talk about Andy Roddick retiring now?  You’re kind of the veteran American player now.

JAMES BLAKE:  Yeah, I mean, I always tried to feel like I’m available for any young guys if they want advice.  I’ve probably been guilty of giving a little too much advice if they don’t want it.

I definitely want to help the guys.  I feel like I’ve done my best trying to give any sort of wisdom or knowledge that I gained on tour to guys like Isner, Querrey, Donald Young.

Andy and Mardy came up with me, so we did it together.  Same with Robby Ginepri, Taylor Dent.  Definitely like seeing the young guys do well.  It’s great to see Isner and Sam playing so well.  Donald has had a little rough match patch, but hopefully he’ll be back.  Now the young kids ‑‑ Jack Sock is doing well.  I don’t really know the Kalamazoo champ Novikov.  I’m practicing to win singles and doubles here.

I’ll do whatever.  If guys want to come practice with me, I’m happy to do that.  I’m always trying to make myself available, open up my home to them, open up my practice time to them.  If they want to see how I practice, anything they ask, I’m happy to help.

I don’t want to say I know it all or have any great secrets.  It’s not exactly rocket science out here.  You put in the work, you get a little confidence, you get rolling, you try to do things the right way, you try to be happy with the result, with what happens.  That’s what I try to tell young guys.

We’ll miss Andy a ton.  Andy has definitely been very open with guys.  He mentored Harrison, Donald, all the practice partners.  He’ll spend time with all the guys at Davis Cup.  He’s been great.  We’re definitely going to miss him.

 

Q.  What has Andy Roddick meant to you in terms of following in his footsteps as the next generation of American tennis?

SAM QUERREY:  He’s been my biggest role model the last 10 years playing tennis, watching tennis.  He’s been a great guy, a great leader to us all.  Nice and kind, really generous to the up‑and‑comers.

For me, for Harrison, for the 18‑year‑olds now, he’s just an unbelievable champion, a Hall of Famer, just a great guy, great person for the sport the last 12 years.

 

Q.  Do you have any comments on Andy Roddick’s announcement of retiring?

MILOS RAONIC:  I didn’t really expect it; it’s not like I didn’t expect it.  You didn’t know.  He’s done great things.  He did a lot for tennis in a part where it was struggling a little bit after Sampras and Agassi was getting a little bit older, was struggling a little bit.  He did a lot for it then.

Then he helped out the sport a lot.  He had a magnificent career.  A lot of feats that not many people had that I think a lot of people forget.  I think he was eight or ten years in the top 10, which is very impressive.  He’s done a lot of great things for himself and the sport.

It’s sad, but I’m sure he has a lot of exciting things to look forward to.

 

Q.  Can you speak to Andy Roddick’s retirement.

SERENA WILLIAMS:  Yeah, I mean, he told me a while ago, last year, that this would be it.  He told me again.  I was at his house in Austin at the end of the year.  You know, we were talking about it.

You know, I was just thinking, Change your mind, Andy, change your mind.  But I guess he didn’t, so…

Q.  Did you believe him when he told you?

SERENA WILLIAMS:  I did.  When you don’t want to go out there and do the work to get ready and preparation, it’s tough, you know, so…  Really sad.

Q.  You two have taken fairly parallel paths.  Talk about what it’s been like sharing that journey with Andy.

SERENA WILLIAMS:  It’s been great.  Ever since I’ve been on tour, it feels like Andy has been there, at least for the most part of it.

So many people retiring so far this year.  You know, Andy’s been great.  He’s been great for American men’s tennis, great for the US Open, doing so much, playing so well so often, just being such a great player.  A great attitude, incredibly fun to watch.  You know, I know a lot of people look up to Andy Roddick, That’s who I want to be like.

It’s very incredibly, incredibly, incredibly sad for me to lose a friend on tour that I look forward to seeing every Grand Slam and every shared tournament.  It’s going to be hard.

Q.  There’s been a lot of talk about the decline of American tennis ‑‑ especially on the men’s side.

SERENA WILLIAMS:  I was about to say…

Q.  Do you think people have taken what Andy has accomplished for granted?

SERENA WILLIAMS:  I don’t know.  I think Andy has accomplished a lot.  He’s been to the Wimbledon final I think it was three years in a row.  Almost won one.  Was so close.  Literally a point away.

But he’s done so much for American tennis, getting so many viewers.  I see players that play on the men’s tour, serve just like him.  Starting the whole trend of big serve, big serve, you think of Andy Roddick.

Q.  I heard you say after the match you’re not even thinking about retiring.

SERENA WILLIAMS:  No, no, no.

Q.  With regard to Andy and his decision, you’ve been a gracious guy in wins and losses, sympathetic to some of your opponents.  What is your feeling about his retiring?  Any shred of feeling bad of denying him a chance to win more majors?

ROGER FEDERER:  Look, you’re always going to have someone around, you know.  I had many guys also who denied me many things.  That was the last thing that came to my mind when he told me that he was going to retire.

He was happy to go into retirement.  He wants to finish this one strong.  There’s no rules on how you announce it, how you do it.  We’ve seen so many champions go out in different ways.

He chose to do it this way.  I’m so happy for him really.  He’s had an amazing career.  Some expected better; some expected worse.  But I’m sure he’s happy with what he achieved because he almost achieved everything he ever wanted.

Maybe to lose the Wimbledon title potentially, but let’s forget about that.  He was in those Wimbledon finals.  He could have gotten that title.  That’s what I said when I beat him in ’09.  He deserves this title, as well.  In my mind, he is a Wimbledon champion as well, a wonderful ambassador for the game.

I’m thankful for everything he’s done for the game, especially here for tennis in America.  It’s not been easy after Agassi and Sampras, Courier, Chang, Connors, McEnroe, you name it.  I probably forget a bunch of them because you had so many good players in the past.

It’s been hard for him as well at times.  I thought he always did the best he could.  That’s all you can ask from a guy like Andy.

Q.  Andy was asked about the comparison of you being 30, him being 30.

ROGER FEDERER:  31.  Don’t make me so young.

Q.  He said, I didn’t want to make it through the press conference without a direct comparison to Roger.  If you look at my contemporaries that started with me, Roger is the only one still going strong.  Pretty much he’s right.  I wonder what it’s like to be at this stage of your career where you’re seeing those players that you were competing against 10 years ago, and they’re dropping out of the game.  Here you are playing as well as you’ve ever played.

ROGER FEDERER:  I mean, it’s tough in some ways.  I already was pretty sad about the moment when sort of Sampras, Agassi, Moya, all the great Spanish players in the game, Henman, you name it, all of those guys that I used to watch on TV, left the game.  I was sad.  All of a sudden the guys from TV, they’re gone.

Now you’re only playing guys from your age.  It’s fun, but it’s not the same.  It’s never going to be the same from playing your heroes and idols.  But then I started to obviously start enjoying my generation.  That one was an extremely strong one.  There are still a ton around.  Maybe not all those Grand Slam champions.  Safin obviously retired.  Andy is on the way out.  Ferrer has had some tough times.  Lleyton the same.  Coria is not around any more.  Nalbandian is still around.  Now Ljubicic also retired.

Yeah, it’s getting tough again.  I think we just had a record in Paris at the French Open where over‑30 players made it into the main draw of the French Open.

It’s great in some ways, but all of a sudden, you know, the next couple of years now, they’re probably going to drop like flies.  It’s sad.  That’s how I felt when Andy told me.  I was a bit sad, obviously.  It means next year at the Australian Open, for instance, no Andy Roddick.  For me basically I’ve always gone there, he was there, he was preparing, practicing on center court.  I’ll miss those moments.

But it’s how it goes.  That’s why I have always had the fortune and luck to get excited about my generation, the previous ones, the past ones, the ones that are coming up now, being able to play for history books at times, having the chance to play on center courts.  All that keeps me going.

When a few guys drop out of the game, I don’t totally lose it.  I’m sad about it, but in a good way, because I know they’re happy.  That’s a good thing in a way.

 

 

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