2014/08/01

Meet Alex Kuznetsov and Shelby Rogers, USTA Pro Circuit French Open Wild Card Challenge Winners

Shelby_Rogers_Semis_9-29Kuznetsov

The USTA held a conference call with Alex Kuznetsov and Shelby Rogers, the Har-Tru USTA Pro Circuit Wild Card Challenge winners, who each earned a wild card into the 2013 French Open based on results over the past three weeks on the USTA Pro Circuit. Here is the official transcript of the call from the ASAPSports site:

UNITED STATES TENNIS ASSOCIATION MEDIA CONFERENCE

May 6, 2013

Alex Kuznetsov

Shelby Rogers

AMANDA KORBA:  Thanks for joining us on the call today with Alex Kuznetsov and Shelby Rogers, the men’s and women’s winners of the Har‑Tru U.S. Pro Circuit Wild Card Challenge, winning a wild card into the 2013 French Open later this month.
The USTA and the French Tennis Federation have a reciprocal agreement in which wild cards into the 2013 French Open and US Open are exchanged.  This is the second year the USTA has held the Wild Card Challenge using the U.S. Pro Circuit events to determine the recipients.
The winner of the Wild Card Challenge was determined by the player who accumulated the greatest number of ATP and WTA ranking points at two of three USTA Pro Circuit events.  Alex earned 115 points in the challenge, winning the title in Sarasota, reaching the quarters in Savannah and Tallahassee.  Shelby earned 88 points winning the Charlottesville title and reaching the quarterfinals in Dothan.  She clinched the wild card this weekend.
Both Alex and Shelby will be making their French Open main draw debuts.  Alex reached the finals of the French Open juniors in 2004, losing to Monfils in the final.  Shelby’s last appearance in a Grand Slam was in 2010 when she won a wild card into the US Open by winning the USTA Girls 18 National Championships.
We’ll open it up for questions.

Q.  Alex, could you think back to 2004 when you were a finalist in the boys tournament at Roland Garros, give us an idea at that point where you felt your career was and maybe were you thinking back then that relatively soon you’d be in the main draw there at the French Open and what it means to you now to earn that chance to play in the main draw there.
ALEX KUZNETSOV:  Obviously, yeah, back then it was a great time for me.  I was in the finals of the juniors.  I was playing some good tennis.  Going up against Gaël Monfils, I think he was ranked No.1 in the world at that time.  We were going to be playing on Court1.  I remember I was really excited.  Had my parents and grandparents over there with me, some coaches.
Yeah, obviously it was a great time for me.  But I knew it was a long road ahead of me.  I think I had a couple ATP points at the time.  I knew after that tournament I was going to be playing a lot of futures and challengers events.
But, honestly, to think I guess it’s been almost 10 years that this will be my first French Open main draw, I would have said I’d liked to have been in a couple before now, to be honest with you.

Q.  What does it mean to you to get that chance now?
ALEX KUZNETSOV:  It means a lot.  It means all the hard work that I’ve put in is paying off.  I continue to keep working hard.  I know this is kind of the first step of many, I hope.  I look forward to continue playing some good tennis.  I look forward to getting over to Nice next week to start playing some tournaments over there, hopefully get some matches under my belt there.  Hopefully I continue playing well leading up to Roland Garros.

Q.  Alex, obviously we saw last year someone who had some major injuries, not exactly the same situation with you, the car accident.  I’m wondering if Brian Baker offered any inspiration for you in the last few months?  Obviously he was also a French Open junior finalist a long time ago, came back and made a big impact last year.
ALEX KUZNETSOV:  Brian offered a lot of encouragement to me just to see kind of what he’s been through throughout his whole career.  I had that one major injury with the car accident, but he’s a guy who has had numerous major issues with his knees and his hip and his elbow.  This is a guy that pretty much stopped playing professional tennis, became a coach in college tennis.
To see him come back the way he did, get to the final of Nice last year, go to the French Open and win a round, then play Simon tight in five sets, that gave me a lot of inspiration to see Brian do that.
I’m good friends with Brian.  He’s come down to Saddlebrook to train in the off‑season.  To see how hard he works, how much he loves the game, it’s a great thing.  I wish him more success and I hope he recovers quickly, hopefully we can do some good things on the ATP Tour together.

Q.  At 26, do you feel like there’s still a lot of road ahead of you as a professional tennis player?
ALEX KUZNETSOV:  Definitely, definitely.  I feel, honestly, that I’m playing some of the best tennis of my life.  I feel strong.  I feel fit.  I’m really looking forward to the future.  I feel like I’m on the right path right now.  I feel I’m really focused on what I need to do.  I’m looking forward to continuing to work hard.  Hopefully I can continue some good success.

Q.  What is your coaching situation right now?  You said you’re training aft Saddlebrook primarily?
ALEX KUZNETSOV:  Primarily at Saddlebrook.  I work with a guy named René Moller.  He played on the tour.  He’s from NewZealand.  He also played at the University of Auburn.  Also I’m working with Craig O’Shannessy.  He’s been helping me out these last couple months not necessarily at tournaments but over the phone.  We’ve done some video.  He’s actually going to be in Paris with me this year.

Q.  Alex, looking back at your results this year, there wasn’t too much of a sign that the big breakthrough was going to come through for the three tournaments, particular in Sarasota.  How were you able to turn it around and what was your mindset going into this whole playoff system?
ALEX KUZNETSOV:  My mindset, I wasn’t thinking about the wild card at all, to be honest with you.  I got the email from the USTA saying they were going to be doing this playoff for it with these three tournaments.  I didn’t think much of it.  I think I lost five or six matches first rounds coming into Sarasota.  I didn’t make the main draw.  I had to play qualifying.
To be honest with you, I was looking to go to Sarasota, get some confidence back.  With every match, I gained a little bit more, started playing some really good tennis midweek.  That continued even through the three weeks.  Even in Savannah, I lost to a good clay player in Hidalgo.  I was unfortunate to have a shoulder injury in Tallahassee.  I beat some good players along the way and am feeling really confident with my game right now.

Q.  Was there any particular win that you had maybe in Sarasota that you think really kind of spurred you on towards this run?
ALEX KUZNETSOV:  You know, I played a lot of good players there.  I think with every match I just gained a little more confidence.  I beat Ben Becker, who is a top 100 player.  He’s been there for a while.  I beat a good friend of mine playing some good tennis this year, Tim Smyczek, in a tight three‑setter.  Then I beat Stevie Johnson, also a really good player who has been playing some good tennis this past year.
With every match, I just got more and more confident.  I think the final really showed how well I think I’m capable of playing.  I feel I still need to work really hard to attain that level with every match.
To beat Wayne Odesnik 6‑0, 6‑2, was something I definitely didn’t expect.  I was really happy with the result.  I’m really looking forward, as I’ve been saying, to the future and continuing to work hard.

Q.  You said you went into it without thinking about the wild card.  At what point did you realize that it was within your grasp?
ALEX KUZNETSOV:  Honestly, even after I won Sarasota, I didn’t think I was going to have the wild card.  I still knew that Wayne, he’s a great clay court player, all he really needed to do was win Savannah or Tallahassee.  I think he was capable of doing that.  Also with the fields that we had in those tournaments, there’s a number of guys that could have won two weeks back‑to‑back.
Even after Sarasota, I wasn’t thinking much about it, to be honest with you.

Q.  Shelby, can you talk a little bit about your run through the three tournaments, how you were able to get things together and pull this off.
SHELBY ROGERS:  Yeah.  Going into Dothan, I was in a similar situation at Alex.  I lost six matches this year.  I hadn’t won a round since November of last year or something.  I was just trying to get some confidence back, get some matches, get some clay court tennis in.
I thankfully carried the moment over into Charlottesville.  I was playing solid tennis, I was confident with what I was doing.  Unfortunately I had to play one of my friends I think every round at that tournament, so that was a little bit tough, playing the Americans.
But, yeah, all the cards fell in my favor that week.  I came out with the title.
Then going into Indian Harbour, I lost second round there, but it was a tough situation at the end because I was just kind of waiting for people to lose because I was at the top of the points.  I was just hoping somebody wouldn’t take the title that week and pass me.
At the same time I wanted my friends to do well there.  So hopefully I’m never in that situation again.  But I got the wild card in the end and I’m really happy about it.

Q.  Historically how comfortable are you on clay?  Have you played on European red clay before?
SHELBY ROGERS:  I grew up on the green clay in the States.  I grew up in Charleston.  I was pretty much taught on the green clay.
I’ve only played two tournaments on red clay before.  I played one ITF junior event there which I won the singles and doubles, so that was a pretty special week in Costa Rica.  I played in Acapulco earlier this year and lost first‑round quallies there.
I feel pretty comfortable on the clay.  I’m confident in my game and my movement right now.  I’m just hoping for the best.  I’m ready for a good experience in France.

Q.  Have you been to Paris before?
SHELBY ROGERS:  No, I haven’t.  This will be my first time.

Q.  What’s the first thing you’re going to want to do?
SHELBY ROGERS:  I think I have to go to the Eiffel Tower, right?  A couple other sites, I guess.  Maybe see the city a little bit.  Hopefully stay on the red clay as long as I can.

Q.  Shelby, what do you contribute all the success you’ve had in the last three weeks or so?  Has there been a change in your game, coaching, anything like that other than just hard work?
SHELBY ROGERS:  No.  I honestly haven’t changed a thing.  I had a rough start to the year.  I had a lot of tough matches against good players.  I felt like I was right there in each one of them.
I guess just sticking with it, keep believing in yourself, not giving up is the hardest part.  When you’re in a slump, you can get a little frustrated, want to not work as hard, stop what you’ve been doing to get you where you’re at.
I just kept believing in the process and I knew it was going to come, but maybe not so soon, maybe not for a French Open wild card.  But you have to keep working hard every day and something good’s bound to happen.

Q.  Are you currently working with someone in particular with the USTA?
SHELBY ROGERS:  My main coach is Sylvan Guichard.  He’s a French guy that works here in Boca with the USTA.

Q.  One of the USTA coaches will be with you in Paris?
SHELBY ROGERS:  Unfortunately, Sylvan will not be able to go this year.  But I think two or three of the other USTA coaches will be over there.  They do a great job with the whole player development.  Everybody knows all the players’ games.  They can all help me out.  All the coaches are great so I’ll be in good hands.

Q.  You’ve done well in singles, but you’ve done almost as well in doubles.  What do you contribute that to and what do you think about doubles?
SHELBY ROGERS:  I think doubles is really fun.  Singles obviously is a little more important to me.  But when I go on court for doubles.  I have good partners, we have a lot of fun on court.  It’s a little more relaxed than singles.  It’s just a good time.  You get to work on your serve, you get to come in more, a little more variety in doubles.  It’s a little bit different game, but I love it.  It’s a good time.

Q.  What about your switch to training with the USTA from training at Family Circle in Charleston?  Was that a big boost for you?
SHELBY ROGERS:  I guess it’s been a couple years now since I made that decision.  It was probably one of the hardest decisions of my life, leaving my family and everyone at home, the coach I’d been with since I was seven.
But there just weren’t any players to train with in Charleston.  I had a good setup with coaching and fitness and stuff like that.  But moving to Boca, you have world‑class players every day to practice against, a nice gym, fitness trainers.  Everything is right at your fingertips.
I think it was a good move and something that I needed to do.  It definitely helped my game.  The results show that, I think.

Q.  When are you leaving for Paris?
SHELBY ROGERS:  I’m leaving Wednesday.  I’m playing a tournament before and then I’ll head over to Paris the following week.

Q.  Shelby, looking at your results the last couple years, you’re playing a lot of challengers, having some good results, cracked top 200.  I’m sure you see a lot of WTA main draw.  Do you feel in the next year or two you can get yourself to the point where you’ll be playing regular WTA events?
SHELBY ROGERS:  Absolutely, yeah, that’s definitely a goal of mine.  Going into this year, I want to be top 100 by the end of the year.  I think as a player, getting to the WTA is pretty important because you get more points in those tournaments, you can keep your ranking up a little bit easier.
Yeah, I mean, hopefully that happens as soon as possible.  But just got to take it one match at a time, one tournament at a time, hope for the best.

Q.  Game‑wise what do you feel you need to do to get to that level?
SHELBY ROGERS:  I think a big thing for me recently has been patience, not trying to do too much with my game.  I tend to pull the trigger a little bit too much.  Patience and strategy, just grinding away every point.

Q.  Alex, can you talk a little bit about what it will take for you to get the top 100 and then maybe top 50 or so?
ALEX KUZNETSOV:  I think, first off, I need to stay healthy.  That’s number one.  But then after that, kind of like what Shelby said, being consistent, playing at a consistent level week in, week out.  Obviously, nowadays with the men’s game, fitness is a big part of it.  I need to get stronger.
For me I think mentally, like I said, I just need to stay in it mentally week in, week out.  The year, it’s a long one.  I think in previous years I’ve had a few good results, then after that I’ve kind of gone away for a month or two before I had another one.  I think the main thing for me is staying in it mentally week in and week out.

Q.  Alex, I know you spend a lot of time at Saddlebrook, traveling around.  Do you get much chance to go home to Pennsylvania?
ALEX KUZNETSOV:  Yeah, I try to get up there as much as I can.  My parents and grandparents are still up there.  My best friends are up there.  I try to get up there at least once every couple months, even though it’s hard.

Q.  When you were growing up, learning how to play, who were your influences in Pennsylvania?
ALEX KUZNETSOV:  Mainly it was my dad.  My dad was kind of my main influence.  Also I worked with a guy by the name of Jason Katzer (phonetic).  He played at Ohio State.  He grew up in the area and was kind of my first tennis coach.

Q.  Could I have your thoughts on this particular process of deciding a wild card.
SHELBY ROGERS:  Yeah, I think it’s a great way of picking a wild card recipient.  It shows a little bit more the player that can be consistent with results instead of just having one good weekend or one good week.  You really have to prove yourself over three weeks, which I think is a great process.
You have to be mentally tough.  You have to bring your game throughout the whole three weeks.  I mean, it’s the same players, but you just have to win the most matches.  Ultimately, yeah, I think it’s a better way.  I’m for it.  I like it.
ALEX KUZNETSOV:  Obviously I’m for it as well because I didn’t get to play for the one in Australia.  I think they chose the players they wanted in that one.  I think this is an opportunity for the player who is playing the best tennis at the time.  You’re also competing against players from different countries, so you’re not only competing against Americans.  Obviously there’s players from South America and from Europe who grew up playing on clay, so they have a lot of experience.  You deserve the wild card if you’re able to do that.

Q.  Shelby, you beat Nicole Gibbs at the 18‑and‑under championships to get your wild card into the US Open in 2010.  You didn’t go to college.  Can you talk about that decision and what the last two or three years have been like for you grinding it out on the Pro Tour.
SHELBY ROGERS:  Yeah, I had a couple good pro tournaments and decided to officially turn pro and not go to college right out of high school.
I did the whole college visit.  I went on my official visits, went to a couple schools.  I actually probably would have gone to Clemson maybe.  I was pretty set on that.
But I really had to give myself a chance on the tour.  It’s been a dream of mine since I was a little girl.  I can always go back to school, get my degree, take classes, but I can’t always play on tour.
We have a pretty short window of time, I’d say.  And I had to give myself a chance.  I think I would have regretted it a lot if I didn’t, especially seeing some of my friends going out and trying it, as well.
I think I would have always been wanting to play for (indiscernible) in college.  I’m happy with my decision every single day.  I don’t regret a thing.

Q.  Shelby, who do you get to train with and see on a regular basis down in Boca?
SHELBY ROGERS:  We have Madison Keys, Grace Min, Jamie Hampton, Taylor Townsend, Kim Crawford, Sachia Vickery.  I hope I don’t leave anyone out.  That would be bad.

Q.  Do you train alongside them or play against them in practice matches frequently?
SHELBY ROGERS:  Yeah, we’re always rotating.  We’re drilling together.  Playing matches together.  Fitness, as well.  It depends on who is in town.  We’re always traveling, playing tournaments.  Wherever we’re here, we help each other out.  All of us girls get along pretty good.  It’s a good environment, a good peer group for all of us to improve.

Q.  You said you’ve been at Boca for two years now.
SHELBY ROGERS:  Yes.

Q.  Have you noticed in the last couple of years whether or not the tenor or intensity has changed?  A lot of recent success coming from players down there.
SHELBY ROGERS:  Yeah.  I mean, I think, you know, we’re constantly getting better as a team.  The USTA is making a lot of improvements down here.  Everybody’s working really hard.  We give 100% every day.  All the girls are putting themselves out there.
Like I said, we help each other every single day we’re here training.  We encourage each other, push each other, because we want to be the best we can be.
I think it’s really neat that we have a lot more girls training down here now.  Before there were just a few.  We were spread out all over the U.S.  It’s nice to be able to train with them and play matches because, like I said, in Charleston, I had nobody to hit with.  I had good coaches, resources, but nobody to play against.  So it’s really important to have a good group around you and people to play with.

Q.  I wanted to ask you about Har‑Tru, the surface.  As a player, would you be interested in more American tournaments on Har‑Tru?
SHELBY ROGERS:  Like I said, I grew up on the green clay, so I’m pretty comfortable with it.  I guess if I grew up on the West Coast, I’d be more of a hard court player.
I don’t know.  I mean, the women have one tournament on green clay in Charleston, which is where I’m from, so that’s nice to have that in my hometown.
I’d be all for having more tournaments on the Har‑Tru.  I think it’s a great surface.  Brings out different parts of your game.
I guess we have an advantage being on the East Coast.  I don’t know.  Everybody can travel around the country and have an equal opportunity to play on it.
ALEX KUZNETSOV:  I would be for it, but I also think being that our main Grand Slam is on hard court, there also needs to be obviously an equal amount of hard court tournaments.
Like Shelby, I also grew up playing on clay on the East Coast.  I played at a club in Mount Laurel, New Jersey, which had indoor red clay.  I hit on it a lot.
I don’t mind playing on clay, obviously.  I think it’s a good surface to start younger kids on.  I think they develop better on a clay court than they would a hard court.
But, yeah, I’d also be for it if they had a few more events.  But I’d like for them to keep some hard court tournaments, as well.
AMANDA KORBA:  Thanks today to Alex and Shelby for taking the time to talk with everybody.  Thanks for everybody on the call.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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In His Own Words – Novak Djokovic’s Final 2013 Australian Open News Conference

DjokovicChina

Novak Djokovic 27-01-13

Sunday, 27 January, 2013

Q.  Last year you were in here about 4:00 in the morning.  This is a good time to finish, I guess.
NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  Relatively early (smiling).

 

Q.  How hard was that match for you tonight?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  It’s hard.  I mean, when you play one of your biggest rivals and somebody that is in the top form in finals of a Grand Slam, there is a lot to play for.
I think it went 2 hours, 20 minutes, the first two sets.  I think that says enough about the intensity of the match.
I kind of expected that.  I knew that it’s going to be physically very demanding, a lot of long rallies, so I needed to hang in there.  I’ve done that.  There was a few turning points in the match.  Maybe one of them was the second game in the second set when I was Love 40 against the breeze.  He missed a few shots.  I managed have that crucial hold.
After that I felt just mentally a little bit lighter and more confident on the court than I’ve done in the first hour or so.

 

Q.  Anything noticeably different you did from the US Open final to here?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  All our matches in last three years have been decided in a very few points, so it’s really hard to say if I’ve done anything different.
Yeah, I tried to be more aggressive.  So I went for my shots, especially in the third and fourth; came to the net quite often.  I was quite successful in that percentage, so it worked well for me.
I needed to be the one who dictates the play, and I’m really glad that I’ve played my best.

 

Q.  How does this compare with the others you’ve won, the feeling?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  Every tournament, especially the major tournaments, is very special.  So every win, of course also adding to that the history part, you know, winning it three in a row, it’s incredible.  It’s very thrilling.  I’m full of joy right now.
It’s going to give me a lot of confidence for the rest of the season, that’s for sure.

 

Q.  You and Andy are two of the best returners in the game, but it took over 30 games in this match before anybody broke.  Why do you think that was tonight?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  Well, we both served well, I think.  We were holding our service games quite comfortably.
I was serving better against him today in the first two sets than I’ve done in any of the match in the last two years.  But I knew that he’s incredible returner and has that ability to make you play always an extra shot.
To be able to get a lot of free points on the serve was definitely a positive.

 

Q.  Andre Agassi always played very well in this tournament.  You got the trophy from him tonight.  Is there something similar in your attitudes, styles, that means you tend to start the season in such terrific form?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  Maybe the style of clothing that we had.  He had many colors and I love colors, so on that regard maybe there is some similarities.
But, no, also he’s I think one of the players that changed the game   not just the game itself, but also the way the people see it.  He’s a legend of the sport, of course.  He had so much success.  He won everything:  Gold medal, Olympic Games, Grand Slam, everything.
Also he made a huge impact on the sport by changing the style.  He was I think one of the first baseline groundstroke players on the tour.  Most of the players before him were playing serve and volley.  That’s where the game started to change a bit and you could have more players winning the events from the baseline.
So it was obviously a big pleasure and honor for me to receive the trophy from him.

 

Q.  Another major and another semifinal with three of the top four and two of the top four winning.  Do you think the gap is closing at all or is the gap growing with the rest of the field?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  I think that’s a question that can be always asked.  I don’t find a really great answer for that.  As I was saying before, it is logical in a way to expect the top four players to be the main contenders to win the trophy.
But I never want to underestimate the rest of the field, the rest of the players, especially the ones in the top 10, the top 15.  I was a few points away from losing the match against Wawrinka in the fourth round here.  That says enough about the competitiveness of the sport and the quality that other players bring.  And he’s around 15 in the world.
So it is possible.  It is possible for them to make a breakthrough, to win against the top guys in major events.  Tsonga, Del Potro, Ferrer, these guys have done it in the past.  Berdych.  It’s always a possibility.
But I guess the top four are the most dominant ones in last five years.

 

Q.  What are your goals for the rest of the season?  Is the French Open a priority for you now?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  Priority for me now is to enjoy this victory.  In life, you know, you don’t get many of the opportunities to win Grand Slams.  As a tennis player, that’s a pinnacle of the ambitions and of the success.
So I try to enjoy it for few days with the people I love the most, family, friends, and team.
And then after I turn to the rest of the season.  It’s Davis Cup already coming up, indoors, clay courts, next weekend, so that’s going to be a lot of fun (smiling).
And then after that, obviously    there is still four or five months till the French Open.  Of course, I want to go all the way in French Open.  I went to the finals last year and had a great match against Rafa, but he’s always the favorite on that surface and he’s the ultimate player to beat on clay.
But I think if I continue on playing well, stay healthy, I can have a chance.

 

Q.  You had tough losses to Rafa and Roger and Andy in the last three Grand Slams coming in here.  Going into today, any special motivation saying that you wanted another Grand Slam title?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  What more motivation you need than from this trophy?  Just seeing it and reading the names of the winners in last 50, 100 years, it’s incredible.  To be also mentioned in the history aspect, you know, and winning three in a row, it’s a huge achievement.
So I’m always motivated in every match that I play on.  But of course Grand Slam finals are always bringing something new, something special to every player, and that’s where you want to perform your best.

 

Q.  This final and last year were incredibly physical.  Do you get a sense it’s taking stuff out of you or you’re just taking it in your stride?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  Well, as somebody that has experiences playing on the big stage in Grand Slam finals, especially against the top guys, I expected that to happen.
I tried to use that necessary experience in the past to implement that in my game, in my mental approach and mindset before this final.
I didn’t expect an easy match.  You never get the Grand Slam trophy in an easy way.  You have to earn it.  I’m very glad that I’m sitting next to it now.

 

Q.  You spoke about Andre.  Are you changing the game, too?  If yes, in what aspect do you think?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  I leave you guys to judge about changing the game or not.  I’m just trying to play this game with 100% of devotion, love, passion, and fun also.  I mean, 25 years old and I won six Grand Slams and have a lot of trophies.
It’s amazing.  You know, I’m just trying to embrace this moment and enjoy it as much as I can and see where tomorrow brings me.

 

Q.  Last year you played the second semifinal, had less rest; this year the opposite.  How different is it going into these two finals because of that?  Do you think they should change anything to make it more even?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  Only thing I can say regarding this tournament is it’s a fantastic success.  I mean, the things and the work they have done for the players is tremendous.  They keep on improving and striving to be the best out of all the Grand Slams, all the tournaments.  I think they’re right at the top.
So all these guys who are part of the organization on the top with Craig Tiley, the tournament director, are making sure the players feel comfortable.  I’m sure you have heard and seen many of the positive compliments from the players, men’s and women’s, about this tournament.  Others should follow this example.
I enjoy it.  I enjoy it as much as I can.
Changes in the game are always questionable.  It depends from what perspective you’re looking at it.  But it is the way it is.  For everybody it’s the same.  I’m just glad to be a winner once more.

 

Q.  Do you switch from one surface to another surface?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  That’s why I said it’s going to be a lot of fun next weekend to see how I can adjust to clay court in indoor conditions, playing away Davis Cup, which is always tricky.
But, look, you know, right now my thoughts are going in this trophy, enjoying as much as I can.  Hopefully I’m going to have time to recover and get ready for that tie.

 

Q.  Do you think you’re the funnest guy in players nowadays?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  Do you think (smiling)?

 

Q.  I also heard from some ballkids, they said you are always humor.  I notice you said hello to Jie Zheng in Chinese in the press conference, too.  I want to know about your philosophy in life for humor?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  It’s tough to find a rational answer for that question.
But the only thing I can say is I try to enjoy what I do and every moment of the life that I have is a blessing.
There is so many athletes, professional tennis players around the world and it’s such a global sport, they want to be the best in what they do.  They want to succeed.  Many of them, they don’t succeed in the end.  I’m fortunate to have this opportunity and to succeed.
I mean, what else can you do but to be happy and try to, you know, bring that joy to the other people around, especially in the tournaments.  Everybody has bad days.  I’m not always funny or laughing.  It’s normal.  But generally I’m aware of the fact that it’s an incredible trip for me, you know, being a professional tennis player.
I don’t know if you’re informed or not.  I got the permission to leave tonight actually very early in the morning, not tomorrow.  So I’m very sorry, and I apologize for not talking to you furthermore tomorrow.
The main reason for that is because I want to get to Europe as quick as possible so I can be ready for the Davis Cup tie.  I hope I find your understanding for that.
In the end, there is a little tradition that we try to initiate in World Tour Finals in London, the end of the year, the last press conference, gave chocolate to all the people who were in the press.
I want to start the year with the same thing, if you allow me.
Let’s keep it sweet

Transcript courtesy of ASAPSports and Tennis Australia

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In His Own Words – Andy Murray’s Final 2013 Australian Open News Conference

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Andy Murray 27-01-13

Sunday, 27 January, 2013

Q.  Did you feel if you were going to win it, you were going to have to win it quicker than you won the US Open given the physical demands of your semifinal?
ANDY MURRAY:  No, I mean, you never know.  I think it was extremely    the third set was very competitive.  You know, a lot of the games that I lost in the fourth set as well were pretty tight games.
I was getting like quite a few Love 15s, 15 30s, Love 30s, and, yeah, I couldn’t quite capitalize on my chances on his serve.  That was a disappointing part.
But, I mean, obviously when you go two sets to one down, you know you really need to get off to a good start the beginning of the fourth set because, you know, most of the guys at the top of the game, when they get a lead and momentum, it’s tough to stop them.
You know, like in the second set with me, I played a good second set.  I created quite a few chances; didn’t quite get them.
But that was the difference.

 

Q.  Could you tell us what happened to your toe and if it restricted you in any way?
ANDY MURRAY:  It’s just a pretty large blister which, I mean, you get them.  I mean, the US Open final I had two black toenails.  I mean, it happens.  It happens often, especially when you’re doing that much running.

 

Q.  Had it been an issue throughout the tournament or just today?
ANDY MURRAY:  Yeah, today.  But, I mean, when you’re playing the points like we were there, the positions you’re sort of getting yourself into on the court, you expect those sort of things.

 

Q.  How did you pull up after the Federer match?
ANDY MURRAY:  I was okay.  I mean, I was stiff.  It was a four hour match.  You don’t wake up the next day and feel perfect obviously.  You know, especially when it’s one of the first tournaments of the year, too.
You know, it’s the longest match I played in six months probably.  So, yeah, you’re gonna feel a bit stiff and sore.  I obviously felt a bit better today than yesterday.  Yeah, I mean, I did all the right recovery stuff, ate well.
Yeah, it obviously wasn’t an issue, you know, today.  I mean, I started the match well.  I thought I moved pretty good throughout.

 

Q.  Why do you think it took you both so long to get a break in this match?  It took over 30 games.
ANDY MURRAY:  Yeah, that’s the thing that was surprising.  You know, I think the first two sets I had more of the chances in games on his serve.  I think I had Love 40 the beginning of the second set.
Then obviously the third and fourth set, I think he broke at 4 3, got up Love 40, I saved a couple of them, and then he managed to break.
Yeah, that was obviously one of the differences.  He just returned a little bit better.  But it was surprising that there was so few breaks the first three sets.

 

Q.  Was it a matter of serving better than usual or not returning as well as usual?
ANDY MURRAY:  I think it’s not the easiest court to return.  It was playing fairly quick this year.  Could be a combination of a lot of things.  I don’t know exactly why that would be.

 

Q.  Did the blisters restrict you?
ANDY MURRAY:  No.  It’s just a bit sore when you’re running around.  You know, it’s not like pulling a calf muscle or something.  It just hurts when you run.
But, yeah, it’s not something that stops you from playing.  You saw one of the guys at the beginning of the tournament, the guy Tomic played, I don’t know if he burnt himself, but there’s certain things that hurt when you run or hit the ball, especially blisters, but it’s not something that stops you from playing or stops you from running for balls.

 

Q.  When you talked to the umpire, were you suggesting people that were shouting out maybe be taken out of the court?
ANDY MURRAY:  No, no.  I didn’t suggest that at all.  I just said it’s important, rather than wait till it gets to an extremely important point, to try and make sure you’re a bit more vocal, you know, rather than waiting until it’s 5 3, 40 Love for Novak in the third set.
That was all I said to him.

 

Q.  Did you have a problem with your left hamstring?
ANDY MURRAY:  No.  When I played Roger, I kind of    he had kind of like a low slice serve.  I missed that and it kind of tightened up a little bit.  It feels fine just now.
It’s just, yeah, a bit sore when you’re running around.  But that’s what happens with fatigue.  You get sore; you get tired.  You know, you don’t feel perfect when you step on the court every single time.
When you play the rallies like we did tonight, you know, along with the match with Roger, that’s what happens.  It’s part and parcel of playing these big events against the best players in the world.
With how physical the game is just now, that’s just part of it.

 

Q.  Would it be fair to say you were more upbeat after this than after your other losses here?
ANDY MURRAY:  Well, I mean, there’s going to be some obvious reasons for me feeling a little bit better.  I mean, the last few months have been the best tennis of my life.  I mean, I made Wimbledon final, won the Olympics, won the US Open.  You know, I was close here as well.  It was close.
So, you know, I know no one’s ever won a slam, the immediate one after winning their first one.  It’s not the easiest thing to do.  And I got extremely close.
So, you know, I have to try and look at the positives of the last few months, and I think I’m going the right direction.  This is the first time I’ve beaten Roger in a slam over five sets.  I think I dealt with the situations and the ebbs and flows in that match well.
I felt much more comfortable on the court today than even I did at the US Open, so that has to be a positive.

 

Q.  Have you had a chance to have a chat with Ivan?  And what has he said to you if you have?
ANDY MURRAY:  He said, Bad luck.  That’s it.  There’s no point going into huge detail about the match two minutes afterwards.  We’ll go away and spend a bit of time apart.
When I go to start training over in the States, we’ll discuss not just this match but the start to the year and the things I need to improve on if I want to keep getting better.

 

Q.  The way you and Novak play defense, is being a great offensive player sort of a losing proposition at this point?  Roger in some ways is a relic.
ANDY MURRAY:  No.  I mean, I think the thing is    I don’t know if it’s because of the racquets or whatever, but I’ve been using pretty much the same racquet for 10, 11 years now.
You know, but, yeah, I don’t know.  Guys have had to adapt the way they play because of the conditions, the balls, the courts slowing down.
But if you look at maybe not right at the top of the game, but guys like Isner and Raonic, you definitely need a massive weapon that can sort of take away the defensive play, you know, that you just can’t get your racquet on balls.
You’ll probably see more and more of that.  The players certainly seem to be getting taller every year.  There’s obviously Isner, Raonic, Janowicz, he’s a big guy.  That seems to be the way the game’s changing a little bit.
But I’m obviously not going to grow, so I hope it doesn’t change too much the next few years.

 

Q.  You said you felt more comfortable tonight than you did on court at the US Open.  In what respect?
ANDY MURRAY:  I mean, I said before the US Open match I was unbelievably nervous beforehand and was doubting, you know, myself a lot.
I didn’t go on the court today having those doubts.  I went on the court and felt pretty calm from the beginning of the match.
I was obviously still nervous, but I think I just felt   I don’t know   more at home in a match like that on a court like that when you’re playing, you know, for a Grand Slam title.
I mean, the first few times I played for a Grand Slam, US Open and here, you know, I definitely struggled with it.  Now I feel more comfortable.

 

Q.  Given the long time difference between your semifinal and Novak’s, do you think in the future the tournament should look at having semifinals on the same day?
ANDY MURRAY:  I mean, that’s something for the tournament to look at.  Obviously, the US Open have made some adjustments with their scheduling, you know, to try and make it easier for the players to recover.
But I’m sure, like I said on the court, Craig knows exactly what he’s doing, and they’ll make the right decisions in that respect.

 

Q.  The feather that drifted into the court, did that distract you?
ANDY MURRAY:  I mean, I could have served.  It just caught my eye before I served.  I thought it was a good idea to move it.

Maybe it wasn’t because I obviously double faulted.  No, you know, at this level it can come down to just a few points here or there.  My probably biggest chance was at the beginning of the second set; didn’t quite get it.
When Novak had his chance at the end of the third, he got his.

 

Q.  Just to be clear, the blister only occurred in this match?  It wasn’t a remnant from the Federer match or earlier matches?
ANDY MURRAY:  I mean, I had no taping on my foot during Roger’s match, and then obviously I had to have it done today.  I very rarely get blisters.
But, I mean, 90% of the players on the tour will have played this tournament with some sort of blister or problem, you know.  It had no bearing at all on the result.  It just hurts a little bit when you run.

Transcript courtesy of ASAPSports and Tennis Australia

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“On the Call” with Andy Roddick as Emirates Airline US Open Series begins

Andy Roddick held a conference call with the media on Tuesday afternoon to discuss his participation in the 2012 Emirates Airline US Open Series, which begins this week with the women’s Bank of the West Classic in Stanford, Calif.  Roddick plays in the first men’s event at the BB&T Atlanta Open, July 14-22. Transcript courtesy of ASAPSports.

Q.  I’m based in Atlanta.  I know that you have been here in Atlanta for this tournament in the past.  With the Olympics so close ahead, how will that affect how you prepare and how you go through the Atlanta tournament this year?
ANDY RODDICK:  I don’t think it changes anything.  My mentality is you play what is in front of you, regardless of what else is going to happen.
If I play great in Atlanta, that can only help me going into the Olympics.  It doesn’t change my mindset going into the Atlanta tournament at all.
Like I always try to do, I’ll be there a hundred percent.

Q.  Any consideration at all to giving yourself a break before the Olympics?
ANDY RODDICK:  Yeah, I mean, you consider all your options.  At the end of the day, I felt like it was beneficial for me to come home after Wimbledon, to get into some of the heat in Atlanta, match conditions, to kind of have that preparation going in I thought was the best‑case scenario for me.

Q.  What did you think of Serena’s comeback win at Wimbledon?
ANDY RODDICK:  You know what, I don’t know that I was surprised by it.  You know, she’s proven herself to be a great champion.  She’s almost become a master of comebacks.  I remember when, what, four or five years ago, she was below 100 in the world, people were wondering if that was it.  She came back and dominated.
After these injuries, I honestly thought she would win it in her first tournament back after the injury.  So I always have the most confidence in Serena and was happy to see her back where she belongs:  in the winner’s circle there.

Q.  What are your thoughts on Venus battling through an autoimmune disease to win the doubles with her sister?
ANDY RODDICK:  Yeah, I mean, listen, what she’s been going through is not easy.  I think probably the toughest part of it for her is not knowing on a day‑to‑day basis.  If you have a sprained ankle you have a rough estimate of time as to how long it’s going to take before you’re okay.  I don’t think it’s that simple with what she’s dealing with.
For her to have a highlight in the middle of this rough patch is probably real big for her.  Whenever she decides to play, I think they’re automatically the best team in the world.

Q.  What have you observed about Venus’ efforts to keep playing despite the diagnosis?  Any changes she’s made in training?
ANDY RODDICK:  That would require firsthand knowledge as to what she’s been doing as far as training, which I don’t have.  I haven’t seen too much of it.
The thing I know about Venus is she’s going to give herself every opportunity to succeed, regardless of what’s in the way.

Q.  What is the status on who Serena might choose for mixed doubles at Wimbledon?
ANDY RODDICK:  I don’t know.  You’re asking the wrong person.

Q.  You’re not in the running?
ANDY RODDICK:  I don’t know.

Q.  Have to ask Serena?
ANDY RODDICK:  I think so.

Q.  You’re going to pair up with Isner.  Will you be practicing with him some?
ANDY RODDICK:  I’m not sure.  I think our best preparation for singles or doubles is to try to win some matches in Atlanta.  I think that’s our focus right now.

Q.  How would you describe the state of U.S. men’s tennis right now and what do you think it’s going to take for one of y’all to step up and challenge the big three?
ANDY RODDICK:  You know, I think it’s healthy.  I think we had two in the top 10 last year.  Certainly was good with Brian Baker and Isner playing well earlier this year.
The question is always a tough one for me to answer because we deal in the context of a worldwide talent pool, which isn’t the case with a lot of sports that the U.S. focuses on.
It’s going to take some great tennis to crack those top three.  They’re three of the best we’ve seen ever, and they’re certainly playing to it right now.

Q.  Would a good showing in the Olympics by the U.S. do anything to improve the game?
ANDY RODDICK:  Well, it depends what you mean by ‘improve the game.’  As far as viewership, USTA memberships, sales of products, tennis is very, very healthy.  It’s as healthy as it’s been for a long time.
But I think success at any pro tournament will obviously garner more attention.  Obviously, the Olympics, you don’t have to be a tennis fan to pick a side in the Olympics.
I think we’re all very motivated and it should be a lot of fun.

Q.  Andy, you were real close to getting past David Ferrer at Wimbledon.  I’m curious to get your take on your play there.  What percentage of your potential would you say you’re playing at now?  Did you take anything away from that Wimbledon performance?
ANDY RODDICK:  Yeah, well, you know what, I was a lot better.  I won a tour event the week before, which I thought I was real far away from that going into that week.  I wasn’t playing well at all.  I played well at Wimbledon.  I lost the match to Ferrer.  But he also had a look at beating Murray and getting up two sets there, potentially making a final.
I’m not far off.  I felt like I made a lot of strides in those two tournaments, Eastbourne before, and at Wimbledon.  I’m optimistic about the summer.

Q.  If there are strides you have to make, would you say they’re for you at this point, feeling 100% fresh, healthy, invigorated?
ANDY RODDICK:  Yeah, I think my challenge for the last year and a half has been a lot physical.  But I finally got continuous matches in.  When you’re battling injuries, not playing your best, sometimes you lose, you’re getting one match a week.  It’s kind of tough to create a groove or a flow.
I got those matches in.  I think I’m playing a lot of tennis this summer.  I’ll certainly have every opportunity to get match play.

Q.  Could you help me understand why Nick Bollettieri is not going to be in the Hall of Fame this week?
ANDY RODDICK:  Oh, I don’t know.  I don’t have a vote.  It’s a different thing because normally you look at a Davis Cup coach or a player.  Nick, he’s been a wonderful businessman.  He’s certainly created a little bit of a model that tennis has followed.  He was one of the pioneers of kind of the academy movement.
You know, I’m not sure.  You’d have to ask someone with a vote.

Q.  Speaking of the Hall of Fame this weekend, Jennifer Capriati is being inducted.  Can you give your thoughts on Jennifer and her career, particularly at the Olympics.
ANDY RODDICK:  Yeah, I remember that run she had in Barcelona.
I like seeing Jennifer getting the attention she deserves for her tennis.  You know, we lived through so many story lines with her throughout her career, I’m glad that tennis is finally getting the credit it deserves.  She was the No.1 player, won multiple slams.  She was a huge infusion for the game as far as garnering crossover attention.  The everyday Joe knew Jennifer Capriati.  She was the phenom, then the comeback.  It’s a great story, and something that I’m glad it’s getting recognized.

Q.  The average age at Wimbledon was close to 30.  Do you think that’s good for the game?
ANDY RODDICK:  The thing about sports is there’s no script.  Bottom line, the reason I think it’s best entertainment is because if you can play, you have a job, regardless of age or anything else.
I think the reason why we’re seeing less young kids is because the game has slowed down, has become a lot more physical.  When I came out when I was 18, I was 25 pounds lighter and certainly not fully grown up yet, but I was still able to play.
The physical nature of the game now I think makes it tougher for the younger kids.

Q.  As you’re nearing your 30th birthday, I’m wondering if you have made a change in how you train.  There’s a new philosophy.  Nadal, Federer, Djokovic, seem to be practicing, spending more time in the gym, less time on the practice court.
ANDY RODDICK:  Yeah, I think that’s pretty normal nowadays in tennis actually.  I remember talking to Jimmy Connors when we were working together.  He had never lifted a weight in his entire career.  Again, it speaks to the physical nature of tennis, the way that’s kind of going.
You don’t see guys that aren’t quick playing well now.  You have to be a good athlete as well.  You used to be able to get away with being a good ball‑striker, being able to hit shots.  Now you have to be able to do that and get there.  That’s not surprising.  I think something as you get older is probably normal.

Q.  What are your own personal goals now in tennis?  What’s the next step for you?
ANDY RODDICK:  Well, I think it started in Eastbourne.  I had a very simple goal going into Eastbourne after the French Open.  I wanted to get to 600 wins, which was a nice milestone.  I wanted to win the tournament.  Was able to handle that there.  And also I just wanted to feel good on the tennis court again.  I wanted to feel like I was playing well.  I did that.  Now I’m excited about continuing that momentum into the summer and see if we can’t make something happen.

Q.  Andy, I wanted to ask you about your motivation for the smaller tournaments.  How do you avoid overlooking these and not looking ahead?  The fan base here is a little more favorable than some of the venues you’ve been at internationally, but it will be very hot here in Atlanta.  Is it more mental, particularly with the heat and conditions?
ANDY RODDICK:  Well, I enjoy playing tennis anytime I step on the court.  Motivation hasn’t been a problem of mine.  As for the heat, I spent the majority of my life in Florida and Texas.  I’m used to it.  As far as heat goes, when I’m on court, I only have to be more comfortable than one person.  I try to look at it that way.

Q.  It’s a very urban fan base with a city line backdrop and a highly commercial venue here in Atlanta.  Do these urban events make the game better?
ANDY RODDICK:  You know, it’s tough for me to speak to the venue because I haven’t seen it or played it yet.  I’m certainly excited about it.  From what I’ve read, certainly not the norm for a tournament to be in the main city district.  It’s usually out a little ways.
I’m excited to play it.  I think it will bring an energy to the venue.  I think it’s something that’s worth trying.

Q.  Could you talk a little bit about your mentoring of younger players.  You have quite a reputation for having younger American juniors come in and hit with you and train in Austin.  I wonder how you feel about that group coming up and why you’ve chosen to do that.
ANDY RODDICK:  I enjoy it.  I feel like I have something to offer the young guys.  Most of what they will see ahead of them I’ve seen.  It’s not so much to force my way into their tennis lives or anything else.  You know, if they want to come and they want to do the work, they want to work hard, that’s the only thing I need them to say.
There’s certainly an open‑door policy.  I feel like most of the young guys know that.  Some have taken me up on it to different degrees.
I enjoy it.  I feel like being a part of U.S. tennis has given me so many opportunities, has given me a great life.  I feel like I should pay it forward.

Q.  Andy, I had a question about the US Open and the crowds.  What do you most enjoy about the atmosphere here?
ANDY RODDICK:  Well, you know, New York, I feel like it’s a great fan base.  They’re going to give you whatever you give them.  They certainly appreciate hustle.  They like a bit of a show.  You give them some energy, they’re going to give it right back to you.
I feel like it’s a pretty clear‑cut understood relationship, at least from my perspective.  It doesn’t get a whole lot better as far as atmosphere goes than a night session up there.

Q.  Playing in Grand Slams, you play as an individual.  Playing in the Olympics and Davis Cup you’re representing your country.  How can you compare the two?
ANDY RODDICK:  You know what, it’s a good question.  It is a lot different.  It took me probably three or four years of playing Davis Cup before I felt completely comfortable.  It’s a totally different dynamic.  Normally when we’re out there, like you said, it’s a pretty selfish existence, all about us.  It’s about my ranking, my team, my tournament.  That’s kind of the mentality of a tennis player most weeks.  Then you kind of flip a switch, at Davis Cup is about the team, at the Olympics it’s about the country.
It is a little bit different.  I don’t know there’s a perfected way to go about it.  I think you have to try to make the subtle little adjustments.

Q.  Andy, I was wondering if you could talk about going from the grass courts to the hard courts then back to the grass courts, which is unusual.
ANDY RODDICK:  Yeah, it is.  But the schedule and everything is always a little weird during an Olympic year.  But if you’re in London, I think you have to play at the best venue in tennis, and that has to be on grass at Wimbledon.  Selfishly it’s not stressing me out too much because I played a lot of grass court tennis and I enjoy it.  Same for hard courts.  Doesn’t take me a lot of time to switch between the two.  I’m looking forward to it.

Q.  Can you talk about what you drew from the 2004 Athens games?
ANDY RODDICK:  My memories mostly are more of the Olympics as an event.  It was so much fun.  Mardy and I stayed in the dorms, took the buses to the courts, had the full‑on Olympic experiences.  My best memories are of him having a great tournament there.
As far as the tennis goes, it’s the Olympics, but I think you kind of go about it the same as a tournament.  You know the players, you know the venue, you know the format.  You’re playing for something different.  You’re playing for your country.
But as far as preparation goes, I think it’s pretty normal.

Q.  Are you going to stay in the village or your own accommodations?
ANDY RODDICK:  I think our team is staying closer to the courts just based on a logistical and traffic issue.  They estimated with traffic it could be an hour and a half or two hours out to the court.  Three to four hours round trip is not what you need on game day.

Q.  Are you okay with that?
ANDY RODDICK:  Even though I’m not going to stay there, I hope to get over there and walk around and try to meet some of the other athletes, get a feel for it.
If we have an off day or some time beforehand, I’d love to get over there and check it all out.

Q.  Any sports you want to check out while you’re over there?
ANDY RODDICK:  Listen, I would go to any Olympic event.  As I’ve said before, you don’t need a vested interest or a complete knowledge of a sport to kind of get into it.  It’s a very simple thing.  You see the stars and stripes and you want to cheer for that.
Yeah, hopefully I’ll be able to get out and see some of it.

Q.  Question regarding Larry Stefanki.  As a veteran player, how do you keep improving your game and learning new techniques to stay at the top level of the game?
ANDY RODDICK:  You know what, we’ve been together for a while, but there are always new challenges.  The thing about our sport is there’s always something else in front of you.
As far as keeping it fresh, I think the game itself does that.  And we’re in a good spot now.  We feel like we made a lot of good strides those last couple of weeks out there, certainly the best of the year so far.  It’s just a matter of remembering what the last couple of events were and trying to build on it for the summer.
I feel pretty confident about the way I finished up there.

Q.  It was brought up at Wimbledon that Serena does not play practice sets or really even practice points.  I was curious what role that plays in your training.
ANDY RODDICK:  I play a lot of practice sets and points.  I think Serena and Venus have always been pretty outside the box.  They didn’t play much junior tennis either.  That works for them.
I credit them for going with what they feel comfortable with.  Regardless of what anyone else might think of it, it’s certainly worked for them.

Q.  Tennis has been very good to you as far as how much you’ve earned over the course of your career.  What do you think about the new move by the ATP Players Council to get the tournaments to pay more out to the players?
ANDY RODDICK:  It’s just a matter of comparing it to other sports.  The NBA players were upset because they had to come down from a 57% revenue share.  I think the research at the US Open, we were down at 13% of revenue went back to the players.  It just seems skewed in comparison to some of the other sports.  We certainly realize how lucky we are, but I think we also realize that we’re the product.

Q.  I was interested in hearing what you thought about your experience in Atlanta, in Georgia in the past.  What’s the difference between playing a tournament in the U.S. as opposed to playing tournaments abroad?
ANDY RODDICK:  Well, it’s a comfort thing.  Obviously my connection to Red and Black goes through my brother who was there and loved his time, certainly holds Athens in a very special place in his heart.
As far as playing in the States, everything from being able to turn on the shows you watch normally, to the food, being able to drive a car because it’s not on the wrong side of the road.  All those little things play into it.  I think it’s more of a comfortable level for us.

Q.  I don’t know the experience you have with the University of Georgia from having had your brother go there.  Does Isner ever talk to you about that?  Did they have a relationship at all?
ANDY RODDICK:  Yeah, I saw it during NCAAs.  When I was 18, 19, my brother was still the assistant coach there.  I certainly have experienced it.  I have some other really good friends from there.  I’m certainly familiar with the vibe up there.

Q.  Any expectations out of the tournament this year?  Mardy and Isner are going to be back.
ANDY RODDICK:  Well, it’s a good field.  I think they’ve been in the last two finals.  I’m one of the guys who is trying to make sure it’s not three in a row for those guys.

Q.  How will it be difficult to participate in the Rogers Cup straight after the Olympics and how important is this tournament in your summer?
ANDY RODDICK:  I mean, it’s difficult.  Anytime you add a huge event like the Olympics to an already crowded schedule, it creates something.
All the players are in the same boat.  It’s not like I’m the only person who is going to have to go from the Olympics to Toronto.  It will be a little bit of a toughness test, which I think is fine.
I’ve enjoyed playing in Toronto.  Gosh, played a bunch of finals there.  I’m real excited to get back there.
TIM CURRY:  Thank you very much for calling in, everyone.  Thanks, Andy.
ANDY RODDICK:  Thank you.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

Tennis Panorama News participates in many tennis media conference calls. “On The Call” serves to give readers an inside view of tennis news.

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