|03-13-2004, 12:13 PM||#1|
Join Date: Jan 2004
Tennis Warehouse behind the scenes at the Pacific Life Open
Behind the scenes
The Press room
We are waiting for the arrival of Andy Roddick. The "we," being the assembled media at the Pacific Life Open in Indian Wells, California.
The location is the interview room, nestled below the southwest stands. At the front of the room, powerful lights do battle with the air-conditioned air as they try to heat up the room.
In the glow of the lights, and directly in the path of their heat, a stage area contains two empty armchairs. The armchairs look as if they are missing a living room to surround them.
To give the area a homely feel, a glass coffee table sits in front of the chairs, but I doubt any players will stay long enough to make good use of it.
Plants surround the rest of the stage, and a big Pacific Life Open banner provides the backdrop.
As Roddick enters the room he looks relaxed, shares a couple of brief exchanges with some of the regular media guys, and takes his seat. About 10 seconds pass as microphones are checked and everyone settles in.
As the questions start, Roddick looks more intense. It's not quite the game face we see on the courts, but you can tell the young player is in 'business mode.' For the guys at top, this is another part of life on the Tour.
Questions come from all directions, and Roddick handles them with the same ease that he dispatches short balls hit to his forehand.
With the recent Rusedski ruling, many questions revolve around the current testing of tennis players, how Roddick feels about the whole issue and the precautions he is taking to ensure that whatever he ingests, does not contain a banned substance.
After that, the questions bounce around from topic to topic, including Davis Cup and Roddick's junior career.
I ask Roddick what it's like to have to play his close friends from juniors and Davis Cup when at a tournament such as The Pacific Life Open.
Roddick says, "I mean, it's always tough when you have to play each other, but at the same token, I think we all know, our Davis Cup weeks and our friendships and stuff kind of go out the door for the next couple of hours. We're both trying to get a win. We're going to do whatever we can to get a win. Afterwards, we can go out and have dinner together. That's fine."
"Once you step between the lines, you try as much as you can to kind of squash friendships and just, you know, try to do your job."
As things come to a close, Roddick jokes around with a couple of the press guys who have been drilling him with questions about a loss to an unknown English player, Michael Trudgeon, during the 99 Junior Wimbledon.
Roddick exits the room, without using the coffee table.