Yeah that's another rule that adds to the confusion of the ranking system. A "prize" for participating in four 500 events in the last 52 weeks is that a player can replace the lowest 500 score with the points from their next best countable tournament. This site explains the rules pretty well: http://mytennislounge.com/comments/index.php?shell=2846
The ATP claim that the ranking system is fine the way it is and "accessible to anyone" but that's clearly not true. I'm sure that the percentage of tennis fans who understand the ranking system is very low. We follow a lot of tennis here on Murraysworld but there's probably fewer than ten MW members who can say that they are completely confident in the way the rankings work (I'm not one of them). No sport should have rules that are this complicated and it really annoys me that these people at the ATP don't consider that fans may want to follow their favourite player's points and not leave it up to the boffins at the ATP. If I was the type to write strongly worded letters to people then the ATP would've already received a letter from me containing some pretty strong words about all this.
Perhaps the 10 people who understand the rules could identify themselves?! I somehow think it might be even fewer. They make no sense at all. Presumably for smugfed to lose points for doha it would have had to have counted to his total last year on this logic - do we know if it did? And do the rules mean that when Andy's next 250 falls off, this one can at that stage be counted or can it never be counted now? I know this wasn't what the tournament was about and I agree that the confidence and match time he will have gained are more important but 250 points are 250 points when so close to smugfed in the rankings.
As for Andy's press conference, I think he does find one to ones easier to deal with. The way he snatches at his garments shows he's still not really comfortable in the full blare of a press conference - find it endearing in a way though I wish he could learn to stop fidgeting like that, as the answers were fine I thought. And I thought the interview was very good indeed.