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January 18, 2018

Tennys Sandgren

Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

T. SANDGREN/S. Wawrinka

6-2, 6-1, 6-4

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. Where does that match rank for you?
TENNYS SANDGREN: Where do you think it would rank for me (laughter)?

Probably I guess the second biggest stage I played on. Playing on Arthur Ashe last year was probably the biggest. This would definitely be. All the categories: biggest win, biggest moment of getting a victory, setting me up for the biggest stage to play third round of a slam, biggest opportunity. All those good things.

It's something going into a tournament like this, you don't know if you'll get an opportunity or a look or even be able to take advantage of it. So to come out of it with a victory, it's a huge deal for me, a huge deal for me, and something that if I don't ever get another accomplishment, I can at least hang my hat on this one, I think. For me personally, that's really cool.

Q. You seemed self-contained at the moment of victory. Out of respect for him or were you processing it all inside?
TENNYS SANDGREN: Out of respect for him partly, for sure. I know he's going through some tough things physically. I've been there. It's not easy. It's really difficult. I wish him all the best and hoping that he can return back to full form and top, top level, because we know what that looks like.

I made the joke in the little presser before the match, after my first round match, I watched him play in the finals of the US Open. I think it was at a bar. I was having a few beers. I was watching the tennis. That's insane, an inhuman level of tennis.

So I hope he gets back there. I've tried to dial my emotions down, not get too high, not get too low, try to find that even keel tennis. That was just in theme with that.

Q. What did you expect from him? He hasn't played a lot lately. What do you think you actually got from him out there?
TENNYS SANDGREN: That was something I was thinking about going into it. I tried to trick myself a little bit into thinking he's going to come out 100% and play as well as he can play. That's the standard. If he doesn't do that, then I'll deal with that as it comes.

It's hard to put, He played an X capability. His movement wasn't where it was at. His sharpness wasn't probably as sharp as he would have liked to have played. Admirable that he fought and didn't have his best stuff. He kept his emotions under control, kept fighting.

Got a little scared. Somebody in the stands at 3-5 in the third, yelled out, Keep digging, Stan. He gave a little head nod.

I'm like, Uh-oh, shhhh. That's scary. Don't do that.

I served well in the 5-4 game. At the changeover, I wonder if he thinks he can still come back. He probably does. I don't know. He probably thinks I'm one break away from turning this thing around.

I kept thinking about that and just making sure I took care of business on my serve.

Q. Did you think the match might stop early?
TENNYS SANDGREN: I did look over a couple times on the changeover to see if he was changing his trajectory to be straightforward to the net and not to the chair, but never did. Never did. Kept putting his head down, kept working.

It appeared by the end of the middle, end of the third, he would grab down at his knee. I know it must be extremely difficult for him. I don't know what dealing with a knee is like. I had the hip surgery. I don't know what knee is like. I'm sure it's extremely difficult to believe in your body at that point. You don't know what's there. So I feel for him, I do.

Q. You said you wanted to be levelheaded. What are your goals in this game? What do you want to achieve?
TENNYS SANDGREN: I don't really have, I want to achieve X, I want to be ranked wherever. I just want to do the best that I can. I don't know what that looks like. I don't know where that could take me.

When you play futures and challengers for three, four years, you're playing in obscurity, there's not a lot of attention. You play the game for other reasons. You don't play the game for money or attention. You play the game because you like to play. You play the game because you enjoy the journey. That's kind of been my approach.

If it wasn't that, I probably would have stopped because there isn't a lot of attention or money or anything like that where I've played the majority of my career.

I've put more focus on maybe more existential things than material things like money or the kind of car I drive because I played good tennis. Doesn't matter to me.

Q. When you were sitting in the bar watching him play the US Open, did any molecule in you think about being out there against him at some point?
TENNYS SANDGREN: I thought about it. I tried to put myself in those guys' shoes, like what would that take, and could I ever play at a level like that.

I don't know. I don't know. Maybe I was thinking about it. I still do. Those guys, the way they played, the way these top guys play, that's the standard. What the heck can you do to reach that standard? I think everybody kind of asks themselves that question.

I'm not sure. I'm not sure. The physicality, the fitness level, the shot-making, I don't know if I have that in me. I'm going to keep working and maybe I can get somewhere close to that. At least I'll do the best I can to try to. We'll see.

Q. We've come really far in this press conference without mentioning your first name.
TENNYS SANDGREN: Good job, everybody (laughter).

Q. What is the best story you have about your first name?
TENNYS SANDGREN: It's all pretty similar. It's kind of, What is your name?


Well, you play tennis. Tennis ball. Things like that.

Politely shake my head like, Yeah, I do. This is outside of the tennis community, right?

You do play tennis?


Well, that's kind of cool.

Then you get the story. I played in high school once. I had a tennis racquet.

Well, it's also cool, but do you want to talk about something else at this point?

I guess at this point a lot of people in the sport kind of know me and know my name, things like that. It's always interesting. I don't give my name when I order a sandwich or a coffee. I say 'David' or something like that. I don't want to deal with the whole name thing when I get a coffee, especially first thing in the morning. I would prefer to get the caffeine, then I can maybe think about approaching the day first.

It's interesting. It certainly is unique. I embraced that in school.

Q. You know that Johnny Cash song, 'A Girl Named Sue' [sic]?
TENNYS SANDGREN: Yes. The first thing I thought when you said, Do you know the Johnny Cash song? I thought of, I hurt myself today.

Yeah, that's certainly not 'A Boy Named Sue', that's not how I feel about it. I don't hold a grudge of sheer anger at life because of my name. No, no, no. It's something unique and cool. It's just a part of who I am. I'm okay with that.

Q. At what point were you over all those interactions with people?
TENNYS SANDGREN: 12 years ago maybe. I tell myself every new person that I explain this to is just one more person I don't have to explain it to in the future. I think that's a fair mentality to have.

It's all good. It certainly is interesting. I don't know how many people you meet that have the same name as the sport that they play. That's weird. I can understand. I can put myself in somebody else's shoes when they come across that. What the heck, man? What's your deal?

It's okay. It's all good.

Q. When you were playing in obscurity, did you ever not think you could achieve a result like this?
TENNYS SANDGREN: Sure, sure, all the time. All the time. You have to deal with that. When you're losing first and second rounds at challengers, not sure if you can make it inside the top 100, you're very far away from wins like these or getting to the third round of slams.

I've never qualified for a slam. I've played here in quallies maybe four times I think. I've never made it to the last round of quallies. When that happens, you're thinking a third round of a slam. I've never played a three-out-of-five-set match. How am I going to get to the third round of a slam?

Certainly, certainly. But take it one day at a time. You don't run a marathon by running all 24 miles. You run each step, each mile. You look back and think, Wow. Not that I've ever run a marathon.

It's one day at a time, completing each step of the process. Maybe at that point you could look and see, I'm in the second round of a slam, like I was today. I thought that was cool going into the match. After the match, I'm like, Wow, I'm in the third round of a slam. That's awesome.

I'll have a great opportunity on Saturday. It will be a lot of fun. It will be a good battle, a good contest. We'll see how it goes.

Q. (Question about next opponent.)
TENNYS SANDGREN: Never played him. I've seen him at a few challengers. Road the elevator up together. Gave each other a little smile. He had a big win today.

I don't know him particularly well. I know he's a lefty. He hits the hell out of the ball on his forehand. He's obviously playing good tennis. He's in the third round of a slam. It will be fun.

Q. Did your experience on Arthur Ashe help you for tonight? Such a huge venue, did that make Laver seem more manageable?
TENNYS SANDGREN: That is the biggest court we have as far as size. Maybe Centre Court of Wimbledon has more in magnitude. Definitely, it's just different playing on a stadium than playing on a row of five at a park. It's a little different. So certainly.

I thought I played pretty well in that match. I feel like I have good feelings about playing on a slightly bigger stage at least.

When I came out, I was ball striking pretty well tonight, I came up with some good backhands early, things like that. I was able to settle down pretty quickly, get the emotional side under control, just focus on the tennis.

Certainly that match on Ashe gave me a lot of experience just in one guy to feel like I kind of am comfortable on a stage like this.

Q. Do you have a middle name you could have hung your hat on?
TENNYS SANDGREN: I don't hang my hat on it. I have a middle name, it's Loren, L-o-r-e-n. I don't hang my hat on that. I don't. I try to hang my hat on other things other than names. We're not doing so hot in that department.

Q. Who is here with you?
TENNYS SANDGREN: My coach, Jim Madrigal. He's the only one that's here with me. I have some friends, one friend in particular that flew in from California last night. A guy who has been just kind of helping me some with some support, a supportive friend. He's here. That's been cool. Took a redeye and made it in this morning. That was nice to have another familiar face.

I have some buddies, some Australian friends, like a guy who played on Youth Team Tennis team. He was in my box, a good friend of mine that lives in Nashville. We trained together and hit together. But mainly my coach.

Q. Who is the guy from California?
TENNYS SANDGREN: His name is Emerick McDonald (phonetic). Just a friend. Took some interest in my tennis when I was playing some challengers out in California. Just a smart guy. Gives me some observations, some moral support. Good friend.

Q. Is the Aussie guy somebody we'd know?
TENNYS SANDGREN: Jarryd Chaplin, a doubles player. And a comedian. Elliott Larney (phonetic). I don't know if you've heard of him. He's had my coach's badge the last three years. I made a joke that they should go Dark Knight style, break the cue stick, toss it, fight it out to see who is going to be my real coach this week.

He's been a good friend of mine the last few years. I've stayed at his place when I've been in quallies the last couple years. He was there in my box. Just Jarryd and his brother. Having some familiar faces, familiar people up there was nice.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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