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January 15, 2018

Matthew Ebden

Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

M. EBDEN/J. Isner

6-4, 3-6, 6-3, 6-3

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. Sum up how you're feeling right now.
MATTHEW EBDEN: Yeah, I feel great. Yeah, I'm obviously very excited just at the level I was able to produce again on the match court. It's what it has been a bit about for me in the last, well, six to eight months at least. I've been playing that level now for a while. Just been working to maintain and even improve on that day in, day out.

Yeah, to find another little extra gear within myself out there with the crowd, you know, with the energy on the court, in the matches, yeah, it's a great feeling.

Q. Are you all that surprised you won?
MATTHEW EBDEN: No, I'm not surprised at all. Of course, I don't know how to say, expect to win. But I know if I execute and do the things that I was trying to do, yeah, I would give myself a good shot at winning. Probably the same as he was thinking.

It's the same with all the guys. I'm getting used to now playing always top, top level of myself and against these guys who can play the same level. Winning against them often now, losing sometimes, but still being just about there winning those matches also.

I know the level that I can play and maintain now consistently. I've got to keep working every day basically on all the little things to make that happen. It doesn't just happen by itself. Can't lapse even for more than maybe a day off here or there. Got to keep things rolling at a very high level to maintain that.

Q. What's the main thing you'll take away from today's win?
MATTHEW EBDEN: Yeah, like any other win really. Of course, it's great that it was on a nice big court in front of my home crowd in my home Grand Slam. It's important to maintain and bring that level for these matches and then step over the line.

Yeah, it was good for me. I committed to things, executed well. Yeah, just good to step over those lines in big matches, which I've done, am doing more consistently now. Been even real close in matches I even lost in the last couple weeks. I know I'm bringing a really high level. Got to keep doing that and improve a little if I can.

Q. John was saying in his press conference he felt like he was stuck in neutral playing you. What was it about your game?
MATTHEW EBDEN: Yeah, look, I don't know about more risks. I probably had a little bit more of an aggressive mindset with how I was going to approach things. I was more just backing myself into the level that I know I can play, especially on my serve and my shots, things that I can control. Obviously can't always control where he's serving, what he's doing.

Also, then again, I was still backing my movement and my agility, which I have. I'm one of the best sort of movers, agility movers in the world really, my reactions, things like that. I work hard on that. I had to use that. I was able to. It's one thing getting there, but then it's about committing to the shots and making the shots, too.

That was another little stepping over the line with really committing to my shots and my game. Yeah, it's really important. You're not going to win against a guy like that if you're not going to do that. I've been on the other side of that, not doing it quite as much, and losing.

I think it's fair to say that definitely I learn a bit from my losses over time. Lots of, I guess, years and experiences, lots of wins, lots of losses, then you can use something from them and get better and learn for yourself.

Q. Is that a mindset you carry into your next game now?
MATTHEW EBDEN: Yeah, sure. I haven't actually played Alex before. I'm very aware of him. Practiced a lot together. I know he can play at a good level. Won tournaments, been in finals. Been top 20 at least, nearly top 10. Can he play a really good level.

On the flipside, when he doesn't do things that great, he doesn't play that level. Yeah, it's going to be, well, a different sort of match, but the same thing. Another player, another match.

Q. You counter-punched today incredibly well. Do you think that was the key to the win?
MATTHEW EBDEN: Yeah, I think there were a few keys. I obviously had to play nice and aggressive, stay in control with my service games, my shots. I had to commit to still being aggressive, hitting quality balls whenever I could. Then, yeah, about defending the serve, counterattacking the serve. I was able to return really well. Even when I got in those points, still be assertive, myself, not be on the back foot all the time. Sometimes he's going to hit some big shots. That's normal.

I thought I held my ground and executed things, yeah, really well.

Q. The players meeting on Friday where Novak spoke publicly about prize money. Do you have a specific take on that?
MATTHEW EBDEN: I haven't seen or read or heard anything in the media of that. As far as the player meeting, whatever, there was nothing public about it. No, it was not about prize money as far as I'm concerned. Yeah, it wasn't that. It was just a players meeting. Really, there wasn't anything. Firstly, it wasn't public. Second, it wasn't about prize money.

Q. Novak didn't address everyone?
MATTHEW EBDEN: It's normal in players meetings, it's all the players. Everyone kind of addressed each other. Yeah, Novak said some things. Probably 10, 20, 30 other guys held the mic and spoke to each other as well, yeah.

Q. The psychology of trying to break John's serve, that's always a fascinating thing to watch. It gets to 30-All, 30-40, there's that rare opportunity. What is going through your mind at that stage?
MATTHEW EBDEN: Yeah, obviously I've played John now a few times. I know how his serve is. I know what to expect. I know what he can do. He can do them all really. You got to be ready.

Sometimes you got to pick a little. Sometimes you got to try to get a read on it. Sometimes you got to back yourself and back your shots. If you can touch it, try to do something good with it. Even if you can touch it, sometimes if you're not hitting a good shot, you might lose the point anyway.

I think more than anything I backed probably my agility, my hand speed, my reaction speed, then my shot after that. That was, yeah, really good for me to be able to use some of my strengths in that.

Q. You had four breakpoints. What kind of boost does it give you when you win a breakpoint?
MATTHEW EBDEN: Yeah, often matches are won and lost within a few points. Been on the winning side of those and the losing side of those. Yes, it obviously feels great when you convert and step over those lines more often than not. I think if I was four from five breakpoints or something against the world's greatest server virtually, or one of the top two or three or whatever in statistics, yeah, that's really good signs for me. Obviously I'm doing a lot of good things right.

Yeah, comes to a whole lot of preparation. My physical, my hand speed, my reactions, you know, everything I'm doing off the court as well as on the court.

You said the psychology of it. But backing yourself in, being confident with it, too.

Q. Obviously the rankings, you were in the 700s, now in the 70s. What kind of work behind the scenes goes into getting to here?
MATTHEW EBDEN: Yeah, well, beginning of 2016 season, I was at sort of 100 with nothing to sort of defend for the next four months. The plan was hoping heading towards 50 or top 50, better if I could, whatever. Then I got a bit of knee pain. I couldn't really play virtually that whole season. Took four or five months to get exactly clear on what I had to do to fix it. Ended up being just a really minor little surgery that fixed a little problem. That was a quick fix in the end, but it cost me five or six months until that point, then another month or so after that. I virtually missed that whole season.

I had a protected ranking because I didn't play for a six-month period. My protected ranking was around 100. Last year, the ranking at 700 or something, I had 20 points left or something, virtually it was zero. I had the protected ranking just after 100 for the first six months of last year, which I used to get me into qualifying of tour events and slams, whatever.

Yeah, I played mostly a tour schedule. Just qualified a lot every week nearly. I was successful. Then I went through to quarterfinals, finals after qualifying, stuck to those guns until sort of the end of the year. Won a couple of challengers, as well.

2016 was aggravating, to get the ranking up, pushing right on up. Yeah, it's very frustrating. It's very, very difficult, very testing, very challenging, but also very rewarding to then really come to terms with yourself, what I want, what you want to do about it basically, how you want to go about your scheduling and your playing in the coming months and year.

I stuck to that. I sort of believed in myself, my schedule, my level, who I should be playing and beating, these sorts of levels. Even in the last six to eight months, I've probably taken another step, and I'm playing at the best level in the game, one of. I've matched it or beaten some top 10 guys, matched it with other top 10 guys, been very close with a lot of these guys. Same today, it was kind of close, but I stepped over the line.

Yeah, the level is good. Doing obviously lots of good things, lots of little bits of work on all areas really. Yeah, I have to keep maintaining that. I've done that at points in my career, played at high level, but then had little dips, haven't maintained it day in and day out for years and years and year, which you have to do to become a great player.

Yeah, just got to get back to work.

Q. What kind of emotion is attached to today?
MATTHEW EBDEN: Yeah, emotions, an interesting one. Of course, yeah, I think I found good composure today, but maybe a little bit of extra positivity as well, whether that's drawing from my home crowd, my home slam.

Even in time out, 2016, in those times testing when you're off tour, I definitely gained more of an appreciation to be able to be a professional tennis player. You probably get to know yourself and your sport and everything even better. I think that even helped me in the last 12 months a lot, get some good perspectives.

I think that's, yeah, definitely helped me to learn a little bit more about myself, what I do. I think that's all serving me well. Maybe it's a little bit maturity, a little bit experience. I'd like to think I've learnt something over a few years, yeah.

Q. Does it feel like the second singles spot in the Davis Cup tie in a couple weeks, does it feel open to you?
MATTHEW EBDEN: Sure. I don't see why not. I don't know what Lleyton is thinking, Stolz, the guys. I've played Davis Cup obviously for a few years. I had that No. 2 singles spot and a doubles spot as well a bunch of times. So, yeah, I know what that's like.

I love that environment. I was successful in those. I was 5-0 actually with Davis Cup. I'd like to say I had good captaincy. They put me in when I would win.

Yeah, that's definitely been one of my little goals I've been working towards. But how I've sort of thought about it or approached that, if I feel like I need to get to top 50 or better, be consistently at that level for them to pick me, know that I'm going to be a very good option for them to have if they want me, if they can use me.

Yeah, that's my take on it.

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