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February 13, 2021

Mackenzie McDonald

Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

Press Conference


7-6, 6-1, 6-4

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. You're through to the fourth round; how does that feel and how are you feeling about the way you're playing?

MACKENZIE MCDONALD: It feels great. Super happy to be in the second week. Really happy with how I'm playing and competing. So, yeah, just keep it up.

Q. It's wildly considered that Roger Federer is the best tennis player to ever pick up a racquet; many feel that way. On court just a few minutes ago Daniil Medvedev compared you to Roger, said your game was like his; you take the ball early, eager to get to the net. How does that feel?

MACKENZIE MCDONALD: Yeah, I mean that's probably the best compliment I've ever gotten. But, I mean, far from Roger with all titles and everything, but, yeah, I mean it will be a tough match against him next. Practiced with him quite a few times and I played him a couple times, so I know he's a really tough opponent.

Q. How does it feel to be back in the fourth round? You've had such a serious surgery, did you ever sense that maybe you wouldn't get back to the top? Was that a fear?

MACKENZIE MCDONALD: Yeah, a hundred percent. I mean, it really means a lot that I'm -- my hamstring is back and I got the level back. I mean, honestly, it means a lot because it was a really tough time and I don't think many people really know or at least for me like you don't really think about that until it kind of happens to you. Once you're in it, I did look through the rankings or people and there's a lot of guys that have sat out for that long, but for me like that was a major injury, a major surgery, and it was honestly really scary because not walking for as long as I did and I mean everything that I went through was a big wake-up. So I'm really happy to be back here.

Q. Sunday is Valentine's Day and I was wondering how you would describe that four-letter word, l-o-v-e, as a factor in tennis.

MACKENZIE MCDONALD: I mean, in tennis it means nothing, but no, I mean, I don't even know what to say to that.

Q. How important is love of the game in being successful at it?

MACKENZIE MCDONALD: Oh, okay. Yeah, I mean, it's extremely important. If you don't love the sport it's going to be really brutal for you. So for me I definitely love tennis. This is why I play, this is what I like to do, so I'm really grateful I can make a living doing this and it's always been a dream of mine, so it's just big love for the game.

Q. Why is playing Medvedev such a pain? Like what about his game?

MACKENZIE MCDONALD: He's tricky, man. Honestly, he makes a ton of balls, he's got amazing reach. His serve is really good. Returns, I mean, exceptional. I mean, he can really do everything. So it's showing with his ranking and, yeah, his results.

Q. Is he the sort of guy where, I mean, he always shows his defense. Recently he showed a lot of offense against the big guys. Is that tricky where he sort of makes you beat yourself in a way or is it just focusing on your game?

MACKENZIE MCDONALD: Yeah, for sure. That's been definitely a struggle for me in the past playing him. He's made me feel uncomfortable, but hopefully I can take all those matches into consideration for my next one and I'll plan accordingly and hopefully I can make the best of it.

Q. Seems like the obvious answer to this question I'm about to ask would be no, but I'm wondering whether there is any way, are there ways physically, mentally, that what you went through with that hamstring made you a better player now than you were before it?

MACKENZIE MCDONALD: Yeah. I'm just going to say yeah, a little bit. I definitely feel like with every situation you have to take the best out of it, so with that time I really just made the most of it. I tried to do like some commentating, I did four or five UCLA classes when I was out, and then I was trying to watch a lot of tennis and kind of take a step back to take a couple steps forward. It's just nice to see all the hard work paying off and kind of things coming to fruition. It's taken a little bit, especially with this COVID year, but I'm definitely a positive thinker so I'm going to say that there's positives out of it.

Q. You've been this far before at Wimbledon; I'm wondering, is there some sort of a significance to the idea of getting to the second week? I mean, it's winning one more match, fourth round versus third round, but is there like an extra boost, an extra sense of satisfaction of now I'm part of the back half end of a Grand Slam tournament?

MACKENZIE MCDONALD: Yeah, when I made my first run at Wimby I definitely like -- I mean, it was a massive goal of mine to make a second week of a slam, and making it when I was 23 and early -- I mean, out of college like pretty early, yeah, I mean it was a massive step for me pretty early in my career. But I definitely think like now I'm doing this a second time, I can just see the improvements I'm making and using my past experiences to play better and do better. So it still means the world to me, I mean, having these results, but I'm definitely learning as I keep progressing.

Q. What was it like out there without any fans? That sort of atmosphere, things you hear that you're not used to hearing or things you're not hearing that you're used to hearing or other courts around or just what that experience was like today?

MACKENZIE MCDONALD: Yeah, it was quiet for sure. I really always feel like there's a massive buzz here in Melbourne. The fans are awesome. It was so quiet, me and Lloyd were -- we could hear this beep for the first set and we had no idea what it was, and they got a guy to come over and check it out. It was actually the guy's scanning badges at the front gates for like the people who were coming in who were working the tournament. But it took like seven games to figure that out. So it was so quiet we could hear that beep all through the stadium. And I could also hear how loud the out calls were with no one there. But other than that, I mean, it is what it is. We have to be safe and it's all necessary, so just happy we could play today.

Q. How long could you not walk for? What were your classes at Westwood? And just give us a little love about UCLA. I mean, Jen's through. Talk about the UCLA experience and a little bit about Billy, please.

MACKENZIE MCDONALD: Yeah, I'm definitely pumped for Jenny and even Marcos and Cressy; they're doing a great job too. I texted Jenny a couple minutes ago and we're both pumped for each other. She's definitely done an amazing job, so it's really nice to see her doing well.

Billy's texting me, Rick is texting me, so definitely in touch with them, all my teammates still, so it's really nice having that Bruin community. So that means a lot to me.

So I got surgery eight days after I tore it at the French. It was a last-minute decision. It was a very good decision by my physio Wolf and my team in Nona. I mean, like four hours before, at like 2:00 a.m. we were still deciding if we were going to cut me open or not and the surgeon decided to at six-something a.m. and thankfully we did because it started growing somewhere else, and it was completely -- it was hanging by a string. It was just tough to know because there's so much fluid and other stuff going on in there and you want to get that surgery done ASAP.

I didn't walk for -- I didn't leave my apartment for like two and a half, three weeks and I didn't walk for on my foot, I can't remember exactly how long, it might have been eight weeks or six. Then it was like you can go 10 percent on the right leg with crutches. Then it was 20 percent, then it was 30 percent then 50, 80 and then walking without crutches and it was one pound weight, two pounds weight, three pounds weight and that's each week. So it was really slow. But then it started progressing faster. Then I did -- I'm a Poli Sci major and a Film and TV minor. So I finished all my Poli Sci upper divs, I did a film course, maybe two film courses, and then I only have my language and two film classes left to graduate.

Q. Do you ever talk to CiCi about your injuries and all the heck she went through?

MACKENZIE MCDONALD: Yeah, because we both live Nona, so I know she's taking classes too with Indiana University. But yeah, I mean we talk about it. We're definitely close in Nona.

Q. As a film student, who is your favorite movie or your favorite director?

MACKENZIE MCDONALD: I like Will Ferrell, I like "Step Brothers," I like comedies.

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