June 29, 2002
THE MODERATOR: Questions.
Q. Those critical points in the tiebreak, did you help him?
JEFF MORRISON: No, I was disappointed with my effort on those three points. Obviously, they were points -- I needed to get one of those to squeak out that second set. I didn't do it. To his credit, he came up with some good serves there on those points. I had to get my first serve in when I served for it. He hit a good return on my second serve. And, you know, kind of took it from me there but stole it away from me and kind of took the wind out of my sails, per se. But that's the way it goes.
Q. Did you feel any weight on your shoulders, being the last American male in the tournament?
JEFF MORRISON: I didn't even know really until this morning when someone said to me, "You're the last American." Didn't even dawn on me. But no, not really. I think that, you know, it was unfortunate what happened to the Americans here this week, this tournament. But, you know, I didn't feel any undue pressure.
Q. If someone had said a few months ago, "Hey, guess what, Jeff, you're going to outlast Pete and Andre and Andy," etc., etc., "At Wimbledon," what would you have said to them?
JEFF MORRISON: I would have said I would figure I had to be a lot further than the third round, that's for sure (laughter). But obviously I was the last American in, but, you know, wasn't the best tournament for us all. But, I mean, it was a good tournament for me. To make the third round and to have the tournament that I had, I couldn't be more happy. It was obviously disappointing today that I didn't make a better match of it. But that's the way it goes.
Q. As the surviving American to this point, what do you think is wrong with tennis among American men?
JEFF MORRISON: I don't think there's anything wrong with it. I mean, I think there's a great group of young guys that are up and coming and doing well. And I think that people are getting a little impatient. And, you know, you got Andy and James and Robby Ginepri, Mardy Fish, myself, Taylor Dent, and all those guys are right on the verge of cracking the Top 100. When we do that then, you know, no one will be talking about that anymore.
Q. Ground strokes were the difference in the match today?
JEFF MORRISON: Yeah, he moves the ball around really well. I knew that. He doesn't hit the ball with a lot of pace but he changes his angle on the ball and moves it around well. I didn't serve particularly well today. I thought that was probably the biggest difference in the match, my first serve percentage was probably pretty low. But he played well and made me have to come up with some shots - and I just didn't do it today.
Q. What will you take away from this whole experience?
JEFF MORRISON: Oh, my gosh. I think this has been probably the best week of my tennis career. And to do what I did and to put myself in position to play today in the third round at Wimbledon, beat Juan Carlos on Centre Court at Wimbledon is a dream of mine. And now I'll just have to build on that and have a good rest of the summer.
Q. Is there a moment from it that you'll think, "I'll probably never forget that"?
JEFF MORRISON: I think, yeah, winning that -- beating Juan Carlos on Centre Court, the last point when I looked up to my box there, and everyone was there, and to feel that one second of elation there when that ball lands out that, "Hey, I just beat a Top 10 player on the best court in the world, top tournament in the world," yeah, that will be it.
Q. What came close to that?
JEFF MORRISON: Winning the NCAA title was obviously a large accomplishment, not on a professional level, but there's not too many guys that can say they won an NCAA title in tennis. For me, that was obviously second. But by far that was the biggest moment of my career, so...
Q. Beating Juan Carlos on Centre Court, coming in today, do you have to kind of put that in perspective and put that behind you and different thoughts?
JEFF MORRISON: Yeah, that's the amazing thing about this game. I mean, you know, unless it's the finals, you got to go out and prove yourself again the next day. So you don't have too much time to just bask in your glory, I guess you could say. But, you know, I did enjoy that experience. I'll take a lot away from it, but I didn't come out today and repeat the performance. But Sjeng played well and, you know, it's unfortunate, but that's why you play 25 tournaments a year, so you can get another shot.
Q. On the point that won the second set, you drove him deep to the backhand side. He came up with a shot from there. How good was that shot?
JEFF MORRISON: I think, I mean, I had my racquet on a volley there, I just missed it. I think I tried to make it a little too good. But he did come up with good shots when he had to, and that's what made the difference I think.
Q. I'm sure there are millions of rock and tennis fans in America just dying to know whether you got a Jim Morrison story you can tell us.
JEFF MORRISON: No, no Jim Morrison stories. I know he's buried in Paris. That's all I know. I didn't go visit his grave though, so.
Q. Never been misidentified?
JEFF MORRISON: I probably have. I mean, Jim and Jeff are pretty close. I'm sure J. Morrison, I'm sure everyone wonders if that's Jim or who that might be, so...
Q. Is it tougher or easier to come back after a match like you had and play today? It seems like a lot of people who pulled off big upsets then came out the next match and struggled.
JEFF MORRISON: Yeah, I mean, you know, it's -- this game is interesting . I mean, you got to prove yourself every day. I mean, I think that when you've never been in a situation like some of us were in this week where you knock off a big player and all of the stuff that goes on with it, I think that when you're not used to it, you can kind of let it take you out of your rhythm a little bit. But I tried my hardest to realize that I'm going to have to play another tough match today and I obviously gave myself opportunities there in the second set to win it, and I didn't do it. And, you know, I felt like for the first two sets I was in the match and playing well, and he took the wind out of my sails there when I didn't get that second set.
Q. What are you going to do to celebrate?
JEFF MORRISON: I'm going home tomorrow morning, first flight that I can get out of here. I've been on the road since the week before the French so I'm excited. I'll be excited to get back to my bed and rest well for a week there in Tampa.
Q. What's the next tournament for you?
JEFF MORRISON: Newport.
Q. To your knowledge, did people in the tennis mecca of Huntington watch this?
JEFF MORRISON: Actually, my family was glad -- glad to find out that my family was -- had hundreds of phone calls of people that watched the match on TV, on TNT. And they've been really supportive. I mean, it's not a big town. So the town was in a buzz, per se, I guess you could say. And, you know, it was big news and a lot of people were happy for me. And, you know, it made me feel good.
Q. Two-part question. Besides yourself, who's the biggest sports celebrity and who's the biggest celebrity in general from Huntington?
JEFF MORRISON: Oh, from Huntington?
JEFF MORRISON: I'm probably the biggest sports celebrity from Huntington, I would say. From West Virginia, now that's a different story. But Jerry West, Randy Moss, Peachy Kellmeyer was also a great player. You know, she's from West Virginia. So there's been a few great athletes come out of there, so...
Q. You live in Tampa now?
JEFF MORRISON: Yes.
Q. How long have you lived there?
JEFF MORRISON: Since I turned professional in, I guess it would be, 2000, July of 2000.
Q. Just to train?
JEFF MORRISON: Yeah, I live there. Trained in Saddle Brook resort there, so...
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