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January 17, 2003

Mardy Fish


THE MODERATOR: First question, please.

Q. You had a pretty good lead there and lost the rest of the games. How do you explain it?

MARDY FISH: You know, if I knew, I would probably -- you know, I was trying. I was trying to, you know, do something. I had a chance there at 4-2. I remember I had a short ball. My coach and I before had been talking about making him pass me with backhand. I hit it to his forehand. His forehand is one of his -- he's got one of the best forehands in the game. He hurt me with that. You know, I got to the ball and almost hit it over the net. It would have been, you know -- I think that would have been the sort of -- I don't know about the momentum changer, because I think I had the momentum, but I think that would have been the dagger if I would have made the shot. I thought it was definitely a makeable shot. I thought I was there and I really wasn't close enough to get it over.

Q. What was the score in the game?

MARDY FISH: What was ad-in, 4-2 in the fourth.

Q. Backhand?

MARDY FISH: Yeah, like I've made it a thousand times. You know, if I made that shot, I'd say it's pretty much my match. You know, that didn't go my way. He started just to put the clamps on. He didn't miss a ball. You know, I got frustrated and crowd started to get behind him. Just went downhill after that.

Q. Was it basically experience in the end, as far as you're concerned? You had two great weeks really.

MARDY FISH: Yeah, Jim Courier came up to me just now in the locker room and said, you know, gave me a couple things to think about as far as, you know, not letting -- not letting, you know -- if he wins the fourth set, it's still 2-2, you know? I thought that I was thinking like that, but obviously I wasn't, you know. It's not acceptable to lose ten straight games like that. You know, just doesn't happen at this level; it shouldn't happen at this level. You know, he just said that experience played a major part in that match, and those matches will only help, you know, for my career, and hopefully next time I get in that position I can take advantage. But, I mean, I look back at like two nights ago against Moya, I was up two sets to one. I thought I was in control of that fourth set, too, and he just took the 4-5 game, then I came right back and broke him early -- well, at 2-all in the fifth. So I don't know. I don't really know what happened. But I think experience played a major part of it.

Q. You mentioned the Ferreira forehand. What else is it that makes him so special? He's had such a long career and a distinguished one, beating a lot of good players.

MARDY FISH: Yeah, he's got a great first serve, he places his serve really well, tough to read, especially on the deuce side. Hits it out wide really well, hits it down the T, and you have no idea where it's going to go. Obviously, his forehand speaks for itself. His backhand is just solid. I mean, he's just a really solid player. He does everything well. He doesn't really have too many weaknesses.

Q. You talked last time about putting a succession of matches together. It didn't happen last week. You sounded like you knew that's what you needed to do coming into this match. I'm wondering what your thoughts are on that.

MARDY FISH: As far as like the -- after a big match, like the letdown?

Q. Yeah, the letdown. Was that a factor today?

MARDY FISH: No. I don't think so. I mean, I came out playing great. It's another thing that Jim said. He said, "You're playing great tennis. You put yourself in a position to win that match and you didn't come through. And, you know, you can't really look -- you look at the tennis up to this match or the tennis up to the third set or the fourth set, and forget about the last, you know, ten games or whatever." It's tough to forget about it, being as all's I had to do was win two of my serve games, which seemed pretty easy the way things were going, to make the fourth round in a Grand Slam. So it's tough to forget about that, but hopefully I can. But as far as the letdown, I played well in the first two sets. I played great. You know, if it was a two-out-of-three match, I'd obviously be in the locker room. Took 45 minutes for the first two sets. So, you know, different circumstances and different tournament, it's obviously a great match that I played in the first two sets. But that's why Grand Slams are so great, because they're three-out-of-five. A lot of times the better player will win in a three-out-of-five because you have to win that extra set and it's always tough to finish it off.

Q. What do you take away from this experience, even though you just finished the match?

MARDY FISH: Closing out a match like that, being in this position in a Grand Slam, knowing that I can beat Top 5 players consistently. I'm just kind of running things off, you know, what I came out with these couple weeks. Hopefully, if I get -- hopefully, if and when I get in this position again, I can take advantage of it - not like I did today.

Q. Your little outburst with the chair in the start of the fifth set, just pure frustration?

MARDY FISH: Yeah, I didn't say anything bad to the guy at all. I said -- he told me that the ball -- that he thought the ball was clearly on the line, which is a complete joke, because I was, you know, I'm right there. And, you know, obviously I should -- I probably overreacted - probably - a little bit. You know, but I didn't really say -- that's probably the least amount that I've done to ever get a code violation. So I don't really know what his thinking was there, but he definitely missed that call because that was, you know, it makes it 30-all instead of 15-40, and that's a huge game, first game to hold serve and kind of get the momentum back on side.

Q. Can you talk about what you did well in the first two sets.

MARDY FISH: I served great. Came out and hit my forehand good, made him play a lot of balls. Kind of -- I don't know if I got tired. I didn't feel tired in the end. I missed, you know, a lot more -- I had a lot more unforced errors in those last two sets than the first two sets, obviously. I think I just played solid. I think I stuck to my game plan, make him come to the net and put some pressure on him. He was getting frustrated there. He got a point penalty. That's the first point penalty I've ever gotten against somebody, or somebody's gotten against me. So that was nice. And I almost lost that game, too. But, yeah, I think I just, you know -- it all starts with my serve with me. If I serve well, my returns are like the best part of my game. So, you know, I'm always going to be in some games, no matter who's serving. So I always feel like I'm going to have at least one or two chances to break every single set. So if I can hold serve, then, you know, I can win the majority of the sets.

Q. Did you like having the painted people in the stands?

MARDY FISH: Yeah, they were funny. I gave them a racquet after because they were pretty funny. They were good. It was fun to have them behind me. It seemed like the crowd was kind of going against me there in the end.

Q. You haven't been in a situation like that before in a Slam, this deep into it. You're playing that match in the fourth set. Are you trying to stop yourself from thinking about the outcome?


Q. Are you able to do that?

MARDY FISH: You know, sometimes you can't help it. Sometimes things creep into your head, like, "It would have been fun to play if Philippoussis wins tonight, to play him again." We had a good match in Indian Wells a couple years ago. He's a crowd favorite. You know, I would love to play in like a situation like that, where no one was against me -- or no one was for me. You know, that kind of crept in. But mostly I was, you know, I tried to stay as focused as I could, just thinking, you know, not so much that I have two more games -- two more serve games to win, but just, you know, winning each point was what I was thinking. I think I was down like love-30, 15-30 or something like that, got it back to 40-30, had another ad. So I had chances. Like I said, the volley, you know, definitely made that shot before plenty of times. If that goes over...

Q. Wasn't that easy. Didn't look that easy.

MARDY FISH: Didn't look easy, but I totally read him, where he was going. I knew he was going to go down the line. It was just one of those -- I just didn't put enough -- put enough racquet on it, I guess.

Q. James and Andy have been really complimentary about you in all their press conferences.


Q. Yeah. You're now one of the new hopes.

MARDY FISH: Should I say something nice about them (laughter)? They're really nice guys. No, we're all good friends. Andy came out to watch a little bit today, which is nice to have him out there. James came out, I think, in my first round. It's tough to come out there and sit in the sun when you got to play the next day. So I totally understand. I know that James would probably go back and watch it on the computer, because that's what I would do with him, and just make sure that they were getting a win. I always feel like if I'm watching, then I have some sort of control over the outcome, so...

Q. Is that right?

MARDY FISH: Yeah (smiling). So, yeah, it's nice to have some of those guys supporting you out there and, you know, if they can't make it, then they're still all good friends and it's fine.

End of FastScripts….

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