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December 3, 2004

Mardy Fish


RANDY WALKER: Questions for Mardy, please.

Q. Can you explain, you seemed to take control early and then it kind of fell apart.

MARDY FISH: I mean, yeah. I started great. I would have liked to have kept up, you know, that kind of play the entire match. You know, I mean, he started playing better and better as the match progressed. I mean, three out of five sets is tough in a way and good in a way. I mean, it gives you time to try to think about some things that you can try to do differently, you know, to be successful. And I tried. I mean, I tried everything. I tried serving and volleying. You know, I tried coming in on a lot of balls. I tried to stay back a lot. You know, he had answers. I had some chances. And he served a few of those chances away. You know, you just kind of have to tip your hat to him. He played well.

Q. What was the experience like? I don't think any American team has been in a situation like this, with so many people and so loud.

MARDY FISH: Yeah, it was awesome. Everybody, before we went out there, and just now with Andy, too, just said, "Have fun." And I tried as well as I could to have fun, and I did. I would have liked to have had a lot more fun, obviously. You know, the experience was invaluable. I mean, hopefully we'll be in this situation again. You know, this tie is definitely not over by any means, but hopefully in years to come, we'll be in this situation many more times and we'll know how to deal with it.

Q. Crowd wasn't bothersome?

MARDY FISH: No, they were fine. I mean, you know, European fans, especially Spanish fans in general, are very knowledgeable, tennis knowledgeable. I mean, they're tough. They're tough. But that's to be expected.

Q. Is that correct, you only played one single match on clay all year, in Houston?

MARDY FISH: Yeah, that is correct. I would have liked to have played more, but I was hurt. I hurt my hip.

Q. When he plays that well on clay, did you feel like you had enough game to hurt him or did you feel like he's at a level right now that you can't touch?

MARDY FISH: I mean, that's a good question. I don't know. I mean, I played great tennis, you know, the first couple games of the match, and he didn't have an answer, but that was only the first three games (smiling). I mean, as the match went on, like I said, he played well, he played great. Every chance that I had, he took it away from me rather quickly. I mean, I didn't really get into any points when I had break points other than the, you know, first time he served. So to answer your question, I don't know. I mean, I don't know, maybe not on this surface. But, I mean, you know, if it was a little quicker, perhaps. But I definitely would have liked to have played, you know, better as the match progressed.

Q. Did you feel the weight of playing for your country out there today? Will you prepare any differently for Sunday's match than you prepared for today?

MARDY FISH: To answer your question first, I mean, the first question, I've been in that type of situation before a couple times. I mean, not the finals like that, but playing for my country in the Olympics, and played well there, and have played well in Davis Cups in the past. So not really. I mean, you feel it, but we're kind of used to it now. You know, we're used to these type of matches being obviously very important for our teammates and for everybody who came all the way over to watch us here in Spain, and for our country. And then the second one, you know, I prepared. I came out playing great, you know, so hopefully I can do that again on Sunday.

Q. Is it more difficult to serve a second serve after everybody's clapping when you hit the first serve in the net?

MARDY FISH: Well, more difficult than if nobody was in the crowd? I mean, if nobody was clapping, then that would obviously be a little bit easier than if everyone cheers when you miss a first serve. I mean, it didn't really affect me. I knew that that's going to happen in Davis Cup. It didn't really affect me.

Q. Could you actually take us through the first 15 minutes or so of the match in terms of before the first ball toss. In those first 10 points, what is going through your head?

MARDY FISH: I mean, the whole experience, the whole thing of walking out, everybody obviously cheering for them and knowing, reaffirming that we are the underdog, for sure, and just -- I don't know. I mean, it's -- sometimes when you go out in matches, matches like that, big pressure situations, you're kind of oblivious in the first couple games or couple points and you don't really remember. I mean, I remember a time I actually asked Andy when he was most nervous - and this was in the Olympics, when he was most nervous - and he said in the finals of the US Open -- actually, he said the semis of Wimbledon, he was nervous serving that match out to make the final. I said, "What about the finals of the US Open?" He was like, "Honestly, I don't even remember that whole day. It was just a blur. Everything's a blur." I kind of had the same thing in the semis of the Olympics, to serve out my game. I don't even remember what happened. It was just a blur. You know, it kind of feels like that. Went out there today. Who knows, maybe it would be nice if the whole thing was a blur because sometimes when it's a blur, you play a lot better (smiling).

Q. Did you feel any extra pressure or responsibility knowing you don't have the greatest clay court record, Patrick had to make a tough call to pick you over Vince?

MARDY FISH: I mean, I felt like -- I felt like if I could steal - and still do - if I could steal one point, one of my matches, that we'd be in good shape. And, obviously, it's a pretty tough task, playing Moya in Spain on clay. You know, I mean, I feel like coming in the past couple months, coming off of the Olympics and stuff, and Davis Cup in Charleston, you know, that I've shown Patrick that I can play in those big matches. And I felt like he, you know, even though maybe Vince was ranked a little bit higher than me right now, that my experience in those type of situations would weigh a little bit more than if, you know, someone hadn't been in that situation. So, I mean, not really, to answer your question. Not more pressure. I mean, I would have liked to have got us off to a good start. I wanted to go first. I wanted to play first. I thought, you know, if I could get us off to a 1-0 lead... I think Andy, regardless, he's going to play the same. I feel like if it's 0-1 or 1-0. I wanted to try to get us off to a good start hopefully.

Q. You talked about the match being a blur, but you also said earlier that it was fun. Could you go into that? What were the fun aspects?

MARDY FISH: Well, I kind of -- sometimes I play at home, when I'm really, really bored, I play video games, I play like college football video games. Actually not -- I'll watch college football games on TV and stuff. When they kickoff, they do all those weird sounds, whatever they do. I didn't go to college, I didn't really get that. But, you know, the whole crowd makes the "whoo" noise or whatever. I felt like I was in a college football game. You know, I've gone to college football games before, but I've never played in a college-football-type atmosphere. And this was definitely, definitely the closest thing to it that we have in tennis, I'm sure of that.

Q. But definitely a road game?

MARDY FISH: A road game, in Southern Miss or something like that, Ole Miss.

Q. What can you do between now and the time you play on Sunday other than sleep, eat and practice in order to help your team? What will you try to bring to the effort between now and Sunday?

MARDY FISH: If somebody has a question about, you know, the court or the fans or how is it out there. I can yell and scream as loud as I can (smiling). Apart from practicing and trying to get ready for the match, preparing the best way I can, yeah, those things come to mind, I guess.

End of FastScripts….

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