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August 17, 2004

Mardy Fish


THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. You beat Carlos Moya at the Australian. Is this a bigger win, the biggest of your career?

MARDY FISH: A bigger win than Carlos Moya, I'd say so probably just, you know, because it's the Olympics. You know, back then, that was a big win for my career, just to jump-start for that year. You know, who knows, hopefully I'd like to say that I would have been okay even if I would have lost that match against Carlos in Australia. I mean, but this is the Olympics. Yeah, I mean, definitely this is a bigger win than that.

Q. That took some nerve at the end. Just talk us through what was going through your head in that final game.

MARDY FISH: Well, I didn't get off to the greatest start, getting down Love-30 and then 15-40. But I just tried to stay aggressive. I mean, that's the way that I play well. That's the reason why I won the match, because I stayed aggressive and kind of took it to him. And I was lucky enough to get a couple big serves there in at 15-40, in the 15-40 game, to get back to deuce. So just thankful for that. Just, I don't know, yeah, I mean, just tried to stay aggressive is what I was trying to think about.

Q. Can you pick one turning point? Was it the break of serve in the second set?

MARDY FISH: Definitely. I think it was definitely the break of serve just to show him and to show myself. I mean, I was in a lot of games. I had a couple of breakpoints, but I was 15-30, 30-All, deuce, a lot of games. You know, just to show myself and show him that I could break him, you know, and then played a good tiebreaker. I've had some bad luck in some tiebreakers this summer so far. It's nice to win two in the first two matches here. I'd definitely rather take them here than anywhere else this year. But, yeah, I mean, as far as turning point, yeah, I think it was definitely that break of serve got me -- kind of catapulted me to get up Love-40 in that first game of the third set, even though I didn't win it, then break him in the second game.

Q. How much of this win can you put down to the Olympic factor, that extra motivation from being part of a team?

MARDY FISH: Yeah, I mean, that was -- that had a lot to do with it. You know, I'd like to say that in a normal tournament I would have tried just as hard, but there's definitely something extra there. You know, I kept saying to myself, "You know, this is the Olympics, this is the Olympics." I mean, I can't really go out like this, in two straight sets like that. So, you know, I think that definitely had some say in it, that it was the Olympics.

Q. You've had some health issues this year. How are you feeling overall?

MARDY FISH: I feel a hundred percent right now. I feel great. I had that hip injury that I took care of in about a month. I was actually really lucky to be only out a month. I mean, I thought at first I had to have surgery, which would have been two months minimum. So I was lucky with that. And then the back was just a minor thing. I mean, it was just a shoulder -- it was just a pull kind of thing in my back, and took care of it in about 10 to 14 days, something like that, maybe two weeks it took me to get back to a hundred percent with that, and now I feel great.

Q. Can you talk about your next opponent.

MARDY FISH: Yeah, you know, I've never played him before. Mirnyi is a great serve and volleyer. Obviously, he plays great doubles. You know, I mean, it's definitely going to come down to holding serve, and he puts a lot of pressure on guys to hold serve, you know, because he holds so many times. So I'm definitely going to have to -- I kind of like those match-ups. I have a big serve, too, and so does he. I'd like to think that I return a little bit better than he does. So, you know, maybe that gives me the edge a little bit. I don't know. But, you know, the courts are quick and they're playing fast, and I definitely like the speed of the courts. I'm sure he does, too.

Q. What could it mean for the future for you, for your career, doing well here, getting far, perhaps a medal?

MARDY FISH: I mean, I don't know what it would do for my career. I mean, it would just be great. I mean, this summer has not gone well for me in my standards. You know, I made one quarterfinal. That was about it. And I lost a lot of points, and my ranking's gone down and I'm definitely not satisfied where I am. Hopefully, I don't plan on being ranked where I am right now hopefully for very long. I mean, I'd like to do well in this tournament to get my ranking back up as well as, you know, the Olympics and to win a medal for my country.

Q. Are these the sorts of opponents, a Top 10 guy, Grand Slam champion, ranked No. 1 last year, are these the types of matches you feel you can be winning?

MARDY FISH: I definitely feel like it. And I think that that's something that's holding me back, is beating these guys consistently, you know. The guys in the Top 10, they play the other guys in the Top 10 very well. It's tough to consistently beat someone in the Top 10, obviously. But beat them along with beating the guys who I think I should beat, you know, guys like in the 60s and 50s and whatnot. But, I mean, it's definitely huge confidence-wise because, like I said, I didn't really have a very good summer, and my expectations were really high coming in. It's definitely a confidence booster going into the US Open especially. I mean, that's a pretty big tournament for me.

Q. Who were you pointing to in the crowd?

MARDY FISH: American flag. I don't know (smiling). Whoever was cheering for me. There were a lot of Spanish people out there cheering for him. So whoever was cheering for me, I was pointing at them.

Q. A little bit of significance, Davis Cup for you, playing Mirnyi. You've just beaten Ferrero who you might play in the final. Do these matches have any significance for that, or are they pure stand-alone?

MARDY FISH: No, I mean, I'm not really thinking about that. I didn't think about that one bit actually. I forgot that they were on the other side. I mean, we definitely have a tough match in Belarus in September. You know, we'll look ahead to that when we need to, you know, after the US Open. But, I mean, this match coming up, yeah, I mean, you can't help but say maybe it's a possible Davis Cup match-up. I'd like it to be. I'd like to play. Hopefully it will be.

Q. You were down a set and a break. Ferrero is serving for the match. It looked like it could be a quick 6-4, 6-4. He was saying that he thought it would be 6-4, 6-4. Things changed. Is there a point in the match towards the end of the second set where that's going through your mind, "This could be the end"?

MARDY FISH: Definitely, definitely, definitely. I definitely didn't want to go out like that, 6-4, 6-4. And I wanted to stay out there as long as I could, if not win. I mean, I obviously wanted to win, but I wanted to try to keep him out there as long as I could and just see what happened, see if I can get lucky there in that last game he served at 5-4. You know, he gave me a couple points there with a couple double-faults and a missed forehand or a missed backhand - I can't remember if it was forehand or backhand for him to lose the game - but he gave me a couple points there. But I think it was a tribute to me staying aggressive, going after my second-serve returns, putting the pressure on him to try to hit a good second serve when he, you know, missed a couple there in that game.

Q. Can you talk some about your experience in the Olympic village.

MARDY FISH: Yeah. You know, it's been invaluable meeting all the athletes. I mean, we've tried to be as friendly as possible, trying to just talk to everybody possible. Andy and I are down in the lounge. We have like a lounge with computers, couches, TVs and stuff. At night a lot of the athletes go down there and just hang out and watch some of the other sports and events and stuff. We've been just trying -- hung out with the men's water polo a bunch. They're all really good guys. It's the most humbling place. I've said this. It's the most humbling place you could ever go to if you're an athlete because it's the best of the best. You know, I met a speed walker in the opening ceremonies that walks a mile faster than I run a mile. It's very, very hummbling. Very humbling place. It's been really exciting to make new friendships with these world class athletes who are definitely in better shape than some of us tennis players.

Q. What about the Australian water polo team?

MARDY FISH: Actually, we were walking to dinner last night. He was talking to somebody. I was behind them because I was trying to catch up to him. I saw some Australian girls that had Australian shirts on. I ran over there and asked them if they were water polo. It turned out they were. Those are the first two we've seen so far. Andy kind of kept going. He didn't stop at all. I kind of want to get into it. I think I'm going to plan the entire thing and take like half the money. Give him my key to the room so he's here at this time and I can take half.

Q. So the bet's still on?

MARDY FISH: I asked her. She was like, "Oh, I don't know, I don't know what you're talking about." There's definitely something going on there - definitely (smiling).

Q. Andy was talking about the pin count. Mike or Bob got the smallest one. Are you in that?

MARDY FISH: Bob got Mozambique. I think there's like five athletes from Mozambique. That's tough to get. I was at first, then I kind of tanked a little bit on it. When you put them on, there's so many, you put them on, this thing gets heavy, then it starts like poking you in the neck, so I took some off. But I'm trying to. Always just hang with Venus, because she tries to get every single country. Dominik Hrbaty has like almost every country. He has like 15 countries he still has to get till he gets every one. That's pretty cool. If I hang around Andy and Venus... Some people come up and ask them for a picture, and they'll say, "Only if you give me a pin." I'll just hang around with them and I'll get some.

End of FastScripts….

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