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August 20, 2004

Mardy Fish


THE MODERATOR: First question, please.

Q. Can you just describe your emotions?

MARDY FISH: No, not at all. I mean, I'm just extremely excited. You know, the guy tried to get an interview right after the match, and I'm sure it's the worst interview he's ever gotten. I honestly didn't know what to say. You know, I mean, I came into this tournament with a goal of trying to win a medal and, you know, realistically I hadn't won very many matches this summer. And I'm just -- you know, I'm just so excited that I can, you know, have a chance to play for the gold. And I'm guaranteed the silver. Where do I sign up, you know?

Q. As you said yesterday, today was the biggest match of your career. What did you say to yourself before you walked out there to serve for the match?

MARDY FISH: Honestly, you know, I talked to Andy before the match. "What's the most nervous you have ever been?" I mean, he's played in huge matches: Wimbledon final, won the US Open, served out the US Open. He said, you know, he's had a couple nerve-wracking times. But I said, "Were you nervous when you served out the US Open final?" And he said, "Honestly, no. I don't even remember what happened that entire day." He's like, "Everything was like in a blur, I was in like a daze." I honestly felt like that. You know, I mean, you know, I was trying to tell myself, "Keep the toss high and make first serves." I don't know, I mean, I felt like he was getting a little tired. I mean, he's played a lot of tennis this week. I mean, the guy's had an unbelievable week. Semis of singles, could win the doubles easily. Not easily, but win in doubles. I just, you know -- I don't know. I mean, Andy actually came off the court and said he told Patrick that he said I wouldn't hit a groundstroke the entire game. It was a pretty good call.

Q. Do you think that Gonzalez's ankle thing played any part in the outcome?

MARDY FISH: I can't tell you. I mean, you're going to have to obviously ask him that. You know, I felt like he was moving fine. I honestly was not thinking about it one bit. I felt like even if it was bothering him, I couldn't -- I mean, I can't think about those things. If I start thinking about that, then I start thinking about winning, and that's the wrong thing to think about.

Q. You made a comment when you were serving for the match, how you felt. What about during the match? Were there moments you were getting butterflies in your stomach?

MARDY FISH: Third set, beginning of the third set, you know, realizing that I'm only a set away, realizing that, you know, if I can get one break, you know, I'm that much closer. I got one break there early, you know, he broke me right back. You know, gave him a couple of gifts in a couple of the games. Luckily got out of them. Yeah, I mean, I definitely started getting nervous in the third set, to answer your question.

Q. In the first set you struggled with your serve, yet you closed it out with two aces, two service winners. What adjustments did you make?

MARDY FISH: Like I said, I think I told myself just to keep the toss higher. I felt like in the second set and first set even, the toss was too low. You know, keep it higher and just go after it. I mean, you know, I kind of -- I can't -- you know, I can't play tentative going for -- you know, trying to get into the finals. Yeah, I mean, that was pretty much it. And I wasn't really trying to put too many words into my head as possible. Just little things to try to think about.

Q. Have you been in touch with your folks back in Florida? You've won some tough matches here. Is there something happening to you here in your development as a tennis player?

MARDY FISH: Yeah, I talked to my dad. He calls me every day. I talk to my parents all the time, and my sister. And the other thing, I mean, you know, I've had some really like tough, close matches this summer and lost a lot of tiebreakers, like I've said in a couple previous press conferences. And I've just been on the bad luck end of a lot of -- you know, a lot of matches this summer. I felt like, you know, hopefully everything would like ball up into one, all the bads would ball up into one big good. You know, hopefully it would be at a big tournament like the US Open or the Olympics. You know, this is the good, I guess.

Q. There's a school of thought that says tennis shouldn't be in the Olympics. You guys have so many other big events. Do you feel Olympian right now?

MARDY FISH: Sure, yeah. I mean, I think it's better to stay in the village, you know, be hanging out with all the world class athletes, you know, that are doing all their sports. And, yeah, I mean, I feel -- I feel like part of a team over there. You know, in the village, I don't know if you know, but all the countries are together. You know, I feel like everybody feels like they're part of a team, Team USA. You know, so, yeah, to answer your question, I feel definitely like an Olympian.

Q. Have you watched any of the other medal ceremonies? Can you actually picture yourself on the podium?

MARDY FISH: I have watched quite a few of them, you know, kind of dreaming to hopefully get on the podium one time. You know, people have asked me, "What would you rather do, win a Grand Slam or win the gold medal?" I've always said that I think it would be pretty cool standing on the podium with a gold medal around your neck, having them play the national anthem. I mean, that would probably be the ultimate for me. You know, realistically, three sets away. It's that close. You know, these past few matches have been the biggest matches of my entire life. You know, not to denote any of the other matches. I've played some really big matches, Davis Cup matches, you know, for the team, for the States. I mean, this is definitely even better.

Q. Obviously, you want the gold. Having guaranteed the hardware, will there be actually less pressure in the next match than there was in this one?

MARDY FISH: Maybe, yeah. I really honestly -- I didn't expect to be here, so I don't have anything to lose. I'm sure Nicolas would say the exact same thing. And I can guarantee you that he's going to give it his all, and I can guarantee I'm going to give it my all until the last point. It's tough to say that I'll be bummed out with a silver medal. I mean, yeah, there is less pressure on both of us, I think. And I'm sure we'll be nervous going out there in the beginning. I'm sure whoever pulls it out in the end will be nervous, you know. But at the end of the day, I think I can settle for a silver medal, but I definitely want the gold (smiling).

Q. First of all, it's been a tough summer for you, talking about losing a lot of close matches. You played a match in Cincinnati before coming here. You had a chance against Agassi to win that match. You hurt yourself. Did that match give you some positive energy coming into this tournament?

MARDY FISH: Definitely. I think so. You know, just to be able to play -- you know, I was about 80% with my back. You know, I felt like I could run around, hit groundstrokes fine, a hundred percent, but my serve, it was bothering me on my serve, and I had to take a lot of pace off, and I had to really try to pitch a really good game against him. I totally lost my train of thought (smiling). Yeah, I got a lot of confidence out of that, just knowing that I could stick with someone like that. You know, I hadn't practiced at all for about 10 days before that match, and I practiced the day before, and that's it, you know. To go three sets and to lose a tiebreaker, which I've lost quite a few tiebreakers this summer, you know, that close to winning the match against Agassi, and then he goes on to win the tournament, that gave me confidence there. And it gives me confidence knowing he can go on and win the tournament, and I could have easily beat him in the first round. So, yeah, to answer your question, it definitely gave me a little something, you know, to push for. And I felt like I could play good tennis these next couple tournaments. You know, I was hoping it was going to be one of these two, the US Open or the Olympics. And I'm glad it's this one.

Q. Picked a good one.


Q. Can the momentum be built here? Can it carry over into New York?

MARDY FISH: I mean, it can only help. It doesn't hurt to make the finals, you know, or to lose in the finals or to win a tournament going into a big tournament. You know, I've got another week off after this week, and then I'm going to get ready to play. I'm going to go straight to New York and get ready. Andy and I are going to do the same. We're probably going to practice with each other a lot there. And, yeah, I mean, I'm going to rest a lot, obviously, you know, then get my mind ready and get into the swing of things in New York. I've never actually gone to The Open this early. I've always gone on like Friday and Saturday. So I'm going to try something new this year and go early and try to get acquainted and try to get in there before and get everything organized.

Q. You mentioned that you were enjoying life in the village, being part of a team. What type of support have you gotten from the other athletes?

MARDY FISH: I mean, everybody's so nice, it's unbelievable. I mean, everybody's -- you know, you go in there and, you know, a lot of people -- there's TVs with every sport on all the channels in there, down in the lounge. You know, TVs in some of the rooms and stuff. Everybody watches. You know, there's really nothing else on TV to watch but the sports and the events. You know, if there's an American on, everybody will always be watching. You know, we'll go down to the lounge, you know, and people will know that I won or people will ask. I've already made so many friends down there. Andy and I have already made so many friends. We go down there, they ask if we've won, and they're as excited as we are. The men's volleyball team, went down there last night, trying to console them a little bit. Everybody's just so unbelievably nice and so humble.

Q. Is it what you thought it would be?

MARDY FISH: I mean, it's tough to say. I mean, I assumed -- actually, I don't know. I don't know. I mean, I didn't really know what to think, to be honest with you. I didn't know how the sleeping arrangements were going to be, you know, I didn't know if we had to sleep with, you know, some of the other like athletes in our rooms. And, you know, it's nice -- you know, we have a big place, Andy and I and assistant coach Dean Goldfine. Three of us in a four-bedroom place.

Q. Could you hear Andy in the stands at all?

MARDY FISH: Oh, yeah, I could hear him.

Q. What was he saying?

MARDY FISH: He was saying, "Don't choke." No, he wasn't. You know, he was all positive things. I mean, the kid, he's younger than me, but he has been through a lot of experiences in tennis. You know, he hasn't been through, you know, the Olympics or anything like that, but he's been through big matches like, you know, Wimbledon finals and US Open finals, big, big Davis Cup matches. You know, he's got a lot of input. I try to pick his brain as much as I can.

Q. Any particular advice he gave you?

MARDY FISH: He said at the last game, he said, "Go big," which is kind of something that I was trying to do the entire match, you know, trying to take away time from him. You know, because when the guy's got time, he's deadly. When he can get his swings around and really torque into the ball like he does, on clay courts when he has time, he's dangerous. So, you know, he just said, "Go big." You know, it's tough. Little things. Some of the things go in one ear and out the other, but some of the things stay in there.

Q. Before the match, too?

MARDY FISH: Before the match? You know, he played him, so, you know, he's got a little -- little things that he can pick up that he picked up in the match. Nothing too strenuous, though.

Q. What about yourself? Are you on so much of a high that any emotional feelings or mental tiredness or physical tiredness are just not an issue?

MARDY FISH: No. I mean, not right now. I mean, we're going to try -- once you get over in the village, you totally take your mind away from everything. You don't really hang out with any tennis players. And, you know, tonight we're going to go to the women's volleyball game, if you guys let me get out of here, at 9:30. You know, just take your mind off everything. It's nice to get a day off. That will be nice. And then, you know, I'll be ready for sure.

Q. On the final, what are the dos and don'ts of playing Massu?

MARDY FISH: Well, I played him once before a long time ago, which I can't really judge too much on that. He was definitely not ranked as high as he is or the player he is now back then. Same type of match. I'm going to have to take away time from him. He's got an unbelievable forehand, and he competes so well, and he never gives up. It's going to be a battle, you know, till the last point, and I'm going to have to definitely stick with him. And if I'm losing, I'm going to have to, you know, keep attacking and try to force my game on his.

Q. Are you going to ask Taylor for any advice?

MARDY FISH: Yeah, sure.

End of FastScripts….

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