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August 22, 2004

Mardy Fish


THE MODERATOR: First question, please.

Q. Can you just talk about, I mean, to get a silver medal is a terrific thing, but it looks like it's a little bittersweet for you because it was such a close match.

MARDY FISH: Yeah, I remember somebody saying in the last press conference about how -- I think it might have been you, actually, Di Pascual was really happy and Tommy was really bummed out. I can definitely see why Tommy was a little bummed out. I think he lost in five sets as well. You know, I mean, I felt like I had the match in my hands. Two-sets-to-one is a pretty commanding lead when someone seems to be feeling, you know, a little tired, you know, as tired as he looked anyways in the third set. You feel like you pretty much have the match under control if you take care of, you know, the things you need to take care of. That's why we played the fourth and the fifth.

Q. Started out pretty rough. You were down 5-0 in the first set. Really roared back?

MARDY FISH: I think four of those five games I had game points in. It's just kind of one of those sets where it just didn't go my way, I guess. But I felt like I got back on track there, breaking him late in that set and then, you know, he held at 5-3 to make it 6-3. And I still felt like I, you know, got my feet under me. I felt like I was into the match. And, you know, a couple of those points that didn't go my way in the first set, hopefully if they went my way in the second, the third and the fourth, I should have been okay. So, yeah, the first couple games were pretty close. I think I was up 40-Love in one game, the first game, then I had game point the next game. I had breakpoint against him in the first game he served, so...

Q. How was it having Andy Roddick cheer you on during the match? Did you get a chance to talk to him at all after the match?

MARDY FISH: Yeah, we talked a little bit afterwards, but there's not really too much to say. I mean, it's just nice to have, you know, people in your corner. It's nice to have a buddy in your corner. You know, I mean, it just so happens that his last name is Roddick and he's won the US Open. I don't think that really had too much to do with it.

Q. Could you sort of take us through kind of a roller coaster of emotion out there through the match. Could you take us through that.

MARDY FISH: Well, yeah. I mean, I felt like I started out fine. I mean, I had breakpoints in the first game, then 40-Love in the second game. Then, you know, breakpoints again in the third game. Then got broken again. You know, those are opportunities that this week I have taken advantage of and didn't in one set. I still felt like if I could even hold serve at 5-0, that was my goal, just to hold serve and just to kind of get the momentum a little bit back in my direction. Sure enough I broke him there. Then I still felt like I had my feet wet and I was into the match. And then, you know, I mean, it just seemed like he was -- you know, he was really tired in that second set, in the middle of the second set, and the whole third set. Usually, when I get tired, I usually get tired and I keep getting tired (laughter). I mean, I don't really know. After he came back from the bathroom break, you know, I mean, it just all of a sudden he's -- you know, he's fresh again. I'm not quite sure how that happens.

Q. Do you think that controversial call on the serve maybe pumped him up a little bit, gave him extra energy?

MARDY FISH: Uhm... was that in the fourth set? Was it in the beginning of the fourth? It was 1-All or 2-All in the fourth or something like that? I think, yeah, I mean, if you can't get pumped up for the gold medal match in the Olympics, I think there's something wrong with you. I think he was already pumped up. And, yeah, maybe he needed that little extra something to, you know, get him over the hump, I guess. I can't really explain it. Yeah, I would have been extremely tired. I was extremely tired at the end. It was a four-hour match. He just kept getting better and better and more untired - I don't know.

Q. Early on this week, you said you wanted to see what it was like - you were kind of joking - what it was like to have the silly wreath on your head. When the moment came, what was the moment like? It was obviously pretty emotional.

MARDY FISH: Yeah, it was. You know, it went by pretty quick, to be honest with you. You know, I mean, I would have liked to have the American flag in the middle of that, of those three flag poles. I think that was the most emotional thing about it. I really wanted to hear the National Anthem being played after that match. I think that was the thing that kept me going and, you know, trying to -- you know, trying everything to try to win that match. And, you know... Yeah, I mean, that was...

Q. Didn't feel silly?

MARDY FISH: No, it felt fine. Felt fine. It fit fine.

Q. When you get over the obvious disappointment of tonight, how will you reflect on this whole Olympic experience?

MARDY FISH: Well, it's definitely a week that I'll never forget. You know, how many people can say, first of all, that they've played in the Olympics and then won a medal? You know, I'm glad that I can add to the tally of medals that the US has won. China is on our heels, I think. I mean, it's -- you know, it was a great week ranking-wise. I got my ranking back up to where I'm seeded in The Open again and looking forward instead of backwards. And, I mean, I got a medal. That's the coolest thing about it. I mean, I came into this tournament trying to get a medal, you know, and I didn't know whether it was in singles or doubles. I kind of thought that maybe my better chance would have been in doubles with Andy. We had a tough draw and went down there. I thought we could have really done well there as well. I mean, what can you say? Massu won two gold medals. That's unbelievable. It's one of the greatest -- I mean, you obviously can't have a better week. But, I mean, who would have thought, you know?

Q. You said about the way he rediscovered his energy, you don't know how that sort of thing happens. Do you have any thoughts on how he was able to get his energy back?

MARDY FISH: You know, maybe he was playing a little cat-and-mouse in the beginning. Maybe he was trying to show me that he was really tired. You know, I mean, that's the only thing that I can think of. I mean, you know, it's something that -- you know, we talked in the locker room after the match. I just don't understand how someone gets just less and less tired after, you know, keep going after hour, after hour. I feel like I'm in pretty good shape, and I was getting tired there at the end. We were having long games. The game scores were a couple 6-2, 6-3, 6-3, 6-4, whatever, but they were still long, long games. Every game with way deuce pretty much. I just don't understand how somebody can get less tired when they keep going. Usually every time that I've done it, I always get more and more tired.

Q. Obviously, extremely disappointing. No doubt about that. But have you ever felt as gutted at another loss as you do today?

MARDY FISH: Uhm... the only match that comes to mind is the match in Cincinnati last year, losing to Andy. I think it was partly just because I didn't want to lose to Andy (smiling). Yeah, I mean, that's the only -- I mean, that one and Davis Cup, losing in Sweden. That was tough because that's the only match we've lost in Davis Cup yet - so far anyways. Hopefully that will be the only one. So, yeah, I mean, I'm sure I'm forgetting a match or two. That match in Australia against Ferrero when I was up two sets to love was tough. But, I mean, that's not on the same level as this. That's just a -- you know, that was one of my first Grand Slams, my first third round ever in a Grand Slam. I feel like I can get back there, you know. This doesn't come around too often.

Q. When will you get back to Tampa, and what do you think you'll do with the medal? I know your friends are Lightning guys. Would you consider showing it off, like they do with the Stanley Cup?

MARDY FISH: They get like a day with it. A couple guys took it to Bennigans. I don't think I'm going to take it to Bennigans or anything like that. Maybe I'll wave it in their face a little bit. They don't have a medal. They can't get a medal. Actually, they probably can.

Q. Some of them have them.

MARDY FISH: They probably have gold medals. I can't do that. Never mind (smiling). I don't know. I mean, I'm gonna go back after The Open and take some time, a little time off, and kind of reflect on what I've just done here. I'm sure tomorrow or the next couple days I'll realize that this was an unbelievable experience and an unbelievable tournament for me and something that obviously I'll never forget. I'll put the -- I'm sure I'll put the medal -- I asked Tommy where he put his. He says he has it in a safe. But I kind of want to keep it out so people can see it. But I don't want anybody to steal it (smiling).

Q. You talked about how Blaine Wilson brought his silver medal down to the lounge and let everybody try it on. Will you do the same?

MARDY FISH: I feel like they've got quite a few -- swimming has quite a few medals down there in the lounge, so I don't want to -- I can't really -- I would have brought the gold medal for sure because you can't get any better than that, but you can do a little bit better than a silver medal. Blaine was in the locker room just now. He came to the match. I said, "I got one, too."

Q. No loss on a professional level can ever bring a player to tears like this. This is something in another world, isn't it, as far as emotion?

MARDY FISH: Yeah, I mean, like I said before, I think the most disappointing thing about it was that I just really wanted to hear the National Anthem. I felt like, in my opinion - and this is an opinion that a lot of players have different, you know, have a different view of it - but I think that the Olympics is the biggest thing, and a gold medal is the biggest prize in sports. And I felt like if, you know, if I heard the National Anthem, and I felt like some tears would come there as well. Sure enough, they came, but it was a song that I had never heard of.

Q. What did you think of the crowd?

MARDY FISH: I honestly felt like it was an away tie in a Davis Cup match. These South American countries and European countries, they have some loud fans. It's exciting to play. I mean, they didn't bother me. I mean, I'd rather have fans cheering than fans not cheering. It seemed like everybody was fair, obviously, and nobody was saying stuff when we were playing or hitting or anything like that. But, yeah, I mean, I definitely felt like they were on his side most of the -- most of the flags were Chilean. I'd much rather have it that way than have fans that were not into it at all.

Q. How do you explain why most of the fans were on his side? Ranking-wise, I guess you would have been the underdog.

MARDY FISH: Maybe there was a lot more Chileans there, and they like that Chi-Chi-Chi-Le-Le-Le song. I've heard it about 1,000 times now and I'm sick of it (smiling) - in the last two matches. I never want to hear it again. I don't know. Maybe it was because he was tired and he was fighting and they saw that and they felt like maybe he was the underdog in the match just because of the way things were going in the beginning.

End of FastScripts….

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