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January 19, 2007

Mardy Fish


THE MODERATOR: First question, please.

Q. Sweet and sour?
MARDY FISH: Yeah, it's a tough way to end. This is a real big tournament for him. We have been friends for quite some time out here, joking around a lot. He's one of the better guys you'll meet out on the road.
It's tough. I was shocked. I had no idea that he was hurting. You know, it's a tough way to end it all.

Q. When did you notice he was first in trouble?
MARDY FISH: Well, I felt like something was weird when he came back from the injury and didn't want to hit any serves. He didn't warm up his serve. I felt like that was a little weird. But I still had no clue what was wrong. Maybe his arm. I thought maybe his arm. I didn't think anything.
He hit his first serve. I was shocked at how slow it was compared to his normal serve. I don't think I missed a return on a first serve. Felt weird on his leg. I think it was his right leg.
I just tried to put as many balls in. I didn't know what was going on. I just tried to put in as many balls in the court, then figure out what was wrong, so...

Q. Did you see him staggering at all in the first service game?
MARDY FISH: Absolutely, yeah. You want to try to focus as much as you can. I was well aware that something was seriously wrong.

Q. How tough was it to go through the motions?
MARDY FISH: Yeah, I mean, I didn't know if he was in pain. I didn't know. I didn't hear anything. Usually you don't hear about a guy's injury until you go on. I had to do what I had to. I've got to try to win. I had to try to keep my mind on, Okay, he's probably going to keep playing. It was drizzling like slightly. I thought, Maybe if it rains, he can come back. I was keeping my mind that I still was going to have to play.

Q. What did you say to him at the end?
MARDY FISH: I just said, I'm sorry, man. Not supposed to be that way. I didn't know. I talked to him a little bit in there. He said, You're never going to believe what happened. I said, What happened? He said, I'll tell you later. He walked out.

Q. Is it a bit of a flat feeling or are you thinking you're in the fourth round?
MARDY FISH: It really is, to be honest with you. I mean, I'll take it. All things aside, I'll take it for sure. I was out 10 months of '05. I've had a little bit of bad luck. It's nice to get a little bit of good luck.
It does feel like I didn't really earn my way in. But, again, I'll take it.

Q. In that third game, did you hit a couple of balls to him?
MARDY FISH: Not on purpose. I mean, again, I didn't know what was wrong. I didn't know like how serious it was. I didn't know if he couldn't -- I assume if I hit one right to him, he could just try to slap a winner. I didn't know how bad it was. I didn't know if he could move at all, if he could just move a little bit. I tried to put the ball away from him as much as I could. It turned out he couldn't move a step.

Q. You didn't need to prove it today, but you're serving well in this tournament. Can you explain how you do that?
MARDY FISH: I mean, my serve has been a pretty integral part of my game since I started. When I serve well, I've had some real good tournaments where I've served real well. I served real well at the Olympics. I served real well in Cincinnati in 2003. Everything kind of flows with my game, works with my game if I serve well. I like to get to the net. I use it kind of as a tool to get forward as much as I can, whether it be serve and volley, whether it be off the first ball.
Serve is a major part of my game. I've been trying to work on more of a high percentage of making first serves in than I have been in the past. That's what my coach, Todd Martin, and I have been working on a lot. It feels good.

Q. Does the surface have any influence?
MARDY FISH: I mean, it helps I think on the second serve. It's a little bit quicker than it used to be. Ball moves through a little bit. Yeah, it helps. It's not a slow hard court. It definitely helps your serve.

Q. Not the way you want to get into the fourth round, but can you talk about your potential matchups?
MARDY FISH: Yeah, I didn't even know who I was going to play in the next round. You kind of look at the first couple, first round or two, see. In this case I don't think I looked very far past the first round in Ljubicic. Once you get past that, you see -- went to the ESPN studios after my first match, Fowler showed me exactly what my draw was. I knew through the third round. I didn't know until someone told me Ferrer and Stepanek. I saw Stepanek won the first set. I never played him before. I have played Ferrer four times. We're 2-2. I won the first two, and he's won the last two. Definitely a tough match-up for me, Ferrer. I feel like Stepanek and I play the same game styles. We both rely on our backhands, our serves, both want to get to the net as much as we can.

Q. What was the surface like? Was it slippery at all because of the drizzly rain?
MARDY FISH: It wasn't. It wasn't coming down hard. It was just I didn't know if he would keep going because it was drizzling a little bit. I didn't know. He couldn't move, so I didn't really know what he was waiting for. Maybe he was waiting if it would hopefully rain and he would feel better. It wasn't slippery enough to not play.

Q. You finished up and practiced a little?
MARDY FISH: I just hit. Just practiced some. Worked on some volleys and stuff. I'm playing doubles tomorrow, too. Get a little more practice tomorrow.

Q. How long did you hit for after?
MARDY FISH: 45 minutes.

Q. Did you have anything to say yesterday to Wayne after doubles?
MARDY FISH: I said, I'll see you tomorrow at the handshake. That's about it.

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