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August 23, 2007

Mardy Fish


THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. First man through to the semifinals, American. You've got to be pretty excited.
MARDY FISH: Absolutely, yes. It's pretty satisfying knowing, you know, all the hard work that we've put in off the court to get my body in good shape, get my knees back and healthy, you know, my ankle and my shoulder and stuff, it's nice to know that that pays off on a day like today playing two pretty tough matches.

Q. Talk about that. Playing two in one day is tough when you're perfectly fit, and then when you're coming back.
MARDY FISH: Yeah, it's tough. You know, I didn't really feel like today's morning match was a three setter. More like two and a half sets with the last set being so quick and being 6-Love. I started out well today. That was the key.
You win the first set in a match like today, and the second match when you've already played one match, that really hurts the guy's -- hurts his confidence knowing that he's got to still play two sets even though he just played a long one set and he's still got to play two more to win.
It was nice to get up a break there in that second set and really put the pressure on him.

Q. Did you feel the momentum carry over from the first match to the second, or did you just stay on a roll?
MARDY FISH: Yeah, I mean, it was to the second straight match that I had won ten straight games to finish off the match. Started out winning the first three and then he came back and won maybe the next three and I held at 3-All.
So it's, you know, to win 13 straight games in the Round of 16 and in quarters is not easy, and that obviously means that I was playing pretty well.

Q. Speaking of the break in the second set, you were up 4-3 I believe. You had a couple backhand errors. Was that pressure or you felt like you needed to hold?
MARDY FISH: Which game are you talking about?

Q. You were up 3-2, excuse me. Up 3-2, up a break.
MARDY FISH: Okay. Yeah, sure. I mean, it's, you know, it's been a while since I've been in that position and, you know, since the beginning of the year in the first four or five tournaments that I played this year I was in the quarterfinals in all five.
And that was the first -- this was the first tournament that I haven't been back there. So, yeah, there was definitely a little bit of pressure.

Q. There's been a lot talk this week about Donald Young and of course there's always about James he's here. Did you feel kind of like the left out American?
MARDY FISH: No. I'm pretty used to that when they talk about there's only a few good American players, period, with Andy and James. They never really mention me anyway, so I don't really feel left out and I don't get caught up in that kind of stuff.

Q. Did you think it's easier to work with the umpires now with the challenge system?
MARDY FISH: Absolutely. You don't get in as many arguments. I still tend to find something to argue about though. But, yeah, they don't make -- they can make mistakes but you can correct them yourself.

Q. Seems you're doing a little bit better without Todd Martin as a coach for you in the box.
MARDY FISH: You know, I don't -- I mean, I played great in the beginning of the year when he was on my side and playing great now, so...

Q. I'll coach you.

Q. Have you been banged up all year? Has it been one thing after another?
MARDY FISH: Yeah. It's been more like, you know, couple weeks here and couple weeks there. In the beginning of the year I didn't have many problems except for the shoulder in Indian Wells, and that was kind of a fluke thing and it happened in the third set of my second-round match.
Ended up losing that match 7-6 in the third and having to pull out of Miami to get ready for Houston. Houston was a big week for me because that was my second title that I had won and the first time I was going to go back and defend a title. So that was an important week for me.
You know, so had to get ready for that week and, you know, and then the foot and then the ankle from kicking the field goal.

Q. From kicking a field goal?
MARDY FISH: Yeah. Before the French Open and, you know, just kind of -- and then the knee started lingering a little bit. But everything is feeling pretty good, so hopefully that's behind me.

Q. Was it frustrating, because you had such is a nice rebound here last year?
MARDY FISH: Yeah. It was absolutely frustrating. The summer hard courts is our time to shine and our time to play well. You know, went to L.A. having not won very many matches prior to L.A. and went up against Sam Querrey in the first round.
Figured that was going to be a pretty tough match to win and I actually went on and played pretty well and beat him 4 and 4 or something in the first round. I was really excited that maybe I just needed to get back in the States and back on a true bouncing court having been on clay and grass for so long.
Then I just couldn't really put to together and had to pull out of a tournament or two because of my knees. You know, hopefully we've rectified that now.

Q. What's it like being overseas and coming back for the hard court season?
MARDY FISH: It's nice to be back, that's for sure. London isn't so bad, but the language barrier is tough in Europe. And they don't have ESPN Sports Center. They -- so that's tough.
And the clay is just tough for us because it's not our best surface. I really enjoy playing on clay, but, you know, for very -- you know, for whatever reason, you know, we don't win very much on the European clay anyway. Obviously I won in Houston and that was on clay. It was kind of out of blue and no one can take away the fact that I won a clay court tournament.
So it's nice to again get back to the States and, you know, again, to be on like a true bouncing court and to be in front of our fans and to play, you know, instead of court whatever, name the number, and come back to, you know, playing pretty much every match on stadium in front of your fans, it's definitely nice.

Q. Does a day like today help show you where you are physically for the five-set matches next week?
MARDY FISH: Absolutely, yes. This was a huge test for me and my body to see if I was going to hold up. Stamina-wise I knew I was going to be fine. I've worked real hard off the court. Just didn't know if my knees were going to hold up.
I figured they could hold up for a three-out-of-five set match, but could they hold up for three sets and then three more sets four hours later was the test, and I passed. So it's good.

Q. Talk about the problems Karlovic would pose as opposed to Andreev, and how you fare against those guys?
MARDY FISH: Two completely different players. I've never played Andreev. I played Karlovic. I think beat Karlovic the first tow times I played him quite some time ago. He's gotten me probably the past three times on every different surface.
Karlovic is extremely hard to play. Puts an extreme amount of pressure on you to hold serve. You know, and I played him in Australian Open one year in the first round, 2005, and I lost 7-6, 7-6, 7-6 and there was no breaks of serve. I don't even think he had a breakpoint against me. He almost come of the court feeling like you didn't lose, yet you're going home.
You know, he does that to you. He beat me this year in San Jose in the quarterfinals on a real fast court, and he beat me this year at Queen's on grass, which is a pretty good surface for his serve.
But every one of those matches I can look back and remember that there were chances and there were, you know, a Love-30 at 5-All, you know, or a 15-30 at -- or a 30-40 here or a 15-40 there, you know, and just couldn't get it for one reason or the other.
You know, if it is him tomorrow it's a pretty straightforward match: Hold serve and take every opportunity that you can.

Q. What do you know about Andreev as far as his style?
MARDY FISH: It's completely opposite. Extreme clay courter who works extremely hard on the court and doesn't give you an ounce of free points. You know, a huge forehand. One of those guys that you got to scrap out a lot of points and a lot of games.
Again, one of those guys you got to serve extremely well. For me, I got to serve extremely well to beat him. Whereas Karlovic I can maybe take a little bit off the first serve and get some in. You know, maybe get in more rallies because he's easier to beat from the baseline than Andreev is.

Q. What did you do in between matches to keep your knees in shape.
MARDY FISH: Sat on the couch.

Q. Any ice?
MARDY FISH: No ice. I just sat on the couch, ate some food, and watched James and then got ready to go.

Q. What do you think you can take positively from today in both of your matches for tomorrow?
MARDY FISH: Just the fact that, you know, that I got -- I've gotten better and better each match this whole tournament. I think that that's pretty straightforward. Just off the top of my head, the first match was very, very rusty and very, very streaky. But I did feel like I played well at times. And, you know, one of those matches where you just hope to get through.
And then, you know, playing Wawrinka. He played very well in the first set and made me work for a lot of points. You know, luckily broke him there when he was serving for the match and then reeled off ten straight games, and then the same thing this morning. Just kept it going.
This afternoon's match was much more clean, not as many errors, a lot more focused.

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