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August 25, 2007

Mardy Fish


THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. I know the other night you said it would be a lot of fun playing James, but it seemed a little strange out there, at least to me watching it. There wasn't a lot of electricity. Was it nerves playing him or something?
MARDY FISH: I think -- I disagree. I mean, I felt the crowd was -- it was extremely fun walking out to Born in the USA and having the crowd chanting U-S-A.
Night matches, you know, in this area are pretty electric, in my opinion, and that's probably the most -- in my opinion, that's the most electric match I've played all year.
You know, and you don't play too many night matches where you're -- if you're from the U.S. where you're the big underdog and everybody's cheering for the other guy. I didn't really feel like that was overwhelmingly the case, but it was pretty apparent who the crowd was cheering for which made it fun for me.

Q. You never found the rhythm on your serve. Talk about that.
MARDY FISH: Yeah, I think that was probably the key. It would have been nice to, you know, hold serve. I've played five matches this week in five days, and it's not that I can't do it, but I'm just not used to it right now not having played nearly as many matches.
Off the top of my head I've probably played four matches all summer and then five or six here. If your arm's not used that kind of stuff it's going to eventually break down. That's something that, you know, the more and more matches you play the more you get used to serving and, you know, you go to Cincinnati and they're different balls and you come here and they're Wilson balls and the balls change and it's, you know, it's not easy on your arm to keep changing like that.
So it would have been nice to hold serve, you know, like I normally do and, you know, but James puts a lot pressure on serving and he returns so well. So he's one of those guys that I kind of know that you're going to get your chances on your return games, but, you know, you're going to have your work cut out for you on your serve game.

Q. When you know someone so well are you making more errors because you're thinking you have to put the ball right in the same spot?
MARDY FISH: You're out-thinking yourself because they -- you think they know what you're going to do and so you know that they think you know what they're going to do and you kind of out-think yourself a little bit.
You know, James played very solid tonight and, you know, gave me a little bit of a chance there in that second set to get back on serve but served his breakpoint away there at 4-3.

Q. Do you think there are enough years for James to have every lived with beating you on a challenge, if he gets that challenge at the very end and wins a match?
MARDY FISH: I'm sure he could have lived with it. Yes. I would have lived with it had it been me.

Q. Can you just talk about the week in general. I mean, what it means for you confidence-wise, emotionally, all that.
MARDY FISH: It's been a great week. It's been a great week. You know, I wasn't even slated to come here. Had I won maybe one or two matches in Cincinnati I probably would not have come here.
I'm glad I did and, you, know it's funny, you lose and you get down on yourself, and then you lose a few in matches in a row this summer and, you know, you just kind of hope that instead of, you know, going second round, second round, second round I'd rather go first round, first round first round, final.
I mean, it let's you know that you can do it and you can play well and you can beat top players and you can go deep in big tournaments.
You know, this is great preparation for the US Open. But on the other hand, it was a big tournament for me confidence-wise, like you said, because if I went into the US Open like I went into Wimbledon, you know, I would have struggled probably.
I feel great right you now. The body feels great and I think the arm, you know, from the serve is just from over-serving, and a couple days' rest and a little bit of treatment will take that away.

Q. There's been two all-American finals in the last three weeks and four in the last four years. Is there any reason? Is it just a coincidence?
MARDY FISH: You mean the past three weeks?

Q. Yeah, Washington and here.
MARDY FISH: I mean, the depth of men's tennis is so deep now, and, you know, you got guys from everywhere, you know, that are so good and so young. They're 18, 19. Djokovic is what, 19 years old and 3 in the world. These guys are just coming from no where and shooting up the ranks, and they're all so good and everybody in the top 60, 70 in the world can beat anybody.
You know so, it's -- the depth has gotten a lot tougher and we don't have right now -- we're trying our very best, but this isn't an era of Sampras and Agassi. I could go on and on about every one of those guys, and it's a pretty tough era to follow. It almost seems like you can't really do much to please everybody.
We've got No. 5 and No. 6 in the world. James is playing great and Andy, and the Bryan brothers are far and away the best team in doubles in the world. I think we're doing okay.

Q. Did the U.S. have to learn to be an underdog, as a mentality?
MARDY FISH: No, we don't feel like that. As a mentality we always feel like we can beat anyone. And, you know, like Davis Cup in the past couple years I was on the team in 2004 when we made the final and we lost in Spain 3-2 in the final. That was kind of Nadal's coming out party and beat Andy in a really close match. That doesn't happen and we win. And so I feel like, no, we don't really feel like under dogs.

Q. Can you compare the emotion of this match to when you played Roddick in Australia and what you felt like out there emotionally?
MARDY FISH: It was comparable to how we felt. The atmosphere was obviously different. Much more fun, in my opinion. That was pretty stressful playing -- that was another situation that I had never been in, though.
This was my ninth final so I'm pretty accustomed to playing big matches, and especially finals. You know, that was a strange match and one of those matches where maybe you'd like to forget almost playing down there, and the score line I don't even think indicated how badly we both felt kind of out there.
You know, it was an uncomfortable. Felt a little bit uncomfortable and we didn't know whether to fist pump or to, you know, get down on ourselves or whatever. And so this one was a little more fun and it was nice to be -- it was nice that it was here. It's such a great event and in the States.

Q. Did you and James talk to each other before the match at any time?
MARDY FISH: Yeah. We talked on the phone. He gets to buy me dinner now. We talked on the phone earlier today and yesterday after -- you know, before his match yesterday and, you know, we spent probably the last hour together. I mean, we're just so used to -- if we both play at 7:00 on different courts we're in the lunch eating food or whatever, watching TV with each other anyway.
Got my trainer and my coach at his table eating and, you know, my parents at my table. So it's just what we're used to.

Q. Was it strange walking out on the court right before the match?
MARDY FISH: No. It felt really good. It was really cool to walk out, you know, kind of the atmosphere and, you know, you didn't really know -- didn't exactly know how everyone would react or how many people would be here, and it was a great turn out and definitely special to be able to play James in a big match and to, you know -- to be able to play in a big match, you know, it's been a while. Since Australia really that I played a big match like that.

Q. Going to stick him with a big check tonight?
MARDY FISH: Probably not tonight but tomorrow night. Not probably. Yes.

Q. You won here before. What was your best case scenario of this week?
MARDY FISH: To be honest, I hadn't won two matches in a row in a while, and probably since probably Memphis was the last time and that's a long time, man.
Especially after, you know, starting the year so well and having that huge lull. The only thing I can say is I don't have to defend anything from February until late August.

Q. Were one of those matches the key, one of the earlier round matches really got the confidence soaring?
MARDY FISH: I mean, I had match point down in the first round in the second set, and I was far from winning that match. Had 30 -- 40-30 on his serve and just kind of went for a backhand up the line and it was either going to be a winner or I was going home, and lucky for me it went in.
From there, I played better, and then the next round I played a little bit better and a little bit better and just got better and better and better every round. It doesn't hurt your confidence when you play two good players in the second round and third round when you win ten games in a row to, you know, to finish off both matches.
That helps a lot as well for confidence.

Q. Is Blake ever going let you forget this match?
MARDY FISH: He's too nice to shove it in my face for sure. Definitely too nice for that.

Q. If you don't feel this way now, what do you think you need to achieve and what do round you think you need to get to in the next couple tournaments to be included in the American box of tennis like you said you were okay with?
MARDY FISH: Well, I've been the third-ranked American basically my entire career. If tennis fans or reporters are talking about American tennis and if they're only talking about two players being from such a big country, then I can't really help that.
I'm doing my best to -- I'm doing everything I can to, you know try to, not necessarily satisfy people, but to try to, you know, make a name for myself and try to win as many matches as I can and get as ranked as high as I can and try to make as much money as I can while I can.
It's a job, and that's what it come down do. We are trying to make a living out here as well, and we always understand that we're playing a game. It's a great job, but it is a job. We're trying our best.

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