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August 29, 2007
NEW YORK CITY, NEW YORK
THE MODERATOR: Questions.
Q. Roddick, Blake, Fish, Ginepri, another US Open?
MARDY FISH: Isner. Don't forget him. Can't talk about American tennis and not talk about Isner, right?
Q. Not now.
MARDY FISH: Yeah, no, it's been so far so good. It was nice for me personally. Nice to get a pretty favorable draw after playing Ljubicic and Nadal in first rounds in the other two that I've played this year.
You know, after playing so many matches last week, you know, it was nice to play Wednesday, get a little bit of a break for my body. Everything felt good.
Q. Todd says he's perfectly okay with you. What was behind the split?
MARDY FISH: I think that's a better question for him. I mean, it wasn't my choice.
Q. How big is this Open to finally put American tennis back on the map?
MARDY FISH: I mean, you know, people have been so spoiled, the tennis fans, in the past with the guys. I'm sure you know their names, the era that came before us. There's probably six or seven of them that were competing for Slams almost every time.
You know, it's just not the case anymore. We've got a lot of -- we've had a good start, we've got a lot of talent on the American side. We've got the No. 5 and 6 guys in the world. They love playing here. No. 1 doubles team. We've got a great Davis Cup team right now and going forward.
There's that one guy named Roger. If he wasn't around, you know, Andy might have a couple more slams. I think, for sure, Andy would have two or three more, and James might have won the US Open last year or the year before maybe.
Q. But he is around. Americans aren't ready to accept less.
MARDY FISH: The difference between basketball and football and tennis, you can put golf in with tennis, in that it's so international. Even golf around the world now, there's so many guys coming up. Good friends with Sergio Garcia. Saw him yesterday.
He's good friends with Camilo Villegas who he brought around yesterday. There's two right there that are really good in the sport of golf, in the game of golf.
It's the same thing with tennis. There's so many guys. You look at Serbia, for instance, an incredible amount of talent in Djokovic and the two women on the women's side.
Yeah, I mean, I agree with you. The American fan, including myself, because I'm a sportsfans, a sports nut outside of tennis, I don't tolerate losing either with my teams.
Q. Who are you working with now?
MARDY FISH: I have a buddy of mine travelling with me now to help me out. His name is Bo Hodge. I don't have a full-time coach.
Q. He was part of the Boca Mafia?
MARDY FISH: I think he was. I'm very comfortable with him. We've known each other for a really, really long time. He's been around the game for his whole life. I can easily call him one of my best friends.
It's nice to have someone who's not just there for a paycheck in your corner. Not to say that they were there for that. But, you know, it's nice to me that you have someone that without a doubt is there for your best interest.
You know, like I said, he's been around the game. He's seen me play maybe more than anybody. It's very comforting to have someone like that in your corner.
Q. How disruptive is it every time you make a coaching change?
MARDY FISH: You know, I mean, it's tough. Emotionally it's not easy. I mean, I'm not one of those guys who doesn't feel it. I split with Kelly Jones a couple years ago, two and a half years ago or so, before I hired Todd.
You know, you travel with that person almost every week of the year. You get to be pretty close to them. Calling them over to your house and saying that you don't want to work with them anymore isn't easy. It weighs on you, especially on me. I'm kind of a softy when it comes to that.
That stuff is emotionally pretty draining and can take away a little bit from your game. The first time or two was real tough for me. But, you know, the more -- the older I get, the more mature I get, the more you understand it really is a job. And you have to be selfish. You have to do what's best for you. I'm not going to be out here forever. I can't waste any years.
Q. When Isner first came down to Saddlebrook to work you hit with him. What did you think?
MARDY FISH: I thought that he was a big goofy kid. I thought he was extremely, extremely fun to be around. A great kid. And Bo and him got to know each other very well at the University of Georgia.
So he had come down a couple times prior to moving down just to hang out, not necessarily practice, but just to hang out with us. I got to know him a little bit there. James did, as well.
At first, you know, you kind of think, yeah, he's got a big serve, but it didn't really feel like it was Karlovic-esque. I felt like he has better groundstrokes and has a little more game from the back of the court than Ivo.
Ivo does an extremely good job of understanding what his strengths and weaknesses are. He knows that he's got to get to the net. In my opinion, it would be pretty beneficial for John to watch him play a lot and to maybe try to get to the net a little bit more.
But to answer your question, I definitely didn't see this meteoric rise like he's done. I mean, there's no way that you can't look and not see talent, not see someone who can win a lot of matches on tour.
But to beat Tommy Haas 7-6 in the third, I'd like to see him win a few more sets without tiebreakers. But he's definitely got the guts to play for sure.
Q. When did you stop working with Todd?
MARDY FISH: After Wimbledon.
Q. You played probably your best tennis the last couple weeks. How much weight do you put into a coach in tennis?
MARDY FISH: I think that's a good question. I think it's imperative that you have another pair of eyes. I think it's imperative that you have someone who knows you, who's not trying to change you. I mean, I've been playing pro tennis for seven or eight years now. I pretty much understand the gist of what I've got to do, what my strengths are, what my weaknesses are.
Obviously you're working on your game non-stop. You're trying to improve non-stop. But it is nice to have -- I think it's imperative to have an extra pair of eyes that you feel comfortable with, that you trust, that you respect. It's a major thing. All the things that I felt with Todd.
Like I said earlier, it is nice to have someone that you feel -- really feel has your best interests and doesn't really care about anything else, you know, is kind of just there for you. Not to say by any means that Todd wasn't like that or Scott wasn't like that.
Bo is one of my best friends in the world. You know, the other guys were far from as close as I am to Bo.
Q. What kind of reasoning did Todd give for not wanting to continue?
MARDY FISH: I got the feeling that, you know, he didn't want to travel as much. With Cash growing up, starting to walk now, I think those are pretty precious times for him. Being a family guy, like he is, you know.
It would be hard-pressed to tell you there wasn't other issues about tennis. But I think for the most part he liked to be home. You know, I think he finally realized that he had traveled his whole career for 15 or so odd years. He was doing a little bit more travelling than he wanted to. I think that weighed a lot, had a lot to do with it.
Q. Can Bo be hard on you if you need that?
MARDY FISH: Well, he hasn't showed that yet. I think he can. You know, I mean, I think if anybody can kind of step in and say, you know, You're doing this, you're acting like an idiot, and I can take it, it would be someone like him as opposed to just having a coach that, you know, you don't know very well. I think it would be tougher for someone like that to jump in and be real stern.
You know, but again, I'm not 18 years old anymore. I haven't just come on tour. Some of the things that maybe he needs to be stern about, you know, I get and I understand now obviously better than I did when I came on.
Q. You are a tour veteran. Why is it the John Isners seem to be able to have breakthrough tournaments and get deep a couple weeks in a row and arrive here as the stars? Why is it as a tour veteran -- being a veteran, why doesn't it seem to turn for you?
MARDY FISH: How do you mean?
Q. We don't read about Mardy Fish making a run through. Djokovic has game but he's still kind of new.
MARDY FISH: I think a lot of it has to do with, like you said, he's new. Him and Sam Querrey are the next hopefuls. Like you said, they're looking for the next Federer or the next Sampras or Agassi. They put a lot of emphasis on that media-wise.
I had my day in the sun, if you will. I mean, I came here -- you know, a week before I came here when I was 21 years old I just lost to Andy Roddick in the finals in Cincinnati 7-6 in the third. I was ranked 20 in the world at the time. I had my day like that.
That stuff doesn't really bother me. But they're new. No one's ever heard of John. They're starting to hear about Sam. I think it's a good thing.
Q. You sound like you're content to be a journeyman than a contender.
MARDY FISH: I haven't done anything to warrant people talking about me, you know, lately anyways, going deep in a Grand Slam. I've never gone past the second round at this tournament.
Obviously it's a good thing when the media talks about you, when you write articles about us. I mean, I think maybe you hit it on the head. Right now I am anyways, content with where I am. I'm extremely happy off the court and on the court.
Like a lot of the articles and stuff that you write, with that comes a little bit of pressure as well, and I don't feel that right now. Maybe it's a good thing.
Q. Most everybody has a good Justin Gimelstob story. Do you have one?
MARDY FISH: I've got some maybe that we -- can't be said. I haven't spent much time away from the courts with him, you know, enough to answer your question truly. In the time I have, I can't say here.
Q. These former champions like Safin, Moya, do you look at them as legitimate threats to win majors anymore, contenders?
MARDY FISH: I have enormous respect for those guys you mentioned. Moya, No. 1 in the world, Grand Slam champion, Davis Cup champion. Hewitt, same thing.
MARDY FISH: Safin, same thing.
You know, those guys, you see Hewitt, for instance, almost beat Nadal in the semis of Hamburg, lose 7-6 in third or 7-5 in the third. I can't remember the score exactly. You know, maybe should have won that match when Nadal had won 80 some odd matches in a row.
Then last week losing to Federer in the semis, right, Hewitt? He was up a break in the third maybe or something. Could have won that one, as well.
Hewitt, for instance. At any time -- there was a reason at one point they were No. 1 in the world.
Q. Do you feel that way about Marat?
MARDY FISH: At any time, those three guys you said can turn it on and beat anybody. Those are guys that you definitely don't want to see your name against at big tournaments. They've got so much experience. They've been in every situation at these big tournaments. Those are definitely tough guys to play, especially in Grand Slams.
Q. If something should happen to Andy or James at this tournament injury-wise, is John Isner mature enough to go off to Sweden and play Davis Cup?
MARDY FISH: I think that would be pretty tough. I mean, I think maturity-wise... Going to Georgia, playing in front of lots of fans like he did, he's been in situations where he's played in front of a lot of fans in pressure situations, but this is just completely different.
Hopefully that doesn't happen to any of them. But I'd like to say that I could jump in there and play over Querrey or Isner, having been there, played in the finals of Davis Cup, semis, knowing and understanding what kind of pressure comes with it.
I mean, he's never even been around Davis Cup before. Might be a little bit different once he goes to Sweden and understands and sees how it is he might be able to jump in there. Having not even been around the team or been around the Davis Cup, period, that could be pretty tough.
End of FastScripts