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January 16, 2008

Mardy Fish



Q. How do you rate this Grand Slam win with other Grand Slam wins you've had in terms of ease?
MARDY FISH: In terms of ease?

Q. Well it looked easy on the scoreboard.
MARDY FISH: Tommy makes you play a lot of balls. This was definitely one of the best matches I've played at a Grand Slam. In a pretty good spot, considering I've got quite a few points to defend here and, you know, I just tried to, you know, I tried to shorten the points as much as I could.
I was real successful doing that. I mean, the Lubicic match was real nice last year, but I'm not sure I played quite as good as I did today.

Q. I remember the look on your face at the US Open last year after the Robredo loss when you had big chances. It seemed like today you focused the whole time and didn't let anything get away from you.
MARDY FISH: Yeah, you keep in the back of your mind. I think Sverev two days ago was up a break maybe three times in the third set and two sets to love. You keep that in mind after I lost a break early in the third, you know, with new balls, nonetheless, to serve with new balls, which is my favorite game to serve at.
Like I said, he makes you play so many balls and you're just off just a little bit. You get tight in that spot, and luckily, I was obviously a little nervous to wanting to close it out quickly. You know, wanting to, you know, rectify the loss at the US Open. That was obviously a pretty devastating loss for me, being up 4-1 in the fifth, serving for the third, you know a few spots there that I could have pulled out, could have pulled myself through and didn't.
You know, this was a pretty nice revenge, I guess.

Q. So your attacking game just worked all day today, huh?
MARDY FISH: Yeah, you know, I guess the court speed is pretty medium-paced. You know, he's got big swings off both sides. Obviously plays much better on slow courts than he does on fast courts. He's made the quarterfinals three times at the French, so obviously when he has time he does extremely well.
I just tried to take away as much time as I could from him, make the court as quick as I could, make the court as quick as I could with my groundstrokes, hit my groundstrokes low and going through the court instead of spinny.
I might have spun the ball little too much on my forehand at the Open, especially with a quick surface there. That worked out well.

Q. Are you concerned about the pepper spray incident last night?
MARDY FISH: Huh-uh, I'm not.
The only time I ever heard about it was in the newspaper, and I didn't really read it.

Q. So it doesn't dent your idea of the tournament?
MARDY FISH: Huh-uh, I love this tournament.

Q. Obviously you play around the world. The crowd here, is it something particular about the crowds in particular in the outside courts in terms of is there an edge or something about them that's a little bit different than elsewhere? I'm trying to get to the bottom of how it gets to this stage.
MARDY FISH: I think the Australian fans are extremely knowledgeable. You know, I think they understand a good match, a good matchup when they see it. You know, I think, you know, they're -- there's a lot more, you know, different types of cultures that come out to this tournament.
You know, I was looking forward to it last year, playing Wayne Arthus in the third round on the Margaret Court. We walked out there and it was electric, and, you know, it's pretty -- you know, you just don't see that anywhere else, I don't think. In Slams, at least.
You know, and they love their tennis down here. They love their sports down here, period. Tennis is the thing right now, I guess.

Q. Is there a flip side to that? Do you feel there's an edge where it can get over the top, or do you think it's great to have that as an advantage?
MARDY FISH: No, I think that tennis players in general like to play, myself included, like to play in front of, you know, fans that know what they're doing, know what they're watching, know what they're clapping for instead of just clapping for double faults and things like.
I don't think, you know, they don't do that here. You know, I think they understand the moment a lot. You know, it's just a testament to -- and even the Hopman Cup, played that the first week. It was packed every day. So they get great crowds here. They get into the match, which is fun for us.

Q. Are you playing the best tennis of your career at the moment?
MARDY FISH: I think maybe that was certainly one of the best matches I've ever played. You know, I don't think I would have said that after the first round, but it was a lot bigger -- it was a pretty big difference playing on Court 19 and one of the biggest courts in the world. It's much easier to play out there in Vodafone and having not much to lose.
You know, I felt like it was -- today was just, you know, was a nice matchup for me. If I could execute, then I liked my chances pretty well. That was the case.

Q. How did you feel about the Davis Cup when that happened and the U.S. won?
MARDY FISH: Obviously I was pretty -- it was a pretty emotional time for everybody. You know, it was a long time coming for, you know, for us. We felt like all -- you know, a bunch of us had been on the team since 2001, 2002, so it was, you know, seven, six-, seven-year process.
Just watching the guys and being on the team but not on the team and watching the guys win. You know, being able to run out there and share it with them was pretty special.

Q. How would you describe this current generation of American players who are probably not as high profile as the Agassi/Sampras period?
MARDY FISH: I wasn't around, you know. I wasn't around tennis much during that generation you just mentioned, but I know that we're all extremely close. We all root for each other. We all go to dinner almost every night together. We're in the locker room talking to the Bryans before their match.
They're playing extremely well and they're extremely confident, and obviously they're by far the best team in the world.
You know, Andy can beat anyone, James can beat anyone whenever they choose, and we're all rooting for each other. We're all extremely close.

Q. Do you feel less pressure here than you do in New York?
MARDY FISH: Yeah. I mean, you know, I love the heat. Growing up in Florida. But, you know, obviously it's always hot. The weather today was picture perfect. I was golfing weather, is what I call it back home.
A little bit -- 75 degrees and sunny and not much wind is pretty ideal to play in, so I was pretty comfortable out there today.
You know, I do love the weather here. You know, it's a long ways from home, but, you know. But it's, in my opinion, maybe the closest that we have to, you know, the closest to the States in that the people are extremely nice here and extremely accommodating in all the tournaments.
You know, the hotel is close to the courts, and they've got great restaurants over there at the Crown, and it almost feels like home for us here, but away from home, obviously.
You know, New York is such a fast-paced tournament, and, you know, I'm kind of a small-town boy.
So a lot of that attention, you know, might not suit me as well as it, you know, as well as not much attention at all does down here.

Q. You've been on the stuff enough now, the surface. They've changed it from Perth and here. Does it beat your body up a little bit less than the other stuff used to?
MARDY FISH: You know, I can't -- I haven't had any injuries and my body feels fine. That's really all I can say. I mean, you know, at first I thought the surface was slow, you know, and once the heat gets on it and once the sun hits it, you know, the balls start moving throughout court pretty well.
You know, I really think it's a surface for, you know, for all -- - you know, for anyone, you know: Clay courters and serve and volleyers. You can make a case for both sides and say it's slow enough that Nadal's got a good shot here and it's fast enough to where Andy's got a real good shot here.

Q. Some of the guys have been saying that maybe the bounce is maybe a little too low for the clay court guys, but you don't think that's true?
MARDY FISH: I liked that today. I tried to keep the ball low against someone who likes the ball pretty high, and I think Tommy played well on Rebound Ace. Made quarters here last year, so he obviously likes the ball up a little bit.
You don't really -- it was such a long time ago. You know, a year is a long time to kind of try to remember how Rebound Ace played. Obviously I liked it. I've done well here in the past, and I was sad to see it go. But this court, as of now, seems fine. Ask me next round, though. Ask me when I lose.

Q. Is speed overrated compared to bounce in terms of the effect it has on players who like different surfaces?
MARDY FISH: No, I think that's a pretty personal case for -- you know, a case-by-case basis for all players. But I think -- I like a fast court.
I don't really care if it bounces high or low. You know, if it stays through the court, that's great for me, and, you know, I feel like that does it, you know, it does it here.

Q. Is there a measurable difference between this surface and the US Open?
MARDY FISH: Yeah, I mean, I think most of the --

Q. Is it a lot or just a little?
MARDY FISH: I think most of the difference is in the balls, to be honest. This surface is a little more gritty, a little more sandy. You can tell US Open surface is a lot smoother. It's a different ball. The ball stays a lot smaller.
Here these balls get huge, you know, after 7, 8, 9 games. They get real big to where, you know, it's tough to hit the ball through the court.
You know, especially if you're playing on a windy day and you're on the wrong side into the wind. It's tough to move the ball through the court.
At the US Open it plays much faster, the balls are smaller. I think the US Open plays a lot -- plays right into the hands of the Americans.

Q. Nieminen drives a lot of guys nuts. What's your history with him?
MARDY FISH: My history is I've never played him in a pro tournament. Actually played him two tournaments in a row in juniors in 1999. That's a long time ago, nine years ago, so obviously he's been around obviously as long as I have. We've seen each other play quite a few times.
Lefties are always difficult. He's going to make a lot of balls, like today, and, you know, I'm going to have to stay on top of him for sure.

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