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March 18, 2008

Mardy Fish


THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. Must be excited to beat a guy like Nikolay and to do it so convincingly tonight.
MARDY FISH: Yeah, absolutely. You know, I felt like I played well. I felt like I stayed aggressive. My game is kind of tailored to obviously playing aggressive and staying aggressive, and if I can -- if I play well, I really feel like I can play really well, because I'm always pushing and I'm always going, and I'm always kind of nagging at him, you know, not really giving him much opportunity to take control of points and stuff.
Obviously he's pretty comfortable with dictating play, and obviously doesn't come in much. But he's very comfortable with moving side to side and moving in. I really feel like I took that away from him today, and turned it right around on him.

Q. These courts are allegedly pretty slow, though. It's not easy to play and attack every return, right?
MARDY FISH: Well, they are slow. They are a slow hardcourt. It's, you know, not ideal. I think it's a little bit slower than Australia, and Australia is a little bit faster than these, you know. But I was able to play well down there, played a few good matches down there, too.
I think again, like I say, you know, if I stay aggressive and I stay on top of my game plan and play well at the same time, I feel like I can really play well and beat some great players.

Q. So it's also a matter of getting off to a good start, huh?
MARDY FISH: Yeah, I played him one time in Miami and I was down 4-0 before I knew it. I got back to maybe 4-All, or pretty close to that, and ended up losing 5 and 4 or something.
You know, wasn't really ever into the match and didn't really feel like I had a chance. Obviously starting out pretty well and going up 5-1. Obviously would have been nice to win that 6-1 in the first set, but get one set under my belt. It gives you a little bit of confidence to know that obviously if he you can win one set you can win another one and you can beat someone like that.

Q. So it must have been nice not to face Andy Roddick?
MARDY FISH: Well, we tend to play some good matches. We've played a few good matches over the years. Yeah, we don't like to play -- we don't like to play each other too much, because we played each another enough this year. Unless it's a final. Second round is not very much fun.

Q. So Lleyton isn't a completely dissimilar player from Davydenko, but he's got mentally little bit better resumé, right? Backhand is tough?
MARDY FISH: Backhand is obviously very good. Yeah, it's a similar style. I think Lleyton defends, likes to defend better than Davydenko does. His backhand is one of the best in the game and is always, you know, always will be, for as long as he plays, I think, solid as a rock.
I really feel like, you know, whoever I go up against, I like my chances with my backhand against theirs. He might be a guy that I might want to change the pattern up here and there.
You know, I think from the baseline, he's -- he's obviously got -- he's got better groundstrokes than I do, for sure. But my forehand is starting to come around and starting to feel pretty confident. When it does, you know, I can hit it real, well like tonight, and try to dictate play. I'll try to do the same thing.

Q. So you're going to have to attack. You're going to have to come in. The approach shots have to be terrific against him, huh?
MARDY FISH: Well, he's human. He's not going to hit a winner on every passing shot. We played a long time ago one time, practiced with him a few times, and, yeah, he obviously returns extremely well. Almost like a nemesis-type player for a player like me.
He likes to defend. You know, his returns are some of his best attributes. You know, so it's one of those matches where you've got to hold serve as many times as you can. Obviously you're going to get a few looks. He's not going to blow you away with his serve, but he's extremely solid from almost every aspect on the court.

Q. Olympics this year. Andy pulling out kind of opens up some opportunities. Can you give us your thoughts about the Olympics and maybe getting back there and trying to do one better?
MARDY FISH: I've obviously got a great deal of memories from the Olympics in 2004. I can completely understand where he's coming from.
There's, you know, arguably 13 tournaments that are bigger than that in the entire year. Obviously it only comes around every four years, but, you know, for us, points-wise and -- there's 13 other tournaments that are bigger.
We could have a long conversation about, you know, what Slam would you rather win or a gold medal or what tournament would you rather win here and there. We don't have time for that. But, you know, the US Open is a pretty big deal for Andy and for, you know, for a lot of the Americans.
You know, he really wants to win that second Slam, and so I can understand that. From my point of view, I've got a lot of work to do just to even get in the tournament, so I haven't really thought about it too much.

Q. You still sound like you are a up in the air, Mardy.
MARDY FISH: I mean, I need to -- I need to win a lot more, win a bunch more matches before. I'm not sure when the deadline is. I haven't checked, but I think probably around the French Open. I remember it being last time. So I need to do a lot from now till there just to even think about it. But obviously it's an awesome -- it was an awesome experience.
You know, I had a great time, and I got my silver medal in my safe at home. You can't take that away from me.

Q. Can you share some of your other memories, other highlights of the whole experience?
MARDY FISH: We had a lot of -- met a lot of awesome people. Tried to meet just about everybody on the American side that we could in the Village. Andy and I were the only tennis players from the States that stayed there in the Village. They had like a downstairs like kind of underground place where you could go with computers all over the place and TVs where we could -- like, closed circuit TVs where we could watch any event that was going on. Anywhere from fencing to any of those sports that they give medals out to. (laughter.)
So, you know, we could watch anything, women's volleyball, whatever. Everybody would go down there if we knew there was a USA against Costa Rica basketball game. We'd go down there and everyone would be there from the American -- from the U.S., and we'd be all watching and just hanging out.
It was an awesome time, especially going with Andy, because he had just won the US Open the year before so he was pretty well known. So he's easy to have people come up and talk to us.

Q. Who are some of the people in other sports that you met at the Olympics that you still keep in touch were?
MARDY FISH: Still keep in touch with one gymnast, Blaine Wilson, this guy, real nice guy. He does a charity event I do every year. I'm trying to think. Rulon Gardner was a big tennis fan. He came out to all the matches.
I don't keep in touch with him, but there were just a certain few that you hung out with a lot that you just saw a lot that just happened to be kind of on the same schedule.
Bunch of the water polo guys were awesome to hang out with. You know, I didn't keep in touch with too many of them, but they were -- everybody was extremely nice and extremely humble.

Q. What do you think it would be like if Roger Federer hung out in the Village in Beijing?
MARDY FISH: Well, everybody kind of came -- we had Venus Williams on the team, as well, at that time, and she stayed in the hotel. But she came in one afternoon and ate lunch with us in the athletes' lunch place, whatever we call it, and she was having a hard time walking around without, you know, without having to sign an autograph every 10 seconds.
So I imagine that he probably -- I read something that he wants to probably stay in a hotel. I imagine that would be probably a pretty good idea for him.

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