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August 21, 2008

Mardy Fish


M. FISH/J. Levine
6-3, 7-6


Q. Seemed to have the serve working today.
MARDY FISH: Yeah, absolutely, I did. Served real well in the second set to kind of keep the momentum on my side. Couldn't quite convert. I think I was 1 for 14. I looked at the stats. 1 for 14 on breakpoints. You know, that was obviously frustrating.
But I'm real happy with the way that, you know, kind of stayed in there, forgot about that, forgot about all the tough games I lost on the return, kind of jumped back in my serve without thinking about the missed opportunities.

Q. How do you do that when you miss breakpoint after breakpoint?
MARDY FISH: It's not easy. I mean, I don't think I had a breakpoint against me today. So obviously I served real well at times and when I needed to. Especially early in the games, it's big for me. If I can get some confidence on my serve early in a match and early in the games, you know, I tend to hold serve most times.
Today and yesterday was certainly that case for sure.

Q. Late in the second he made a little bit of a push.
MARDY FISH: 'Push' was more of getting to 30 on my serve. I'm not even sure, you know, that I had a deuce game on my serve, so... Take that any time. I'll win most matches if that's the case.
But, yeah, he played well, you know, for his first quarterfinal. Felt like he came out a little tight there, double-faulting there a couple times in the first game to give me some looks. Even though I lost that first game, I just kind of assumed he wasn't going to blow me off the court with his serve. You know, if I could just kind of stay the course, play some solid points on the return game, get into the games, eventually I'd get him.
I mean, you know, I did in the first set. Kind of just stayed the course with my serve.

Q. Is your serve better this year because you're healthier?
MARDY FISH: You know, percentages have always been my downfall with my serve. You know, I've always been able to hit it pretty hard. It's, Can I make it in the big moments? You know, I've done that well this week. We changed a little bit of the serve, you know, before this tournament started. I was struggling last week with the percentage, lost a little bit of confidence there. Definitely got that back, which is nice going through here. Obviously got to keep my mind here because I got a great opportunity here.

Q. Do you feel comfortable playing here? Do you feel like a fan favorite because of the success you had last year and this year?
MARDY FISH: Yeah, you know, I always feel like in the States, in the summer tournaments, more people want me to win than not. You know, being so close to James and all of his buddies here, you know, you certainly feel a little bit of that from them. Kind of carries over to I think a lot of other people. I've come and almost vacationed here a few times, done some 4th of July's with a lot of those guys and James, three egg tosses on the 4th of July, so I know a lot of those guys here.
I feel real comfortable. I feel real comfortable.

Q. Your thoughts on playing Verdasco? Beat him on grass.
MARDY FISH: I played him on grass, Halle, 2004, quarterfinals. I don't remember much of that. It's just too far from now. But, you know, I know the result was nice. I think it was relatively one-sided. I think it was maybe 2-2. So I certainly look forward to a tighter match than that.
He's played some great tennis this year. He's got his ranking higher than it's ever been. He's always been one of those guys that's hovered around 30 in the world, which is not easy to do, to just stay at 30 in the world. I can't tell you how hard it is just to try to get seeded in Grand Slams in the top 32. It's tough. He's always been there. He's stayed injury-free. This year seems to be his push to get in the top 10 for him.
He's a guy with a huge, huge forehand. In my opinion, one of the top five forehands in the game. I'll certainly try to keep it away from there as much as I can.

Q. Does it matter that you play lefties back to back? Does that help you at all?
MARDY FISH: Yeah, I mean, it can only help with your timing on the returns. I returned well at times today. I feel like the lefties, their best serve is the slider out wide on the ad side. My best return is my backhand, so I feel like I can almost neutralize that. I don't think he'll be serve-volleying too much like Jesse did today, which I thought was a pretty good play from him because I'm stretched out pretty good. You're just not able to put as much on it as you can.
Verdasco's got a little bit more of a spinny type serve, hits a lot of kickers, starts the point almost. He serves at a pretty high percentage. I'll look to try to get into some points and stay obviously as aggressive as possible. He's going to beat me from the baseline if I stay at the baseline all match tomorrow.

Q. Jesse does quite a bit of shot making. Can you talk about him as an up-and-coming U.S. player.
MARDY FISH: He's young. He's a hard worker. I haven't seen him play that much. I had never hit with him before. But, you know, he moves extremely well. Very fast, very crafty type player. Pretty good hands. Likes to come forward and finish points at the net when he can.
I think that's a good style of play. I think being a lefty will help him. That serve, it's just the nasty slider out wide type of serve, down the T. He can disguise the one on the deuce out wide pretty well. You know, he serves well. Today he came up with some good shots on some breakpoints and came up with first serves on breakpoints. If I were him, I would take this week as a positive, for sure, and look to try to win a few rounds next week.

Q. Have you gotten any reports back from Tampa as far as weather-related stuff?
MARDY FISH: I've heard it's rained quite a bit. That's about it. I don't think there's too much wind. I think they're getting quite a bit of rain. I know I had to get my pool pumped.

Q. Are you relieved? They were predicting a lot more.
MARDY FISH: I actually didn't even know about it because I hadn't been there in a few weeks. My mom told me there was a hurricane coming there. Then I looked and it was a tropical storm. We've been in Florida my whole life. We've seen our share of hurricanes. We don't get scared unless they're like a 3.

Q. James was in here with the face spray he designed. Have you designed anything resembling a face spray?
MARDY FISH: I actually heard about that for the first time this week and wasn't able to make fun of him for that yet.

Q. Of the neighbors in Tampa, he's the more creative face spray designer?
MARDY FISH: I guess he is. I don't have any. I didn't see any in Tampa. If he's got some there... I know where the spare key is hidden at his house, so I'm going to go get some probably.

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