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August 28, 2008

Mardy Fish


M. FISH/P. Mathieu
6-2, 3-6, 6-3, 6-4

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. When I last saw you after you lost here last year, it seems like you've become a different guy. You beat Federer and you played some great tennis here. In fact, you didn't go to Beijing. Do you see that now as this is your prime opportunity? Do you see this as the Year of the Fish Fanatics?
MARDY FISH: I'm not sure about that, but, you know, the reason I didn't go to Beijing was there were quite a few reasons. I think it helped that I had gone, medaled, done the whole experience.
Beijing is a long, long ways away from Tampa and from Washington, D.C. and LA. Those tournaments are fun tournaments for me. I think it was important for me to stay close to home, you know. I'm getting married after this tournament.
I think it's, you know, I think it was important to stay close and to play the tournaments that I really enjoy playing. Obviously, you know, watching the opening ceremonies and watching the guys play over there and watching James and those guys was tough for sure. Brought back a lot of memories, and I got great memories from there and I got some really tough memories from there.
So I think as far as the Beijing question is concerned, yeah, that was relatively easy.

Q. Could you talk about playing James in the next round. He says he's in your wedding, groomsman, not best man; is that correct?
MARDY FISH: No, he's not the best man. However, you know, I've got a lot of -- quite a few friends over the years who have been best friends at times, and James has certainly been, you know, on tour. You know, we used to live together in Tampa, and, you know, we've played -- this is only our fourth time playing.
I've played Andy quite a few more times than that. Andy and I are more like brothers than anything else. We'll fight over pretty much everything. James and I almost the opposite. We get along extremely well. We get each other extremely well.
You know, I certainly look forward to it.

Q. Is it hard to do?
MARDY FISH: I mean, you know, it's -- if I'm not going to win, I'd certainly love for him to win and him to do well. I don't want to lose, if that answers your question.
You know, in the third round, for a place in the fourth round of the biggest tournament of the year, I think we'll probably put our friendship aside for just a couple hours.

Q. Where is the wedding and are there any other tennis players or athletes as your groomsmen in your wedding party?
MARDY FISH: Tiger Woods is my best man. No, I'm kidding. (laughter.)
That would be cool, eh?
No, it's in late September in Los Angeles. Stacy's from LA. Mr. Roddick is in it, as well. However, I think he's going over to Asia to play, so he's not going to be able to make it. James' brother, as well, Thomas, is in the wedding, too. I think that's about it as far as athletes.

Q. This is a big hurdle for you to overcome. You've had opportunities second round, especially last year and today, playing a real good player. Doesn't seem like big nerves on the big points.
MARDY FISH: Well, I was certainly nervous. You know, obviously I wanted to get -- try to get that second break or try to get it breaking over serving. You know, having the two-minute break and the TV changeover at 5-4 felt like it was an hour.
You know, just getting up there, winning the first point was big. I was definitely -- I was definitely tight, for sure. I understand what's at stake, you know. I'm no dummy.
I assumed that James was probably going to win, and that opportunity sounded pretty fun to me. Serving for the match and being up, you know, certainly I thought about that a little bit. You know, not having beaten Paul, also, was a pretty big factor as far as nerves.
You know, he returns well, and, you know, I felt like if I could -- I gave myself just a couple things to think about, walking out and jumping out of that chair, and I was able to come up with a pretty good volley at 15-All to kind of give me the momentum in that game.

Q. Do you think there will be a little side bet with James, dinner or something?
MARDY FISH: Maybe no -- nothing monetary, but maybe something, yeah. Maybe something.

Q. Can you talk about a little bit about this class, this American group you're part of with Andy and James and Robby, and, you know, Patrick McEnroe as your Davis Cup coach.
When did you guys first get to know each other? Was it in the 12s? Have you known each other 10 years now? How long has it been? Do you ever think you'd feel this camaraderie as part of this group?
MARDY FISH: Well, I've known Andy for a lot longer than everyone else out here. I got to know James, because when I went to Saddlebrook to train he was already there. He had already been there for about a year, year and a half, and we became good friends right away there.
I had heard of Robby and -- he was a year younger than me. I didn't play juniors with him, otherwise I would have known him a little bit better, until, you know, until we got out here.
Then the Bryan brothers are -- it's tough, you know. It's a tough era to come into, because you're coming into the Sampras and Agassi and Tim Martin and Courier and those guys. It's extremely tough to top that and to even come close to that, and we're certainly trying our hardest.
Andy is certainly trying his hardest. He's been -- he's been the No. 1 American and holding that flame for, you know, the better part of seven years, six, seven years.
You know, he's done an incredible job as well as James with all the pressure he's got now. I feel like I've kind of taken a back seat to that. I haven't quite given myself the opportunity to jump into the top 10 since I was, you know, 22 in 2004.
So I don't feel as much pressure as those guys, you know, to go deep in Grand Slams and things like that. Obviously I want to, and, you know, I'm trying my hardest just as well as everybody else is.
Hopefully that answers your question.

Q. How old would you have been when you went to Saddlebrook?
MARDY FISH: I went to Saddlebrook when I was 18.

Q. Do you like flying under the radar screen? You did beat Federer at Indian Wells. You're playing fine tennis. Is that part of the strategy?
MARDY FISH: Well, I don't think there's strategy involved with -- you know, I feel like I've had a pretty good career. I feel like I've left quite a few matches out there, to tell you the truth.
I've lost nine finals in some pretty big matches, and lost in the finals, 7-6 in the third in Cincinnati and lost three sets in Indian Wells and lost five sets in the Olympics.
Those are some pretty big tournaments to have on your resumé.

Q. Law of averages is on your side here, then.
MARDY FISH: Couple of those go my way, and I think I've got a pretty good career going. Not to say that, you know, that I don't now. It's just, you know, five or six tournaments over two tournaments sounds -- five or six sounds a little better than two.

Q. This is the first time in a few years that someone not named Roddick or Blake is not going to make it the second week. You and Sam and Robby and some other guys.
MARDY FISH: That would be nice, for sure. Definitely rooting for them. You know, I've got a pretty big hurdle at the moment with James. I'd like to think he does, as well.
Andy seemed to play unbelievable last night. Boy, Sam played well in his first round, too. You know, I think, you know, Robby is obviously capable of making the semis here. All these guys are capable of doing it. I think it's a pretty good surface for us to do it.

Q. Let 's get down to basics here. You go through life with a pretty unique name. What's the best part of having the last name you have, and what's the worst part?
MARDY FISH: I don't know. I think it's easy to come up with headlines in newspapers. I think I've seen almost every one of those.

Q. Can you give us a best and worst or couple of your favorites?
MARDY FISH: Well, you get -- like when I lose, you know, the Filleted Fish, kind of thing, Fried Fish. It's easy when I lose, because you throw one of those two out there. I tend to see those a lot.

Q. Do you feel self-conscious when you go out and order the fish and...
MARDY FISH: I don't eat much fish, so no. (laughter.)

Q. Mardy, how did you feel about James and the Olympics with González and González not owning up to supposedly hitting that?
MARDY FISH: I tell you what, that's a really, really tough thing for González. I will probably get in trouble by this answer. I think -- I think it would depend on who you're playing. I'm going to give you my personal belief is at 8-9 in the semis of the Olympics to play for, you know -- you're not just playing for yourself, you know. You're playing for your country, you're playing for -- this is the Olympics, you know. It only comes around every four years, and all the clichés.
8-9 in the third? You know, to go and try to win the gold? Boy, I tell you what, I would certainly have said it had I been playing James or playing Andy or playing one of my friends, but I would have weighed -- I would have weighed in my friends -- is my friendship with this guy worth a gold medal to me?
You know, to say that he didn't feel it hit his racquet is kind of a crock. I also would have -- after the match, if someone would have asked me and I didn't call it on myself, I certainly would have said, Yeah, it hit my racquet. But bad luck, you know.
I mean, that's -- the line calls used to be part of the game. Still is a little bit part of the game. Bad line calls, and the human aspect of tennis is definitely still there.
I would have called it on James if I was playing him. I would have given him the point. It would have been -- it would have been tough, for sure.

Q. Fernando said that after three hours in a tough match like that you don't feel your body. What are your thoughts about that?
MARDY FISH: Yeah, that's -- you know, get him in a back room and ask him the same question. I have a tough time believing that I would have -- would not have felt it had it moved as much as it did on the replay. Definitely. Everybody saw it definitely hit his racquet.

Q. Why is tennis held to a higher standard than baseball?
MARDY FISH: Yeah, I don't think it should be necessarily. You know, I think golf is kind of you call it on yourself, and tennis is more of a...

Q. Different.
MARDY FISH: Tennis is, I got a bad line call or did you hear that let? I'm not -- if I -- if somebody else gets a bad line call, and I knew it was in but they called it out, I mean, I'm not going to give them the point for that.

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