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August 30, 2008

Mardy Fish


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

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. You looked as emotional as I've ever seen you after that match.
MARDY FISH: Yeah, I mean, it's tough to figure out the perfect way to react to, you know, have some respect for James as well as to kind of show how much I cared about that match, you know, how nice of an opportunity it was for me.
I don't know how it came off, but I was certainly relieved to win.

Q. So even in this moment of great triumph, you are cognizant of this guy across the net and don't want to make him feel worse?
MARDY FISH: Sure. I think that's why it's always tough to play, because you don't want to -- you know, I'm not there to rub anything in. You know, I'm sure that -- I know that if he won he would have been pretty fired up.
You know, if he would have, you know, given a big, Come on, or something like that it wouldn't have affected me. We both understood the ramifications of how badly we wanted to win.

Q. What would you say the key to the match was?
MARDY FISH: The key to the match? I think it was important for me to not be on my back foot all the time. I think it was very important for me to serve well and hold serve as routinely as I could as many times as I could.
I think it was important for me to put pressure on him on his serve. Again, that comes from me serving well as well, and, you know, coming in on second serve returns and things like that, putting pressure on him.

Q. Why do you think it's clicking for you here and now? You've come into Opens before with high hopes and having had good result? Why now?
MARDY FISH: I think I've -- experience is a big thing. You know, I had never played a night match before at the Open. I came in those couple times before I came in playing pretty well. You know, I was young. I was 21, 22 years old.
The US Open, in that scenario of being top around 20 in the world or 25 in the world or something like that was new to me.
I've played quite a lot of big matches over the years. You know, I've had my fair share of losses, and, you know, in big moments and have won some big matches as well.
I felt like I have been in not necessarily that exact scenario, but in some big spots and come out on top and come out not -- you know, come out on the losing end as well.
So I've experienced the highs and the lows.

Q. Did you think the J Block had crossed the line a little bit? They got a little reprimand from the umpire.
MARDY FISH: Yeah, I mean, I don't really want to waste my breath.

Q. Do you know those guys?

Q. Do you know James' game so well it makes it maybe a little easier to play against him?
MARDY FISH: Yeah, I think -- I mean, that could go both ways, because he knows my game extremely well, too. James is the type of player that doesn't necessarily play the opponent, he plays his game and let's people adapt to what he does.
You know, he's a first-strike-type player. Likes to play quick. Likes to serve and hit the forehands big. You know, to try to disrupt that is extremely hard. You know, you got to try to get it to his backhand as much as you can.
We've practiced a ton, yeah. You know, we know each other's tendencies pretty well. It can almost go the opposite way knowing somebody's game almost too good.

Q. You thanked Rory on court.
MARDY FISH: Yeah, he's been huge. I couldn't do my job and Craig couldn't do his job as a coach, you know, nobody could really do their jobs unless he does his and keeps me healthy. He's done an unbelievable job. He's been invaluable as far as my success this year and as far as -- you know, I've played a lot of the matches this year, maybe more than any other year, and I feel fit and I feel healthy.
I've played quite a few matches in the past two weeks: long matches, short matches, three-setters, four-setters, whatever, and I just feel better and better as the tournament goes on. That's just a credit to all the hard work he's put in.
You know, it's been almost a year and a half now that we've been together. He came on not knowing much about tennis at all but knowing the body extremely well and knowing how to train people extremely well. He's adapted amazingly to tennis players.
He trained a lot of football players and baseball players. We're different. He trained a lot of football players and baseball players and track guys. We're much different than them. He adapted as quickly as anybody could and done an amazing job.

Q. You said in the past that you're a professional and you know what you needed to do to stay fit. Did he give fitness a new twist that somehow got you to another place?
MARDY FISH: Yeah, I think he added, you know, kind of the toughness mentality of it, the football-type mentality. He was an ex-college football player himself. He's extremely tough as far as, you know, you'll never know if the guy is sick or not. He's that kind of person. Doesn't complain at all, and he's brought that to me.
I have been known as a complainer every now and then. I'll let you know when I don't feel well. He's brought that type of football-type mentality to me, to all of us that he's been around.

Q. Do you actually do football-style drills?
MARDY FISH: Yeah, we do -- not, you know, not the twenty yard shuttle run or anything like that, the combine. But we do all the stuff that he's learned that Athletes' Performance. He worked there in Arizona and trained guys like Adrian Peterson for the combine, just top-of-the-line athletes.
You know, tennis players are obviously different, but he, yeah, brings a little bit of the, you know, kind of weight lifting on our days off and stuff. Just something that I was never used to doing before. You only get better and fitter and stronger.

Q. You're having this career-best showing here and you're preparing for this life-altering event in September. Is there any correlation or coincidence?
MARDY FISH: I mean, I think that, you know, happiness off the court translates to, you know, clear-mindedness. Is that even a word? It's a -- things -- we've done a lot of things to keep my mind off the tennis court. We did the seating chart for the wedding a couple days ago. You know, just something that I'm not used to doing.
I might be watching Sports Center or ESPN or something like that if she wasn't around, so there's -- it's much different and much calmer. I don't go out. I mean, I don't leave my hotel room very much anymore, except for maybe to go to dinner every now and then.
We just enjoy each other's company a ton and she's a huge help, as well.

Q. What did you say to James over the net at the end?
MARDY FISH: You know, I don't remember. It was more of -- you know, you kind of don't know how they're feeling exactly, so you kind of maybe let them speak.
I know in the past when I've lost, it's always an, I-hope-you-win-type talk. I can't remember, to be honest. He said something along those lines for sure.

Q. You reached the final at the beginning of the hard court season in Pacific Life Open. Is your game and form similar to that over here?
MARDY FISH: I think it is. You know, I think I was lacking that -- I felt like I was playing well. I feel like I'm playing well, and I felt like I was kind of lacking a big top 10 win over this whole summer.
I feel like I've beaten most of the guys that I feel like I should beat, but really haven't crossed the line of beating someone I maybe shouldn't have beaten. This win certainly falls in that category.

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