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June 26, 2009

Mardy Fish


6-4, 6-4, 6-4

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please, for Mardy Fish.

Q. How good is Novak playing?
MARDY FISH: He's playing real well. I mean, he's a tough matchup for kind of an attacking player. He plays great defense. One of the great defensive players out there. As you can see, he even slides on the grass. You know, open stance forehands and backhands. He gets a lot of balls back.
When the grass is playing, you know, this slow, he's really tough.

Q. Do you think we should factor him into the picture of next weekend?
MARDY FISH: Uhm, yeah. I mean, he served great in the beginning of our match, first set and a half or so. He served at a real high percentage. And when he's serving well, you know, he's got a great serve.
I think he goes through times when he serves real well and when he misses a lot of first serves. When he serves well, he's tough when he's holding a lot. You know, he's real tough because you know he's going to put a lot of returns in play.

Q. How was it out there for you?
MARDY FISH: You know, obviously it's a great thing to play on Centre Court. You know, much better than previous years playing in the first round out there. You know, playing in third round was obviously better.
But, you know, a little disappointed that, you know, I couldn't give him a better match. You know, he's tough, and he obviously played well. You know, you tip your hat.

Q. People have been saying the courts are slowing down, the grass is slowing down for years. Do you sense a difference now compared to other years?
MARDY FISH: Yeah, I mean, you do. You know, like I said a couple days ago, you know, it still takes the serve a little bit, you know, and you're able to -- you're able to get some free points on your serve, you know, 'cause it stays low and sort of skids if you hit the right serve.
I think the balls have a huge thing to do with it. They're so heavy. I mean, you know, I'm usually right around the 128, 132-ish area on my first serve for the most part. I think I probably hit one serve 130 today, you know.
So the balls are really heavy. You know, I think those guys that like to stay back, they just feel like they can kind of take a cut at the ball and it's not really gonna fly too much, you know, 'cause the balls are pretty heavy.
You know, the grass is so good, you know, it just bounces up there just like a hard court. If you don't hit the approach, you know, years past you could kind of come to the net and maybe get away with a slice or a bad slice or a bad approach or just, you know, approach in general, and you just can't do that anymore against good players here.

Q. When Goran was coming on in his heyday, he was blasting a lot of aces. One theory was that the authorities were pretty cautionary about it. The surface getting too fast, do you think that's kind of what happened?
MARDY FISH: I don't know what happened. I was talking to Tim Henman just when I was stretching out after the match about it. Asked him what he would do now. He said, you know, it's just -- it's almost impossible for a serve and volleyer, unless you're sort of a freak like Karlovic - not him a freak, but the serve is a freak serve. You know, if you can get away with it like, that, I mean, he can do it on clay, so that's a little different ballgame.
We just can't really get away with it anymore, I don't think. You know, against someone like Novak or against someone like Andy Murray a couple weeks ago in Queen's, I'm just not sure how I'm supposed to play those guys on grass anymore.
You know, am I supposed to serve and volley and try to get away with, you know, serving really well and get a cheap break here or there, because, you know, they're serving good, too, or am I supposed to stay back? You know, it's kind of a what are you supposed to do on the grass, you know, nowadays.
Are you supposed to play it maybe like a US Open-type court, you know, a faster hard court? But it's almost slower than that. It's trying to figure out exactly how you're supposed to play it, you know, a guy like me.

Q. Sounds like you're a bit uncertain.
MARDY FISH: Yeah, definitely, coming off that. I don't think I served really poorly, apart from maybe the beginning of the match I didn't have that high a percentage of first serves.
But, you know, I mean, it was as routine as a 4, 4, and 4 can be. I mean, I got to 3-All twice in the first and the third. He was up two breaks in the second.
You know, I don't walk off the court saying, Oh, my gosh, I played horrible by any stretch. He certainly played well. You know, what are you gonna do? I mean, do you kind of chalk it up and sort of forget about it or, you know, do you say, Okay, this might not be the way to play against the top guys.
I feel like I can do it against, you know, most of the other guys and get away with it.

Q. What has he improved since you played him last in a big match?
MARDY FISH: Uhm, trying to think when I played him. I think I played him the last time in Indian Wells. I was playing great then. We went three sets. He was up a set and a break. He could have probably easily beaten me just like today, but I had the crowd behind me a little bit there. That was a little different match, and that was a slower hard court.
He seems to be -- I think he seems to be kind of going along quietly. You know, he's not making too much noise out there, kind of, you know, letting everyone talk about Roger and Andy, and the other Andy, you know, kind of going about his business it seems.

Q. When push comes to shove in terms of your run here at Wimbledon, would you say deal or no deal?
MARDY FISH: Certainly better than a couple years past. I've never done any better than third round. Obviously I'd love to be able to do that. I feel like I've got a good run in me here.
But, you know, come up against a guy who's top four in the world, there's four or five top guys at every slam, you know, it seems like they're going pretty deep in most every one of them.
So it's not too bad of a loss to lose to someone like Novak. I mean, he made the semifinals of every slam. I certainly see him going further here than the fourth round, so...

Q. So that sounds like a deal?
MARDY FISH: I guess. I guess for the competition that I played, you know, I'm not gonna be bummed out that I lost to Novak Djokovic. You know, I got to play on Centre Court again. I played Roger, Rafa and Novak on Centre Court. I haven't done very well, but, you know, I've had -- I've certainly had fun there.

Q. A guy doesn't get to play that court very often. When you're out there, any chances to appreciate the moment?
MARDY FISH: Absolutely, yeah.

Q. Anything in particular that strikes you sitting on the chair during a changeover, maybe something we wouldn't notice?
MARDY FISH: Uhm, that's a good question. You know, you kind of walk up -- I walked up to the umpire -- you know, I'm not really -- you know, I don't walk out there and automatically I'm down a break because I think the place is -- you know, I'm enamored by the place.
Obviously it's a spectacular stadium and so much history, you know, our best court that we can play on in tennis, in my opinion.
But, you know, everything's manicured perfectly and everything is, you know, in the perfect place. Today, you know, when the sun is shining, it's a beautiful place for sure. You know, I'm happy that I got to play on there again.
Like I said, I only played there, that was the third time. Hopefully I can get a win out there at some point. But, you know, it would have to be against a good player, because you don't get out there too often. At least I don't.

Q. When you say you're trying to figure out how to play on the grass, are you caught between the reputation of the grass and what it meant when you were growing up?
MARDY FISH: Yeah, maybe. Yeah, growing up watching Pete, you know - obviously Andre stayed back - but watching Pete and like Goran, guys like Tim Henman, guys that I played with a little bit, you know, serving and volleying, I love to serve and volley.
I feel like it's a good style for me to do. I don't feel like, over the course of a three-out-of-five-set match, I can beat someone like Novak from the baseline primarily. You know, so I feel like at least I need to come in, you know, half the time.
I think there's kind of a line in there that I could probably try to find a little bit better than just coming in all the time, you know, maybe mixing it up, maybe keeping him off balance.
I think that's something that eventually I'll have to do. There's no doubt about that.

Q. Other players this week have said that the grass courts are starting to play a bit more like hard courts or some have said a bit more like clay courts. Did you notice which direction they might be going?
MARDY FISH: Clay court I think is obviously a little strong. But, you know, the grass is so good now that, you know, there are so few bad bounces, yeah, I mean, I've touched on it before. You know, you just can't get away with a medium approach shot anymore.
You know, you can't get away with a mediocre first volley anymore. Guys are too good. Guys move too well. Guys hit the ball from the baseline too well. You know, you saw out there today. You can slide around, slide to an open-stance forehand, slide to a drop volley. I'm not sure how they do that. But, you know, that's just athleticism, obviously.
But, you know, guys are just like that. They're too athletically gifted to be able to get away with that kind of stuff anymore. I think you add both of those together.

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