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March 30, 2010

Mardy Fish


6-1, 1-0 (ret.)

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. Just when things were going great.

Q. Can't get a break.
MARDY FISH: A little bit of bad luck obviously. I just fell right down on my sciatic nerve apparently. Lost feeling in my leg for about a minute, and then got it back at the changeover.
Didn't really even notice, and got it back on the changeover. Just excruciating pain. I mean, I was just doubled over. I couldn't hardly breathe.
They tried to loosen it up. I just thought it was like a bruise, and give me some hot cream and let's go.
I mean, I honestly thought it was just maybe take two games to get it back, because I was probably gonna lose that set anyway, and let's start going. Never loosened up.
I mean, just tightened up so much I could barely walk.

Q. How long do you think it'll keep you out?
MARDY FISH: I don't know. I mean, the smart guys will probably figure that out.

Q. Have you had sciatica or anything in the past? Nothing?
MARDY FISH: I don't think I've ever felt that much pain on a tennis court. I've had to retire a couple times for my ankle and my knee one time, but nothing like that.

Q. The pain, was it the in the hip? The back?
MARDY FISH: No, it was like my butt, but then it went all the way down into any calf. I mean, the whole thing.

Q. From here down...
MARDY FISH: Yeah, into my lower back as well.

Q. And what exactly was the motion you were doing when you fell down? Describe the fall.
MARDY FISH: I just slipped. I slipped and fell. I mean, thankfully I didn't -- I mean, I didn't brace myself at all you my wrist, otherwise it would be talking months instead of hopefully just a little bit of time off.
So, I mean, it was all my weight down. And I don't know. I've never done it before.

Q. I hate it pound this, but this is your best tournament here; you're playing as good as you've played in a long time; feeling great. What do you have to do to like...
MARDY FISH: Yeah, I don't know. It's tough to -- yeah, you could easily dwell on that. I'll try to just take it as sort of a fluke thing and still take from this tournament that my knee is feeling great.
It seems like my weight loss has helped my play a lot, and go from there.

Q. Were you especially fired up here because of the makeover and this being more or less your home tournament?
MARDY FISH: No, I mean, I felt good for about a month now. Really, really good since sort of the Delray Beach tournament. I felt good in Indian Wells as well, you know.
So, you know, I think being able to play sort of a little bit different style, being able to grind out some points instead of having to go for some stupid shots or, you know, some tough shots that I probably wouldn't make anyway.
You know, you try to steal -- I feel like I can steal a few more points than I did before sort of with my legs now than before. So, I mean, that takes time to be able to figure out that style of play and shots that I have never hit before in my life.
Sort of being able to get to shots or putting air under balls so I can stay in points. I'd just never done that before. I think -- obviously this is, you know, not necessarily the result of the tournament -- you know, fourth round is a great result -- but playing a couple great matches, playing a couple good matches, beating some good players. The guy I played in the first round was a really good, young player that's gonna be really good for sure.
You know, and then playing Saturday was obviously a match I'll probably never forget. So I'll take that part of it for sure, and go on to next week.

Q. You've talked about the diet and the hard work you put in. But having done this makeover for yourself, is it also like more fun? Are you happy to get out there and practice and win matches?
MARDY FISH: Yeah, I mean, people ask me a lot, How do you feel? Do you feel the same? Do you feel different? Do you have as much energy?
I mean, I just feel like a completely different person confidence-wise, just being able to walk around feeling like an actual athlete that's in pretty good shape.
Yeah, in practice I can practice longer hours, and I can do for things maybe days before tournaments than I haven't been before. A lot of the times I would just hit for 30 minutes or put in a lot time and then hit for 30 minutes the day before the match.
I just don't have to do that anymore. I can take it as a normal practice day and just play the next day and come back day after day and still feel really good.
I still feel like I recover, you know, not like a guy who -- this is my 11th year -- so a guy who's not been out here that long. Hopefully that helps a lot.

Q. Were you envious when you would see these other guys really fit? Did you somewhere inside you say, I should do that?
MARDY FISH: I always wanted to do it. Always.

Q. What kept you from doing it?
MARDY FISH: Maybe time more so than anything else. It's really, really tough to lose over 25 points in a month and a half. I just don't think I could have done what I did during tournaments.
I just simply couldn't do it. You need to eat and fuel your body. I just felt like I -- I mean, I needed to lose weight to do what I did, you know, otherwise if I worked 9:00 it 5:00 I would have been fine. I was eating like a king.
But, you know, now it's a little different.

Q. At this point, do you pull for your old roomy, Roddick?
MARDY FISH: Yeah, I just saw he won. I mean, nothing changes there. I always root for him. Seems to be playing really well. Indian Wells could have obviously gone his way, the whole thing.
I told him earlier, I said, You finally achieved something that I've achieved in my career: made the finals of Indian Wells. He said he wanted to win not necessarily to win Indian Wells, but for Larry because Larry won Indian Wells, and for me because I made the finals.
Wanted to one-up me on every tournament, not just that one?

Q. One last one on Andy. Seems the last few years he's just figured it out. He used to be more of a power guy. What do you see as the biggest change?
MARDY FISH: I think he's extremely fit. He's always been in great shape. He never loses matches because of fitness. I think he can rely on his legs a little bit more.
His weight loss that he had a couple years ago, I think maybe last off-season, I think helped him a lot.
I'm not sure where he is right now as far as his weight, but, you know, he moves real well. That's just not as much weight as you need to carry on your knees and on your body. Because he was having knee trouble as well.
I mean, if you feel really healthy -- you know, he's gonna win a lot of matches with his serve and grit, the way he fights every match. You know, some of his results are just incredible as far as some of his stats, you know, with finishing in the top 10 for eight straight years. That's just incredible.
You know, so he obviously owes a lot to the way he fights on the court, I think. Yes, he's got a great serve, but lots of people have good serves nowadays. Lots of people hit groundstrokes better than he does, but there's not many people that fight harder than he does for every match.
I guess he was down 4-1, 40-Love in this first set. It doesn't surprise me at all that he won the set. He's done that hundreds of times in his career.

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