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June 12, 2010

Mardy Fish


M. FISH/F. López
6-3, 6-4

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. Just keeps gating better and better, doesn't it?
MARDY FISH: Yeah. I mean, I said all week this is one of my favorite tournaments to play well. I desperately wanted to play well here. To play well here certainly feels good.

Q. What was the crucial factor of the match today? What did you do that won it for you?
MARDY FISH: Well, I was able to really, you know, sort of take care of my serve games relatively smoothly and really concentrate on -- it's really nice when you can concentrate more on your return games than on your serve games.
He certainly has got a great serve. You know, you can definitely go through a match without breaking him.
I have sort of felt like I had a pretty good game plan against him the last three times we played. I was actually as clean as I can get probably out there today.

Q. Left-handers don't bother you or you don't mind them?
MARDY FISH: Well, usually their best serve is sort of into my best shot. Those big servers -- I feel like I serve big as well. I feel like I return just as good or better than most of them, so I like the matchup usually.

Q. Will it be special playing against Sam? He's one of your mates?
MARDY FISH: Yeah, we are very good friends. We live close to each other in the States and we share the same coach, so, you know, it will be fun. I haven't played him in three years. You know, we'll -- we'll probably put -- like I said out there, we'll probably put dinner on it or something, so it's a win-win, at least.

Q. Who is that coach?
MARDY FISH: His name is David Nainkin. He works for the USTA.

Q. South African, isn't he?

Q. How long have you been with him?
MARDY FISH: He's helped me out for over a year now. You know, he lives near where we live, as well. I mean, I practice with Sam all the time almost when we're home. When we're all home together, it's almost every day. It should be fairly -- it shouldn't be a fairly new matchup for us.

Q. You've been coming here long enough to know the expectation that the British media and the British people put on Britain's No. 1 player, obviously is Andy now that Tim has retired. You've beaten him quite comprehensively the last few times you've played.

Q. Well, I think that he would suggest that you did. Can you give us your thoughts on what that is like beating somebody, when you're in your own country, with such a championship as Wimbledon and the way that you've probably done him a bit of harm psychologically this week?
MARDY FISH: Well, hopefully I'm not that bad of a loss, first of all. I certainly feel like I'm playing good tennis, but yeah, I mean, you're right. It's not the preparation he had last year. My hunch is that he'll figure it out.
I mean, he's an extremely uncomfortable player to play. You feel like in the beginning you go out there and you just want to get your footing and just sort of hold serve first couple times just so you can get into the match.
We've played -- we've practiced quite a bit and are good friends. I mean, I think we practiced here a couple days, Saturday before the tournament, and he must have won eight out of ten games that we played.
You know, so you've got that in the back of your head going in. So, you know, again, my hunch is that he'll probably figure it out. He'll probably use the first few rounds -- he'll probably take an exhibition or two next week, and I'm sure he'll work hard and his team will work hard to get him ready.
I mean, he's one of the best grass court players in the world and certainly one of the best wins of my career, especially on this surface.
I mean, I feel like this is my best surface, too, but there's a reason why there's a No. 3 or 4 next to his name.

Q. He'll still be a threat?
MARDY FISH: Oh, of course. He's, if not the top 5, the top 3 best grass courters. I mean, Andy Roddick played a great match in the semis at Wimbledon, you know, took a great match from him. Obviously he was playing well that tournament, you know, to beat him. He won here.

Q. Did you sense anything on the court that his body language wasn't perhaps as positive as you've seen on previous occasions?
MARDY FISH: No, it's something that he'll learn as he grows and matures and gets older. I mean, you know, I certainly don't have the best attitude at times, but I'm certainly better than I was at 22.
He'll only grow -- he'll only get more and more experience, matches like that. It's important to learn from matches like we played on Thursday, darkness delay and coming back the next day. That doesn't happen a lot, and it will happen. It will happen probably in a big match.
It's important to, you know, to go through those and to come out on top or, you know, if you don't, you've got to learn from it.

Q. You play your tennis in a way that grass court purists like to see it played. Where does that come from?
MARDY FISH: Well, I've always had an aggressive style, aggressive mentality. It starts with my serve with me. If I don't serve well, I usually don't win.
If I serve well, I can take care of my serve games. And my returns are good enough on this surface to, you know, to challenge a lot of guys. I feel like I'm serving well now. I feel like I've got a pretty good mix of how many times I need to serve and volley, when I do, when I don't need to, and when I shouldn't.
It's just almost impossible to serve and volley nowadays with the way that the balls are and the way that the courts are. You know, these courts out here are -- you know, we joke around in the locker room that sometimes they're almost too good to serve and volley. They're perfect grass courts.
Sometimes when the sun comes out and it's hot it will bounce like a hardcourt. Guys just return so well these days, and there's no bad bounces out there, you know, on a court like this.
You know, you really have to pick your spots well. You just can't -- you can't, it's impossible to serve and volley nowadays all the time. You give guys targets like Andy Murray and Roger. You know, you can go down the list, and they're going to beat you eventually.
So you've got to pick your spots, you've got to keep them off guard and hopefully, you know, keep doing it one more match.

Q. When you were a kid, did you watch anyone play serve and volley and think, I want to do that?
MARDY FISH: Yeah. Well, I've always been sort of a player that would go for it more than would get tentative. Even when I was younger when I played -- you know, when you play growing up you play a lot of guys who would sort of just keep the ball on the court and they beat you when you're 12 years old, and you get real frustrated.
I was the other way around and I would go for my shots and come to the net, and so that was the way that I liked playing. To be honest, I haven't been, you know, completely physically fit enough to feel like I cannot go to the net, you know, to stay back and rally with the guys.
You know, sort of the weight loss that I did at the end of last year definitely makes it feel like I can pick my -- pick and choose with still an aggressive mentality. It's tough. I mean, that's the toughest thing is to figure out the happy medium.

Q. How much did you lose?
MARDY FISH: Almost 30 pounds.

Q. This is during the European swing, two finals with two Americans?
MARDY FISH: Yeah, the grass isn't as surprising as it was maybe on the clay, but those guys are our next -- those are our next guys. I said all along I'd be shocked if Sam didn't finish in top 15, top 10, beginning of the year when we were practicing in December sort of quietly to our coach.
I mean, he's played great on every surface. He's won an indoor event, he's won outdoor events, he's won clay court events. He just hasn't won a grass court event yet. Hopefully I can keep him off that. I haven't won a grass court event, either. I've played a few more finals than he has. Hopefully I can get him this time. He will have plenty of chances.

Q. Will you watch the soccer match together tonight or not?
MARDY FISH: I'm not sure together, but we'll watch it -- the only reason we wouldn't watch it together is because we're not that close to each other in Wimbledon. But, you know, like I said, we'll watch the next one I'm sure.

Q. Could you imagine walking in here tomorrow with the USA having beaten England in football tonight, and two Americans on the center court?
MARDY FISH: I can imagine. I can imagine it. (Laughter.)
I said out there that I think they're going to lose 7-2. I needed to get some of those people on my side, so that's why I said it.

Q. Is that an ice precaution or a problem?
MARDY FISH: No, I ice my -- I ice up all the time. It's too small.

End of FastScripts

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