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September 2, 2010

Mardy Fish


M. FISH/P. Cuevas
7-5, 6-0, 6-2

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. I noticed that you had 14 aces throughout the match, but you only had 52% first serve percentage. What else did you do right out there today?
MARDY FISH: Well, I competed well. You know, he started out great, really sort of uncharacteristic to what I thought he was going to play like. I never played him, practiced with him, played him in doubles, none of that, or seen him play all that much.
You know, I knew he was sort of a typical slow court player, and he took to the hardcourts really well in the beginning. I was sort of surprised how aggressive he was playing.
So I kind of fought hard to stay just a break down, to be honest, in that first set. I figured that hopefully I could weather this as long as I can, and eventually, you know, he'll maybe come down to earth a little bit.
He gave me a few points there in that 5-4 game and the 6-5 game to allow me to win that first set, which was huge, because the weather, it was pretty hot.
So, you know, the first set is huge in this type of weather.

Q. Any other shots in particular or parts of your game that may have won you some points specifically?
MARDY FISH: I mean, I think I was pretty solid throughout from the baseline, much more aggressive than with my first round. I thought I played better than my first round, as well. I think my legs won me a few points in the end of that first set.
You know, I felt -- physically I felt great throughout the match, and I knew he was sort of struggling there a little bit, I could tell.

Q. You made the quarters here a couple years ago. Is there a sense of house money? You seem so relaxed in the big spots as you were today.
MARDY FISH: Um, I mean, this is a scenario playing, you know, these first few rounds in a tournament, in this tournament, that I'm not used to much. There's a lot of people that have talked about my summer and how well I've played. To be honest, I felt like I've been the underdog most matches in my career.
This is the spot that I want to be in. You know, you want to be the favorite and winning a lot, so I think my summer that is changed a lot of that.
But I have played well here the past couple times that I've come. So, you know, I've got a really good opportunity, you know, from the 12-month calendar year from Newport, you know, sort of the start of Newport -- or I feel like that was the beginning of, you know, maybe a 12-month run that I can try to get myself into the top 10.
I have a really good opportunity. I didn't play -- obviously I didn't play at all last year. Still have four or five zero pointers on my ranking that will come off. I'm excited.

Q. It just seems weird. This is your 10th US Open, and to find yourself in that spot 10 years out.
MARDY FISH: Yeah, I mean, and I've come in a couple times having played well in the weeks prior to the Open, 2003 and 2004. I played well in Cincinnati in 2003. I was 21 years old at the time, so people, you know, talked a lot about me then.
Then 2004 after the Olympics, people talked a lot there. I didn't handle it well. I learned from it, obviously. I've learned from even my first-round match here to, you know, like you said, just be a little more loose, have a little more fun, and enjoy the spot that you're in.

Q. Is there a greater satisfaction knowing what it takes to do all that and having gone through all of that to be where you are?
MARDY FISH: Yeah, I mean, certainly the experience helps a ton with that. I've been in a lot of positions in my career, but I've never put myself in a Grand Slam sort of as a guy that people talk about to really, you know, really do well here.
You know, I've come in under the radar. The two quarters I made I was unseeded in both of them and under the radar quite a bit.
This is a new -- certainly new for me, and I enjoy it.

Q. We have expectations for you, but what are your expectations?
MARDY FISH: Um, well, I'd like another crack at a top 5 player, top 10 player in a slam. I think I've beaten a couple of them in slams, but never deep into a tournament.
So, you know, sort of getting yourself into winning maybe another match and getting myself into the situation of playing, you know, a Djokovic or a Davydenko or one of these guys that has been there quite a few times - you know, slam in, slam out, they're going deep - so to put myself in a position to play them. I certainly feel like I can hang with them.

Q. I'm wondering with all that heat and humidity if you might still be losing weight on us here.
MARDY FISH: Probably. Out there I probably did. (Smiling.) I'll try to put it back on.
No, you sweat quite a bit. You've got to be real disciplined a couple days before these, all these matches, to, you know, really hydrate well and hydrate during the match.
There's a lot going on to try not to cramp out there. You just never know how your body is going to react to all the sweating.

Q. Might you actually lose up to four or five pounds out there today?
MARDY FISH: Oh, sure. It's definitely possible. I weigh myself before and after almost every match.

Q. What about today? Did you go down?
MARDY FISH: Um, I did. You do, for sure. You just lose all the water weight and try to put it back on right away. It's only a couple pounds. It's nothing drastic.

Q. Tennis is obviously a sport of up and downs; everyone goes through that. Close friends with Andy. What's your read on the sort of big picture? Good spring and sort of some problems after.
MARDY FISH: Yeah, you know, I mean, he's getting himself to feeling healthy. Yeah, it's certainly disappointing to see him lose. This is his favorite tournament. It was too late for me to stay up last night, but I saw it in the morning.
I mean, you sort of are bummed out for a friend and you know, you know, how badly -- how much he puts into all the weeks that he plays. He's certainly had a spectacular career, so there's nothing to dwell on by any means. He'll be back. He'll put in the work, and he'll enjoy his time off now, I'm sure.

Q. Do you think he could win another slam?
MARDY FISH: Yeah, I mean, he's gone through periods where he's been the best player on that, you know, on that surface during that week. You saw in the spring he was the best hardcourt player by far -- not by far -- but he was the best hardcourt player during that time. If there's a Grand Slam during that time, he's the winner.
Every slam he puts himself in the position where he's physically as fit as anyone, you know, and he can handle any challenge that anyone brings. There's no doubt that -- you know, I'm sure in his last few years out here he'll put himself in his best position to do well at Wimbledon.
Clearly that's one that he wants, and I would probably expect him to not play as much. We only played two clay court tournaments this year. But, you know, sort of cure his -- maybe kind of like Lendl did back in the day when he geared himself around wanting to do well at Wimbledon.
So we'll see what happens, but clearly he's probably, you know, disappointed today.

Q. What are your thoughts on whether Andy plays aggressively enough when he's on the court? There was discussion after his match yesterday. His opponent said he doesn't see Andy as being the aggressor as much as he should be.
MARDY FISH: Well, I think he's -- I've watched some tape of him when he won the US Open in 2003. He's certainly played a more aggressive style. But I think he's fitter now than he was back then, so he can rely on his legs a little bit more now.
There's clearly -- he's no dummy. You know, he's gonna play how he feels best suits him. You know, he's got a great team behind him that Larry -- they put together a game plan, and I guarantee you that's how it's gonna play.
You know, that's how they think that he can best play, and he's -- sometimes he is the aggressor. I didn't watch much of the match last night, so, you know...
But with his serve, he can be on you like lightning.

Q. The other day when you were talking you were saying how like before the weight started to come off you stopped right before you got tired. How did it change once the weight came off, and how are you feeling now?
MARDY FISH: Well, it was sort of -- I really got aggressive with my training once I was -- once I knew I was able to put in the long hours and not get, you know, injured or have nicks and bruises and things like that that come up when you're probably not in your best shape.
And it really got -- it got fun. I mean, it got fun to practice. It's fun to, you know, try to outlast guys, and it's fun to see when, you know, you play a match like today and you're in the heat and you sort of crawl back and win that first set.
You kind of look over in the changeover and you see the guys got the ice towel around and he's probably not feeling that well. That's why you put in the work.

Q. When did that whole process start exactly?
MARDY FISH: September 28th.

Q. You closed both of these matches pretty convincingly. Is that a part of the fitness, of the, of the confidence, are you trying to put the hammer down?
MARDY FISH: Yeah, I think it was probably a lot of both. I think in both rounds guys kind of ran out of gas a little bit. I mean, it's hot. It's hot. I'm used to it.
Both guys I played in the first two rounds only played New Haven. They weren't over here for Canada and Cincinnati and stuff. So I'm used to the heat.

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