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September 3, 2010

Ryan Harrison


6-3, 5-7, 3-6, 6-3, 7-6

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. What was going through your mind in the match points, and did you play each match point the way you wanted to play them?
RYAN HARRISON: Um, no. Whenever a guy is serving big like him and he's got two service points on two of 'em, that's not in my control. You know, if he plays -- hits two big serves and then comes in and puts two first volleys away, that's something I really can't do much about, you know.
But, um, 6-5 when I was serving in the tiebreaker, I actually hit a kick serve out wide on the first serve. I was trying to make sure I got the first serve in and trying to put pressure on him, and missed that one barely.
And then I wanted to play a long point and give myself an opportunity where, you know, I wanted to try to break him down, and he didn't miss. I ended up missing, and then just kind of, you know, fell apart from there. I double faulted at 6-All and just -- you know, it just wasn't smart.
You know, I didn't go about it the way I should have. You know, I went for a big for serve on the first serve at 6-All. Looking back, I probably should have just controlled that one in and looked for a forehand or a first volley. But, you know, I can't change it now.

Q. I know it's obviously immediate, very early, but are you able to share any thoughts about how you might look back on the whole of this experience, coming through qualifying, you know, getting as far as you did today?
RYAN HARRISON: I mean, it was a great experience. I mean, the whole last week and a half almost two weeks now has been incredible for me. I mean, I've always believed in myself and I've always believed that I could come in here and compete at this level.
But to go out there and actually execute and to win some of the matches I did, you know, I'm extremely happy about and extremely proud of. But in all honesty, I could have lost second round quallies. I mean, I was in full leg cramps down 3-0 in the third set, and I fought through that and had a good match and then played one of the best matches I've ever played in my life. Just got a little bit tight whenever I needed to come through.

Q. Did you play your doubles match yesterday?

Q. Have any affect on you?
RYAN HARRISON: I mean, my legs felt good. I felt like I had plenty of energy. Um, obviously we were both feeling it late, 4 hours 15 minutes into a match. But if I was playing just only singles and had an off day, I'd probably hit twice, anyways.
I was lucky to be able to -- we had two straight set wins in both of them, so I was able to get on and off. So I was on court for a total of like 2 hours 15 minutes, which was incredible, and then I got a good rest last night. I felt -- my body felt great on the court.

Q. Two opposite questions: What was the fun factor like out there for you? And secondly, how long will this loss stay with you?
RYAN HARRISON: It was incredibly fun, I mean, you know, playing in front of a crowd like that. I mean, it was the first time I ever played in the main draw of the US Open was two days ago. To have a crowd like that behind me on one of the biggest stadium courts here and have people -- all the support I had, it was incredible.
I mean, obviously I'm not the happiest person in the world right now. But looking back on it, it was a great experience. My ranking is 220 in the world right now, and I'm trying to hopefully get to the top 10. So I feel like one match doesn't make or break that. It's the experience of playing these type of matches that is really going to help me to get there.

Q. Speaking of experience, a lot of young players have to go through learning how to play a fifth set. How did it feel different to you in the fifth set, and do you think differently in the fifth set?
RYAN HARRISON: Obviously it was a little bit strange for me going up two sets to one and still keep playing. I've only played like three, four, five-set matches in my career. But, you know, I kind of have my routines I like to go through, going to the towel, taking time in between points to reflect back and think.
You know, there's -- honestly there was a couple of times in the match where I started thinking, you know, here's the score, here's the situation, and I caught myself and I just went straight back into trying to go into my routines and just basically treating every point like the last.
Just going up there, and no matter the situation, no matter the score, just trying to execute the game plan.

Q. When do you remember doing that, thinking about the score? Fifth set or...
RYAN HARRISON: Oh, no. You know, early fifth set when I got broken I was thinking, Oh, you know, I'm up two sets to one and now I am in the fifth set, down a break and all that stuff. Obviously I caught myself, went back into my routine, got the break back, and then gave myself an excellent chance to win with triple match point.

Q. You have a very unique style of play out there. It's fabulous, very entertaining. Where does your style of play come from?
RYAN HARRISON: Um, you know, I started playing when I was really young with my dad who played four years in college and then played a little bit briefly on the tour professionally.
He wanted me to have an all-round game from the beginning. He's always thought I was a great athlete and thought I had the ability to come in and have a good feel at the net, as well as good speed behind the baseline to play defense, and then mechanically strong strokes to attack from the ground whenever I can.
So for me, the biggest change this week, as opposed to the last six months, was I went into every match with a specific, This is how I'm gonna beat this guy. This is what I'm gonna do. I'm gonna do X, Y, and Z and try and execute it. I was able to play some high level tennis.

Q. When the crowd was chanting, Let's go Ryan in the fifth set, how did that feel to you? Has that ever happen to you, have a large crowd chant your name like that?
RYAN HARRISON: I've never had it like that, definitely not. I mean, that was incredible. You know, they were great. There were some balls that I ran down and was able to scoop up and get back in the point, win some points, just because of the energy and the electricity that I'm feeling because of everything.
I mean, I can't remember the last time I was, you know, late in a match like that, jogging off every changeover. I mean, I just felt good. The body felt good. I felt energetic. The crowd played an incredible part in that, and I'm really thankful for their support and really happy that I was able to play here, and, you know, give it a good run.

Q. When you were younger, did you ever come and watch matches on that court?
RYAN HARRISON: Yeah. I've never -- I hadn't watched here live until I was 14 years old. But, you know, obviously I've been watching tennis since I was three, four years old. Ever since I could can remember, I mean, I've been watching the US Open.
On that specific court, you see flashes over all the time on ESPN and Tennis Channel whenever there's good matches going on. I'm a tennis fan, a tennis freak. I follow when I'm not even practicing. I love watching it, and I love just being a part of it.

Q. You mentioned the triple match point. What do you hope to gain from the experience of the last few moments of this match?
RYAN HARRISON: Just the last few moments specifically -- honestly, that was just lack of execution. I went about it the exact way that I wanted to. I mean, I went to my towel, I took time, I tried to control the first serve and put it in there.
But I feel like once you're there and you're just trying to execute it, it's just a matter of practice and what you've done. You know, your practice leading up to the match, and then once you get there, you pretty much have what you have. At that point, it's up to your routines and your breathing and everything like that.
I did that pretty well. I just didn't execute.

Q. You know how competitive men's tennis is, and this is definitely a breakthrough couple of weeks for you. How do you take this and get to the next step?
RYAN HARRISON: You know, honestly, right now, I haven't -- I obviously haven't had a whole lot of time to go back and look at everything as far as the last two weeks.
But, um, I can honestly say that this is the first time in my career that I've had a clear-cut picture of how I want to play, how I want to compete, and how I want to base my game around. This is how I'm gonna come up and play at the highest level.
Even if I had won this match, you know, I probably -- my ranking is still not even top 100 even if I win the match. Ultimately that's the goal. You don't want one good week out after a year. You want a year.

Q. But this helps with your belief at a certain level?
RYAN HARRISON: Absolutely. I mean, you know, winning builds confidence, confidence builds winning. So whenever you win matches like that to get through quallies and you come out there and win a first-round main draw against such a good player as Ljubicic.
And then this guy, I think he won Pilot Pen. He's hot. You can tell by the way he served those two points when he was down 3-6. Whenever he's won so many matches, just like I won so many matches in a row, I mean, you get in big situations and you execute because you have confidence.
That's kind of what I take from it right now. I'm just, you know, feeling pretty confident about my abilities.

Q. There have been plenty of cases where young guys turn pro, you know, 15, 16, and it doesn't serve them well. I mean, the steady diet of losses, maybe they don't physically mature as expected. Can you tell us a little bit in your case, you know, what is it about you mentally or confidence-wise or in terms of your support system that's enabled you the last few years to stay on the path and steadily progress?
RYAN HARRISON: Exactly with a said there, the support system. I mean, my dad has been a great role model for me my entire life. He's literally explained everything to me from the time I was a little kid. You know, just this is what's important in life; this is what you always have to do, you know, no matter what.
The moment I got out of here, you know, on the day I beat Ljubicic, the entire conversation with him was staying humble and preparing for the next round. I've had a great support system. I have a little brother and little sister, and they both look up to me. I just try to set a good example for them.
You know, I'm just trying to -- you know, trying to go out here and work as hard as I can, and hopefully be a steady player that's a contender in these tournaments.

Q. Was it 15 when you turned pro?
RYAN HARRISON: Yes, it was.

Q. You're aware one of the storylines here has been basically been the lack of American players, Querrey and Isner. Are you ready to grasp the role of great American hope?
RYAN HARRISON: I mean, obviously you have Sam and John who are both pretty -- I think in the last year and a half, two years they've really broken through. Jeez, cramp up. Sorry. I'm going to straighten that one.
Honestly, I feel like -- you know, I feel like -- I've seen Sam work; I've seen John work. These guys are all working incredibly hard. To be mentioned as something like that, you know, obviously, like you said, it's a prospect. But I've got a lot of work to do.
From, you know, from the time I get back home -- I have mixed doubles and doubles still here -- but from the time I get back home until the time, you know, I play my next tournaments, my goals, my focuses, are going to be improving my game to be consistently a contender.
And then, you know, the ranking and all that stuff will hopefully take care of itself. I'm just going to try to keep my head down and work as hard as I can and listen to the people I trust and develop my game.

Q. Of all the feelings you had on a tennis court, how would you compare what you experienced here?
RYAN HARRISON: Ah, today or two days ago? They're completely different. (Laughter.)
Um, the entire experience here has been incredible for me. Playing my home Slam in New York and having the crowd support that I have had and all the people that believe in me and all the people that have always believed in me -- there are people that have seen me play for the first time here and have started to believe in me, and then you have the people that have believed in you ever since you started playing.
I really feel like I'm just -- you know, I'm just really happy to be here, and I really look forward to coming back here for many years.

Q. You said that you had a clear plan at least in the match going in.

Q. Do you have a clear plan in your mind of your career?

Q. Two years, three years, and how soon can you win a Grand Slam?
RYAN HARRISON: You know, I've always -- I've always not been one to say, like, top 10 and top 5, all that stuff. Because my general personality has always been, you know, if I'm top 10 in the world and I'm 10 in the world, there's still nine guys ahead of me. So I've always had the mentality where I've wanted to be the best and I've always wanted to, you know, be the top, to win Grand Slams.
But with that being said, it's a ways away. You know, this was the breakout run of my career, and in the round of 64, you know. So I've got to really keep working and hopefully try and improve. And guess it's just been a great experience.

Q. What did you learn from being a hitting partner for the Davis Cup around all those big players?
RYAN HARRISON: That was incredible for me. To go with the Davis Cup team -- Andy -- whenever I went, Andy had just finaled Wimbledon and lost 16-14 in the fifth to Federer. Now I feel about 1/10th the way he felt after that match.
There was Mardy, um, James, and then the Bryan brothers. Those guys were just -- you know, entire time I was there -- the first four days I was there, actually the other hitting partner Devin Britton was experiencing a shoulder problem. I was on the court for probably like four, five hours a day every day, I mean, just working, going straight from practice to practice. I was involved with every single practice.
Those guys were extremely helpful, trying to teach me how to play. You know, the stress and pressure of Davis Cup is one that I'm sure you don't understand until you've actually been in that situation. But watching those guys, and -- you know, I watched Mardy, I watched James, how they go about trying to execute during those times. You know, of course I've tried to learn from them and pick up as much as possible.

Q. Following the Open, what's your favorite moments?
RYAN HARRISON: I've always been a Sampras fan just because of the way he attacked. I met Andre, I want to say last October, I think in Macau. They did an exhibition match there. Great guy. He was helpful talking to me too about some of the situations in his career that he was looking back on. I was obviously asking a ton of questions, trying to pick his brain as much as possible.
Um, you know, I guess probably the most extraordinary thing I saw was Sampras come out and win that -- win it here in -- it was 2002, I think. You know, making that run to end his career and retiring after a Slam, I don't think -- I don't know if anyone's ever done that before. That was incredible.
That's probably the U.S. moment -- first one I can remember, at least.

Q. The serve and volley game of course is such a rare sight on the tour these days. Even guys like Federer don't do it so much anymore. Did anybody ever try to sell you out of that style of play, or were you pretty determined stick with that style of game?
RYAN HARRISON: Um, I don't want to be exclusively a serve and volleyer. I mean, I served and volleyed an incredible amount today just because the guy had a one-handed backhand, and he was chipping a lot of 'em.
Whenever a guy is chipping a return, it will kind of float and then land deep in the court, and then you're starting from neutral if you let the ball bounce; whereas if I have a feeling that he's gonna chip it high and it's gonna be floating, then I want to try to get in and take it off. Most of that situation is just feel for me, you know, if I feel like I've got a good pattern set up on the serve.
But to answer your question, nobody's really tried to sell me out of it just because the people that have been close to me have seen me do it and seen how I try to time it at the right times and use it in my all-round game.
So it's just a matter of situational timing and the serves I'm hitting to try and set it up.

Q. Did he show you anything different that you hadn't experienced before?
RYAN HARRISON: Did who show me?

Q. Your opponent today.
RYAN HARRISON: My opponent?
Um, you know, I kind of -- I guess the biggest thing is how these -- you know, all these guys that are playing this level, they do execute at the big moments. I mean, I've always felt like throughout the juniors and, you know, briefly started like in the futures and everything, that I had a good ability to play well with pressure.
But at the top, everyone does. Everyone usually plays pretty well. Whenever the money is on the line they come out big. That's exactly what he did. I mean, he played a couple solid points whenever I was up match point.
As soon as I broke him back in the third set -- or in the fifth set -- sorry. As soon as I broke him back in the fifth set, from then on out he started serving a lot better. I want to says his service percentage had to be over 70, 75 once I broke him back, and that's just because of his experience, his confidence.
I feel like that's the biggest thing I can take from it. In the future when I get in these situations, I know that these guys are gonna raise their level, and I'm gonna have to raise my level, too.

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