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September 4, 2010

Mardy Fish


M. FISH/A. Clement
4-6, 6-3, 6-4, 1-6, 6-3

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. At what point were you confident that you had that match?
MARDY FISH: When the ball went wide. I mean, like he returned so well that, I mean, he seemed like he returned better when I hit -- you know, when I went for the serves harder. You know, he takes pace really well, especially on the backhand. I was trying to throw in a lot of first serves just because of the wind to see what could happen with the ball.
So, yeah, I mean, you're never safe.

Q. I know you said you were rooting for James to win out there. He's down 5-Love. How exciting would it be if you could play him and how disappointing would it be if he goes out?
MARDY FISH: It would be great, obviously. We played the last time I was here in the third round, night match. He's had a rough go of it the past few months. But seems like, you know, when he gets here, he's a different player.
So I'm sure -- hopefully he'll turn it around. I mean, Novak has got a great record here. He's certainly tough.
I'm not sure what he expected coming into this tournament, but I'm sure that if you told him third round, he'd lose to a top 3 player, he might be satisfied. I don't know if he'd be extremely happy, but he might be satisfied.

Q. How different is it psychologically to go into a fifth set after losing the fourth set as opposed to winning the fourth set to force a fifth?
MARDY FISH: Well, you've just got to start over if you lost the fourth. Basically just playing one set for the match, obviously.
You just got to regroup. You know, there's part of you that, you know, you're down 4-1, and there's part of you that's sort of thinking towards the fifth. You know, obviously you want to come back and want to try to break, want to try and make him serve it out. Obviously, that didn't happen.
It was nice to start obviously in the fifth, start serving. Got out of I think a couple close holds early. So, you know, you're obviously going in with the momentum if you win 6-1 in the fourth, but you just have to regroup as best you can on the other side.

Q. On court you mentioned the importance of the US Open, but also spoke about how Armstrong is one of the great courts in tennis. Can you talk about what makes it so special?
MARDY FISH: Well, obviously it's a great atmosphere. The people are sort of on top of you. There's not much room back there. And it seems like the best matches throughout the tournament happen either on Armstrong or on Grandstand. There's been quite a few 6-0, 6-0s on Ashe, it seems like.
For whatever reason, they haven't given the Americans a look at Ashe this year, except for Andy one match. So we become accustomed to playing out there. I mean, you just get goosebumps playing a match like that when the crowd's like that.

Q. It was really once notorious with the planes coming over years ago. Are you aware of any of the sounds, both of the crowd, the trains?
MARDY FISH: Yeah, not much. I mean, clearly you hear the crowd. And, to be honest, there were a couple times where, you know, you want them to fire you up and sort of be intimidating for your opponent. It can be pretty intimidating. I mean, there's a lot of people there, a lot of people that you feel like are on your side when you're not playing an American like that.
So, yeah, I mean, you can certainly hear the crowd. You don't notice the planes much. You don't notice the trains at all.

Q. Somewhere in the back of your mind, the Americans have a real tough time at Roland Garros, tough losses. In the back of your mind, you know you're playing a French guy, this is home turf, that gives you a bit of an advantage?
MARDY FISH: I mean, you certainly remember -- we go to Paris at the end of the year for Bercy for the indoors there. It's flip-flopped tenfold the way the crowds are here. They're pretty brutal over there as far as, you know, if you question a call.
Obviously, they want their guy to win, and nothing's different there. But they can be tough on players, you know, when they're going for one of their guys.
Yeah, I mean, you know that. You know it's not every match that you're going to have the crowd on your side like that.

Q. You've had a decent season this season. What do you attribute it to?
MARDY FISH: Well, I've been healthy for the most part from February on. I've been able to play almost every match, with the exception of one, pretty injury-free. So that certainly helps.

Q. Federer had some flattering comments about the changes you made. How does it feel to get respect from your peers like that?
MARDY FISH: It feels nice. I mean, certainly you want the respect of the guys you're competing with; maybe him more so than anyone else. I'm not sure what you're referring to or what he said.
Roger's a class guy, there's no doubt. I mean, we've played six or seven times now, and he's kicked my butt almost every time, so...

Q. When it comes down to one set, winner take all, what is the predominant emotion? Do you relish that? Are you excited? Is it stressful?
MARDY FISH: I mean, to say it's not stressful would probably be lying. But, I mean, you're just in the moment so it's tough to really take it all in, what's going on. I mean, you just want to win so bad, especially making it to the second week of a Grand Slam or going home.
You know, there wasn't much out there you could feel like was sort of teetering one way or the other on who was going to win. At the start of the fifth, he had the momentum. I felt like I was playing pretty good tennis, had tried to figure out the wind a little bit, trying to get as many free points on my serve as I could. So I had the edge maybe a little bit there maybe on the serve I felt like.
Apart from that, you're trying everything you can, you know, to get up early, try to roll.

Q. At the end of the match when you were thanking the crowd, kind of a curious victory gesture there, sort of Andre Agassi meets four corners...
MARDY FISH: Are you talking about the calf rope?

Q. The four corners.
MARDY FISH: Yeah, I mean, that's just something that I saw -- I mean, I stole it from Jonas Bjorkman. I saw him do it at Wimbledon. He was thanking the crowd, thanking the crowd for the help. They pulled me through it.

Q. Have you done that before?
MARDY FISH: I've done it like once or twice, I think.

Q. One player told me he actually finds it easier to focus and execute shots in a fifth set because you just know that you have to bear down.
MARDY FISH: Yeah, I mean, you know, you get a 15-All and you're just so much more focused than you were in a third set or even a fourth set 'cause there's really no turning back. You know, if you're down, you don't have another set to rely on. It's not the first set where you can get your feet under you and come back relatively easily.
You know, you equate a fifth set almost like a Davis Cup match just because you get 30 on somebody's serve and it's just a huge opportunity.

Q. If Stacey said to you over coffee one morning, Don't worry, Mardy, you're going to be one of the hottest players of the summer, reach the fourth round...
MARDY FISH: She did tell me that.

Q. And you said?
MARDY FISH: And I said?

Q. What would you say?
MARDY FISH: I don't know. The only thing I know about this summer is that, you know, when we were kind of rolling around in the clay in May over in Europe, I couldn't be more looking forward to or more excited for Newport, going there. And then to get into the heat, to get on the hard courts, to get in the States with the way that I felt on the court, the way that my body felt, I was never more excited to have, you know, sort of a part of the season come up than 2010 summer sort of US Open Series.

Q. And your buddy Andy, has he texted you?
MARDY FISH: Yeah, we spoke this morning. Yeah, I mean, obviously he's excited. Obviously, he's disappointed for himself and excited for me.

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