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September 12, 2010

Denis Kudla


J. SOCK/D. Kudla
3-6, 6-2, 6-2

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. It's kind of tough times for American tennis, American men's tennis. You two Americans, one seeded No. 10, and the other unseeded in the boys final. How do you explain what happened?
DENIS KUDLA: You mean throughout the tournament?

Q. Is it a matter of the surface you think, or...
DENIS KUDLA: I don't think it's the surface. Obviously that does help a little bit, but, you know, I think we're both capable of winning these slams, it's just that if an American was gonna do it.
And then finally two Americans make the final and guaranteed one to win, so, um -- you know, U.S. tennis has all the opportunities. We have a lot of good players. It's just if we execute in tournaments, and this happened to be the one where we did well.

Q. You seemed in command certainly in the first set, and moved forward to really good results. How would you describe the momentum shift there in the second set? What changed about Jack's play and what changed about your play and tactics?
DENIS KUDLA: Well, the first set I played really well. I moved forward. I was hitting my shots. Maybe he was a little bit nervous.
Then in the second set I just stopped hitting my shots and really didn't execute the way I wanted to, and he started picking up his game and started dictating a little bit more. You know, my first serve percentage went down. His went up. He started acing me once or twice a game.
It was a little unfortunate that my momentum went away in just a couple games in the second set. But, you know, all credit to him. He played pretty well.

Q. How would you describe the crowd?
DENIS KUDLA: Ah, you know, it was pretty good. (Smiling.)
I wouldn't say it's the biggest crowd I've played in front of, but it was pretty big. It was pretty supportive to both sides. It was good to have two Americans. It wasn't one-sided.
Also it was kind of unfortunate. Usually in most of my matches I have them on my side. They helped him out a lot, too. You know, he just took change of it.

Q. Where is the biggest crowd you've played?
DENIS KUDLA: Um, let me think. Probably when I played an ATP tournament in Newport.

Q. Where are you going next?
DENIS KUDLA: Not sure. Probably playing just a couple of futures in America somewhere.

Q. I'm sure it's too soon for broad perspective, but what are your initial thoughts about what you're going to take away from this experience of the past week?
DENIS KUDLA: Ah, what I'm gonna take from it is probably knowing that I can compete with a lot of the top guys, even though this is still juniors.
But in my opinion, I think a lot of these guys are gonna be the next top pros who are going to play with each other later on.
So knowing that I can play well under pressure and in a big stage is something that I think is pretty important for the future.

Q. You seem to have the aggressive gene. Looks as though you look to come in, hit the approach shot, finish with a volley. Is that standard operating procedure for you?
DENIS KUDLA: Ah, I wish it was, but not every day. You know, I played well, and when I'm playing well I like to move forward. It's something that I want to make consistent in my game.
I think if I keep doing it, it can take me to the top level.

Q. Is it different when you face another American in a final? Would your feelings or emotions have been any different if it had been a Russian or a German or someone else?
DENIS KUDLA: Um, I think it is different to play another American, because, you know, I know him so well and it's a lot of pressure. We're both looking for our first slam, and especially to have it at the US Open. So it's pretty tough.
I think if I played, like, say, the other guy in the semifinals, a Hungarian, probably would have been less nerves and less pressure. I'd have the crowd on my side, so I'd have a lot of things going my way.
Since it's even and he just played better than me, yeah, it's tough. But on the other hand, it's a good thing. It's great. You.

Q. Had pretty much has your last shot to get into it when he was serving at 3-2, I guess. You played a great point that he won with a lob. It was breakpoint. Could you describe that point? Because there was a lot going on there.
DENIS KUDLA: Yeah, well, I came forward, and I knew he was really far behind the baseline. You know, he hit a great lob. I didn't expect it to be that good. I knew when it was going up chances of it going in was pretty high.
I was hoping something would go wrong or go out. I let it go, and I was getting a little bit of momentum to hold.
But, you know, it's the best shot he could have hit at that moment. If he can do it, then there's nothing I can do about it.

Q. What particular pattern or shot of Jack's did you find difficult to cope with as the match wore on?
DENIS KUDLA: He started really neutralizing my attacking ball. I'd come forward and on his forehand, and he would hit it high to where the only way I'd be able to do something like that is hit it on the rise, which in these kind of conditions isn't the easiest thing to do.
You know, also first serve is, you know, high percentage. It was big. I'd be able to return it, but it'd be in the middle of the court and he would be able to dictate it with forehand.
So I would say his forehand and serve are definitely two shots that gave me a lot of trouble.

Q. Were you hoping that it would rain?
DENIS KUDLA: Ah, maybe a little bit. But, you know, I was already down a break. I knew if it was a rain delay, first thing would be to try to break back if you can. You know, I had chances, but he just came out big with a lot of aces.

Q. Where is your serve, you know, in relation to where you'd like it to be? How much, you know, gain do you think you can make with that?
DENIS KUDLA: Ah, today I didn't feel like I served great at all. I didn't serve that well.
When I am serving well, I would say I'm serving like in the 120s. If I can get that to a consistent level, you know, it would help me win a lot easier in my matches.
But right now, working on it, but...

Q. So today was somewhat of an off day?
DENIS KUDLA: Yeah, I was looking at the percentages every single match, and it was pretty high for me. Usually it's like two 59s. I was in the 60s twice, and my semis I think I was 56 or something like that. So I wasn't really that low.
But today, I haven't looked at a stat yet, but I'm sure it was low 50s, which against a player like Jack is really not -- gonna be tough to win.

Q. As I'm sure you're aware, the last all-American final was Andy and Robby in 2000. When you look and see where they went from there, what goes through your mind, knowing you are in that place right now?
DENIS KUDLA: You know, it would be great if we both made it. If you go by that kind of result, looks like his career is gonna be pretty good.
You know, it's good to know the last two Americans, they both made it. It would be great if we both made it. But since last junior tournament, you know, I'm gonna put it behind me. It's done. I finished my junior career with finals at a Grand Slam, which is great.
You know, just move forward, keep working on everything. I believe in myself to make it to the top. Hopefully he can do the same.

Q. Have you had much occasion to meeting Pat McEnroe and working with him?
DENIS KUDLA: Recently I have. Went to Davis Cup and got to spend some time with that. Other than that, not too much. I see him -- every time I see him I'll talk to him a little bit, but with the coaching, I wouldn't say there's too much.

Q. What has he said to you? Has he encouraged you?
DENIS KUDLA: You know, we went to Davis Cup, he really just told us to look at how the pros prepare themselves and what their mentality when they're about to play a huge event like Davis Cup.
So he just kind of pointed out a couple of things what they were doing, and, you know, we need to try to learn from it. Looked like me and Jack, we were both the hitting partners there and we both made finals here, so looks like we both learned something.

End of FastScripts

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