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June 22, 2011

Mardy Fish


M. FISH/D. Istomin
7-6, 6-4, 6-4

THE MODERATOR: Mardy Fish. May we have the first question, please.

Q. Talk about your match, thoughts overall. Fairly clean?
MARDY FISH: Yeah, very clean. A lot more sound than the first round, which I was hoping for. This guy's a very good grass court player. Certainly a pretty streaky player when he plays well.
So it was nice. I had to keep my level, for sure, the entire match.

Q. When you came into the French, you talked about you just wanted to make that third round, do something better. Here it seems like you're more comfortable, more relaxed?
MARDY FISH: Yeah, certainly more confident on this surface. You know, sometimes on clay there are guys that you go out in a three-out-of-five-set match and feel like you can beat them, but not that often.
You know, out here is different. I certainly feel like if I can put a few matches together, get some confidence, that maybe this is one of the years that I can do well here. I mean, certainly my goal is -- certainly a goal is to, you know, go deep at Wimbledon one time.

Q. How do you define 'doing well' here?
MARDY FISH: Well, that's a good question. I certainly feel like this surface, maybe this surface and the US Open surface, are my two best Grand Slam surfaces. And it's certainly a goal of mine to get past what I've done before, which is the quarterfinals.
I've never been to the second week here, so this is obviously a little different. Like to see how that feels.
But I definitely have aspirations of going further than just making the fourth round.

Q. Because of the state of tennis and golf in America, two sports the country dominated for so long, we're always writing about the state of golf and tennis in America. I noticed one of the pro golfers got a little bit distressed about it, saying, Why don't you just leave us alone? Do you feel the same, that we're harping on the thing too much because there are few Americans, both men and women, in tennis?
MARDY FISH: Well, I think it's more warranted in tennis. I feel like golf is funny because I think Americans haven't won the last five majors. I mean, that's not really a drought. Maybe that's a little more unrealistic. They've got a lot of players on that side of it.
I don't think it's unwarranted for us. You know, we're used to watching the guys compete for Grand Slams, you know, not compete for Masters Series events or just regular events. Tennis fans are used to seeing Americans win and play each other in Grand Slam finals. So it's tough to come from an era where, you know, Sampras and Agassi are playing each other five or six times in major finals. Pretty spoiled, you know, as an American tennis fan from that point of view.

Q. The whole American philosophy, team sports, individual sports, is, We're No. 1, we want to be No. 1. The advertisers jump on that. Do you think it all fits into part of it, why we sort of look at people who aren't at the top and say, What's the matter?
MARDY FISH: Well, I mean, we come from a country that's used to winning and winning at a high level and at almost every sport. Sometimes we wonder why we haven't competed at a high level yet in soccer.
You know, it takes time. These countries are getting their best athletes. Our most important sports or our most popular sports are getting our best athletes.
I think the same thing is happening in Australian tennis, as well. You know, soccer is becoming more popular there. Aussie Rules Football is more popular there. They're zapping up all their athletes.
That's, I think, a lot of where we sit.

Q. Why do you think individual sports kind of appeal to like your generation and generations before, and now all the kids seem to want to be on a team?
MARDY FISH: I don't know. I think it's preference. I love being on a team. I mean, I love the Davis Cup aspect of it. But, you know, there's nothing like answering for yourself out there.
There's sort of a sense of pride that I know tennis players have, and I'm sure golfers have, that it's just us out there. We don't have to rely on anyone. We don't need to rely on anyone. So I think there's a little sense of pride there.

Q. Speaking of Davis Cup, your victory in Colombia was pretty incredible. What would you say is the highlight of your career?
MARDY FISH: It's tough to say that isn't it. We made the finals of Davis Cup. I won some matches, relegation match, as well, in 2003. But after the summer that I had last year, sort of unexpected summer, winning a few tournaments in a row and doing some things I'd never done before, to top it off with that was pretty special.
So, yeah, you could certainly say winning those three points, not that many guys can say that. So that's probably my most proud moment.

Q. Alex Bogomolov just made it to the third round. How well do you know him?
MARDY FISH: I know him. He's a great kid. He's been playing for a long time on the challenger circuit, futures and things. I practiced with him a lot. Came through some of the challengers and stuff back in 2001, 2002. Hasn't been able to bust through.
Hopefully now he has.

Q. Why?
MARDY FISH: Just maturity. Comes with experience. You know, you only get better. You only improve. You only understand traveling and just life in general a lot better as you get older.

Q. Do you think some players don't understand the size or the smallness of the window of opportunity you really have in sports? You can get to 33, 34, it's shut pretty much.
MARDY FISH: Yeah, and I don't know what that feels like. Hopefully I've got a few more years until I know what that feels like.
I assume maybe you just lose a step; you don't recover as quickly as you do. You know, obviously turning around day after day is important for us.
But, yeah, I mean, it's small. And I'm trying just personally to, you know, take in every spot that I can. You know, a top-10 seeding in Wimbledon, which I've never done before, I'm not sure if I'll ever be back here again with the same number next to my name. So I'm trying to take it all in, as well. I certainly have a lot better understanding of what you said.

Q. You've been talking about quarterfinals, referring to Australia and the US Open. I know the big four are tough here. Is semifinals of a major completely out of your head, or is that an overall ambition?
MARDY FISH: No, that's a goal, certainly a goal. So is getting to top 10 in the world. That was a goal. So putting yourself into the final four of a major, not everybody does that. Clearly today it's even tougher.
So, you know, the depth is there. The top four guys are playing as well as I can remember four guys playing.
But I don't think it's out of the realm. I've certainly done it in other events, just not three-out-of-five-set events.

Q. All of us have regrets in our life. If the Mardy Fish of today could look back to Mardy a few years back who was enjoying the pepperoni pizza, what would he say?
MARDY FISH: It's how you started the question. We can all sit here and say we wish we would have done things differently, or some things. But I don't think about it at all. I mean, I'm just excited, you know, to be playing my best tennis of my life now.
You know, you see a lot of guys come through that sort of go downhill as their age gets older, and I'm going the other way. You certainly have regrets. I have regrets in life, period. Nothing to do with tennis. I don't dwell on the tennis ones at all.

Q. When somebody is playing, you're talking about the top four out there, when they face them, do you think the psychology of facing them already gives them an advantage as opposed to just hitting the shots back across the net?
MARDY FISH: Sure. It's got a lot to do with individual sports. It's got a lot to do with why tennis is such a tough sport, such a one-on-one type of sport.
You walk out there against these guys. A lot of times, you know, you're already down a break just because you're trying to figure out where you are and who you're playing against, or you're trying to get over that.
I'm sure if you ask someone like Pete back in the day, you know, he was up a break before he walked out on the court. I'm sure Roger could say the same thing.

Q. You had this great run post-Wimbledon last year. Could you previously take us through the sensibility, what it's like to go to Newport, the heat of Atlanta, the Hollywood of L.A.?
MARDY FISH: Yeah. I mean, you're talking about how last year went?

Q. The cultures, what it's like for a tennis player.
MARDY FISH: Newport's a special place. It's a great city. I always loved going there. Hadn't played well there. Hadn't put it together. Hadn't figured out how to play on those courts. Those grass courts are a lot different than they are here, a lot more grass court-style tennis there that you can play.
Then Atlanta obviously being a new event, by far the hottest I've ever played in, the final of Atlanta. I needed a couple IVs right after and couldn't sit down for an hour or so afterwards because I was almost full-body cramping. You know, it was just unbelievably hot.
I didn't play L.A. last year, but I'm going to try to play this year. It's a five-minute drive for me, so it's tough not to play that one.
Then you obviously look forward to all the Masters series events, or Masters 1000 events that culminate with the Open. It's a fun time for the Americans. We can always play in front of our fans, in front of friendly faces that we know.
Seems like almost every week you're getting tickets for someone that you're close to. That doesn't happen throughout the rest of the year.

Q. Andy said yesterday that what he likes about Harrison is that he competes hard, he wants it, he has a desire, and he doesn't see that from a lot of younger players. Do you see that, too?
MARDY FISH: Oh, yeah. He's got a little bit of Roddick 2000, 2001 in him. You know, pretty raw. Just wants it bad. You know, it has to sort of channel. He's got a lot of energy.
For better or worse, sometimes it's going in the right direction; sometimes not. Hopefully he'll figure that out.
You know, he needs to get on sort of a path where he's got people around him, the right people around him, that he's improving at a high level daily, weekly. I don't doubt that he will. He'll figure it out.
You know, I think if you ask him, he's not sure which direction he wants to go as far as, you know, coaching or training and things like that.
That's one of the things that I regret most about playing, is not sort of investing in a trainer or a physical therapist early on in my career, because obviously I had a lot of injuries. Maybe would have put my butt into shape a little bit quicker.
So, you know, those are things that he's going to have to figure out that he faces now. He hasn't won very many matches since Indian Wells and now he's put a couple together here, which is great, you know, take advantage of his opportunities now.

Q. With the weather being so precarious, how important do you think it is that you're on schedule still?
MARDY FISH: Yeah, it's important. It seems like we'll get a lot of matches in today, the rest of the day. It's just nice to go through already without, you know, having to come off and stop today.
It's going to rain here a lot. You know, the wind was tough today. The ball's just not exactly where you think it is every time. So you have to, you know, just try to take care of your side of the court better than the other guy.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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