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June 24, 2011

Ryan Harrison


D. FERRER/R. Harrison
6-7, 6-1, 4-6, 6-3, 6-2

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. Do you feel like your serve let you down a little bit today?
RYAN HARRISON: Absolutely.

Q. Why do you think that is?
RYAN HARRISON: I don't know. I mean, I had a good warmup, was hitting it good yesterday. Just one of those days where, you know, I was hitting them clean, just missing them by a couple inches.
If I tried to force it, I missed it. A lot of it had to do with how well he was returning. I couldn't just slide it in the box and get in a rhythm because he was taking control. Even off my serve he was ripping some returns.
So I started trying to force it, started to feel a little pressure. It's not like a match where you're starting from the first point because we're already at 4-2 in the fourth set. Wasn't much time to find rhythm. Kind of one of those deals where it has to be there. If it's not, you lose. His was and mine wasn't, so I lost.

Q. Do you leave here thinking maybe if there had been another hour of light last night that you might have done better?
RYAN HARRISON: I mean, I was definitely in a better rhythm yesterday, that's for sure. I mean, you know, things happen. You've got to deal with stuff no matter what happens. He had the exact same thing that happened to me happen to him. He was in rhythm last night, too. He was playing his best tennis right before the delay. So he could have easily felt the same way, that he was finally catching his rhythm.
Without a doubt, it was pretty obvious to just about everyone that I was serving a lot better yesterday.

Q. You played matches where it's gone from one day to the next before. That wasn't a new situation. Did you come out feeling any more nervous?
RYAN HARRISON: No. I mean, I felt fine, to be honest with you. I wasn't panicked or anything last night or this morning thinking about it. I was confident to win the match all yesterday and last night till this morning. I felt good. I knew that if I played well, I'd win.
But I didn't, so...

Q. You had a couple moments today, but overall how did you feel about how you handled your emotions?
RYAN HARRISON: I mean, there was twice in the beginning of the fifth set where I felt like, you know, I was starting to get a little frustrated just because I'd already gone down a break after being up two sets to one. I could feel I wasn't playing well.
But I tried to take a deep breath and relax and just kind of keep my mouth shut and start fighting and that was going to give me my best chance. Just because you try to do the right things and control your emotions doesn't necessarily mean you're going to win.

Q. You beat a quality player in the first round; pushed this guy to five sets. Must sting to feel you're really close, on the cusp.
RYAN HARRISON: Yeah, I mean, it's just kind of frustrating that I let it slip away. Obviously I know that I can play that level, which is why it's disappointing and frustrating whenever I lose matches that I shouldn't lose.
But David is definitely a guy that is a proven quality player. We were playing very good tennis last night. I could have easily been down two sets to one or even have lost the third set. It's just the way it goes.
I mean, I'm playing about as well as I can play yesterday and we're in a dogfight. But that's the thing, I've got to make that level my standard as opposed to that level being as well as I can play.

Q. Your confidence, some would say, is a real strength that you have. Over the years, what do you think is the best you could do at this tournament?
RYAN HARRISON: I think I can win this tournament. I want to win it, obviously. Grass suits my game. If I'm serving well I'm not going to get broken. The times I get broken on grass are because I either miss first serves or don't hit my spots. It doesn't matter who I'm playing, if I play a good service game, I'm not going to get broken.
It's not like I return poorly. I can return. I feel like I move well enough on grass where it can be a surface I can do some damage on.

Q. By the time of your first match at Flushing, what would you like to achieve this summer?
RYAN HARRISON: I want to play every single match this summer with the same mental stability that I did the first four sets yesterday. With the exception of maybe two or three points, this match today, I want to have that mental stability as standard and have that frame of mind in every single match.

Q. Mardy said the other day it would probably be good for you to have clarity in your coaching situation. Talk about that.
RYAN HARRISON: Yeah. It's pretty solid right now. I've had it pretty solid for the past two months. Scott McCain is quarterbacking the situation and helping me; he's my main coach. Whenever he can't make it, Grant Doyle has been making it, putting in a lot of time with me as well. They're both based out of Austin and both good friends. They both have a similar sight for the game, and I trust and agree with everything that they're telling me and believe in it.

Q. What sort of role has Andy Roddick played for you in being a mentor?
RYAN HARRISON: I mean, he's helped me deal with every situation I've faced as far as all the new stuff I haven't experienced myself yet. He's made himself available to ask him any questions, whether or not it's about tennis, life, priorities, whatever. I can ask him and talk to him about anything, which has been a great help to me.
Then just stuff about my game. I mean, just the biggest thing that he sees that I know and that all the coaches that I work with and that help me see, is that, you know, I've got the ability to play well. It's just a matter of finding that comfort and making it standard, that level.

Q. He said the other day that up here is right now the biggest challenge for you, figuring out that mental stability formula which you alluded to earlier. How far along do you think you are? What obstacles do you see?
RYAN HARRISON: I'm a lot farther along than I was six months ago, that's for sure. There's been a couple times in the last few months where I've snapped. But there's been a lot of matches that, you know, aren't at these bigger tournaments where it's televised and people are watching where I've kept my emotions in check.
Just because I'm playing in a challenger somewhere that nobody has heard of doesn't mean that it doesn't mean a lot and I'm not trying to control myself.
I've played every single match I guess over the last two months with the same preparation and the same I guess mindset as far as how I want to play tactically and with my game. I feel like that's improved a lot. Mentally, obviously I'm working at it and it's going to get better.

Q. What do you see as the burden, if that's the right word, on your generation of players, given so much talk about how long it's been for U.S. men to win a slam and where are things going, all of that?
RYAN HARRISON: Well, the biggest reason U.S. men haven't won a slam is because of Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer are pretty good. Obviously Novak is playing very well also. I mean, it's not like Andy is a worse tennis player than he was 10 years ago. It's just that these guys are playing spectacular tennis.
The quality of tennis is extremely high. I feel like with the right nutrition and stretching, everything like that, people's careers are being extended. Roger is playing at a high level for six, seven, eight years now; whereas, you know, guys' prime would hit a little earlier. By the time they were a little bit older their bodies would start breaking down back in the day.
I just feel like that everyone, it's such a physical game, that it's just -- you have to really physically mature to a point where your body can take it. I mean, I woke up after my Stakhovsky match I guess in September, and I could barely walk the next day. I was so sore. So it's just a matter of being able to do that.
In order to win slams, I would had to have won that match, woken up, and then played a couple days later. I would have had one day off and then played the next day. In order to win a slam, you have to do that seven times. That's pretty difficult.
For a guy, who at the time I was 18, now I'm 19, that's an extremely difficult thing to do. Your body has to mature and get used to that pounding.

Q. You got a long look at Soderling and now a long look at David. You got two top 10 guys there in a slam. What sort of things do you think separate those guys from where you're at?
RYAN HARRISON: You know, I think that it's just the consistency. Talking about David, he brings the same focus and attention to every single point; whereas I've checked out a couple times. I don't lose concentration or physically lose effort or mentally lose effort, but it's just like a matter of making sure that every single point that you play is thought out, is with a purpose.
Sometimes you can get caught in thinking about the situation and thinking about whatever might happen after the match, just stuff that's irrelevant to the process of winning the match.
Those guys obviously have been dealing with the stuff for five, ten years, so there's no lack of concentration or focus. At that point, as soon as you give them a little bit to run with, they just take it. That's when you see them just hammer guys.

Q. In the way you produce shots, do you feel like you're already there?
RYAN HARRISON: My forehand is as good as anyone's if I'm hitting it well. On any given day - obviously I've had some days where it goes off, it goes off more than a guy in the top 10 - but if I'm hitting it well, I can hit it to both spots, I can hide it, I can dictate with it.
My backhand needs work. It's getting a lot better. I'm getting more comfortable with it. Today I kind of resorted to chipping it just because I wasn't really comfortable firing at the line. You have David camping out in the backhand corner just daring me to go up the line.
He's really quick, and I know if I leave it a little bit to the middle he's going to get over there and kill a forehand. So it's just that confidence of knowing that off either side you can step up and put the ball where it needs to go.

Q. People talk about your high tennis IQ. Do you love getting into the nitty-gritty of all the nuances of this game? Does it fill you up day in and day out with intellectual stimulation?
RYAN HARRISON: Yeah, I mean, I love talking about tennis. I love trying to learn as much as I can. I feel like the more you learn and the more you have your ears and eyes opened to learn new stuff, the quicker things are going to happen. You're going to get to a higher level quicker.
I feel like, you know, I've played three matches against guys in the top 10 now. I guess, maybe four; in the last year I've played three. There's just been things that I can learn and I can really figure out, and I want to do it and figure out how to win as quick as possible.

Q. What's the biggest thing you've learned from Andy?
RYAN HARRISON: I mean, he's taught me a lot. But the one thing that stands out is just he always talks about the repeater, which is consistency on a day in and day out basis, whether it be on or off the tennis court or wherever it is. It's just having the same repetition of good habits and good preparation and good quality points over and over and over.

Q. What is your plan from here?
RYAN HARRISON: Playing doubles later today. We'll see how that goes. Hopefully win some matches. Any match here, any match at any slam that's won is good, whether it's singles, doubles, mixed, triples, whatever. If you win matches at slams, it's fine. Not just fine, it's awesome.
I'm going to try to do as well as I can in doubles, go back and play Newport, which is the last grass tournament, and then get start getting ready for the U.S. hard court swing and hopefully peak at the US Open.

Q. How tall are you exactly?

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