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June 27, 2011

Mardy Fish


M. FISH/T. Berdych
7-6, 6-4, 6-4

THE MODERATOR: Ladies and gentlemen, Mardy Fish. Questions.

Q. How does it feel to be the last American standing?
MARDY FISH: Last last. Again, I mean, it's not what you set out to do, you know. It was I guess bad luck for the Williams sisters to lose. Unfortunate, I guess. They'll be back, I'm sure.

Q. What are your thoughts on being this far along in the tournament right now and what is your level of excitement about it?
MARDY FISH: Yeah, it feels great. I mean, this is obviously a huge tournament for me. Suits my game probably better than any other tournament for me Grand Slam-wise.
You know, so I felt like maybe it's one of those ones that I really wanted to do well at. You know in the quarterfinals. Feels great again. I'll have another tough one, for sure.

Q. You look at your results on grass recently and how you feel about it, do you think, Why did it take me this long?
MARDY FISH: I've had good success on grass in my career, but just never here. And I've had success in a lot of tournaments, but not really in slams. I think the three out of five thing has a lot to do with it.
I think, you know, the big guys are tough outs in three out of five. Two out of three I've beaten a lot of guys, but not three out of five. That's maybe my first top-10 win in a Grand Slam. They're hard to come by.

Q. You seem real measured, almost mellow. Do you feel like screaming like crazy inside?
MARDY FISH: Yeah, I mean, maybe it hasn't sunk in yet. I don't know. This is, you know, the one that you look forward to, this and the US Open, every year to do well at.
You know, it's different. This is much different than '08 US Open for me. I feel a lot different. I feel like a completely different player. So I'm hoping it doesn't end.

Q. If I'm not mistaken, you've only been broken once in your serve in four rounds. Did you see that coming?
MARDY FISH: I mean, look, I've gone through some runs in my career where I've served well. I think at one point I broke a record, Pete's record, that was broken numerous times by Roddick and then Federer, I think multiple people.
But I think it was maybe 90 something in a row - I'll have to ask Sharko - through Cincinnati and through the US Open. So I've had success on my serve, gone through matches without losing serve. This is probably one of the best serving days I've had.
I also served really well in the first round. I didn't have a breakpoint against me in the first round as well.

Q. Against him though today I guess returning somewhat important.
MARDY FISH: Yeah, sure. I mean, he's coming from another angle. I mean, he's a big guy. Tosses the ball real high. He gets up there high. I mean, when he hits his spots you don't know where he's going. You know, you're sort of guessing. Sort of have a small inclination where he wants to go on the big points. He likes the slider, this and that.
He hit the T serve as well on the deuce side. You know, sort of one of those things where you just try to take your opportunities when they come. I think for the most part he gave me that last break with the forehand volley thing that he tried. He would probably like to have that one back. Took advantage of most of my opportunities.

Q. How does it feel to be the Lone Ranger?
MARDY FISH: Yeah, it's not what you set out to do. You know, being the highest-ranked American, I guess on both sides now, comes a pretty high responsibility. You know, as I said before, people are watching. You feel like people are watching more than before, especially with me.

Q. Not to get personal, but John McEnroe said that somehow Andy's marriage might be a distraction or detrimental. In the past you said your relationship and marriage has been a real help. Can you just talk about that as a factor in your career.
MARDY FISH: It's given me a whole 'nother lease on life, period. I mean, that's one of the reasons why you play. That's one of the reasons why Andy's still playing. I think it's completely unwarranted. It's not a great comment to talk about wives. You should probably stay away from the wives.
I mean, you know, I love Brooklyn. I love them to death, so I'll stick up for them, especially when it comes from a place, you know, that might not know the ins and outs of their relationship.
I know them as well as I know anybody, so, you know, that's tough to take, I guess.

Q. Some guys are good at playing someone for the first time. Do you feel like you're a good first-meeting player or not in your career?
MARDY FISH: Maybe, yeah. I don't know. That would be interesting. That would be another question for Sharko.
But, you know, we've practiced a lot. I've never played him, obviously. He takes some cuts at the ball, boy. He was playing at a real high level for the first set. You know, you're trying to feel each other out a little bit probably, having never played.
You know, he likes to see the ball and hit it hard. I don't think I was prepared as well for that type of style. You know, I mean, I thought maybe you can get in a couple rallies and things like that.
But it played quick. The humidity made it play pretty quick. Definitely the fastest conditions we've had here.

Q. Looking forward, what would be the best conditions for you come Wednesday?
MARDY FISH: Hot. Yeah, hot. Hot, quick, humid. I think it's going to turn again.
But if it's slow and cold, I got a lot of aches and pains sometimes, too, that don't warm up as good. And I felt good today. I feel great now physically and mentally, so it feels good.

Q. In 2003 you were the only one who took a set off of Federer when he won the tournament. Many years have been passed.
MARDY FISH: That's an archive there.

Q. Do you still remember that?
MARDY FISH: Yeah, 2003, Centre Court, third set, 6-4. I remember. 6-3 maybe.

Q. As someone who follows the Lakers and NBA, is it sort of odd to see Sasha standing around as part of an entourage here?
MARDY FISH: Yeah, it's a little different. One of the nicest guys I've ever come across. Actually had a text from him just now that said, Good job.
I was going to go -- on the Friday before I was going to play an exhibition and it ended up raining. I was going to go watch him practice because he practices here almost every day. I was going to go with him and show him my shot (smiling).
Yeah, it's fun. It's fun to have him around. Especially such a good guy.

Q. He seems to be a magnet. People from all countries are coming up and slapping his back and talking to him. Is that what you're talking about?
MARDY FISH: He's extremely friendly, yeah. You know, and athletes look up to other athletes. He plays in the NBA, you know. I've seen him play for the Lakers a ton, so, you know, obviously you know who he is.
You hope that all those guys that you watch and know, you know, you hope they're good guys. Turns out he is.

Q. When you were Roddick's teammate in high school, what kind of game did you bring on the court?
MARDY FISH: I was like a two guard. I kind of stayed behind of three-point line. Didn't do much of anything. Didn't really make any spots. Didn't play that good at defense. No, I wasn't very good.
Andy was like the motor. He'd defend, rebound. We'd pay him not to shoot, so...

Q. Did you hear from Andy or any of the other guys before your match?
MARDY FISH: Yeah. I mean, these guys are my best friends, some of my best friends in the world. You know, you develop relationships out here. I've been out here for a long time. Isner, James, Sam, Andy, Robbie who is coming back now.

Q. You heard from all those guys?
MARDY FISH: Yeah. These guys are some of my best friends. If I'm not hearing from them, I'm not hearing from anybody.

Q. Sounds like Rafa is not too interested in visiting Austin, Texas.
MARDY FISH: This guy has a pretty hectic schedule. I'm not sure how I would feel if I won the French Open, had hopes of winning Wimbledon, could easily do both, and then have to go travel across the world to play on a completely different surface and then come back again. You know, where are your breaks?
It's not surprising. I like Rafa a lot. I respect the heck out of him. So I'm sure his decisions are pretty good.

Q. Do you think it's a tough decision for him, because he comes from a country where tennis matters a lot and they're used to him playing?
MARDY FISH: I think he's smart enough to realize what goes into preDavis Cups and things like that. You sell tickets with people's names on it. I think he knows that. I think he knows the in and outs of the tournaments and of Davis Cups and how big his name is and how much he can pull.
I'm sure, of course, he wants to be there. Of course.

Q. If Rafa does come through, how do you get in a mindset against a guy you've never beaten on a really big stage?
MARDY FISH: That's a good question. You know, you can't go out there thinking you can't win. That's one. We know that.
But I've never been past this spot in a Grand Slam. Past this spot is where I want to be, where you set your goals for. So game plan-wise we'll come up with something. A lot of it's mental. I mean, these guys, you know, he's got ten Grand Slams pretty recently.
So half the battle is walking out there believing you can win, and I'll definitely do that.

Q. Most people like him. He's considered to be a good guy. Ten slams and all that. But there is criticism that he tends to take too much time on court. Talk about your feelings with that.
MARDY FISH: I take a lot of time, as well. I think, you know, you get in a rhythm and you want to be as comfortable as you can on the court. There are certainly guys you play that you know are fast players.
Andy is one of them that plays extremely fast. Doesn't even wait till the changeover. I'm more of Rafa's side a little bit in that I like to take my time. I like to think about everything.
You know, then you have the superstitions, where you put the water bottles, where you get the balls back on the changeovers, and things like that.

Q. You've been to this stage before in a slam, but not here. Have you learned anything from past experiences that might help you this week, do you think?
MARDY FISH: I hope so. Certainly, like I said before, I certainly feel not really unbelievably happy to be here. I feel like it's not a complete upset that I'm in the quarterfinals of a Grand Slam - at least inside from my point of view. That's all that really matters, I guess.
So it feels a lot different. You know, we'll come up with a game plan and we'll go into the match on Wednesday thinking I can make the semifinals of Wimbledon.

Q. Talk about when you're playing later in the day and everywhere you look upsets seem to be brewing, many of which come to pass. How aware are you of that? What does that do for you as you're waiting?
MARDY FISH: Not too aware. You know, you're kind of watching matches. You know, we watched the López/Kubot match a little bit. I saw that López ended up winning, which is surprising. Warming up at 12:30 and not going on till 5:00, that's the hard part. You want to play so bad.
You're not too aware of what the people are talking about on the grounds. You don't really have much idea of that.

Q. You spoke briefly about the mental challenge in facing Nadal. From a strictly tactical and style point of view, what to you is the biggest challenge for your game against his? He just won the third set.
MARDY FISH: Well, I think it's not having him take you out of your style of play. I know my style can be successful on these courts. One of the things that these guys get you to do - and Berdych is the same way - is it kind of gets you out of exactly how you want to play.
You know, sometimes Rafa can play defense very well, and so you don't attack as much as you probably should. Or, you know, Andy Murray or Djokovic move so well or return so well that you over-serve, things like that. You want to, I guess, try to stay within yourself.
I'll go into the match knowing my limitations but trying to play as good as I can, 'cause I'll certainly need to.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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