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July 8, 2011

Mardy Fish


F. LOPEZ/M. Fish
6-4, 3-6, 6-3, 6-7, 8-6

THE MODERATOR: This is Mardy's fourth consecutive five-set singles match in Davis Cup dating back to Croatia in 2009 in the quarterfinals. We'll open it up for questions.

Q. (Question regarding how you come down after a match like that.)
MARDY FISH: That's a good question. I mean, you try to ice down. I mean, I'm here right now. This is what I'm doing, I guess.
It's hard to come down from a match like that, an atmosphere like that. I let the guys down. It's pretty tough.

Q. Talk about the atmosphere.
MARDY FISH: It helped a ton. The guy served as well as I've ever seen him serve - as well as anyone serve that I've played against. You know, it's a quick court. It's a perfect surface for someone like him.
You know, he doesn't have much of a backhand, so he slices it around and the ball stays incredibly low. Then he can serve his way through trouble.
He played well.

Q. (No microphone.)
MARDY FISH: I mean, yeah, we're pretty confident with the guys we got going tomorrow. I mean, if I did that, great. But, you know, I mean, this is what we train for. We're in pretty good shape to where we can come back day after day. It's only three days, so it's not like we have to do it for a week.
I would expect him to be fine. But, you know, maybe it takes a little bit out of him for Sunday, as well. Who knows.

Q. Great service game to hold at 5-5. Did you suffer any kind of a letdown right after that?
MARDY FISH: No. I mean, I think I had breakpoints, a breakpoint at least, in the next game. I think I missed a return a couple inches long off another first serve on a big point.
So, no, I mean, there's a few games I would like to have back. But it's a four-hour match, so that's probably going to happen.

Q. What, besides serving, was the difference in the match? Talk about the fifth set serving from behind.
MARDY FISH: Well, I wasn't behind after the first game. You know, that's a set that you have to take, I mean, bottom line.
I was charged up after the fourth, got a quick break there. Against a guy like him, you have to take advantage of your opportunities. You know, I just can't lose serve. I mean, it's just as simple as that. I can't give the game away. It's so hard to break the guy.
Then playing from ahead, with the crowd, that was the goal. It was a huge game, that 1-0 game, probably one of the biggest ones of the match, just to get my feet in front and feel like I was in front. I was up 40-15 in the game. That was the biggest game of the match, for sure.

Q. Did Jim have any words for you after the match? Can you share those?
MARDY FISH: Not really. I mean, he said last time he played in Texas, he lost the first match, then came back to clinch on Sunday. You know, there's not much to say at that point. It's just pretty hard to take.

Q. Are you rethinking the surface a little bit?
MARDY FISH: I don't care about the surface. I mean, as long as we're not playing them on clay, I'm fine with it.
He's probably their best player on this surface. You know, hopefully we can turn it over to Andy and he can get us back to 1-All.

Q. Can you talk about what happened maybe after the second set. It seemed like after you won that so decisively the match was tilting in your favor. I was wondering what difference you saw in his mentality and level after that.
MARDY FISH: Well, he's the kind of guy that he puts a lot of pressure on your serve games. I played a couple, two or three, bad serve games the entire match. Played a lot of good games, but those two or three are the difference against someone like him.
The previous times I've played him, I haven't had those games. They've been two-out-of-three-set matches, but 6-4, 6-3 or 7-5, 6-2 type matches that I haven't given him games.
You know, the way he serves, he puts a ton of pressure on your serve games. That's what happened in the third. I was under pressure a little bit and cracked and tried just to stay afloat in the fourth set, was lucky enough to win the breaker.

Q. Can you reflect on the four straight five-set matches. Something about Davis Cup intensity?
MARDY FISH: The one in Croatia, the first one, I was a different player, a different person then. I lost to Cilic I think 8-6, 9-7 or something on clay there. You know, Colombia was the highlight of my year last year, maybe my career. Who knows if I'll ever get another chance to play three matches in one tie. To win those three, to win them like I did, coming back in the fifth set in the fourth match there...
So, I don't know, I like to play less than five. I'll definitely feel it tomorrow. But I'll be ready for Sunday.

Q. Is there consolation in the fact you're not out of a tournament; you have another chance to win this thing?
MARDY FISH: Yeah, I mean, the worst part of it is just letting your teammates down. Andy's our No. 1 guy, regardless of ranking. I don't get to play that often in singles matches, especially at home. You want to come out and you want to set the tone for the tie. Maybe it's a bonus for these guys. They've played so many and won so many matches. Andy's won 33 matches. I've only won 9. There's quite a difference.
So you want to come out, you know, obviously you want to win. That's the toughest thing, just having to go back in the locker room and see everyone, you know, feel like you let 'em down.

Q. How tough is it going to be to sit around tomorrow knowing that you're not going to be able to play again till Sunday?
MARDY FISH: I mean, we know that going in, as well, that I'm going to play on Friday and I'm going to play first on Sunday. You know, nothing really changes in that aspect. We always knew that tomorrow was our day off.
We'll try to regroup and see where we are. Hopefully we're up 2-1. Hopefully we're still alive, as well.

Q. When you lose the first match, how important will the home crowd be?
MARDY FISH: Look, it's huge. It's probably the best atmosphere match I've ever played in. It's incredible. I mean, it just gives you goosebumps. 4-5 in the fifth, something like that, and Jim and I looked at each other. I said, Do you miss this? He said, This is Davis Cup. This is why we play the game.
You know, it's just obviously pretty frustrating to have to lose a match like that. But it was certainly a joy to be a part of.

Q. Will it be hopefully a help for you guys?
MARDY FISH: Oh, yeah. We need every single one of 'em. I'm not sure exactly the number of people there, but it felt like there were 50,000 people there. That was the loudest I've ever been a part of on a tennis court. I've been all over the world, all over the world playing Davis Cup ties. By far the loudest I've ever played in.

Q. What does a match like this take out of you mentally?
MARDY FISH: Yeah, I mean, I've been looking forward to this for a long time. Then you just invest so much mental energy and obviously physical energy, but more mental energy just all week preparing, putting in the hours, practicing three and four hours a day. You put in all the work, you do exactly what you need to do as far as eating, drinking water, staying hydrated, things like that, and then you play a four-hour match and you barely lose.
I didn't look at the stats or anything, but I would think maybe I won more points than he did. It's just very hard. Mentally is the toughest part. Physically we'll be fined for Sunday because, like I said, this is what we train for. Mentally, coming down from such a high, not winning, investing so much into it, is the hardest part.

Q. If you have to play on Sunday, what would you change in your game compared to today?
MARDY FISH: Yeah, well, it's going to be a different match regardless of who they put out there. I'm assuming it's Ferrer. He's a top-six player in the world, one of the best players in the world. We've had a lot of good matches over the years. I beat him in Miami. I would assume that they'll play him.
It's just completely different, completely different mindset, completely different player, and a surface that would probably favor me in that match. He clearly doesn't like the surface as much as Feliciano does. That's for sure.

Q. We just saw that Nadal fell out around the quarterfinals in Wimbledon. When you made it to the quarterfinals, was there ever a point when you were questioning whether you would be here or not?
MARDY FISH: No, absolutely not.

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