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August 12, 2011

Mardy Fish


M. FISH/S. Wawrinka
6-3, 6-7, 6-0

THE MODERATOR: Questions for Mardy.

Q. Were you out there a little longer than you expected to be this day?
MARDY FISH: Well, no. I mean, it's a good player - very good player. You never expect anything. You don't expect to go out and think you can blow through someone like that.

Q. Were you a little disappointed that you had to stay out there that long?
MARDY FISH: Sure, yeah, of course. The second set was very strange for both of us. You know, a lot of variables that you're trying to work through. It's just not an easy game, you know. It doesn't exactly work as planned always.
You know, we couldn't hold serve to save our lives, but we returned really well. There's the positive, I guess (smiling).
You know, look, I played a lot of matches out here. To dwell on sort of how you played, you're going to have some problems. So, you know, it's nice that I'm able to move on and to be able to rectify my serve game tomorrow, and we'll see.

Q. What sort of has been your key to success so far this summer on hard courts?
MARDY FISH: It's the best part of the year for me. You know, except for this one, playing in the States or close to the States, the US Open Series has always been a good surface for me throughout my career. It's just the past two years I put it together pretty well.

Q. Mardy, considering your success, are you maybe sorry you left it a bit late to come and play in Canada?
MARDY FISH: Yeah, no, that's sort of a fluke, not having played here a couple times. It's sort of like that with the French Open, as well. I've only played like three or four times. I've played the US Open probably 12 times. I've played Cincinnati, the week after, probably 10 or 11 times.
I'm not sure why. Last year I wasn't even in this tournament. I would have had to play quallies. We were still playing in D.C. in doubles, so I didn't even get into the event. So that's why I didn't come last year.
But it's certainly nice to be here. It's certainly nice to play on those courts because they are pretty quick, and they do suit my game very well. I can kind of get away with not playing great tennis but still winning.

Q. Just a few words on how did your life and your fitness change since your operation two years ago.
MARDY FISH: Yeah, well, it changed. I had the knee surgery because I was too heavy. That was why my knee was hurting. You know, I needed to change some of my ways just to be able to get back on the court most likely at a relatively high level.
We changed a lot of things. The most important thing we changed was just my discipline obviously around my diet. But the discipline that it took to stay focused with that every single meal, every single day, was tough. That translated over to my tennis and my work ethic on the court and off the court, making the right decisions around tennis.

Q. If you win the tournament like you did a few weeks ago, do you still allow yourself that you can eat fast food or not?
MARDY FISH: Yeah, no, I don't do that anymore. But I'd like to celebrate after the US Open would probably be the best time, just when the whole summer's done. I don't want to give myself a bad night or two of eating or whatever and sort of be behind the eight ball a little bit. I'm sure it wouldn't be a big deal.
Look, when you win and you think that you know the reasons why, you tend to stick to those reasons. And I feel like my discipline with what I eat and the choices that I make around the tournaments and during the tournaments have an effect on how I play.

Q. What is the favorite food you had to forego?
MARDY FISH: Pizza was big. I like pizza.

Q. I remember in Miami when you first overtook Andy to become the No. 1 ranked American, you were still saying, Yeah, it's a bit of a fluke, with everything that Andy has done, he's still the No. 1 American. Now we are here five months later. The opposition has consolidated. You're probably going to be in the top 8 seeds in the US Open. Has it changed the way you basically see things?
MARDY FISH: I mean, it was uncomfortable in the beginning. I've said all along and I'll still say that, you know, no matter what I do from here on out, I can't put my career on top of his. For 10 years he's been the top dog in our generation, in my generation. James Blake has had a better career than I've had, as well. You know, so I follow these guys and I followed their lead the entire time.
Just because for a couple months I'm ranked ahead of him will never mean that I feel like or the public would feel like I'm a better player than him, so...

Q. You're going to go into the US Open as the leading American.
MARDY FISH: Yeah. But he went into the US Open as the leading American for 10 straight years. So just because I go in one year, you know what I mean? I've got too much respect for him. I would never say it. Even if I felt it, I would never say it. He's too good of a friend. He's one of my best friends in the world.
He's handled the brunt of all the questions and all the media and all the pressure his entire career, and I haven't at all. So I'm just hoping to take a little bit away from him.

Q. I was trying to understand. Has it changed something in the way you behave?
MARDY FISH: Not behave (smiling).
With the title comes a responsibility, as well. You know, there are a lot of Americans playing tennis. It's a big country, obviously. There are a lot of American tennis fans. It will certainly be exciting if it happens, to go into the US Open as the highest ranked American on both sides. Yeah, I mean, there's a lot of pressure in that for sure. I've never been in that position before, so who knows how I handle it. I hope I handle it well.

Q. Other than the loss of weight and the better fitness, is there something else that has made the difference in your success?
MARDY FISH: Well, I think, like I said before, just the discipline that it took those few months when I really was big-time on the diet, where I didn't miss a meal, counted every single calorie that went in, every calorie that I burned so we could stay in a certain level every single day.
The discipline that it took to do that just translated over into my entire life, my personal life, my professional life. You know, when you have that much discipline, you want it a lot more than you did before. That's the case for me.
There are a lot of really good players out here, a lot of great players out here. You know, if you want to win more than they do, then just maybe that little bit helps. And I certainly want to win a lot of matches now.

Q. And do you appreciate the success even more when you're older and after all you went through?
MARDY FISH: Yeah, I can. I can step back out of it. Like I said, I played a lot of tournaments, a lot of matches, a lot of big matches even before 2009. I just wasn't consistent. I had a good result here or there every other year or so.
I was always, you know, kind of up and down a little bit. That's what it takes: it just takes a little bit of consistency. It obviously helps to be healthy, as well. We do all the right things to try to do that.

Q. (Question regarding his weight.)
MARDY FISH: I was 203 and a half the day I had the surgery.

Q. And now?
MARDY FISH: I'm 175 right now.

Q. This morning?
MARDY FISH: Yeah, this morning (smiling).

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