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August 15, 2011

Ryan Harrison


6-3, 6-3

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. Another quality win against a quality opponent. Just talk about that and the summer, how it's been going.
RYAN HARRISON: It's good. I think that I've been playing within myself, which is good. I'm not trying to hit spectacular, great-looking shots on every point.
It's just a matter of playing consistently high-quality points over and over and just knowing that after you do that, the outcome is usually going to go your way more often than not.
He's a good opponent. Obviously he's got a lot of weapons and some things in his game that he can do really well. It's just a matter of neutralizing that and dictating with my forehand.

Q. When other Americans have talked about your potential and seeing you as a future top player, one of the main things they bring up is how much you hate to lose. I've seen you have a bad reaction to losing before. Is something that you think you'll always have? What is it about hatred of losing, is that a good thing or a bad thing for you?
RYAN HARRISON: I think it's a good thing that I hate losing. Obviously the reactions have got me in trouble at times, but, you know, it's just a matter of -- I'm never going to be a guy that just walks side to side and doesn't say a word. That's not my personality. I don't play well doing that. That's just who I am. If I don't say anything and let it build up inside me, it's end up being a negative thing for my tennis and I don't play that well.
So for me, it's a matter of getting the frustration out, but just make sure I don't do anything offensive or embarrassing while I do it.

Q. After losses, how long does it take you to recover, to get over it?
RYAN HARRISON: Depends on the loss. Last year's US Open still hurts. Depends on each individual match.
But the thing about tennis is you have to have a short-term memory, because no matter how I do this week, I'm playing Monday in Winston-Salem. So it's like, you know, you prepare for this week and you do as well as you can.
It's a course of a career that makes -- you build a career by playing each week, not by having one great match.

Q. You like to play the best players and test yourself?
RYAN HARRISON: Absolutely.

Q. You've had a few chances this year against the top 5 guys, but the big one is coming up, huh?
RYAN HARRISON: Yeah, definitely. Novak has lost once this year, which in the first eight months is not too shabby, I guess.
Yeah, it's a great opportunity. Like I said, when I played Mardy in L.A. and Atlanta, you know, I'm learning from each match and I'm going out with the expectation of winning each match I play. So, you know, I think I was really close to winning in L.A. against Mardy. I had some chances there.
But, you know, I'm kind of getting more experience with each one and learning how to kind of control myself a little better. With each individual match I'm getting advice from my coaches and also a lot past great American players that have seen me and talked a little bit about what I can do better in those situations.
Obviously when pressure situations are on, you want to try to get your best performance. I've gotten some advice from some obviously really established and proven American players that have helped me trying to figure out what's going to be the best remedy for me to put together my best performance.

Q. Clearly you have nothing to lose, but maybe the bigger challenge is believing you can win, no?
RYAN HARRISON: I don't think that anyone that's ever met me would think that's a challenge for me. Anyone that knows me will say that me not believing I can win is as unlikely as me not walking out of this room.

Q. Ryan, you won your first ATP match very early on. With the age rules that were in there, it probably slowed down your rise to the top 100 and beyond. How far do you think you would be if the age rule didn't exist? Do you think you would be further along now?
RYAN HARRISON: I don't think it really had to do with an age thing. At the time, it was just like a maturity thing. I went from winning a match against a guy in the top 100 to two weeks later I lost first round in a Future.
It was like I had talent and ability, but from a mental maturity standpoint I just wasn't ready to play consistently at the top 100 level.
I grew when I was young - I was like six foot tall - so I had a big serve and I had a live arm, so I was always able to -- you know, it clicked that day and I played a good week and I played a good match against him that day.
For me at the time, it never really sunk in. You know, it was, Oh, I won a match. Where is my ranking going to go? It's not like I really understood what was going on or the implications or I guess the -- what's the right word?
I guess the -- I'm searching for the right word here. What I'm looking for is what would happen if I won that match. What was the talk and the story as far as the next great American.
I wasn't really thinking about it. I was just thinking about I won a match, and then immediately after I finished I said, I get to play James Blake. He's top 10.

Q. Do you think about ramifications now? If you go out and play against Novak Djokovic - well, you are sometime this week - do you go in knowing, if I win this, wow?
RYAN HARRISON: It's in the back of your mind. You definitely know it's there. I've got a good group of people around me that are going to be helping me focus on the task at hand and playing each individual point.
I think that one thing I can definitely improve on is playing my first sets better against these guys that are in the top. I think if you look at the matches I've played against guys in the top 10, I've had a history of just getting blown out in the first set and then settling down and playing really competitive from then on out, whether it be a 6-0 first set against Mardy or 6-1 against Soderling.
You know, whatever happens, I've started slow against these guys just because I've gone in with like a feel-it-out mentality.
Wednesday it's going to be about going in there knowing that my game is good enough, and try to take it to him.

Q. You won five straight games in the first set. Is that as good as you can play?
RYAN HARRISON: Yeah, I did a lot of things well. I don't want to say it's as good as I can play. I can still tell you points in there that I didn't play ideal.
I think that I could have hit my backhand a little better, finished a couple more points at the net, and my first-serve percentage was 44% in the first set. That obviously can improve.
Even though I won at 6-3, I got broken twice. That's never a good thing to get broken twice in the set. So I played a really solid set from the ground, but obviously there was some things you can improve on.

Q. You said a year or year and a half ago you thought you belonged in the pros. Seems like the last two, three months you've really pulled it together, winning back-to-back matches. You still have a losing record, even this year. Do you feel like in the last few months you've pulled your game together and you believe you belong here?
RYAN HARRISON: Well, I mean, like you said, I said that a year ago. At that point, it's me thinking, Okay, I can do this. It's a belief in your head that it's going to happen. I have the ability to make it happen, and I don't need to play out of my comfort zone.
I guess a year ago is when you can say I started having some wins, whether be it Ljubicic at Indian Wells, maybe Dent, you know, having an occasional tour event win here in the last year was kind of like, Okay, I can do this.
And then this year, especially as of late, it's just been more like I now am putting it together.

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