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August 17, 2011
N. DJOKOVIC/R. Harrison
THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.
Q. Kind of an odd way to start a match with neither one of you guys being able to hold serve. Talk about the difficulties you had on your service game.
RYAN HARRISON: I mean, he's a really good returner, and that made me start pressing my serve a little bit more than I would have liked to. I think that he's obviously the best in the world at what he does well, which is playing at the baseline and going side to side and kind of making you overplay.
Second set I had a lot better variety. The first set and a half, his returning was just -- he wasn't killing me, he was just blocking them deep in the court. From then on out we were playing neutral points. He's quick enough to where he can do that.
In the second set I started serving and volleying a lot more, so he wasn't sure at that point, you know, if he should play low or play it deep. Because when he was blocking it deep it was a high, easy volley for me.
So it was kind of like once your down a set and a break against the No. 1 player in the world, it's a little too late to figure that out.
Q. Looks like you're improving levels all the time. I don't know if you're the kind of guy who is willing to wait while you improve. Can you accept that?
RYAN HARRISON: I think the way you improve is by not being happy with where you're at. The moment you get satisfied and complacent is the moment you stop improving.
Q. Obviously Novak is known for how well he's been playing this year, but when you enter a match like this, how much is mental for you knowing what you're facing, him and his streak and records and all that kind of thing?
RYAN HARRISON: I think I approached the match mentally fine. I broke him the very first game. If you had told me before the match that I was going to break serve twice in the first set and get beat 6-2, I probably wouldn't have believed you. Usually I can hold serve at least once in a set.
But I don't know. It's just more of, you know, it took me like a set and a half to start doing what I do well on my serve, which is hitting different serves, mixing it up. I started using the kick serve wide and coming on off of it, and then I would give him the kick serve toss and go big T.
I was really playing a lot more strategic on my service games, whereas in the first set it was like he's sitting on the T, so I'm just going to try to hit it bigger and faster. That just wasn't working.
And then, you know, I have a really good second serve but he has really good returns, so it like kind of neutralizes themselves.
Q. Talk about the speed of the court.
RYAN HARRISON: The speed of the court, to be honest with you, I think it's a good court for both of us because we both kind of strike the ball through the court a little bit.
Obviously he's doing it a little better than anybody else right now. So when you're playing on a court that favors people -- I think hard courts in general, which is why he's been unbeaten, because it's a truer bouncing surface and because it favors people that have good timing and can play through the court. Obviously. That's why he's unbeaten here, because he's one of the best at it, if not the best at it right now.
And so it helped me, but it also helps him. That's when -- you know, it's just a matter of playing points.
Q. Talk about your game plan going in. What were you trying to attack and take away from him to have a chance to win tonight?
RYAN HARRISON: You know, obviously I didn't execute everything the way I wanted to. But I served the way we kind of talked about before the match where I was going in short wide and then hard at his body.
Then whenever I would set up the T, I would go to the T I think in the first set, I got a little too caught up in just trying to blow it by him. That never really works, especially when you're playing a guy that's quick as him.
Then I didn't do as good a job as I would have like to of implementing my slice. I think that the times I was slicing I was sit hitting five, six slices in a row, which is never effective. The reason the slice is effective is when you use it once or twice to change up the pace, and then you make the person change their swing.
But once you feel a slice and get it again and again, then all of a sudden it's like, Oh. You get timing with it. It's like anything else. So I didn't use that as effectively as I would have liked to.
My forehand has been feeling great all summer. It's just a matter of hitting the right spots at the right time and the right shot selection with it. But my backhand kind of let me down a little bit. I felt like that was one area where both wings of his looked world class; my forehand looked world class.
My backhand looked a little lower. That's where I need to step up.
Q. Earlier today another American wild card, Christina McHale, beat the No. 1 seed in the women's draw. Were you aware of that, and did that give you a boost of confidence?
RYAN HARRISON: First of all, Christina is a good friend of mine. Congratulate her on what she did. That's incredible. Obviously to have a No. 1 player in the world victory for her is huge. I hope she has a great season and great career.
With that being said, I don't think there's many comparisons between men's and women's tennis.
Q. Talk about the positives you'll take out of this match. You played fairly well the very first set especially, despite the breaks.
RYAN HARRISON: Yeah, I mean, that's the thing. That goes to show you how important the serve is. I think everyone can agree that I played a better first set, yet I won more games in the second because I served better.
So if I play the way I played in the first set and serve like I did in the second set, I'd probably have a shot at winning it.
So you know, looking back, it's like Monday-morning quarterback. Hindsight is 20/20. You can see everything when you're off the court. At the time I wasn't playing the way I wanted to, and so looking back on it, it's a matter of making sure that I stay in the moment and implement the things we were talking about before the match during the match.
Q. You've spent some time hitting with Andy. Could you elaborate a little bit about what you've extracted from that experience.
RYAN HARRISON: Yeah, I mean, Andy is a great mentor, a great friend. He's helped tremendously with my game. He's always been there to give me advice, and Mardy has, too, for that matter.
Obviously seeing the way that Andy competes, the way that he kind of handles everything from the press in the U.S. to the U.S. tennis hopes and everything like that, looking at the way he handle himself and the way he -- you know, you can say what you want to about his anger and his frustration, just like mine.
But I think everyone can agree that the guy has a big heart and he competes like a champion. That's one thing you can take away.
Q. I think you hit a ball into the food court. You're talking about frustration. Does that help you or do you need to reign it in?
RYAN HARRISON: I mean, I wasn't like out of control when I hit it. The ball kind of came down, and I wasn't like in a frenzy when I hit it. Just the ball came down and I just hit it out. I mean, I knew that -- the stadium is not big enough to where I knew I was going to go anywhere near anyone and I wasn't hitting it at anyone. I hit it plenty high.
Obviously those things aren't exactly what you want to do, but I didn't feel like it was the worst thing in the world.
Q. But in general, normally, is that a good thing?
RYAN HARRISON: For me, I play good when I'm fired up, but when I'm in a controlled fired up mentality. If you look at the end of the match, there was no drop in intensity but more of a controlled breathing, controlled movement, and just demeanor about it.
It wasn't so much -- if you look at the period from 3-2 in the first set until 3-0 in the second set, I was frustrated and I was kind of like -- I looked dazzled almost. It wasn't into that 3-0 changeover where I was like, Okay, let's kind of calm down and reel it back in.
To be honest with you, against a lot of other players I probably could have come back and won that match. Because once I calm down and start playing that level tennis, I usually start playing a different level than my opponent.
But he's been playing a different level than everybody else. So it was just a little too late.
Q. As you look back at this match, does it matter who you play in the sense that no one else has beat him except Federer all year long, and you gave him a really good match. Does that help you as you move forward, that you were toe to toe with him.
RYAN HARRISON: Yeah, absolutely. Looking back at the match, it's not like I can walk out of here and be like, Wow, there is nothing I could have done. He's that much better than me. I mean, give him all the credit.
He played fantastic. He's the No. 1 player in the world. He's lost one match this year, won two Grand Slams, he's fantastic player. Honestly, I can walk out of here and say, you know, If I could have done this a little better, this a little better, I probably could have gave myself a chance.
Giving yourself a chance is all you can do. Then after that it's all speculation. But I can definitely walk away from this knowing that if I serve the way I did in the second set after getting broken the first game, and if I control myself and play the way I can from the back of the court, I've got enough tools and enough weapons to where I'm going to be difficult for anybody.
Q. Talk about what your goals are for yourself and your game and rankings over of the next six months to a year.
RYAN HARRISON: You know, it's tough. Those questions are just difficult, because you don't want to put limits on yourself. If I say like win a Grand Slam, then it sounds arrogant. If I say, you know, top 50, then I feel like I'm selling myself short.
It's just a matter of taking things day to day and improving as much as you can. Like I said a second ago, if I serve well and play well, I'm going to be difficult for anybody. That's just the way I approach the matches.
Q. We talked after your first-round match about how much you hate losing. You were talking about taking away some positives. Do you hate this loss less than other losses?
RYAN HARRISON: I hate all losses. I hate losses in XBox. Obviously like playing this caliber of player, you can learn more from it than other matches just because it's a different level.
I mean, the guy is a fantastic player. He's phenomenal. So you can learn a lot more from it. So that's one positive about losing this match as opposed to losing other matches. I can really say that's the best level. That's the guy that's playing arguably the best tennis anyone's ever played, and I'm playing him in the prime of that.
So that's probably about as good a level as I'm ever going to see in my career. We'll see how much everyone else improves, but he's playing great right now. I know what to expect and I know what I need to do.
Q. When you were growing up, who did you look to in terms of a tennis role model from the last generation when you were growing up? Sampras? Agassi?
RYAN HARRISON: I was going to say Sampras, but when Sampras was playing -- because I started playing pro, you know, when I was like 14 or 15, so I was young.
Then after that, that was when I shortly developed a relationship with Andy Roddick. So you know, it's really tough to kind of remember exact thoughts from when you're nine, ten, eleven years old. I think everyone can agree that you can only remember bits and pieces of certain things at that point.
I know that I was a big Sampras fan. I remember watching him playing and all the fantastic matches he did. But from the time I can remember, the person I've always admired was Andy just because of way he helped me. Whenever someone is giving you that type of mentorship, you're going to really look up to them.
Q. Who is your coach now, and why do you seem to go through so many coaches? Or am I getting it wrong?
RYAN HARRISON: Scott McCain, and I haven't been through that many coaches.
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports