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August 20, 2011

Mardy Fish


6-3, 7-6

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. Talk a little bit about your serve in the second set. Both you guys got broken three times. What was the problem there?
MARDY FISH: Good returning. I don't know. I played a match against Wawrinka last week just like that as well. I mean, not every single set is gonna go to serve.

Q. Were you struggling with your heel again?
MARDY FISH: Doesn't feel great. It's not going to go away until I stop playing. Nine matches in two weeks doesn't help it. It's had zero affect on the outcome of the match. It's certainly there. Doesn't -- not so bad.

Q. When you challenged on Andy's first match point or whatever that was, did you expect that to...
MARDY FISH: I thought it was in, yeah. I thought it was in. He said he thought it was out actually.

Q. You guys walked to the net and were ready to shake hands.
MARDY FISH: Yeah, very lucky. I was surprised. I was really surprised. He said, I thought it was out. I said, I actually thought it was in.

Q. Did you find that that affected you after that?
MARDY FISH: No. We played two long points after that. No, didn't have any affect.

Q. In the first set, you dove and went down and scraped yourself up a little bit; he started to dropshot you and then you started to dropshot him. Take me through that period of the match.
MARDY FISH: That's part of his game. He's got great hands, great feel, takes the ball early. When he takes the ball early, you kind of take half a step back and he drops it down on you. He hits those well.
I'm not sure how much actual success he had on them. I mean, I got to most of them. But that's part of his game.

Q. You had a couple of 20-plus-shot rallies. I would imagine that's not part of your game plan on playing Andy.

Q. What was your game plan?
MARDY FISH: Well, sort of keep him off balance, keep him guessing. Sometimes the point presents itself that way. I'm not going to force something that's not there. I certainly did that a couple times. Couple shots I would like to have back obviously.
But that's every match. Couple backhands that I pulled the trigger on that I probably shouldn't have. There were probably a couple shots in that rally that I could have been more aggressive on.
Just the way it works out.

Q. When Andy's on the other side grabbing his hamstring between points acting injured, but the plays fantastic side-to-side shots, how does that affect you?
MARDY FISH: Not much. Look, it's deep into a tournament, deep into the year. Everybody's got something going on.
It's sort of a rope-a-dope-type play, but it's not the first time I played him.

Q. Is it safe to say that you've never played as well as you would have liked at the US Open? If so, is it a combination of the expectations and just being at the end of a long haul? How do you explain?
MARDY FISH: I can only remember once or twice having high expectations going in there, to be honest with you. 2003 after I made the final here and I was 21 years old and got seeded in my first slam. I lost second round then.
And then the next year actually I won the silver medal and went there as well, you know, and back to the 20 in the world or so. I lost second round there as well.
Then out of the blue I played great in '08. So, yeah, I mean, pretty fair to say I haven't played my -- this hasn't been my best tournament, but I've got great memories from 2008. I fell in love with the tournament that year, and I've loved going back ever since.
I wasn't able to go back in 2009 because of my knee, and I had a broken rib as well. It'll be much different this time - in a good way.
I hope to keep playing the way I'm playing.

Q. What positives do you take out of a match like this?
MARDY FISH: I mean, just I'm right there. Guy's 4 in the world. Played great yesterday. Played great all week. I mean, I beat a lot of good players this week. You know, just trying to solidify my spot, trying to make guys think that I belong, and trying to convince myself I belong as well.
It's been a great. Semifinals of a huge event like this is a good result for anyone. So it's been two great weeks. I'll take two, three, four days off and regroup and get away from the court and then get back mid-next week.
Because the tennis isn't the issue for me. It's just mentally getting away from having to come back day after day and keep playing match after match.
Look, it's a great problem to have, but eventually mentally you want a little bit of a break. I'll have that now, and that's exciting for me. You know, I've played a lot of tennis this summer.

Q. Players talk about peaking at the right time, especially this time of year when there are two big tournaments and then going into the slam. How can you control the pace of the level of your tennis?
MARDY FISH: I think it's just, you know, wherever you're most comfortable. You know, it's the same thing going into the French Open as well. There's Madrid and Rome, a week off, and then the French Open.
But I don't necessarily peak there a lot. I'm much more comfortable here. This is a great spot for me. Just been a great spot for me to come and play well. The crowd's always on my side. It's amazing. So much fun play out there.

Q. You said that you fell in love with the US Open in 2008.

Q. How would you describe your feelings to it then before 2008?
MARDY FISH: Yeah, it was too fast-paced for me. You know, couple of those years, like I said, just a lot expectations and just couldn't figure the place out really.
I remember having a conversation with Andy about it, and obviously it's his favorite event; he loves it there. I said, What is it? We were talking and I just was like, Man, I just don't really like it there. It's just so loud and fast-paced.
He's like, All you need is one night match. I never played a night match there. I played James in the third round. Granted, James was well loved there and it's a home court for him. They rooted for him a lot.
It was really exciting to play well there and win a match there. It's a bummer to have to play James there and win, but then I played great in my next match against Monfils in the fourth round. I remember it was my dad's birthday as well on a Monday.
Then came back Wednesday night, and I played after the Williams sisters against Nadal. The crowd was just electric. It was incredible. I'll never forget that. That's when I fell in love with it.

Q. The format of Davis Cup gets bashed quite a bit, and players like you say it's a thrill to represent your country. Some players say it's the highlight of their career. Can you tell me what Davis Cup means to you?
MARDY FISH: It means a lot. It means a lot to be able to play, like you said, for your country, represent your colors. It's also an honor to play for your friends and teammates, your captains.
There are a lot of people behind the scenes that don't get mentioned that put in just as much work as you do in their respective fields. Yeah, some of my best wins in my life are in Davis Cup. In Colombia, some of my best memories of my life.
I hope to keep playing. It's long. It's year after year after year. A Ryder Cup type format every two years, something like that, would maybe get more players to play.
I'll play every time. I've been a practice partner in the top 20 in the world and gone every single time they've ever asked me. So I absolutely love the weeks.

Q. Did the last couple weeks sort of catch up a little bit today? You beat Rafa yesterday, and you wake up and you're in a game like this.
MARDY FISH: No, I mean, Andy is going to make it physical. That's what he does. He's going to move you side to side and make you work. I mean, you got to work incredibly hard to beat him.
Look, I mean, I had break points in the game that he served, couple break points in the first set, and obviously couple set points, three set points in the second set. So we're right there.
It was hot, conditions that we both like, but it was physical. So, no, I don't think physically, no, it didn't catch up to me. Mentally, no. Look, I wanted to win as badly as he did.

Q. How do you prepare for the attention that you're going to get at the Open being the new old face of American tennis at the American major?
MARDY FISH: Well, I'll try to plan my week as best I can, I guess. I don't know the answer to that specifically, but I'll plan my week as best I can. You know, hit some of the things I need to do and take advantage of some of the advantages of being in the top 10, an American going into the US Open.
You know, try to shut it down as early -- as late in the week but as early as I can to get back into tournament mode. I hope I do it good. It's going to be a great experience nonetheless. I'll still enjoy it.
But we'll see. Ask me that in the second week if I'm still there.

Q. Can I ask a follow on that? Were there times when Andy was just at the height of his popularity and just the craziness, the hubbub...
MARDY FISH: Like the mojo campaign? (Laughter.) Yeah?

Q. That comes to mind.
MARDY FISH: I want one of those mojo campaigns.

Q. Stay away from them. What would you think to yourself as you're watching all that go on?
MARDY FISH: Trying to figure out how he handled -- look, there are a lot of really good players. We're going to be favored in most of your matches if you're ranked where he was ranked and ranked where I'm ranked, especially playing in front of, you know, sort of on a home court, on your slam.
There are just so many players that can beat you. It's so impressive that he's able to make the quarters every time and further; obviously won in '03. Made the finals a couple times.
I mean, it's just incredible that he's able to put that pressure aside. Maybe he was able to handle it better later in his career; maybe he was more content with the pressure. But, you know, I'm not sure.
Just from the outside, you know, he's had to handle all the pressure. He's been really the only guy, only consistent guy anyway. James was in there and I was in there, but he's been there the whole time.

Q. Coming into this match, you had won the last three encounters with Andy. Is there anything that you can point to that you were not able to do today or that he did better that caused the outcome today?
MARDY FISH: Just not take advantage of the big opportunities. You know, I can't remember exactly, but two of those were 7-6 in the thirds, and I bet you I converted when I was up 4-2 in the breaker. I won that breaker when I was up there. I think I was serving at 4-3 as well. You know, couple set points all on his serve, and he played good points on 'em. I missed a return, and then I had one look maybe at a passing shot. Maybe I made that when I played him before.
Those are the shots that you're going to have to make and the opportunities that are going to present itself. It's not just going to be a duck forehand that he's going to give you to win the set. These guys are pretty good.

Q. You came back from two Love-40s in the second set. Wondering, serving at Love-40, what are you looking to do differently that you hadn't been able to do?
MARDY FISH: You know, you try to just play each point one at a time. You certainly do there. Look, you want to do that on every point, but it doesn't work like that.
So you sort of take yourself out of Love-40 and say, Okay, I've got one big point here and one big point here and one big point. You can't think of it as I have to win three points in a row kind of thing.
I was able to serve my way out of the second one. I can't remember the first one. You just got to take it one at a time. Sounds dumb, but you actually do that.

Q. Are you ever able to take a step back and think that in this era of Roger and Rafa and with what Novak is doing now that you're part of what may be looked upon in the future as the Golden Age of tennis? Are you ever able to reflect on that, or are you just too hot in the moment?
MARDY FISH: No, yeah, yeah, you're able to reflect on the incredible year that Novak is having; you're able to reflect on, you know, we have the greatest player of all-time in our era right now, 16 majors and you've seen every one of 'em.
You have a guy who's only still 25 years old in Nadal, and there is no telling how many French Opens and Wimbledons he can win still. I mean, he has ten or eleven -- I think ten majors. Sounds funny, but that's not that far away from Roger.
They're going to be two guys that will probably go down as two of the best ever to play. Yes, I certainly know that. Those guys are walking legends.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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