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September 1, 2011

Mardy Fish


M. FISH/M. Jaziri
6-2, 6-2, 6-4

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. How would you assess your play so far? Pretty uneventful week.
MARDY FISH: I mean, it's gone fine. I mean, I haven't really been tested that much. You know, I can't do anything about that. I can't do anything about who I come up against.
Just happy to move on.

Q. Sloane Stephens talked today about how she practices at UCLA and she sees you and Sam there. Are you aware of her much?
MARDY FISH: Yeah, I know Sloane very well.

Q. Have you ever hit with her?
MARDY FISH: No, never hit before or practiced. We work out at Carson down there quite a bit, the USTA Tennis Center down there. Really bubbly personality. She's great.
I remember Halloween one year she came dressed up as a bumblebee to work out. She's a very nice girl. Her mom is always around, as well. Very nice family.

Q. Have you seen her game at all?
MARDY FISH: Yeah. I mean, she's certainly talented. She's a great athlete. No, look, I haven't seen her play a ton of matches. I did watch her come back and win yesterday or day before.

Q. She beat Peer today.
MARDY FISH: She did? I watched her first match coming back. She's a fighter.

Q. So you haven't been tested in the first two matches. That's good news. Is it also that's the bad news?
MARDY FISH: I mean, I'm not going to take it for granted. I'm not going to sit here and act like I do this every time.
I played well at Wimbledon, but I came up against better players than I have here in the first two rounds, for sure. I was much more tested there.
I mean, I'm playing well. I mean, I'm very confident. You know, that guy's in the second round for a reason. He won four matches in a row. So he's in a position that he's never been in before. I guess I took advantage of that.

Q. You talked a lot about the physical stuff. You seem to have sort of developed an inner peace from what I can see. Talk about that a little bit.
MARDY FISH: Yeah. I mean, it's just really exciting to be in the position that I'm in. Like I said, I'm not taking it for granted. I'm not acting like I've been here forever, as well. I think that's pretty important.
Not being satisfied with your results is something that I haven't done well in my previous years. Just being hungry to try to take advantage of every opportunity. These first two rounds were great opportunities for me. Kevin Anderson is a great player. He beat Andy Murray a couple weeks ago relatively routinely. He can beat anyone, obviously. So he'll certainly be tough.
But it's another great opportunity for me to make the fourth round of the US Open, you know, so I'm able to keep a lot of it in perspective pretty good now.

Q. Which Nebraskan are you going to root for tomorrow night?
MARDY FISH: I don't think that's a hard one. Jack has got a bright future, for sure. Hopefully Andy's got a couple more years.

Q. When you were Jack's age, all these up-and-coming players, what is some advice you wish someone had given you at a young age?
MARDY FISH: It's tough. Take care of my body better. I took that for granted, I think. Just health. It's hard.
I mean, look, you know, he's a very talented player, a good player now. You know, you just hope they realize that they're still a long ways away from where he wants to be. I'm sure of that.
He's a confident kid, for sure. You have to be. I certainly was at that age. But, you know, you got to channel that the right way, as well.
You know, you got to have some fire, like he does, for sure, but you got to channel it the right way, too.
I think the most important thing is to keep working hard and to keep - it sounds stupid - but to try to stay on the court as much as you can because you can't take health for granted, because I certainly did.

Q. Three years ago you played the third-latest ending match against Rafael.

Q. Can you explain what the difference is playing at 2 a.m. and 2 p.m. just from conditions, ball, and also your body clock.
MARDY FISH: Yeah. I mean, your body clock. Look, when you're going like that, though, to be honest, you're not really thinking about what time it is.
I do remember that match. I remember finishing, doing my drug testing, going back to the hotel and packing up and going straight to the airport. We were actually home by 9 a.m. in Tampa. It was 3:30 in the morning when we got back to the hotel, or maybe even 4:00. We just booked a flight at 6:00 and went home. I was in bed by 9:30. I certainly remember that night.
But, I mean, I played a late match, a late start. I think I started, after Rafa played in Montréal, I played López this year. It was an extremely late start.
It's not necessarily the times when you're playing but it's when you finish. You know, I mean, we're not 20 years old, so you can't just go to bed. You got to stretch, you got to massage, you got to eat. By the time you get to bed -- just in Montréal, I got to bed at 2:30, 3:00 in the morning. I have to play the next day.
You wake up -- you know, maybe you get eight hours, but you wake up and you feel like you're hung over almost. It's not a good feeling. So that's probably the hardest part, is trying to catch up on the sleep that you lost.

Q. Do you think there should be a ceiling on how late they can start a match?
MARDY FISH: That's tough. How early do you want to start then? These Grand Slam matches, they go a long time. It's tough to go out right now like Novak does.
Luckily Caroline won pretty quickly. I'm sure Andy got to bed late last night. I'm sure he didn't feel great this morning.
That's the hardest part of it.

Q. Talk about the luck of the draw when you come into a slam and you sort of maybe cross your fingers that things will roll out well for you. But with the big four, including Murray and that group, Nadal, Federer, Djokovic, you sort of know that no matter where it shakes out you're going to probably end up facing them.
MARDY FISH: Yeah, you have to get through those guys, for sure.

Q. You have Roger in your quarter. You know that going in.
MARDY FISH: Absolutely. Obviously Novak has done what he's done. He's head and shoulders the guy you really don't want in your draw right now.
I mean, those guys, they present so many problems, so many different problems, all four of them. And so, yes, you have to get through one of them. Maybe you don't. It's very lucky if you get to the semis.
Obviously to win a tournament, you have to play two of those guys absolutely. You're not going to win a tournament without playing two of those guys.

Q. Is there any part of you that wishes somebody beats them before you or not?
MARDY FISH: You have to get lucky, too. Luck is part of it, as well. For someone outside that top four to win here, you've got to have a little luck, as well.

Q. But you have to put yourself in that mindset, too. Sounds like you're a new player in several respects. You have to come in thinking, I'm going to beat whoever's out there.
MARDY FISH: Look, we don't make the draw. You can't know who you're going to come up with. I got lucky in the first two rounds. No doubt about it.
Isner played Baghdatis in the first round. That guy's really good. So his draw was tougher than mine, for sure. There's no doubt about it. That's the luck of the draw in that aspect.
But, you know, you position yourself to get to a top 8 seed and you don't have to play one of those guys until the quarters. That's where the hard work pays off, I guess.

Q. The match before yours lasted nearly five hours. How do you prepare for a situation like that?
MARDY FISH: It's tough. Then you walk out there, and, you know, you can't duplicate that. That was a great match. It's a shame someone had to lose.
They both played incredibly well. I thought Juan Carlos played an amazing match. That was one of the best matches I've seen him play in a long time. And Monfils played well, too.
It's hard. You prepare like you're going to go on at 3:00. They actually went on the court at 12:30. They started at 12:45. You're thinking maybe you can get on at 3:00. I didn't get on till 6:00. It's hard. The food is the toughest part. You don't want to put a ton of stuff in your stomach, but you want to be ready to go when they stop, and you just never know when that is.
That's why players love to know exactly when they play. You get a 1:00 match or 11:00 match. It's early, but at least you know when you're going to play.

Q. What do you do if you take a meal and the guy retires, 3-0 in the first set? You just had a big burger and the guy retires?
MARDY FISH: Don't a eat a burger in the first place (smiling).
If you throw down a plate of pasta and you're a little thick, you've got to stall. You got to hope that it's not going to go straight to your belly and you're not going to be sluggish. That can happen.
But I try to eat an hour and a half before I think I'm supposed to play, and then I'll try to just catch up going along, keep nibbling on things so you don't get to that point.

Q. Has it happened where you've overeaten before going on the court?
MARDY FISH: I'm sure it has. Not recently just because I'm a lot more conscious about what I'm eating. I'm sure it has before, yeah.

Q. Are there any parts of your game in the first couple matches that you feel like you want to fine-tune before Anderson?
MARDY FISH: I mean, I'm not Federer. I don't go out there thinking, you know, I'm up two sets and I'm going to serve and volley this set to work on my game. I mean, I can't do that, you know.
You just win. You know, you just try to win. I played five sets in the first round and the third round last year, and I was pretty tired after that. You try not to do that if you can.
But, you know, you just try to win.

Q. Have you ever played Federer when he was fine-tuning?
MARDY FISH: I'm sure, yeah. I played him in Halle in '04 in the final, and I'm pretty sure he could have beaten me 0-0. He was up like 9-0 in like 30 minutes. He let me hold. I'm pretty positive he let me hold throughout there, 6-3, the easiest. He kicked my butt.

Q. He says you guys are friends. Do you socialize at all?
MARDY FISH: No, not necessarily away from the courts. But when I see him, yeah, we're good friends here. I know his coach very well, too, Paul. We're golf buddies in L.A. I know their camp very well.
Those guys that he is with, they're top guys out here, definitely.

Q. Is your dog here with you?
MARDY FISH: No. I wouldn't be able to sleep.

Q. Who takes care of the dog?
MARDY FISH: She has a dogsitter.

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