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August 27, 2011

Mardy Fish


THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. What are your thoughts on how you'll spend the time during the expected hurricane, and what are your thoughts about being here during that in general?
MARDY FISH: Yeah, it will be pretty surreal, I think. Obviously it doesn't happen a lot, but I've been through quite a few hurricanes living and growing up in Florida. I remember maybe going through -- we had like three or four in one year go through Vero Beach, pretty close to Vero when I was growing up, so we're used to it.
My wife is a little freaked out about it being from California. She had the earthquake that I have never been used to, and I've got the hurricane that I'm used to.

Q. What's your advice to New Yorkers who are not used to this?
MARDY FISH: Well, seems like it's gonna be like the worst stuff is going to be the floods. The wind I don't think will be too much of an issue, although they're not used this kind of stuff up here.
So if people can stay as calm as possible will probably be the best.

Q. Maria was saying she thought maybe people were overreacting. What's your take?
MARDY FISH: Probably, yeah. Probably. I think it's probably best to prepare for the worst than what it actually is, so...

Q. Were you out and about? Characterize the mood of the city.
MARDY FISH: It's different. There were still a lot of people out, deliveries of water and things like that to hotels and stuff were out of the ordinary. Places were closed out of the ordinary. I couldn't get my Starbucks this morning, which was annoying.

Q. Were you hoarding?
MARDY FISH: The hotel coffee wasn't quite as good.

Q. Were you hoarding last night?
MARDY FISH: Stacey went to shop quite a bit last night, got a bunch of magazines and flashlights. She's preparing for Armageddon, I think.

Q. You could kidnap a Starbucks barista.
MARDY FISH: I know. That would be a good idea.

Q. Must be a different feeling coming into New York this year than all the years you have been here. Can you talk about that for a moment.
MARDY FISH: Yeah, it's a significant difference for me. It's just great. I mean, look, this is probably one of the biggest events that I'll ever play, you know, just being in this position right now and coming in playing extremely well.
You know, winning the US Open Series and just coming in on a high and playing great the last two events, as well. And then also having that week to prepare and rest - I took three days off right after Cincinnati and played golf once and just relaxed. It was great to get away from everything.
And then got back in here Tuesday and started grinding again. You know, so, yeah, I'm super excited to start. You know, it's one of those where a lot of times you kinda want to work your way into the tournament. I want to play Monday. I want to get out there and start, start the whole process of it, because it's exciting for me.

Q. It's a question that we've asked at several tournaments, but this being the US Open, it must be very different. What do you feel coming in as the top-ranked U.S. male and the top ranked U.S. player?
MARDY FISH: Slight bit more pressure. Certainly different pressure than I've ever felt. But a good -- it's a great feeling. I mean, it's just one of those experiences that not everybody can go through. I can understand just a little bit of what Andy has gone through every single year for the past 12 years, probably, and respect the job that he's done with it, as well, and how, you know, how well he's handled the expectations with his play.
You know, for most of his 10, 12 years here he's done extremely well, and so I can respect that a ton more, you know, and lean on him and James a little bit to ask some questions and, you know, hopefully take away a little bit of the pressure that Andy has had to deal with for the past, like I said, the past few years.
I'm happy to help in that aspect.

Q. What's the biggest difference in you as a player now than all the other times you've been here?
MARDY FISH: I've got a real good grasp on my fitness right now. Last year I came in, I was extremely fit at the time, but I was almost too -- I was right around 170 pounds. You know, I was almost too skinny.
The stamina maybe wasn't there quite as good. I sort of ran out of gas at this tournament against Djokovic. Not that that really would have mattered the way he played that match.
So I've got a good grasp on that. I've got a great grasp on how to leave last weeks' tournaments in last week, you know, leaving Montreal in Montreal and trying to separate myself from that and go to Cincinnati and start over again and hopefully leave Cincinnati there and start over here and sort of forget all the matches I've played in, the mental side of it, the mental sort of fatigue you can get from playing quite a few matches to, you know, starting over and trying to get as fresh as possible.
I think I've done and am trying more and more, and it's a good problem to have, obviously, but something that I'm not used to throughout my career.
So I hope that I'm doing a better job of that, as well, just to kind of start over with each week as a new tournament. Just previous years I would have had one good result and then I would have been pretty content with that result for a while.
So I hope to not do that.

Q. Last summer obviously you had a great run, sort of launched where you are today. I'm wondering, coming back in in the course of this year if you wonder or had doubts, Do I have it in me again? Was that in your mind?
MARDY FISH: No, that certainly entered my mind. My goal going into the summer was to come into the US Open in the top 10. That was a huge goal. To be honest, it was going to be hard to do. I had all my points backlogged now, you know, and Cincinnati, 600 points for a guy who's right around 10, 9, 11, 12, something like that, I mean, there is a difference of back to 18 in the world kind of thing. There is a big difference between 18 and 8, you know.
So the fact that I was able to, you know, do so well in Montreal took a ton of pressure off me for Cincinnati and put me in a great spot to -- what I didn't think was possible was to get more -- you know, to even gain on what I had done last year. I put myself in a good position in those events because I actually got a bye in those events, as well, which I had never done in the Masters 1000 events.
I was able to get to the final and play the final of Montreal and have that extra day off in Cincinnati, which was huge, as well.
So, yeah, I mean, I pretty candidly can say I didn't think I was gonna be in this position right now.

Q. Nice up there in first class, huh?
MARDY FISH: Yeah, it is. (Smiling).

Q. What's impressed you most about the way Djokovic has had, the season he's had, and what are your thoughts in general about it?
MARDY FISH: I mean, incredible. Just the fact -- like I said, just the fact that to win back-to-back Masters events in Indian Wells and Miami, it's just incredible. And, you know, not to take away from a Grand Slam title in the beginning of the year.
It's conceivable that, you know, a guy that good can, you know, can win the first two -- I think maybe he had won maybe two events only before Indian Wells. Then, you know, you go to Indian Wells and Miami and you win both of those and beat Nadal in both of those, and you're thinking, Man, this is a pretty incredible run.
But maybe someone has done that before or maybe, you know, Roger, you know, in kind of '04, '05, '06 era was able to play like that. And then to win Madrid and Rome back to back, it was just incredible to beat Nadal both of those finals.
I think that really -- you know, I think he won Belgrade in there, too, but that's his home event and so we expect him to win those.
But then kind of opened everyone's eyes to, Man, this is a historic run. You know, who's gonna beat this guy kind of thing? Took the greatest player that we've seen to do it, you know.

Q. Serve and volley is an important part of your game. Do you feel that's a feature that's coming back into the men's game a bit more, especially on hard courts?
MARDY FISH: I don't think it's coming back in. I don't see much of it from anyone. They've even slowed down -- they've even slowed down this surface, which is frustrating, because this is one of the -- this was definitely the fastest slam surface-wise that we've had.
Now with it being, you know, much slower out here this year, it's sort of fit right in with Australia. There's really not -- there is a lot of really slow Grand Slams now surface-wise. Cincinnati and Montreal were extremely fast; Montreal was an extremely fast surface.
I would prefer to play on that surface every single tournament, but it's not how it works out here. So, you know, that type of court can warrant some serving and volleying and coming forward. You can't serve and volley all the time. Guys return too good, so you've got to keep them off balance and off guard.
I will certainly come to the net here, I have to, but maybe a little bit less than there.

Q. What is your sense of how your belief in your game and your ability, how it compares with Nadal, Federer, and Djokovic right now?
MARDY FISH: On this surface? Right now I think it's up there. Ask me in two weeks, you know. I mean, hopefully we're still sitting here and I can have a conversation with you about it because I've never done that. So it's hard to say, you know, I expect to see myself in the second Saturday of the US Open because I've never done that before.
I've been close once, but I'd like to get there now. I'd really like to get there now, because I really feel like I can belong there. I can get there. I can get to a really big spot in a Grand Slam. And if I were to pick a tournament, a Grand Slam that I could do that in, it would be this one.

Q. You mentioned the surface being slower here.

Q. Is that something this year in particular or over the years?
MARDY FISH: No, it was pretty fast last year. It's definitely different. But it's also playing a lot different out there just because of the conditions. It's kind of a strange -- I mean, it's almost like it's just raining out of the sky with no rain. It's just so humid. The balls just get extremely big like that with the humidity.
But it's playing very strange right now. Hopefully when Monday comes around and the heat comes back a little bit and you get the humidity out of there just a little bit, maybe it will play a little bit differently.

Q. Who would it favor, the slowness of the surface, out of all the top guys?
MARDY FISH: I think it will favor Djokovic quite a bit. I think it will play a lot like Australia, to be honest.
I think at night it will play much slower than during the day. You know, days when it's pretty humid it will play much slower.
You know, but Rafa likes those conditions, as well, so it's hard to -- I mean, Djokovic is, you know, the No. 1 player in the world, so it's hard not to say that he's the favorite. But certainly some guys that can beat him. I would say he is.

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