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January 17, 2012

Ryan Harrison


A. MURRAY/R. Harrison
4‑6, 6‑3, 6‑4, 6‑2

THE MODERATOR:  Questions, please.

Q.  How would you sum up the whole experience?  How do you think you played?
RYAN HARRISON:  It was a good experience.  Playing someone like Andy on a court like Hisense in a Grand Slam, especially with the opportunities I had.  It's disappointing right now, but it's good to see what level I'm trying to get to.

Q.  You played a pretty great first set.  Must have been feeling pretty emboldened at that point.  What was going through your head?
RYAN HARRISON:  Well, I mean, you're trying to just stay focused on your game plan because if you start thinking too much about the situation, the score, all the external things that can't help you, that's when it starts going south quickly.
I was just trying to stay focused on the game plan.  Then early in the second when I got broken, I was trying to keep it at one break because once you get down a double break you pretty much have no chance.  If you keep it at one break, you at least have some opportunity to break back.
I was just trying to stay focused on executing the game plan.

Q.  When you did get broken, did you feel he started to click into gear after that?
RYAN HARRISON:  For him it was probably a relief to get ahead in the score count because I took control early.  I guess that made him a little more tentative to pull the trigger on some of his shots.  He missed a few forehands he wouldn't have if he wasn't feeling the pressure.
I guess when you go up a break, you can relax a little bit.  That's what he did.  He started placing his forehand a little better.  In the first set he was playing a lot more through the court.  It was in the zone for my backhand.  He started getting it a lot higher up.  He made that adjustment.  I didn't make the adjustment of going back or coming closer to get it in my strike zone.

Q.  It was a very hot day.  You had some amazing rallies.  How did that affect you physically in the end?
RYAN HARRISON:  Well, I mean, I think it was a physical match for both of us.  I was tired, but he was tired as well.  Murray is kind of regarded as one of the fittest guys on tour.
I know I was tired, but I don't feel like I was any more exhausted than he was, which is something that I guess goes to show you how hot and physical the sport can be.  We had, like you said, some long rallies.  It wasn't just one or two points that went 41 balls.
For me, you're playing Murray.  You're not getting a lot of free points on your serve.  It's not like it's one or two rallies.  You're playing every point, you're playing long points.  Especially some of the points to win, he makes you work.

Q.  In that context, do you think the schedule of the tour is arduous?  Do you have a view on that, the issue that's come up?
RYAN HARRISON:  With the off‑season being so short?

Q.  Yes.
RYAN HARRISON:  Yeah, I mean, obviously it's been this way for a long time.  It's a year‑round sport.  I think some people that have been playing the tour a lot longer than me can have more of an opinion on that.  It's kind of my second year.  I don't want to say too much about it just because I don't feel like it's my place at this time.
This is the situation we're all in.  You got to do the best you can to prepare for the conditions.  I'm sure it would be great to have a longer off‑season to get in a little better shape, kind of prepare a little better.  It's fair for everyone.  It's the same for everyone.

Q.  Is there any one area of your game you think you can make the biggest level of improvement in the next year or so?
RYAN HARRISON:  My backhand.  I've gotten it to a point where I can pull the trigger with it.  I can hit some big shots with it.  It's got to be consistent in that sense where I can make it time and time again on big points and trust myself to go after it, not have to rely on chipping or pushing it.
I'm working on it.  I've gotten it to a point where I can hit some up the line, some aggressive ones cross‑court.  It's got to be a consistent basis I can do that on.  I think that's the biggest thing I need to do that on.

Q.  What are your goals in terms of ranking this year?
RYAN HARRISON:  Right now I'm 77, I think, something like that.  You have goals.  I'd love to be in the top 20, top 30, around that area, by the end of the year.  You have to hit top 50 first, then top 40.  There's a lot of guys working to get to that point.
In my head I have somewhere I'd like to be, but it's a long process.  You have to take it one step at a time.

Q.  You've taken sets off guys like Ferrer, Andy, Soderling.  What do you feel is the difference between you and these guys right now?
RYAN HARRISON:  Well, I've never taken a set off one of the guys in the top four.  I played Novak in Cincinnati.  He beat me 2‑3, something like that, I think.  Andy made semis of all four Grand Slams last year.  He's obviously pretty consistent with his results.
Those guys, I think it's fair to say they've played a different level at the Grand Slams than other people.

Q.  The margin is pretty small, right?
RYAN HARRISON:  Absolutely.  We have a 12‑, 15‑ball rally at 0‑1 in the fourth, if I break him there, start serving well, we could easily be in a fifth set now.  Ifs, ands, and buts...  It's about producing and coming through at the right moments.  There's plenty of guys that could say if they could have got a let cord to go this way, a shot to go that way, they would have been in a tighter match.
For me it's about consistently keep putting myself in these positions, keep working hard, get to a point where I trust myself to come through.

Q.  Anything you felt he did better than you?
RYAN HARRISON:  I felt like his backhand cross‑court was a little more effective.  Whenever we were in that rally, I felt like he probably won 80% of them.  That's what I was talking about earlier.  Whenever we got in that rally, I was the one having to force myself out of that rally, whether I was slicing it up the line, trying to get him to go cross‑court to my forehand, or take a shot at it, one you're not comfortable with.
If I feel like I'm losing the cross‑court rally on the backhand side, I might have to press my forehand a little more which makes me a little uncomfortable with my forehand.  If I have to go bigger than I want to, you're not playing in your comfort zone.  I feel like he did that better.

Q.  He's renowned as one of the players with the best slice.  You matched him well the first couple sets.  Where did your slice come from?
RYAN HARRISON:  My dad had a one‑handed backhand.  He taught me the game of tennis.  In his terms, his one‑handed backhand was God awful.  He had to slice it pretty well and hide it.
Whenever I was growing up, he was still in shape, we would have backhand slice rallies.  I would claim I could beat him.  He would claim he could still beat me.  We just battled on that.  I just developed it to a point where I was comfortable with it.
I felt like I had a few today on big points that floated a little too much.  On that same breakpoint I was talking about, I think I hit four slices in a row.  They all kind of sat up and didn't get through the court.
The slice was effective for me.  Whenever I played it a little over the net, he had to come up in the court.  If you hit it, it sits up, floats, a guy at the top of the game is not going to miss an outright ball for no reason.

Q.  You said you played Novak recently.  How does he compare to playing Andy?
RYAN HARRISON:  They're different because Novak is a little more imposing from being a little closer to the baseline, I guess.  He plays a little more through the court.  I feel like Andy does a spectacular job of defending and he plays great defense.  It's obviously what he's known for.
He's definitely doing better inside the court.  I think that's where he has made his improvements, learning how to dictate from inside the court.  Not that he didn't know before, but obviously he's getting better at it.
I guess it's a little different whenever you're serving to them because Novak is on top of the baseline returning, he's kind of playing through the baseline, whereas Andy, he stays like 10 feet behind the baseline and almost lets you hit it.  It kind of comes to him.  Then he just plays it controlled back deep.  He trusts himself he's going to make more balls than you are.
Everyone has their different game style.  Andy has done pretty well for himself to get to three major finals.  I think he's going to win a slam here pretty soon because he's been in so many positions, it's bound to happen.

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