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March 12, 2012

Matthew Ebden


M. EBDEN/M. Fish
6‑3, 6‑4

THE MODERATOR:  Questions, please.

Q.  How does that feel?  How big a win is that for you?
MATTHEW EBDEN:  I don't know.  Maybe on paper, probably the best.  Beat Simon last year.  He was around 10, I think.  But I think Mardy is, what, 8 at the moment?
Especially in America, to beat the top player here is, yeah, it's incredible feeling.  Very big win.  I'm, you know, pleased with my progress, and, you know, got another big American next round.
You know, I'm just loving what I'm doing out here.  I really love competing hard and tackling the opportunity.  So I'll, you know, do that again.  I will look forward to the next one.

Q.  How do you take on John Isner?
MATTHEW EBDEN:  Well, I will spend the next day or two preparing for that one.  At the moment, you know, just going through recovery and getting the body ready for some doubles tomorrow and singles the next day.
John is obviously one of the best servers in the world, so I'll need to return well and focus, you know, well on my service games and keep him under a lot of pressure if I can.

Q.  Seems like you have been making some big strides the last few months.  Can you just talk about what's going on?
MATTHEW EBDEN:  Yeah.  Well, you know, I like to think it's the last couple years really.  In the last probably two years ago I started having some big wins against good players.
I said yesterday or the day before, this is about doing it more consistently and raising my level to, you know, a solid level every time I step out on the court; being, you know, tough competitor and bringing, you know, the best level I can each time.
You know, it's starting to show well for me on the scoreboards.  So if I can keep them ticking over, I'll continue to be happy.  Just working hard at improving my game and becoming a better player each day.

Q.  On that hindrance call in the last service game, what do you think happened there?  Seemed like you reacted right away.
MATTHEW EBDEN:  Yeah, that was interesting.  I feel very unfortunate for Mardy that that happened.  Yeah, I mean, it's one of those‑‑ you know, it was right under the umpire's‑‑ right under his nose, so it was pretty clear what happened.
Yeah, it's never good to say what should happen or what did happen.  But, you know, in my opinion I think umpire made the right call.  Unfortunately he did say, Come on before I hit the ball.  You know, I did get there in reasonable time to hit the ball.  I still had a decent play on it.
So, you know, lucky I'm fast sometimes (smiling.)  Sometimes the speed helps.  That time it helped, but it was unfortunate for him.  You know, sometimes that happens.
Just gotta keep going with it and take your opportunities, and I was able to do that.  Yeah, it was very unfortunate for him.  But, you know, you've got to take them when they come.

Q.  Do you think his shouting did interrupt you or distract you during the point?
MATTHEW EBDEN:  Yeah, unfortunately absolutely it did, because I had a decent play on the ball.  I guess you probably saw by my reaction I was‑‑ you know, yeah, it's just one of those unfortunate sort of things that happens.
And, yeah, anyway, turned out lucky for me in the end.

Q.  Was this similar to the incident when Serena screamed at the US Open and it cost her a point against Samantha Stosur?  Do you remember that incident?
MATTHEW EBDEN:  I remember that, but I don't really think so.  I think, you know, Mardy thought he just hit a really good dropshot, and I was able to get off the mark quickly and really chase it down and get a good racquet on it and, you know, had a play on it.
You know, actually, you know, back in my first round or second round qualifying match ran ‑‑ I hit a passing shot that he ‑‑ I sort of may have said a similar sort of thing.
No, I don't think it's the same as that.  But there's not too much to read into it, I think.  Obviously it ended up being a big point and it was unfortunate for him that that happened, but, you know, it's like a line call or a Hawk‑Eye going in or out.  Just one of those things.

Q.  So he did call out before you made your return?
MATTHEW EBDEN:  Before I made my play on his dropshot?

Q.  Yes.
MATTHEW EBDEN:  That's what it felt like.  But if you wanted to be extremely certain, probably best to look at the tape.  Yeah, that's what it felt like.  That's how the umpire sort of read it, and I obviously instinctually reacted like that.
I guess that's what I thought and what the umpire agreed with.  Yeah, so I guess that's the way it turned out.

Q.  Who are you here with?
MATTHEW EBDEN:  I'm here with my coach, Darren Tandy and have a trainer over here, you know, one of our Australian guys, Aaron, and Tony Roche is here supporting me, too.
You know, there are a few other Aussie guys around, so it's nice to have a good team.  And Craig Tiley, you know, our head of tennis, just arrived today to watch me.
It was nice I could get the win for them and keep trying, keep going.

Q.  Tony has been helping out with you here and there.
MATTHEW EBDEN:  Yeah.  Well, he's our Davis Cup coach, and, you know, he's obviously one of the most experienced and greatest coaches and even players of all time.  You know, I think he's won Grand Slams himself, and he's coached I think six No. 1s in the world.
Anything I can learn from Tony and any advice he's giving me I'm gonna take it and run with it.

Q.  I know in a tournament you try to stay focused on your next matches, but when Andy lost it seemed to open things up in your quarter.  When he lost, what kind of things do you think about and how do you think it does affect some players, too?
MATTHEW EBDEN:  Yeah, it's interesting.  Last year in Shanghai similar thing happened.  I had to go through the qualifying and I saw I was in Murray's quarter for the quarterfinal.  That was something I sort of said to try to get there and play Andy.  That happened, but unfortunately I lost.
This time I tried not to look too far ahead.  Just been taking one match at a time, because you have to do that.  Today I was up against a great player.  Mardy is a great champion, top 10 in the world, unbelievable year last year.
It was going to be a real tough match, and happy to get through it.  Same thing next round.  I'm gonna play the biggest guy left in the draw, by probably a foot or two, so I will just be concentrating on trying to tackle that one.
I think it's a good opportunity for me, and I'm confident if I can do a lot of the right things I can have another good chance.

Q.  I know you're friendly with Ryan Harrison.  How well do you know this whole American group of guys?
MATTHEW EBDEN:  Yeah, Ryan and I are really, really good friends.  We have become close in the last year or two, become sort of like brothers out there.  It's really nice to have great friendships, and I think it's important, too.  We're playing doubles together.
You know, last time we had a lot of fun out on center court playing our doubles.  You know, the American guys and the Australian guys, I would hope they get on well us being all English speaking and trying to take on all the Europeans.
There are lots of Europeans and those guys around now, so I guess if we can remain friends and help each other along, you know, yeah, it's good fun.

Q.  Could you sense any maybe extra nerves from Mardy?  He hasn't had a great start to the year.  He has a lot of points to defend this year; may be a little bit on edge, figuring this is a match he should get through.
MATTHEW EBDEN:  You know, I really have no idea.  Probably better off to ask Mardy.  But, you know, like I said before, he's a great champion.  He's, I think, top 8 in the world.  He had an unbelievable year last year.
I'm sure there's going to be some weeks that guys lose.  Novak loses before the finals some weeks.  Like you said, Murray lost first round.  There are lots of good players out there, and, yeah, you know, I don't think it's gonna get too much in Mardy's way.
I'm sure he will work harder and he'll be back playing great tennis.  Probably next week you'll see him playing deep in the tournament.  It's just how tennis works sometimes.
Yeah, obviously, like you say, had a great year last year, and I'm sure he will be hoping to back it up this year.  I wish him all the best to keep going and doing as well as he can.

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