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August 13, 2012

Mardy Fish


THE MODERATOR:  Questions, please.

Q.  With respect to coming back this year, you about 75% or all the way back?
MARDY FISH:  No, my practices, I've tried to keep them as normal as possible.  You know, one of the things with trying to just get your fitness level back is you got to push it more and more.  That sometimes has been a little hard mentally.
But, you know, I mean, everything's checked out okay.  Past few weeks have been good minus the ankle injury in Atlanta.
Couldn't have asked for a better couple weeks after that considering I wasn't able to move around for eight days or so to make sure that it was okay.  Couldn't practice, couldn't train at all, and that's hard going into tournaments where you need fitness to rely on quite a bit.
So I couldn't have asked for a better Washington D.C., to be honest.  And then any time you make quarterfinal in a Masters 1000 event is a pretty good result for almost everyone.
So it's been good.  It was a good test on Friday to play two matches as well.  I was super tired in the third set of the second match, but these are all good problems to have.
Getting through most of the matches pretty well, so I'm getting there.  Certainly getting there.  I don't want to necessarily put a number on it.  I don't feel like I did 12 months ago certainly talking to you guys here, but I feel pretty good.

Q.  Did you watch any of the Olympics?
MARDY FISH:¬† Uh‑huh.

Q.  Impressions?  Regrets?
MARDY FISH:  No, no regrets.  I didn't go to Beijing either, but I watched a lot of tennis.  Got a lot of friends playing so I root for them.  I was psyched to see Bob and Mike win the gold and sort of solidify that in their career knowing how much they wanted it.  It was cool to see Andy Murray win over there, stuff like that.  I watched a lot of stuff.
Yeah, I mean, I was still going while they were going, too.  I think the travel was tough for those guys, especially Americans going over there and then coming back and then going back over and then coming back again.
It was hard, and so I didn't have to deal with any of the post‑Olympic stuff.¬† I think that helped.¬† I think it helped me quite a bit in Toronto.

Q.  Can you elaborate on that?  Not too long ago you decided to base yourself in California.  Talk about that.
MARDY FISH:  Yeah, no, it's been an interesting process trying to sort of redo friends and new family and things like that obviously out there.  I absolutely love it now.  It's an awesome place to train.  The weather is sunny 310 days a year, so you can't complain too much about that.
You know, there is tons of stuff to do out there.  I've got a really nice homebase now that I can go back to and relax or train as need be, so it's been awesome.  I go down to Carson to train at the USTA National Tennis Center there all the time.  We live pretty close to UCLA, so we go over there quite a bit as well.  Ride my bike over there it's so close.
It's been fun.  It's been a nice change.  You know, couple years down the road when I'm not going to be playing tennis anymore it'll be real nice.

Q.  Are you going to continue to play some more dubs with Mark Knowles?
MARDY FISH:  Yeah, we played last week.  I won't play the rest of the summer, but it's nice sometimes when you don't get the matches that you can get out there before a match, before a singles match.
Conditions in Toronto are completely different than conditions here.  It's been weird.  The weather has been strange the past few times we've gone, past few places we've gone.  The weather was terrible in Wimbledon; extremely hot in D.C.; really bad in Toronto with the rain and stuff; and now here.  It's August 13th and it's 72 degrees outside.  It's a little strange right now.
So that's been hard.  It's been hard for most of the players to try to get used to.  You come here thinking of a certain type of weather and it's the complete opposite and you got to get everything in line for that.

Q.  Talk about trying to get your conditioning back when you're in the heart of the season.
MARDY FISH:  Yeah, I mean, that's the hardest thing because you need matches.  You can train all you want on the practice court and things like that, but just can't duplicate the actual matches.
Like I said earlier, I couldn't have asked for a better couple weeks after what happened in Atlanta.
I mean, to be honest, my past few events since my health stuff have actually been relatively good:  Fourth round Wimbledon and semis in D.C.
Tommy Haas, I felt like I could have won that tournament, and he played a great match against me in the semifinals.  He's playing great tennis.
So I haven't put any shockers out there since I've been back, which has been a good thing.  I've been able to get on the court and play seven, eight matches in the past couple weeks that I didn't think I was going to be able to get.
That's the hard part coming in.¬† Twelve months ago I was extremely fit, extremely confident.¬† Sort of the opposite sort of fitness‑wise here, and usually the weather is just brutal here and you need to rely on that a lot.
I was able to do that last year throughout the summer, but maybe we won't even need to with the weather like it is now.

Q.  Do you notice anything different in Tommy's game?  He's 34.  Stepanek is 34.
MARDY FISH:  Yeah, he's seeing it really well.  He's just confident.  He's a guy that strikes the ball as clean as anyone you'll see.  Really pretty strokes.  Just he's fun watch.  I'm just a fan of his just watching him play.
Yeah, it's nice to have him back playing well.  We practice a lot together in L.A. because he lives out there as well.  It's nice to have someone like that back that's a former No. 2 in the World, you know.

Q.  But like a Major League pitcher, as you get older you lose something off your fast ball.  With respect to his game has he changed anything?
MARDY FISH:  I don't think so.  He's fit.  I mean, he's healthy.  He's played tons of the matches.  When you play tons of matches like that, you feel like you can play in any sort of weather and conditions and play against anyone.
He went three sets with Djokovic last week in Toronto and came real close to winning D.C. and came real close to winning Hamburg.
He's playing great.

Q.  Do you think the Open is the toughest slam physically and mentally?
MARDY FISH:  I think probably the French Open would be the toughest physically.  Mentally I definitely put it up there just with sort of the surroundings and what you have to sort of put behind you.
It seems like every year you get one or two days where you got to get pushed back and pushed around with the weather and the rain and stuff.  You have to deal with going back and forth from Manhattan and sort of the traffic concerns and things like that.
So there is a lot that goes on on the side.  The week before is always so hectic.  You're trying to sort of meet every sponsor's visit that you have and shake everyone's hand that you promised to shake at the beginning of the year.  Seems like it always happens during that week.  That makes it hard leading up to the biggest tournament of the year for us.
That's probably one of the most satisfying ones to do well at.  I think physically probably the French would be harder than that.

Q.  Because of where it is in the season, what percent of guys you would say going into that tournament without a nick?
MARDY FISH:  Zero.  (Laughing.)  I mean, without something, you know, zero.  Usually everyone is playing during the summer.  Everyone has something at that time of the year.

Q.  Watching Harrison this summer, it seems like sometimes he wants it too much on the court and he's stressing a bit.  Can you talk about that?
MARDY FISH:  Yeah, I just spoke with him in the parking lot.  He's struggling with his confidence a little bit.  Every single tennis player has been there.  Every single person in their job has been there, whatever you do.
You know, he's going through a time where ‑‑ I can remember in the beginning of the year when he was maybe in Indian Wells where you might have a that practice where you're working on your forehand and might make 39 out of 40 in a row; you miss that one and something snaps and clicks and you just can't get that one out of your head when you just hit 39 great ones.
It's an unbelievably tough mental sport, and when you struggle with it, it's hard.  Obviously he has some demons there that he needs to tame at times.  I'm sure he'll be the first to tell you.  We all have demons that sometimes come out at bad times and times when you're struggling mentally.
That's what he's going through.¬† That's what I told him.¬† I just said, Sometimes when you're not hitting the ball well you need to try to rely on things that you can handle:¬† Fitness, the mental side of the game.¬† He needs to go and play matches and go to Winston‑Salem and try to play as many matches as he can and not necessarily worry about points and prize money dollars.
He just needs to play matches.  It's my opinion that he'll be totally fine.  I think he does the right things.  Like you said, he wants it.  I don't think it's a bad thing that you want it bad enough.  I don't think there is such a thing.  Might hurt you at times, but that's going to pay off in the long run.
So it's my opinion that he'll be fine and that's he's just going through a tough time like everyone else does.

Q.  Donald with 15 in a row as well.  Maybe it's a good idea for him not to play so much and take some time off and regroup.
MARDY FISH:  Yeah, I've never been in that kind of a losing streak before, but he's not feeling any different maybe than Ryan is.  When you're not confident, you're not confident.  It's tough.
Like you said, you got to do what's best for you, what's best for what you think.  You might do something where you might pull out of an event, someone like Isner might pull out of an event here and people might say, Why is he pulling out of a Masters 1000 event?  Guy needs a break, and he doesn't care what anybody else thinks.  That's the way you need to go about it.
Donald Young, maybe been what's best for his career is to take two weeks off and play the US Open or not look at a tennis racquet and go on vacation for five days to clear his head.  Sometimes guys need that.  If you play week after week after week and it's just not working, yes, you, definitely need a break.
There have been guys, just friends that play challengers and quallies of tour events where I say, What are you doing next week?  I'm going to play here and here.  How many have you played in a row?  Seven.
You know, maybe they don't win very many matches, but you just don't get that mental break.  Obviously he's not getting the mental break.  But if he thinks that's not the problem, if he needs to push through it, then you got to push through it.
No one knows you better than you.  So if he thinks he needs to push through it, push through it.  But he can't listen to what anyone else says.  You just can't.

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