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March 9, 2013

Ryan Harrison


R. NADAL/R. Harrison
7‑6, 6‑2

THE MODERATOR:テつ Questions, please.

Q.テつ What did Nadal do in the second set?テつ The first set you know, seemed a little bit tougher.
RYAN HARRISON:テつ He started passing a lot better.テつ I was just kind of throwing him off rhythm a little bit with mixing the serve and volley.テつ I think once I let that tiebreaker slip away a little bit, and he, you know, he got ahead and he started loosening up and swinging out a little more.
Yeah, it's just tough to play those guys when you get behind a little bit, because they're obviously so good that when they start front running it's just a tough hole to get out of.

Q.テつ Did you have any sense of how he would play tonight, knowing he had been off so long?テつ 346 days not on hard courts.
RYAN HARRISON:テつ If you are asking if I got a glimpse into the future, no, I did not know how he was going to play tonight.

Q.テつ You talked about how disappointed you were in the Djokovic match in Australia.テつ Today, forced Nadal to a tiebreak.テつ Step in the right direction at least?
RYAN HARRISON:テつ I feel a lot better after this match, even though I lost, than I have hitting the ball in a month or so.テつ I feel even the second set was 6‑2, but the 1‑All, 1‑2 games were pretty back and forth.
Only bad game I played in the second set was the 1‑3 game, but he had a few shots to break me there, too.
I think I put a good amount of work in over the last week, and, you know, it just ‑‑you don't become a top 5 player in a week.テつ It's just going to be about consistently staying on the process of what I have been doing.
That's, you know, all you can really do.

Q.テつ I guess easier said than done, play the match on your terms against him because he likes to dictate also, no?
RYAN HARRISON:テつ Definitely.テつ As you saw in the second set, even like I was throwing him off rhythm by serving and volleying a lot.テつ I wish I would have made more first serves.テつ That could have been a little more beneficial if I was able to ‑‑whenever you're coming off a kick serve that's 105 miles an hour, 100 miles an hour, it's a little more set than a 125‑mile‑an‑hour first serve.テつ I wish the first‑serve percentage could have been higher.
That's one thing I wish I could have changed.テつ As far as the strategy goes and everything, I felt like I played the way I wanted to play.テつ Just at that point becomes an execution thing.テつ As you have seen with Rafa, even whenever you play well sometimes he comes out on top because he's so good.

Q.テつ You're a sports guy, and every athlete has to sort of face what comes their way.テつ But if I have it right, your draws have just been over the top I think in the slams.テつ Talk about that.テつ Does it go through your head sometimes when it's another Djokovic, another Federer, another Nadal?
RYAN HARRISON:テつ I'm aware of it, but what's the great news about the situation?テつ I'm not 21 yet and I've played against a top player on center court of every single slam every single stadium.テつ I mean, that's a lot of experience for someone that hasn't gotten past the second round of a major.
Hopefully one day along the line I will obviously be playing those guys.テつ If I'm in the round of 16, quarters, semis finals, those guys aren't going to change because they're the best.
That's not going to be a new experience, so to speak, and I'm not going to be in awe of any court or player because I have the experience of playing them this early.
Obviously my record is kind of O‑fer right now, but it's a work in progress.テつ I'm definitely hitting the practice courts hard and going to keep working on it.

Q.テつ Which one of the matches did you learn the most from, did you step away from it with the best lesson?
RYAN HARRISON:テつ You can take a lot from all of them just because they're all different surfaces.テつ They're different guys.テつ Even the same guys are playing differently each time.
I mean, I played, you know, Djokovic at Wimbledon, Australia, and the scores were substantially different.
You know, it's just different because I'm serving on grass.テつ You can get a few more free points on your serve.テつ And playing a night match against him outside in Australia, he was kind of chewing on my first serve which was not normally happening.
I guess you just come away from each match with a little bit of knowledge, and if you can keep applying that, then that's a way to improve.

Q.テつ John Isner's loss today means we have a potential of maybe no American in the top 20 at the end of the tournament.テつ Obviously there is a lot of soul searching that goes on in that situation when that happens.テつ Rankings are the measure of the state of American tennis.テつ What does that say to you?
RYAN HARRISON:テつ I mean, I'm not near the top 20 right now, so me particularly it doesn't change anything because I still have to keep working.
I certainly think that we have a number of guys that have top 20 potential, top 10 potential.テつ And as John proved here last year with the way he plays, he can beat anybody anywhere.テつ Doesn't matter as long as he's‑‑ if he's serving well and he's hot, then he's a guy that can make a run at any given time.
I think I watched him push Rafa to five sets at the French last year.テつ Maybe that was two years ago.テつ When he's serving big, he's dangerous.テつ I don't think John is going to be out of the top 20 long.テつ Sam is knocking on the door and Mardy is finally healthy.
If you look at the circumstances in which why we don't have Americans in the top 20, it's not from a lack of talent.テつ It's definitely just an execution thing.テつ I think there is five, six, seven guys that have the ability that can get there, and I hope I consider myself one of them.

Q.テつ Was it difficult on you guys when Andy retired?テつ I know you talk to him frequently and he was clearly the leader.テつ Now you go into this year and it's not defined who is leading American tennis and don't have a former slam champ up there with the rest of the group.
RYAN HARRISON:テつ Like you said, he obviously carried that weight on our shoulders.テつ And when it came to the pounding of, you know, the ‑‑ before it was, you know‑‑ what was it, three years ago it was you guys haven't had a Grand Slam champion, and then it was you haven't had a top 10, and now it's top 20.テつ It's going the wrong direction.テつ We are going to turn it around soon.
That's the plan soon.テつ But Andy always got hammered with all those questions, and he did a great job of staying focused and staying the course despite all that weight that he carried.
I think that John has been a guy that's been No. 1 in America for some time now.テつ I think Mardy being back, he definitely brings that experience.テつ I'm fortunate enough where these guys are lending me their help and their knowledge and I'm spending time with them.
You know, Andy has been really helpful with me back in Austin.テつ He's done a great favor to me coming out to the courts and helping me with things, especially after not playing well in Delray.テつ I spent a few days on the court with him.
I can honestly say it contributed a lot to my confidence turnaround.テつ You know, so he's staying involved even though he's not out in these tournaments.
But I guess to summarize everything, it's just something that we all have to keep working at, and individually we have to put the work in for ourselves.

Q.テつ We in the press corp know as well as anyone Andy Roddick can be pretty outspoken and direct and kind of blunt.テつ When he's been talking to you, does he give you some tough love?
RYAN HARRISON:テつ I mean ‑‑yes.テつ To answer the question, yes.テつ (Smiling.)テつ Yes.

Q.テつ What sort of things does he say?
RYAN HARRISON:テつ You know, a lot of things that he's learned over his career.テつ It's all‑‑ I mean, none of it is like bad.テつ You know, it's all constructive criticism and constructive knowledge.
But, you know, I don't think it would be appropriate to print some of the stuff, so we're just going to leave it at it's been constructive criticism.

Q.テつ Especially earlier in your career you got criticized for temper tantrums and throwing your racquet.テつ After the Olympics it's been completely gone for you.テつ Has that been a focus for you?テつ Is that easy for you to keep that out, and do you think keeping it out has been helpful for your game?テつ Maybe not.
RYAN HARRISON:テつ Definitely.テつ You know, this match would be a good example of a match where I lost but it was still enjoyable.テつ Still loving the moment, loving the fact that I'm out there playing in a huge stadium against one of the best players ever.
So just being in those situations and learning to not get so caught up in all the Xs and Os that you can't really control.テつ Typically what it comes down to is you put the work in on the practice court which you show up with on that day is what you got.テつ Do your best with it, compete as hard as can you, and try to enjoy it because this is your job.テつ Not many people get to play a sport as their job, so there isn't much to complain about.

Q.テつ Was the Olympics the turning point on that for you?
RYAN HARRISON:テつ I would say so.テつ I would say that was definitely ‑‑it was something I had been working at.テつ It's something I have been aware of for a long time.テつ But whenever you have a situation that came up as it did where things kind of got out of hand, that was something where I just ‑‑I mean, I didn't want to be that guy.
So it's something that you have to learn to enjoy, and I can honestly say it's a lot more fun, too, whenever you're not in that raging, red‑lining state.

Q.テつ Do you remember the first big court you played on?テつ What was the very first?
RYAN HARRISON:テつ It was probably here against Dent, I would say.テつ I think maybe three, four years ago, something like that.
And then that year was the year that I went to the Open and beat Ljubicic and played Stakhovsky in Grandstand.テつ And that was the full year, first time I actually had big match exposure.

Q.テつ What's the coolest court to walk out on and emerge in the arena and see the crowd and all that?
RYAN HARRISON:テつ I never played on Ashe.テつ I can't speak for Ashe.テつ But I honestly love it here.テつ Outside the Grand Slams, I can say this is my favorite court to play on.テつ It's awesome.テつ The fans here are great.テつ I have always played well here.テつ I love the atmosphere.
And, you know, the only other one I can think of that was kind of that exciting was probably Centre Court Wimbledon when I played Djokovic.テつ That was a pretty awesome atmosphere.

Q.テつ Are you planning on playing doubles with your brother in Miami?
RYAN HARRISON:テつ That's the plan.テつ Hopefully we can get in the draw.テつ We didn't get in this year.

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