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March 8, 2014
INDIAN WELLS, CALIFORNIA
F. FOGNINI/R. Harrison
5‑7, 6‑1, 6‑4
THE MODERATOR:¬† Questions, please.
Q.¬† Obviously you let out some frustration in the first set.¬† Seemed to really help and turned around.¬† You were more aggressive.¬† Then second set, what happened there with the line call and all that?
RYAN HARRISON:¬† Yeah, I mean, to touch base on what you said first, obviously you never want to get to the point where you feel like you're whining, I guess, where it's like lingering.
Sometimes you need a moment to just kind of like, Let's put this whole thing behind us.¬† I felt at that point I hadn't settled down.¬† I was kind of frazzled, I guess.¬† I was missing a lot of balls, had just gotten broken, made a couple second‑serve return errors.
In that moment, I was just like ‑‑that was just kind of like a reset button for me.¬† I wasn't doing it with the intention of going berserk.
Q.¬† It worked.
RYAN HARRISON:¬† And it worked.¬† It was one of those things do you want to make a habit, but occasionally you do need to sometimes just, if you get to a point where you're whining and it's lingering and it's point after point, sometimes it's better to just cut it with one thing and then move forward as an athlete.
Getting into the second set, obviously umpire made a call.¬† I believe that if you were to watch the replay it was the right call because I was in a position I could play on it.¬† Once I heard the call, I kind of let off my swing, which is why the ball didn't go in.¬† But I was in position to make the shot.
You know, he exploded, which could have‑‑ you know, there is a number of things that happened there.¬† As difficult as it is to sit there when it's happening and just tell yourself to stick with it and keep going, it's tough, because, you know, that can be used as a reset button for him to just kind of like get everything out of his system, obviously get broken couple times in a row.
And, yeah, I didn't handle it as well as he did.¬† He came out and broke me the next two points.¬† Then I had Love‑40 next game and had a couple of forehands to hit.¬† Those are all just simple execution errors.¬† Those are simple practice court stuff, where, you know‑‑ I mean, all you can really do once you're competing in the middle of the match is make the right decision, and at that point it's a matter of doing it so many times in practice that it becomes just monotonous and you can do it whenever.¬† It's the same thing.
And, yeah, that's pretty much what it is.¬† I just have to keep practicing it.
Q.¬† Looked like you guys had words at the net.
RYAN HARRISON:¬† Well, I told him‑‑ I said, I had a play on the ball and he said that he didn't think I did.¬† I was just like, Look, man, I did.¬† Because I know him.¬† We practiced together a few times.¬† So, I mean, obviously I still ended up losing.¬† And also I kind of wanted it to stop.¬† I wanted to keep playing.
So once he got going, I figured I'd go up there and just tell him, Look, I did have a play on that ball, but obviously when you're competing it's tough to listen to whoever.
So, you know, it doesn't matter.¬† I mean, it is what it is.¬† You know, I didn't handle it as well as he did.
Q.¬† Was it just an execution issue then in the third set as well?¬† It was a bit more even.
RYAN HARRISON:¬† Yeah, there was a lot of close shots, you know.¬† I mean, I got broken twice, both off of forehands that would have been a winner that missed probably by, you know, within an inch or two.
Those are things that, you know, you just hit the right shot, you hope they go in whenever you hit them.
Also, early third set I have a game point.¬† Had a great approach shot, and he hits a running passing shot that he clips the tape and comes back in.¬† I challenge and it was on the outside ‑‑I mean, there is just like ‑‑ there are some fractional moments in those matches where they can go either way.
The important thing is throughout the course of a year that you keep putting yourself in those positions.¬† That's what I have to keep doing, putting myself in a position where I'm playing the top 20, top 15 guys.¬† You give yourself those chances, you know, you're going to win the majority of them if you're playing well, working hard.¬† But it's impossible to win every one.
You see, you know, Nadal is down a set right now to Stepanek.¬† I believe he served for the second set, but even for the top guys in the world, it's impossible to get out there and be in control of everything.
So there are some things that happen and you have to keep rolling with it.¬† Obviously I got a break point there to get back on serve after going down a break twice and missed the shot.¬† It is what it is.¬† You just stay in it.
I did a good job of making him serve for it.¬† I was down 3‑5, 15‑30.¬† I hit a couple good serves and made him serve for the match.¬† Also got a chance to hit the ball there at 30‑All in the second to the last point and just missed it.
Q.¬† So are you coming out of this feeling positive?¬† You sound positive, but I don't know.
RYAN HARRISON:¬† Yeah, I mean, if I'm being honest, for six to eight months I didn't play anywhere near the level I just played.¬† Does it suck I lost?¬† Yeah, absolutely.¬† I mean, I spent the last 45 minutes yelling at my coach and trainer because I was pretty frustrated.
Not at them, but venting, you know.¬† You get it out of your system and then you keep moving forward and it is what it is.
You just take the positives and you keep going.
Q.¬† You said we're talking honest, so to speak, but, I mean, you know the numbers.¬† You know how many titles Americans won last week, what happened in Melbourne and SanDiego, what's happening here.
RYAN HARRISON:¬† Of course.
Q.¬† Do you think American men's tennis s is in crisis?
RYAN HARRISON:¬† I mean, it's certainly a spot we haven't been in before.¬† But at the same time, I mean, there is a‑‑ you know, when it's bad it's bad and when it's good it's great.¬† It's that whole thing where, you know, you're never as far off as it feels like.
My dad used to tell me whenever I was really young that whenever you're in a slump, you're never like playing as bad as you think you're playing.¬† And whenever you're playing well you're never playing as well as you think you're playing.¬† It's somewhere in the middle.¬† It's the same with American men's tennis.
I think there are plenty of guys capable of winning titles, myself included.¬† You have John and Sam and those guys who have won titles and have had a lot of success.¬† Isner is capable of making the finals here.¬† He's done it.¬† He starts tomorrow.
So, you know, I think that anyone who knows tennis and has seen tennis on a number of occasions knows that that was a high‑quality match.¬† And, you know, it's a process.¬† You keep building.¬† I'm 21, and as long as I can stay on this track that I'm going now, it's the right way.
Q.¬† I think in just observing tennis, I think you're one of the fiercest competitors I have ever seen right up there with all the greats, and kudos to you.
RYAN HARRISON:¬† I appreciate that.
Q.¬† I say that because it's hard to generalize, but there have been a lot of comments.¬† People are saying, Hey, wow, we got to the third round in the Australian Open; or, Gee, I don't like to mope for a long time anymore after a loss.¬† It takes the fun out of it.¬† And in a more general way, people are saying it's not a culture of competitiveness in America.¬† You're fierce.¬† But talk about that.¬† Are people just tearing their hair out because you're not breaking through to the semis and finals?
RYAN HARRISON:¬† Well, I mean, to talk about myself, I mean, I appreciate it, and I do agree with you.¬† I think that my competitiveness is one of my strengths.¬† It's something that I've always taken a lot of pride in, competing really hard.¬† I also strongly believe that when I do crack into that level that I'm looking to crack into, I think that having that, you know, competitiveness is what's going to allow me to not just be good but be great.
I believe that with all my heart.¬† I mean, it's kind of like I guess anybody who's ever been a great champion, you have to keep competing and show that differential even whenever you're trying to make it, you know.¬† You still‑‑ you're still trying to just set that tone.¬† I mean, I can guarantee you that Nadal was an incredible competitor even when he was 110 in the world, which is roughly where I am right now, you know.
So I think that it's something that is contagious.¬† I mean, I'm training at the USTA Center in Boca, and I make it a point every day to go out there and to try to lead and try to show that competitiveness.
I see the kids, you know, you know, Francis Tiafo, Stefan Kozlov, all the young guys who are doing well in the juniors right now.¬† I see those guys a lot and I talk to them a lot and I compete against them a lot.¬† When I see them playing practice sets against each other, even when I finish, I stay out there and I ride them.¬† Not really giving them a hard time, but if I see them checking out, I try to set that mentality that was set for me from a young age.
I think it can become contagious seeing that.¬† Even in the middle of matches, if I'm competing and I see someone, like a younger guy or the coaches who year round, you know, whenever you're trying to set that tone come and support or come and watch, it gives me a sense of like, you know, almost let's show the leadership here.¬† Let's be a competitor.¬† Let's not tap.¬† Let's continue to stay on the path, really.
Q.¬† But like Jos√© said that being No. 80 is just not ‑ in Europe ‑ would not just be acceptable, and we just have to get a culture of competitiveness.¬† Not so much about you, because I think you are an exception, but do you see that at all in even on mid range players and...
RYAN HARRISON:¬† I mean, honestly, I do.¬† I wish I could say no.¬† I'm not going to elaborate at all on who I'm talking about, but I think that there are some guys who could compete better.¬† Yeah, I do.
I hope that, you know how you see a wave of guys going up together, it usually happens where guys compete against each other, and I'm very hopeful that that happens with the young American guys that are coming up now.
Q.¬† You won a match when you were 15; came on tour.¬† There was kind of impatience or urgency about things.¬† I'm wondering if now, seeing like how many older guys are competing and seeing not really young guys are breaking through that easy, does that help you as you sort of transition and make your way as a professional tennis player?
RYAN HARRISON:¬† I mean, there is also a sense of urgency with me.¬† I'm getting a lot better at being able to put things in perspective like and continue to, I guess, not make irrational decisions about, Oh, my god, I can't believe I lost, all this stuff.¬† Like being smart about understanding you can put yourself in positions.
But at the same time, I have an extreme sense of urgency to make this happen.¬† I mean, it's impossible to say that I don't hear and see the people who are out there even supporting me tonight.¬† Guys that are just literally dieing for someone to wave the flag with pride.
I can't tell you how bad I want to be that.¬† I would love to be that guy who people can watch and know that for American tennis, for the average American tennis player to be able to look up and see someone that's not afraid, that's going to get there and just, you know, compete with everything and leave everything out there.
I mean, that's my dream.¬† I mean, I want to be that guy, you know, and I'm going to do everything I can to make that happen.
You can never be for sure it's going to happen or not, but I can promise you there is never going to be something I didn't try to make it happen.
Q.¬† There is no comfort that might be 26 or 27, not 21 or 22?
RYAN HARRISON:¬† No.¬† I mean, right now I truly believe that I'm capable of going deep in these tournaments right now, and I have to.¬† That's my mentality, you know.
I mean, it's just the way I go about things.¬† I have never been a guy who was, I guess, content with a moment that I was at.
I mean, it's what's gotten me this far.¬† It's the way I'm going to keep going about things.¬† My coaches, my trainer, my team around me, they will think with the process mentality, with the, you know, let's continue to build and work on this and work on this, and we will continue to connect all the pieces together.
That's a coach's job, to sit there and from a developmental side to put things together.
But I told Diego whenever we first started getting on court together, I said, Look, I don't care if you tell me I have to serve and volley every point or a slice backhand every point.¬† I don't care what you tell me.¬† I will listen and I will work.¬† There is never going to be a moment I'm okay with losing a game.
I don't care if it's a baseline game or whatever.¬† I will never be okay and content with losing in practice and matches and tournaments or whatever.¬† So just know that whatever our drill is, like, I'm going to try to win as hard as I possibly can.
And I think that that becomes a habit, honestly.¬† It becomes a lifestyle, not just a thing that you do.¬† I think you can almost live that where you take a lot of pride of not having a breaking point where mentally you ever get to the point of, Okay, it was okay I lost that, because it's not.¬† Ultimately you want to be successful every time you're out there.
Q.¬† Another argument is the athletes' argument, Hey, we have baseball and football, and here we don't get the good athletes.¬† Do you think that's true in a core argument, or do you think it's a little bit of a crutch?¬† And does it sort of piss you off personally?
RYAN HARRISON:¬† Well, I think I'm a great athlete.¬† I can play basketball, I can play football, I can play whatever.¬† I have confidence in my athletic ability.
Sharko saw it under pressure when I drained a free throw at the Memphis Grizzlies game the other night, which is on video by the way.¬† I went out after the first quarter and nailed a free throw.
Q.¬† Lucky shot?
RYAN HARRISON:¬† (Smiling).¬† It was pretty lucky.¬† I'll give you that.
Is it true to a degree?¬† Yes.¬† Like if you look at things from an outside perspective, obviously tennis is not one of the major three, four sports in the United States.¬† Clearly football, baseball, basketball are the top three.
It's pretty obvious, especially ‑‑ you just look at any statistic and it's obvious.¬† But at the same time, I'm never going use that as an excuse.¬† Personally I think I'm a good enough athlete.
Q.¬† I'm talking more generally about the generation.
RYAN HARRISON:¬† I don't know.¬† It's tough to say, because I feel like ‑‑I just ‑‑I think that tennis has become a very worldwide, broad sport where you're seeing guys who are coming out of Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, all these countries, Lithuania, countries like that where you have people who are coming out being really good tennis players.
There is a guy from Estonia, guys who are all like close to the top in the world from everywhere, you know, so it's just like a really big, big pot now.
So obviously, you know, it makes it to where it's just a very deep ranking system.¬† Those are all statistics, you know.¬† So if you're asking me to look at it from a statistics standpoint, yes, that's true.
But personally, I will never, ever in my career use that as an excuse for lack of success.¬† I'm never going to say, These guys are clearly the best athletes and I might not be the best athlete that the United States has.¬† Because if you ask me, I have confidence and I am a great athlete.
That's just ‑‑I think it can be a copout if you use that as an excuse.
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports