PACIFIC LIFE OPEN
March 22, 2008
INDIAN WELLS, CALIFORNIA
THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.
Q. Congratulation, Mardy. Could you have played much
MARDY FISH: Yeah, just, I don't know. I got a text message
from somebody close to me that just said, 3 and 1 would have
been better, but 3 and 2 works. Obviously he was joking.
You know, this wasn't obviously Roger's best day, but
hopefully I had a little something to do with that. You
know, I put the pressure extremely, from the word go, you
know, on him, and you know, I wanted to start out --
sometimes in big situations or against guys who return real
well - and I consider him the best returner in the world -
that I'll tend to receive -- I want to toss, tend to
receive, and just to kind of get my feet under me.
I said, What the hell. Let's go for it and let's start it
off and try and jump start him as best I can. Obviously it
was a dream start to go up 3-Love and have a couple break
points there at 3-0. He had a break point against my second
serve game when I was 2-0. That was a huge game to get
Q. How does this compare to hitting ball out at Shea?
MARDY FISH: That was pretty cool. I'm a huge sports fan,
period. Shea Stadium is a pretty cool place, but it doesn't
compare too much. I would trade that home run for another
win against anyone, really.
Q. When you're rolling like that, Mardy, and you know
what that guy is capable of, is there part of you that's
saying, I've got to brace myself, because this isn't going
to be it yet?
MARDY FISH: Yeah, I won the first set, and obviously I
wasn't thinking this, because if I was thinking this I
probably wouldn't have won, but I was thinking, okay, I won
the first set, but now he's going to kill me, right?
Now he's going to be me at 0 and 0. I put the pressure on
him, and it's the only way I can really describe it. I mean,
it was pretty -- it was pretty quick and it felt, you know,
felt like it went by even faster, and it's a great win.
Q. Can you think of another upset in tennis history that
maybe compares to this one?
MARDY FISH: I don't think I'm that bad. (laughter.)
I have been top 20 before a couple times, but let me think.
I don't know. I'm blank. Let me come back to you on that
Q. Roger made that point in here before. He said, look, I
don't care what the guy's ranking is. He's been in the top
20. We know he can play. In terms of your game, a match like
today, does this make you think maybe you're at an even
better level than you've ever been before?
MARDY FISH: Possibly. I've always thought I've had the
capability of getting in the top 10, and that's always --
you know, that's always been the goal, is to try to get into
the top 10 and, you know, be one of those players that, you
know, the hunted.
I've always been the hunter almost my whole career, and you
know, I'm capable of -- I felt like I was always capable of
beating everybody, but it was always here and there. It was
Putting together these wins this week, you know, gives me a
heck of a lot of confidence to know that I can beat three
guys in the top 10 so far, and, you know, hopefully one more
Q. When Roger has his occasional defeat, most of the
players who have beaten him say it's just a matter of
believing. Most people go out and don't believe.
MARDY FISH: Uh-huh.
Q. Did you believe today?
MARDY FISH: Well, I think it helped to get off to a great
start, you know, to be brutally honest. If he goes out there
and he beats me 6-2 in the first set, I'm not thinking
things are going to go too great in the second.
So, you know, it's nice to get up. It was nice to win that
first set and, you know, then you say to yourself - take a
quote out of James' book - Todd Martin told him, If you can
win one set you can win two. I actually thought to myself,
okay, I won one set, you can win another one.
Q. Is there something clicking in your game these last
couple weeks that maybe hasn't been there for the last...
MARDY FISH: Yeah, I mean, you know, apart from just playing
really well, you know, for me, you know, a nice solid game
plan, nice pretty easy game plan, you know, staying
aggressive and trying to take that first ball after the
These courts are really slow, so it's not really a
serve-and-volley-type tennis like I try to do normally on a
faster surface. It's more of a serve-and-go and a serve and,
and you know, take one or two cracks and then try to go, or
try to take the initiative.
These guys I've played in the past few rounds are not
comfortable really -- I mean, they all defend really well,
but the way their bank accounts have grown is because
they're aggressive and they're the aggressor. You know, when
I'm the aggressor, I'm not sure they like that as much as
they like being the aggressor.
Q. Obviously Roger's run these past four years has just
been incredible, really nothing like it. But now there have
been some losses, and shock of shocks. Is there a different
sense you think with players who are come on court against
MARDY FISH: No. I mean, to answer your question, brutally
honest, no. I mean, no one thought -- no one in the locker
room -- I mean, yeah, we've heard -- you know, we just kind
of laugh at it. We just kind of think it's kind of a joke.
You know, oh, my gosh, Roger hasn't won a tournament yet
this year. You know, he's only played two tournaments. You
know, semifinals while he had mono is pretty good.
You know, that match I actually talked to him in the locker
room about his match, about Australia, and he said he had a
bunch of chances and it could have gone either way. Novak
played really well. He just had a bit of bad luck in the
beginning of the year. He came up against a really tough
draw in the first round of Dubai, and, you know, played a
guy that's 11 in the world in the first round.
You know, if you're not on top of your game -- I mean,
everybody's real good, and if you're not on top of your
game, you know, somewhere down the road guys are going to
Q. 2003 it was thought maybe your time had come:
Cincinnati, 2004 Olympics maybe. Did you think it would take
this long, 2008, when you could put together a string this
long and sit up here, big press conference, big final
coming, you just beat the No. 1?
MARDY FISH: Yeah, I would have thought it would have come
sooner than that. I also would have thought I would have
been a lot healthier than I have been in the past few years.
You know, I missed five big tournaments last year. I've got
five zeros on my ranking from French Open to Monte-Carlo to,
you know, Montreal to Miami, all those tournaments that I
Those are opportunities that, you know, that go on, as well.
But, yeah, I obviously would have thought that how great,
you know, how nicely my career did start when I was 20, 21,
22 years old, that I would have liked to have kept it going
and stayed there, you know, around 20.
Tried to put myself in the position to, you know, to really
get into the top 10 like I talked about.
Q. How calm or how nervous were you serving for the
MARDY FISH: I was more nervous maybe than I ever have been
with two breaks, serving with two breaks. (laughter.)
Usually I'm relatively comfortable with two breaks in a set.
You know, and again, I just kind of kept telling myself
that, you know, there's somebody else on the other side of
the court. You just try to blank out who it was and just
trying to play the ball and kind of, you know, keep control
of what I could control on my side.
Q. Did you hug yourself a little bit too hard there? Just
got a slight feeling of, right, I'm not quite believing
what's going on here today?
MARDY FISH: I figured I did it one time, I might as well
keep doing it till I'm done.
Q. It's just a precaution, is it?
MARDY FISH: Oh, this? Sorry, yeah, this is -- I try to hit
my serve as hard as I can every single time so my arm starts
hurting every once in a while.
Q. The trophy they give out here to the winner because of
the corporate sponsor...
MARDY FISH: Yeah, it's cool looking, isn't it?
Q. Yeah. It's kind of a big fish. Do you think that might
be an omen?
MARDY FISH: Yeah, that would be nice. I've seen it before.
It's one of the coolest trophies we've got. I'd love to have
it on my mantel.
Q. Your matchup with Novak going into tomorrow's
MARDY FISH: We've played a few times. We had a 7-6 in the
fourth at the US Open in 2006, and a 7-6 in the third. We
played Hopman Cup, which is an exhibition-type tournament.
It was in the final, and I would assume that he wanted to
win as much as I did.
We've played two good matches. Obviously he's on a heck of a
roll. I might call Andy to try to see what he did in Dubai
this afternoon and try to get some tips on that. But, you
know, it's another one of these matches where I'll go out
and try to control what I can try to control and see what
happens, give it everything I got.
Q. Have there been times this week where you said to
yourself, I cannot believe this is my forehand?
MARDY FISH: Maybe. Maybe. Maybe, you know, maybe not saying,
Oh, wow, I can't believe I made that shot. But I guess
consistent is a tough word to put it, because I am trying to
just try to stay as aggressive as possible with it.
I'm not trying to hit winners, complete winners off it. I'm
trying to beat him with pace, try to beat Roger with pace
today up the line and crosscourt. It seems to be working.
Q. When you walk up to the net, having played a match
like that and won a match like that, does your mind race?
What am I going to say to him when I actually get there?
MARDY FISH: It's tough.
Q. Do you say, Sorry?
MARDY FISH: Yeah, sorry, man. (laughter.)
I've been on the losing end four times to him, and he's won
53 tournaments, so I don't feel too badly for him.
Q. You kept him under pressure early on and sustained it,
but was there anything in particular about his game today
which surprised you?
MARDY FISH: Well, you know, he's always been, you know,
extremely solid from the baseline. His forehand is just
maybe the most deadly shot in the game.
You know, he had some -- he hit some great shots out there.
He's got a different spin than people -- than other guys put
on the ball on his forehand, so it's always tough to hit it,
just to hit it back.
I tried to beat him with, you know, with pace on the
forehand side and tried to get over the backhand as much as
You know, obviously I don't think he played his best tennis.
But I'd like to think maybe I had a little bit to do with
Q. Can you possibly go into more detail on that spin, how
is it different than...
MARDY FISH: He just puts so much topspin on it and he can
flatten it out and he can spin it -- Nadal has a spinny
forehand like that, as well. He always spins it and it's
Roger can flatten it out. You have no clue where he's
hitting it. He can pull it up the line on you as quick as he
can hit it inside out.
Q. The celebration today after was so much more subdued
than yesterday. It's a bigger win. What was going through
your mind at that point?
MARDY FISH: I got some huge raspberries from sliding
yesterday, so I figured I wouldn't do that. I don't know.
It's just one of those -- just kind of I'm not sure what
just happened, but I might as well go up to the net because
I think the match is over, kind of celebration.
You know, it was pretty surreal, you know, for something,
for the score line kind of like that.
Q. Morgan Pressel is here. Tell us how your golf is.
MARDY FISH: Hi Morgan. Yeah, I can play okay. I know your
MORGAN PRESSEL: Yeah.
MARDY FISH: Aaron Krickstein. He came to my charity event.
Congratulations on your major. Last year here? See, I know
My golf game is good. I'm +1. I'm pretty excited about it.
I'm a lefty, though.
MORGAN PRESSEL: We'll play sometime.
MARDY FISH: Okay.
Q. You have a made a point of mentioning the crowd
support this year. What is it about the crowd this year? How
has it been different from other venues here in America?
MARDY FISH: You always get -- in the States you always get
-- you know, the fans are always behind the U.S. players.
You know, I think everybody likes an underdog, and certainly
that today and yesterday, as well.
You know, yesterday the support was so big and just got me
through, got me through the match when, you know, if I was
playing on the same surface and on the same stadium in
Argentina, I don't think I would have won that match. You
know, they helped me out today. It was huge, and I'm forever
thankful for that.
This is my favorite tournament of the year, one of my
favorite tournaments of the year, and I've always wanted to
play well here, and really go deep, and it feels great.
Q. Why is it one of your favorites, Mardy?
MARDY FISH: I just love the area, the weather is always
extremely nice, and they've got plenty of golf courses
around, even though I haven't had a chance to play this year
It's just very relaxing, people love tennis here, and it's a
great venue, and, you know, the hotel is real close, so it's
Q. You spoke very positively about this match here
yesterday. You said, I just beat a guy who beat him, meaning
Federer, the past two times. I feel I can beat anybody right
now. One would suggest that you almost expected to beat
MARDY FISH: I don't necessarily think that, but I did, after
yesterday's match, feel like I could beat anyone after that.
Not necessarily the score line yesterday, but just beating
someone like David that is so good in tight matches, and
like Lleyton who's so good in tight matches, that's a good
feeling. Gives you a heck of a lot of confidence.
Q. We're looking at 90 degrees again tomorrow. Do you
think that helps or hurts your game?
MARDY FISH: I think it helps me. I grew up in Florida. It's
90, would be nice in the summer. It's over 100 there always,
and the humidity is so low here it just feels like sun, so
it feels nice.
So I love the heat. I love the summer months, you know,
playing in Cincinnati and Indianapolis and Montreal, places
like that where it's real hot. Hopefully it will be hot
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