Re: Jesse Levine
J Levine - 25 June 2009
Thursday, 25 June 2009
Q. So you're having a pretty exciting Wimbledon, huh?
JESSE LEVINE: Yeah, definitely. First time through to a third round in any Grand Slam, so pretty excited. I think my win the other day against Marat really gave me a little confidence booster.
But Cuevas is a tough player and showed a little bit of fight there, and it was my first five‑set win, as well. So a couple firsts here in this Wimbledon, so pretty excited.
Q. You were drawing quite a crowd. I couldn't even get close. What's that feel like?
JESSE LEVINE: Oh, I mean, I didn't really notice it until the end. You know, at the beginning of the match it wasn't that full. I mean, I had my friends and family and I could hear them easily, but towards the end of the match it was getting louder and louder and it was kind of hard to hear them.
But I definitely noticed the crowd getting pretty large towards the end.
Q. Excuse me. You said it's your first Wimbledon or your first Grand Slam?
JESSE LEVINE: No, it's my second Wimbledon. It's my first time through to the third round of a Grand Slam.
Q. You won the first two sets; you dropped the second. What's going through your mind going so into that fifth set? You've never been in one before?
JESSE LEVINE: I've been in one before, I hadn't won one. It was actually last year here that I lost in the fifth set to Melzer, so obviously that went through my mind, that it's not going to be like last year.
Part of the reason why I've been working so hard is because last year in the fifth set, I had no fuel left in the tank. So I really felt good out there today, and I could have played a little bit longer. But I'm glad I didn't have to.
Q. Where are you working, training, and who are you working with?
JESSE LEVINE: I'm training mostly in Boca Raton at the USTA facility there with Jay Berger, Jose Higueras, David Nainkin, Acuna, a bunch of guys there that I train with.
And then I also spend part time over in Bradenton over at the IMG Academy. So I kind of go half and half.
Q. Now, you were aligned, at one point, with the Chris Evert Academy?
JESSE LEVINE: I was when I was really young. That's when I first started out at about 13. I was at the Chris Evert Academy.
Q. Do you have a relationship with her still?
JESSE LEVINE: I'm sure. I mean, John Evert texts me all the time still. Sometime he gives me a hard time about my golf game, but it's better than his, so I don't know why he gives me a hard time about it.
Q. Why do you think your best results have been on grass when your stature is not huge and probably you haven't played a lot on it growing up?
JESSE LEVINE: I definitely think that my leftiness helps a lot, you know, not being used to the slice and the spins.
You know what, I really couldn't tell you the answer to that, but I really feel that my game fits well on the grass. I like coming in to the net. I like mixing it up. I had good results in juniors on grass, so that ‑‑ I mean, I've played on grass before. It's not like I haven't played on it too much.
I had a good experience here in juniors, as well.
Q. Is there an advantage to actually being a little bit shorter maybe on grass?
JESSE LEVINE: (Laughing) I mean, I would definitely say there is, but then there's also disadvantages. But the advantages are that the ball stays low and I'm already lower to the ground than most people, I guess.
But then again, you look at John Isner and Ivo Karlovic, and you know what, I have a pretty big disadvantage towards them. Their ball is bouncing over my head on my serves.
So there's definitely pluses and minuses to both.
Q. For Davis Cup terms, what do you consider as your nationality?
JESSE LEVINE: I'm 100% American. 100%.
Q. There was some speculation that you might represent Israel.
JESSE LEVINE: I never heard about that one before. I've talked to the Davis Cup coach, but it's not possible. I mean, I'm 100% American.
Q. What do you know about Stan Wawrinka, your next opponent?
JESSE LEVINE: He's a very tough player. I've actually played once before at Indian Wells. I had a wild card that year. I lost to him in three sets. He's a very talented player, had a lot of good results lately.
Once again I'm the underdog, I've got nothing to lose, so I'll go out there swinging away.
Q. I heard Andy Roddick talking about that you and Mardy Fish and he went to the same school.
JESSE LEVINE: Yeah, same high school. There's something special over there. And you know what's funny is we all played different sports for the school as well, but I was there at a different time. They left right before I got there.
But no, it's a great place. Boca is a great place. We all played basketball and soccer and different sports for the high school, so I guess we all are pretty athletic guys. Shows on the grass a little bit.
Q. You're one of the few guys that has a little bit of college experience under their belt out here. Do you feel like it's taken you longer or shorter to sort of have this kind of a breakthrough at a major?
JESSE LEVINE: Well, I mean, college was definitely a positive experience for me. I learned a lot. Physically I matured, and as a person I matured, as well, being put in certain situations that a lot of people aren't put in.
But being a Gator, it means so much to me. I still talk to all my friends back at school. As a matter of fact, I had Brad Gilbert doing the Gator Chomp on ESPN the other day, so that was pretty cool.
But I definitely think it helped me. Maybe it has taken me a little bit to get a little bit of success in the big‑time leagues. But you know what, it's a process. I'm not expecting it to happen overnight or anything like that.
You know, I'm working hard, and hopefully more results will come.
Q. What are your goals for the year?
JESSE LEVINE: Definitely my main priority is to try and be main draw US Open without a wild card. That's definitely on the menu. I'm striving for that right now.
Q. You mentioned after your first win your grandmother was instrumental in your sporting career.
JESSE LEVINE: Very. Yeah, very. I was very close with her, and she passed a couple years ago. She was very close with me and my little brother and obviously my family. So after the match I kind of pointed up towards her, because I felt her spirit with me during the match.
Q. Where was she from?
JESSE LEVINE: Canada.
Q. Born in Canada?
JESSE LEVINE: Yes.
Q. Does your brother have Crohn's?
JESSE LEVINE: Ulcerative colitis.
JESSE LEVINE: Daniel.
Q. We were talking about the hard before, but they sort of changed the surface in the last two years. Maybe grass is getting closer to clay.
JESSE LEVINE: I wouldn't say closer to clay. I would say the ball is bouncing a little bit higher than it used to. When I was a kid watching Wimbledon you could see the court where the spots would wear out, and it would definitely be closer to the service line.
Now you look on TV and the grass is getting more worn out towards the baseline. So I feel that says a lot.
I wouldn't say it's getting like clay, but the ball is definitely bouncing higher than it used to.
Q. That's not a given that these huge guys already have such an advantage as they used to.
JESSE LEVINE: Well, you know, the game is getting a lot faster and people are getting stronger. Everybody has their strengths and their weaknesses, so it's a level playing field out there.
Q. There are some players who like to not hear that many voices because they feel it gets confusing. You clearly are somebody who likes to take advantage of a lot of thoughts and experts and whatever. Talk about that thinking.
JESSE LEVINE: What do you mean by that?
Q. Well, because you say you work with all the coaches at the USTA and then you go over to Nick's and everything. Some players want to hear one voice.
JESSE LEVINE: No, I'm with you on that. I actually don't like hearing a lot of things. When I go over to Nick's it's strictly for matches. I think the coaches really understand that I'm getting my feedback from the USTA coaches as of right now.
If I want them to say something, then I'll ask them, Hey, what do you think? But obviously Nick's input means a lot to me because I've grown up at the academy there since I was 16 before I went to college.
Nick has the open right to say whatever he wants to say. I have utmost respect for him as a coach and as a person. He's definitely helped me out a lot.
But as far as coaches, you know, you don't want too many cooks in your kitchen. You don't want that. You want somebody really paying attention to what's on your game, and I feel that the coaches that I'm working with in Boca right now are all on the same page.
They all talk about what I need to work on and what I'm doing well, what I can do better. It's nice to have them all on the same page.
Q. You mentioned your family in the crowd. Who's here with you?
JESSE LEVINE: Oh, I don't have any family here with me. I actually have Sergeant Major Keith Williams, a former U.S. Marine Sergeant Major.
Q. He's the guy that's trained with the younger USTA guys, right?
JESSE LEVINE: Yeah. He's been traveling with me for probably eight weeks, nine weeks now, and I'm loving every minute of it. He's a very special person, great guy, physical trainer, mental toughness. I mean, he's amazing.
Q. Have you hired him to do that?
JESSE LEVINE: He works a lot with the USTA, but I personally, and Scoville Jenkins, we kind of traveled as a team. Unfortunately Scoville lost in qualifying and went home, so I have him all to myself this week so far.
Q. So the last eight weeks you've been traveling with him?
JESSE LEVINE: Yep.
Q. How did you get to know him?
JESSE LEVINE: I met him the first time he came to the USTA Training Center to work with the younger kids and really took a liking to him. Jay Berger actually was the one that thought it would be a really good match and said, Hey, let's try it.
Q. So you never actually went and did the boot camp that he's doing now?
JESSE LEVINE: No, but I'm going out to San Diego to go to Camp Pendelton out there after this and going to train with some of the Marines out there. Going to go earn my dog tags.
Q. How is your salute?
JESSE LEVINE: My salute is getting there. He's based out in San Diego. He's the one that wants me to come out there.
Q. How long will you spend out there?
JESSE LEVINE: Probably four or five days. Looking forward to it.
Q. What's the strangest thing he's asked you to do so far?
JESSE LEVINE: Well, I definitely had a funny experience. We were running in the streets here in London, just one morning jogging, and he's singing Marine songs while we're running and everybody is staring at us. And I'm like, Oh, man, what is he doing? But it was fun, and people were smiling.
And then all of a sudden out of nowhere we're doing jumping jacks and push‑ups in the middle of the streets. But you know what, it's fun and I enjoy it.