at his new ranking this week. He dropped 13 spots to #35
I hope he’s still seeded for the USO.
Men's Singles: Interview with M. FISH (USA) 15 Aug. 2004
ATHENS, 15 August - Comments from Mardy FISH (USA)
M. FISH/J. Bjorkman
76, 10 (ret.)
An interview with Mardy FISH (USA)
THE MODERATOR: Questions for Mardy.
Q. What do you think of the American basketball team, down by 17 points?
MARDY FISH: I don't know. I could give you a lot of stuff off the record, I guess (smiling).
Q. Go public.
MARDY FISH: No way. I can't. They would kill me. It's shocking. I mean, but Olympics, you know, it's kind of like Davis Cup. You throw out every record and every statistic and just play. It's totally different playing for your country.
Q. Do you feel like you're back in Delray that first set?
MARDY FISH: Kind of, yeah. I played Joachim Johansson I remember in the first round of the Australian Open last year and it was kind of like that, too. But there were a lot more. They were just lined with yellow and blue. But it was nice to see some Americans make the trip over, if they don't live here.
Q. Can you just talk about what it's been like these first few days in the village, just the village experience.
MARDY FISH: It's been great. You know, Andy and I are staying there. We moved all our stuff from the hotel over there. You know, I wouldn't--I don't know. I mean, it's tough. I can't imagine staying in a hotel in the Olympics. The Olympic village, I mean, that's like one of the things that I was really looking forward to, was like the Olympic village, you know, meeting everybody. Andy and I have met so many people already just from the United States alone, you know, from swimmers, Judo guys.
I mean, it's the most humbling place in the world, I swear, because it's like we play at these events all the time, tournaments all the time, you know, we have people coming up and asking for autographs and things like that. Everybody's the same here. It's really cool.
You know, it's the best of the best at every sport, and nobody is treated any differently than anybody else. Everybody's treated the same all the way from the speed walkers to, you know, the basketball players, which they should be if they're not (smiling).
Q. You're playing singles and doubles. You've got doubles tomorrow. You're carrying your elephant man pack.
MARDY FISH: Every match I do this so I can keep playing when I'm Andre Agassi's age (referring to the ice pack on his shoulder).
Q. You'll be fine to play every day?
MARDY FISH: Yeah, sure. My back was a little bit of an issue a week, week and a half ago, but I'm a hundred percent now. And I feel, you know, great. And I'm ready--definitely ready to get out there and play doubles with Andy tomorrow. It should be exciting to not have to do anything when he's serving.
Q. It's easy for us to look at the pair of you and think, "Andy's the senior partner because he's higher up in the single's rankings, been on the tour a bit longer." Does it feel like a partnership of equals when you're out on the court?
MARDY FISH: I mean, he's still Andy Roddick when it all comes down to it. He's, you know, the defending US Open champion coming up, playing great tennis if it weren't for Roger Federer. You know, it's going to be exciting. I mean, it's going to be fun just because we grew up, you know, dreaming about playing things like this, and we get to play with each other. It's really exciting in that aspect.
Yeah, and the other aspect, I mean, who better partner, what better partner than to play with him? I mean, we know each other's games inside and out. When we play singles against each other, we overcompensate too much. We think one thing when we should think the other thing. You know, it's hard to explain, but it's going to be exciting.
Q. So when you were living in the Roddick family home for that year, dreaming with Andy, did you ever talk about the Olympics?
MARDY FISH: You know what, it's tough. It's not really like--I mean, we watched it. I mean, I remember watching in 2000 with him, you know, watching I think they might have only had like one match on, it was the finals with Haas and Kafelnikov. I remember watching that match. I think it went something like five sets. But we definitely watched that.
I mean, had we talked about it and said, "Man, it would be cool if we could play each other," would have been maybe a little corny, but I guarantee we were thinking about it. We probably didn't say it out loud but we probably were thinking about it.
Q. How was your match today? How did you play?
MARDY FISH: Well, the conditions were tough. I felt like when I played the style that I need to play to do well here, which is go forward, come to the net, I felt like I played really well. It was the other times when--it was tough because I knew he was hurt, and it's always tough to play guys when you know they're hurt. It's just weird. They're still dangerous. You know, I only won like one point. He was hitting like 80 mile hour first serves and I only won one point in like the first four games. It was tough to just get into the match and like get my rhythm, you know, because he was obviously trying to shorten the points as much as he could. The wind was tough out there, for sure.
I mean, it's tough to really, really say how good I was playing just because of the conditions.
Q. What was his injury?
MARDY FISH: He said he pulled a muscle this morning in his lat. What are these (pointing to his side)?
MARDY FISH: It was like the side here, so he couldn't serve.
Q. Bob and Mike Bryan were kind of laughing at how you and Andy had taken to the athlete village living quarters.
MARDY FISH: Well, we have four bedrooms, and we have Dean Goldfine, our assistant coach, Andy and I, and our guest bedroom, we call it.
Q. But they're pretty spartan, right?
MARDY FISH: What do you mean? It definitely isn't an American style. You know, there's no TV. I mean, there's a phone. You can't get on your computer. The sheets are thin. The beds are small and hard. But I love it. I mean, I swear, I love it. It's exactly what I thought it was going to be, I think.
You know, there's a place where the US athletes can go and hang out, and everyone goes down there, you know, at night. You know, there's a place where you can eat. And everybody's there, too. I mean, it's so much fun. We're just meeting people, making new friendships, I mean, with these world-class athletes who are in way better shape than I am.
Q. What's your favorite person you met or encountered so far?
MARDY FISH: Rulon Gardner was a really nice guy. Loves tennis. I mean, Andy and I hang out with the women's softball team quite a bit, met some of the volleyball players, the swimmers, the men's water polo and women's water polo. I think we're going to check out the women's volleyball tomorrow night, some of the swimmers. The men gymnasts, we were hanging out with last night. I mean, it's really fun.
Q. You guys are so much more well-known in the big grand sphere of things. Do you get the sense it's a big treat for them to be around you guys?
MARDY FISH: You can definitely tell a little bit with Andy.
Q. Like how so?
MARDY FISH: I mean, just everybody, if they don't go up to him and like say, "Can I have a picture," or start talking with him, you know, they'll do little things. You know, you can tell that they know. The ones that don't say anything, you can tell that they know who he is. They just--you know, they're too shy or, you know, they don't want to bother him or something. But you can definitely tell that they know of him.
But, I mean, in the same grand scheme of things, I mean, like I said, it's just so humbling to just--I mean, these guys are the best. You know, they're the best at their sport. Why are we more popular just because we play a sport that's different than theirs? I mean, they're just as good at their sport. Why shouldn't they be making just as much money or whatever? More of a mainstream sport, I guess than speed walking.
This guy I met at the opening ceremonies, five and a half minute speed walking mile. I can't even run that.
Q. Is he an American?
MARDY FISH: I can't remember his name.
Q. Have you told Andy all about the opening ceremony?
MARDY FISH: Yeah. It was really exciting. There's a lot of waiting and a lot of anticipation. It was about 20 or 30 minutes of just like the coolest thing. That's the coolest thing I've ever done type stuff. Walking through the tunnel out into everybody cheering and then to the torch, you know, lighting the torch. You know, you just get the goosebumps for 30 minutes there, then you wait for another five or six hours (smiling).
I went back sore. We were standing for a long time. But, I mean, definitely, definitely you have to do it.
Q. You had a delayed match. How long before you have to play again?
MARDY FISH: We play tomorrow doubles, second match.
Q. What time?
MARDY FISH: Second match.
Q. So you can get out and see the Phelps 200 free.
MARDY FISH: We were planning on going to the women's volleyball. We watched it last night. It was so exciting. It was like the most exciting sport I've ever seen. It's so cool. They were going back and forth. Ended up losing.
Q. To China.
MARDY FISH: They're good.