Q. You're known sort of for your tennis smarts. What would you say your greatest strength is? And to improve one or two things, what are the one or two things?
RYAN HARRISON: Probably my greatest strength is -- well, you mean game-wise or overall? Because I feel like I can compete as well as well as anybody. A lot of guys have a breaking point, I guess, is what you get used to calling it. I never have ever reached a point in a match where I just said -- like I was talking about with him -- where I said, Forget it, I don't care.
That's something that I've literally never had happen to me. I think that's a huge asset for me. I think that I guess I have a variety, you know. I can play with my forehand, play with my slice backhand, and I can come over my backhand a lot. I look to serve and volley as well whenever I can. I guess that's the positive thing about my game.
The negative thing about my gave is the fact that I have do have options, because sometimes I get to a point where I do get confused and I don't know what to do in any given moment, because -- you know, for example, I'm serving out this match, and I'm going, Okay, it's 5-3, 30-40, and I'm serving out the match now. Do I want to serve and volley on this, because I know I can do that, or do I want to serve and stay back, because I know I can do that?
An experienced tour player will have something that they know they want to do. You see Fed, he's gonna hot that serve and look for a forehand. He's gonna crush it, and the ball is just gonna just stay back.
You have guys like Sampras who knew they were going in no matter what. Everyone has the thing they're doing. I'm still trying to figure out what my thing is I need to do on big points is. It's an asset to have options, but something that can be get confusing.
Q. Looks like you're improving levels all the time. I don't know if you're the kind of guy who is willing to wait while you improve. Can you accept that?
RYAN HARRISON: I think the way you improve is by not being happy with where you're at. The moment you get satisfied and complacent is the moment you stop improving.
Q. Earlier today another American wild card, Christina McHale, beat the No. 1 seed in the women's draw. Were you aware of that, and did that give you a boost of confidence?
RYAN HARRISON: First of all, Christina is a good friend of mine. Congratulate her on what she did. That's incredible. Obviously to have a No. 1 player in the world victory for her is huge. I hope she has a great season and great career.
With that being said, I don't think there's many comparisons between men's and women's tennis.
Q. Talk about what your goals are for yourself and your game and rankings over of the next six months to a year.
RYAN HARRISON: You know, it's tough. Those questions are just difficult, because you don't want to put limits on yourself. If I say like win a Grand Slam, then it sounds arrogant. If I say, you know, top 50, then I feel like I'm selling myself short.
It's just a matter of taking things day to day and improving as much as you can. Like I said a second ago, if I serve well and play well, I'm going to be difficult for anybody. That's just the way I approach the matches.
Q. Mary Carillo mentioned that you had a talk with Billie Jean King this year, and that Billie Jean was really high on and you gave you some good advice. What was that like to talk to her and what did she tell you?
RYAN HARRISON: Whenever you talk to older people like that the conversation just stays between you and them.
Q. In that context, do you think the schedule of the tour is arduous? Do you have a view on that, the issue that's come up?
RYAN HARRISON: With the off season being so short?
RYAN HARRISON: Yeah, I mean, obviously it's been this way for a long time. It's a year round sport. I think some people that have been playing the tour a lot longer than me can have more of an opinion on that. It's kind of my second year. I don't want to say too much about it just because I don't feel like it's my place at this time.
This is the situation we're all in. You got to do the best you can to prepare for the conditions. I'm sure it would be great to have a longer off season to get in a little better shape, kind of prepare a little better. It's fair for everyone. It's the same for everyone.
Q. One of the things you said after you lost to Andy in Australia is you wanted to get physically stronger. Have you had a chance to work on that side of things?
RYAN HARRISON: I have. I definitely have. It's something I have been able to work on since the Australian. I'm eating a lot better than I ever have before. On the nutrition of side of things is something I didn't pay as much attention to in the last several years and, in the last six months it's been getting more important.
I actually hate broccoli, and I was sitting there with my coach at dinner two, three nights ago, the night before I played Cipolla, and he started laughing. He said, If you eat that broccoli you're going to win.
I was like, You promise? He was like, Yeah. So I ate it, I played a great match, and so then I ate broccoli again last night. Looks like I'm going to be eating it for a while until things don't go well.
It's unfortunate I have to eat it, but I'll take the W.
Q. Have you gone gluten free?
RYAN HARRISON: Not gluten free. I'm not as crazy as Novak yet. And that's a joke, by the way. He's obviously doing it for a good reason. He's made the commitment, and that's obviously paid off for him being able to play a high level of tennis for six hours, which is unheard of before.
I'm working my way toward that sort of thing. But, you know, I still like my good foods, and I'll eat something to treat myself every now and again.
Q. You haven't had that many occasions in your career where you had points to defend, and you do have that here this week. Does it make you feel any different for you at all?
RYAN HARRISON: Well, going into this tournament, you know, I was like, Okay, I've got 90 coming off here, and that's when I said and my dad goes, No, you have an opportunity to get more. I was like, Actually, you're exactly right. I have an opportunity to get more.
That's kind of I'm fortunate to have the good people around me dad, coach, physio, and all the people who support me that keep me in the right frame of mind. That's one of the biggest assets I have.
Q. I'm sure you were satisfied in some ways, but in some way you're not satisfied with yourself.
RYAN HARRISON: Definitely not. I just lost a three set match I definitely could have won. I had set points in the first set; I won the second set and plenty of breakpoints to go up in the third set.
So it's not like I'm ecstatic.
Q. How would you do today against the Ryan Harrison, the 18 year old, who played Roger last year? And secondly, when we're sitting here, God willing, next year, where do you want to be?
RYAN HARRISON: Well, I think that your ranking is a direct reflection of your results. My ranking is higher right now, so obviously I would have had a better chance at beating him.
But, you know, I played some good matches last year, too. It was just hopefully happening more frequently this year.
I want to be No. 1 in the world at this time next year, but realistically we'll see how it goes. I'm just going to take it one day at a time and see how it goes.
I'm not gonna say No. 20 in the world, No. 10 in the world, something like that, because God forbid I get there at some point this year, I'm not going to be satisfied with that.
Q. You're saying you could be the best tennis player in the world?
RYAN HARRISON: Absolutely. I'm not there this year, but why play tennis if you don't feel you can win whenever you walk on the court.
Q. Did you get that on your own or did the coach or your dad or somebody talk about that?
RYAN HARRISON: It was my dad and Grant, Grant Doyle, who has been traveling for me. My dad obviously has been a huge influence. At the end of last year, November when I finished up, you know, I started working with Grant and I started talking to my dad.
My dad and Grant have a good relationship and they were able to talk a lot. They were ultimately discussing what's the biggest thing Ryan needs to do. There were a couple of things they addressed, and one of the main things was they agreed that I lost a lot of matches last year based on my attitude.
So they were straight with me, very blunt with, and said, Ryan, do you like losing? I said, Not really. They said, If you're gonna do things the way you want to reach your potential, this is something you have to change. That's it. That's the bottom line. You're either gonna get it or you're not.
My dad told Grant, he said, Look, you have every, you know, freedom to say whatever you want and be as harsh as you want with him. Any time that he's out of lineyou can I'm not the type of kid that's gonna get offended if he comes down on me hard one day. There has certainly been some practices where he's had to.
That's the thing we're looking to keep doing moving forward. I fully expect him to keep doing things that we've been doing.
Q. Did you eat broccoli last night?
RYAN HARRISON: I certainly did. I'm actually adding a new one this week. That was my progression. I'm gonna go with broccoli and I started adding spinach.
Q. Like Popeye?
RYAN HARRISON: Exactly. I told myself every single week as long as I'm winning, I'm going to add a new vegetable in. Hopefully my diet is the way it should be.
Q. Is that creamed spinach or regular?
RYAN HARRISON: Regular spinach. We're not throwing anything on there that's fattening.
Q. Did you execute today's game plan as you envisioned? In hindsight is it too soon for you to tell yourself what you should have or could have done differently?
RYAN HARRISON: Well, I lost. Obviously that's not how I envisioned it.
Q. How did your nickname “Harry” come about?
It started with one of my closest friends in the juniors, Blake Davis, who plays at Florida State right now. He started calling me it and it stuck. Travis Rettenmaier followed him, then Mardy and John, and now it’s caught on.
Q. Are there any issues with your younger brother Christian following suit?
Whenever the guys see him, they call him “Little Harry” and when John Isner sees my mom, he calls her “Mrs. Harry”... It’s pretty funny.
Q. If you were challenged to a game of Rock Band with a choice of two other players on the ATP World Tour to join your group, who would sing, who would play guitar, who’d play drums and which song would you all perform?
Bob Bryan and Mike Bryan would play the instruments, because I’ve seen them perform. They would be my two guys. I would sing Journey’s, Don’t Stop Believin’ because as my Davis Cup rookie stunt as a 16 year old in Croatia, I had sing it in front of a crowd of people at the official dinner. I was awful, but it would be very entertaining to do it again.
Q. You haven't played him since 2008. How do you see his serve compared to how you played in the juniors?
RYAN HARRISON: I think he's serving his second serve much better. I think he's learned how to hit his slice serve better. He used only be able to hit the flat wide in the ad court and the T-serve in the deuce court well, and now he's learning how and has learned how to hit all four spots on his serve.
He has a lot of confidence with it right now. I think that confidence is the biggest thing and momentum is the biggest thing, and it's one of the most fragile things in all sports. So whenever he does have as many matches as he's won this year on his shoulders, when he feels like can go in the big spots and hit great shots -- I remember at 4-All in the second set, I had Love-40 on his second serve, and he played three of five points he had aces on me.
And then the other two points I had second serve returns, and one of 'em was actually on a breakpoint. Hit a great return, came in, it was near the baseline -- I want to say I hit it like six inches from the baseline -- he took a forehand half-volley full swing and ripped it right at my ankles.
That's just not things that you do if you're not feeling confident. If you're not feeling good, that's a ball you just kind of set up and it's an easy volley for me. So he hit a great shot, and then he broke me the next game. I had to really, really focus on staying composed going into the next set.
Q. So someday when you're sitting around the Thanksgiving table with your kids years and years from now, what will you say when you talk about the night you met Roger Federer?
RYAN HARRISON: Hopefully it was the first of a thousand. I mean, I'm not trying to be the guy who played one match against Federer that was a tight match, and, you know, I played well. He played well. There was a couple points here and there that made a difference.
But I'm not planning certainly on this being the highlight of my career.
Q. Kind of an odd way to start a match with neither one of you guys being able to hold serve. Talk about the difficulties you had on your service game.
RYAN HARRISON: I mean, he's a really good returner, and that made me start pressing my serve a little bit more than I would have liked to. I think that he's obviously the best in the world at what he does well, which is playing at the baseline and going side to side and kind of making you overplay.
Second set I had a lot better variety. The first set and a half, his returning was just -- he wasn't killing me, he was just blocking them deep in the court. From then on out we were playing neutral points. He's quick enough to where he can do that.
In the second set I started serving and volleying a lot more, so he wasn't sure at that point, you know, if he should play low or play it deep. Because when he was blocking it deep it was a high, easy volley for me.
So it was kind of like once your down a set and a break against the No. 1 player in the world, it's a little too late to figure that out.
RYAN HARRISON: I felt like his backhand cross‑court was a little more effective. Whenever we were in that rally, I felt like he probably won 80% of them. That's what I was talking about earlier. Whenever we got in that rally, I was the one having to force myself out of that rally, whether I was slicing it up the line, trying to get him to go cross‑court to my forehand, or take a shot at it, one you're not comfortable with.
If I feel like I'm losing the cross‑court rally on the backhand side, I might have to press my forehand a little more which makes me a little uncomfortable with my forehand. If I have to go bigger than I want to, you're not playing in your comfort zone. I feel like he did that better.
Q. Bad luck, Ryan. Have you played a more frustrating player to play than that?
RYAN HARRISON: He's‑‑ you know, it's not frustrating. The guy is obviously a really good player. He's been in the top 10 in the world. He's playing that caliber of tennis right now.
Everyone does things well. You can say it's frustrating if you're returning Karlovic, Raonic, or some of those guys' serves. Everyone does something that's frustrating because they're good at it. That's why they're the best.
Q. Can you talk about the game where you broke in the ninth game, 5‑4, there? What were you thinking right after that? The crowd is excited. That was a big break right there.
RYAN HARRISON: After I broke him or during the game I broke him?
Q. Well, during and after.
RYAN HARRISON: During the game, I had been playing pretty close to the baseline and trying to step up. That's usually the way I return, because that's‑‑ you know, that's where I'm comfortable, the most comfortable, I would say.
I hadn't even had a look or even close to a break point. So finally I was just like, Let's try something different. I backed off a little bit and I was able to kind of give him a different look and was able to disrupt his rhythm just for a second, and I got the break I needed.
And then obviously the crowd got into it, and I started‑‑ you know, I started getting a little more pep in my step.
At that point, kind of evened out a little bit more. He kind of edged me at the end.
Q. What was the plan to get back in the game with Jim?
RYAN HARRISON: We both felt in the second set ‑ he mentioned, I agreed with him ‑ that my balls were landing a little bit short. He started to play the match on his terms.
He just said, Look, even if you miss a couple balls, if you start playing the right way, more aggressively, you're going to put some more pressure on him and you're going to get some errors ultimately. We wanted to be a little more aggressive on second serve returns, too, kind of put some pressure on his first serve. We were able to do that to a T. That's why I broke him in the third set.
Obviously in the fourth set, I think he must have served 70%, I don't know the exact stat, I haven't seen it, but he made a lot of first serves, that made it very difficult for me to get looks.
"If you have a 7-year-old girl grunting louder than I can scream in my entire life, thatís not really necessary. If you make some sort of exhaling noise, thatís fine, but whenever you hear a loud scream, I donít know if itís necessary at all times. There are some women pros who canít stop because they have been doing it for so long, if you tell them to stop if will mess with their game. At that point theyíve gotten in rhythm and they are in their comfort zone. You canít tell someone like Maria Sharapova to stop grunting because she's been doing it since she started playing. For her itís not a distraction technique for her opponent, thatís just what she always done."
"There are younger kids at academies like Bollettieri's that are taught to do things like that to mess with their opponents. My dad is OK with some sort of exhaling or some sort of noise, but if he starts getting the feeling some distraction for an opponentÖ The guy I was playing today was trying to dance around during my second serve and Iíve never been one to do anything, from bathroom breaks to grunting to trying to dance during someoneís service motion to try to mess up another player. Anything Iíve ever done is to try to control my side of the court. Thatís how I was brought up. My dad never taught me to take bathroom breaks like you see other coaches trying to tell people to do that to try and disrupt rhythm. I always have had the approach that my game is better than yours and I donít need to disrupt yours because Iím going to do what I can do and thatís going to be good enough." - Ryan Harrison [San Jose Open] Link
Ryan Harrison talks skiing, country music and Charlie SheenÖ
Q: If you werenít a professional tennis player, what would you be doing?
RH: I would definitely be wanting to play in the NFL.
Q: What do you eat for breakfast on the day of a match?
RH: Usually some sort of protein and carbs to try and get my body in the best shape possible, such as eggs, wheat toast or ham. Obviously Iíll be drinking and hydrating a lot too.
Q: Describe your ideal holiday.
RH: Ooo gosh. Iíve actually been craving a ski trip. Iím so used to the heat and always being in the sun that going to a beach seems draining to me. I would love to go somewhere where I could build a campfire with my friends and just hang out. Iím going to try to convince them to go on that trip at the end of this year.
Q: Where would you like to go?
RH: Colorado maybe.
Q: Do you ski or snowboard?
RH: If I had to choose Iíd probably ski just because it might be a little less dangerous but I think my agent would probably give me a hard time and make me not ski.
Q: Have you been skiing before?
RH: I went once when I was really young but not in a while.
Q: What music are you listening to at the moment?
RH: Iíve been listening to a mixture of Maroon 5 and some classic country music such as George Strait and I like to listen to Eminem a little bit before I go on court.
Q: What is your favourite film?
RH: Probably Gladiator.
Q: Who is your favourite film/television character?
RH: Gosh, let me think. The first one that comes to mind is Charlie Sheen in Two and a Half Men. That just cracks me up.
Q: You sticking with that choice?
RH: I donít know if thatís something I should put on record. Yeah, whatever, Iíll stick with Charlie Sheen.
Q: If you could meet anyone past or present, who would it be?
RH: Iíve not got to meet Drew Brees yet. Heís the quarterback for the New Orleans Saints which is my football team.
Q: I guess the answer to the next question is pretty obvious then. Apart from tennis, what is your favourite sport?
RH: Yep. American football.
Q: Who were your idols growing up?
RH: I always looked up to Pete Sampras and Andre (Agassi). They were two guys I always had a ton of respect for and always watched. My dad was obviously a huge role model in my life as well.
Q: Do you have any hidden talents we donít know about? For example, can you sing?
RH: I canít sing at all, Iím the worldís worst singer. I would say one of my hidden talents is to be one of the funnest people to do karaoke with because Iím so bad at it.
Q: I was actually going to ask you what would be your chosen song to sing at karaoke?
RH: Iíve only done it once and I did Donít Stop Believing by Journey and it was a horrific performance.
Q: Would you do it again?
RH: I would do it again if my friends got me up there. Maybe that one or Call Me Maybe by Carly Rae Jepson, thatís a guilty pleasure.
Q: Would you sing in a girlís voice or bellow it out?
RH: I would just sing my version of it.
Q: Do you dance as well?
RH: I wish I could dance. Iím a pretty white dancer.
Q: If you could learn a new talent, what it would be?
RH: Iím working on my golf game.
Q: Have you got a handicap?
RH: Iím between a 15or a 17, somewhere around there. I havení t played enough where I can get myself into single figures.
Q: Do you get much time to play golf?
RH: Sometimes but I donít play enough where I can consistently play to improve. Iíve a good swing and can hit it a mile but just suffer with my short game.
Q: I know the feeling. Thanks for speaking with us Ryan.
RH: Okay cool.
Q. Chances there in the second with the set points. The second set was kind of up‑and‑down.
RYAN HARRISON: Yeah, I mean, I had some chances in the second. He started to miss a little bit. I started to come back. I didn't get 'em, ended up losing. That's kind of what happened.
Q. How do you feel about your game overall during the match?
RYAN HARRISON: I didn't play great. I competed well.
But the luxury of being able to serve is to be able to give yourself chances, even if you're not playing well. I'm a point away from the third set. Who knows what happens there. I could go and have a good rest of the tournament.
But that's tennis. It happens your way sometimes; sometimes it doesn't. You just have to keep working.
Q. What is it like for you jumping back onto the regular grind of the tour after the Olympics?
RYAN HARRISON: I mean, the Olympics, even though it's such a prestigious event, it's still an individual tournament for us. It's not like Davis Cup where you're playing as a team. You're all representing the U.S. but it's really not that different than coming from any grass court tournament because you're still preparing as if it's an individual event.
Q. He kept you pretty deep for a lot of the match. Was he doing anything different with his game?
RYAN HARRISON: Not really. One of the things I do well is run after and defend points from that deep. Everyone gets pushed deep at some points. One of the things that is my luxury is I'm quick enough where I can get to a lot of those balls.
Just because I choose to run after them may look like it's a little bit deeper. But the ultimate outcome of the match was just determined by my lack of confidence on the bigger points.
Q. He's going to hit a lot of dropshots, try to pull you forward.
RYAN HARRISON: What's the question?
Q. Is that an effective way to play on hard courts?
RYAN HARRISON: Well, he won. So obviously. I don't understand what the question is still.
Q. Wondering what it is to play someone that plays with a herky‑jerky style.
RYAN HARRISON: I mean, the cleaner you play, he likes it better. Obviously I was trying to, you know, move him around a little bit and keep things off balance. I actually started bringing him out of rhythm in the second set. Even as poorly as I played, I still gave myself a chance because I was, you know, competing and doing just about everything else as hard as I could, competing as well as I could for as poorly as I felt like I was hitting the ball.
But, you know, that's really all you can do. Once you get in between the lines, who knows how you're going to feel.
Q. Is it a matter of more time on the hard courts to get more into a regular tennis rhythm than the grass?
RYAN HARRISON: Honestly, I don't really know what the secret is because if I did, I would have played well today. So for me whether I play good or play poorly, I go back into the same work ethic and the same routine as I always know. That's waking up tomorrow, putting good hours in, putting good time in.
You know, we'll reflect on this match and obviously see unfortunately a lot of things I didn't do well. So we'll have a lot to work on.
I have two weeks. If I have a good US Open, then it's better that it happens in Cincinnati than the US Open. Not that this isn't a very big event, but obviously the Grand Slams are what you want to peak for. If I can do well at the Open, then this will be forgotten.
Q. What is your game plan before you go to New York? Are you going to play next week?
RYAN HARRISON: Right now, I don't know. I haven't really thought about it. Me and my coach haven't had a chance to talk about it. I just cooled down, showered, came here.
We'll talk about it, come up with the best recipe, what he thinks. Sometimes from an outsider's perspective it's easier to see things as opposed to whenever I'm playing. So I'll consult with him and we'll figure out what the best plan is going to be to get ready for New York, and I'll do what I think is necessary to play my best tennis there.
Q. You were talking about lack of confidence on the big points. When did that start?
RYAN HARRISON: Well, I didn't win many points on his serve in the first set.
Q. Over the last month or...
RYAN HARRISON: I mean, it starts whenever you lose matches. Matches in tennis, whenever you're playing at this level, are usually decided by a couple big points. So, you know, I had I guess a match with James in Atlanta. I lost 5 in the third. It was tight. I got broken after being up a break in the third. Ended up losing 5 in the third. Things started to kind of roll the wrong way.
I mean, it's really like anything. I mean, it's a long season. You have a 10‑ to 11‑month season. There are going to be times when you're not going to be playing well. All you can do is keep your head down and keep working and stayed focused.
I think it was obvious I competed well today, I gave it my best shot. That's what I'm going to continue to do. I trust that my abilities are going to get me where I want to go every time.
Q. What are the challenges of playing New York versus the other majors?
RYAN HARRISON: Well, I mean, obviously I didn't play as well as I could have last year. I think I served for two sets, though, against Cilic, who is a pretty good player. So it wasn't awful. It was just a couple things didn't swing my way. Then obviously I had a good US Open 2010. That's the first time I made a real impression.
I love playing there. It's great playing in front of those crowds. It's great playing on those courts because they suit my game well and I can usually serve pretty big and play pretty aggressively.
Everything is going to be to learn, you know, my game. I don't want to say 'learn', let's say 'practice' my game moving forward because I'm comfortable doing it. It's just a matter of being able to do it at the right times. If you're doing it down Love‑30, Love‑40, it's not really the most crucial moment. You have to learn how to do it when it's a breakpoint and a big moment. That's what it comes down to.
I'll try to get ready and peak for that.
Q. (Question regarding Ryan's brother.)
RYAN HARRISON: I think so. I mean, he can play. He's got some game. I don't know if you watched his match the other day, but he looks comfortable on the court. He doesn't look like he's out of his comfort zone, I guess. He just wasn't able to play that level yet.
It's going to take some time for him to get up here consistently. Even when he does, he's going to have matches like I did today, that you just don't play well.
You know, ultimately he's playing a lot better. He just made semis of a challenger, which is a big step for him, beating guys in the top 300, 250. He's had a few wins around there.
It's good for me to see. He's had a lot of struggles in his career with injuries, different obstacles that he's had to overcome. For him to be at the level he's at for the obstacles he's faced at his age is pretty outstanding.
We've always practiced well together. We've always pushed each other well. You know, aside from being my brother, he's just a great guy and a great guy to be around. I'm really looking forward to him being up here.
Q. When you see him play, what are the similarities between your games?
RYAN HARRISON: You know, to be honest with you, I guess it's just because I've known him for so long, that I know some things that he does well, that I do a little better. Obviously you can kind of compare and contrast some things.
But as far as just like stroke production goes, I think that looks similar. You know, you can actually look at a lot of different things on the serve and the backhand. But the forehands look pretty similar. I guess us both being right‑handed, both playing with Babolat, I guess it can look similar.
Q. The other American players, Roddick, Fish, Isner, who do you bounce things off of for advice?
RYAN HARRISON: Well, Andy and I live together‑‑ not live together. We live in Austin. Wished I lived in his house. That would be awesome (laughter).
But we train together a lot. And so, you know, I guess he gives me the most advice out of everyone. But I think that everyone's pretty helpful to me. I have a lot of respect for those guys. Hopefully I've kind of earned some of their respect at this point. So I definitely will take any advice I can get.
Q. Tomic is part of your generation. How far do you think you are from your top form?
RYAN HARRISON: I don't know. Pretty far, I guess. We've got a ways to go. I mean, I guess, what, there's been like two or three top‑10 wins out of all of us. Unfortunately I've contributed to zero.
You know, there's a bunch of levels. I mean, for me, I've got to break the top 30. I mean, there's just so many steps. Then once you start beating those guys in the top 10, you've got to do it consistently.
Those top four guys, they've got such a stranglehold on the tour right now, it's a ways to go. But it's not impossible. I know that I'm going to keep working. I've seen those guys working. I know they're going to keep working.
The way you get to where they're at, at that level, is by pushing each other and competing. I guess that's all you can do really, just keep working and try to improve and get there.
Q. Are you frustrated at all with how slow the road has been?
RYAN HARRISON: Slow?
Q. Last year you were talking about how you wanted to be in the top 20 the next year.
RYAN HARRISON: You realize that one good result, I can be back in the top 30, top 40, right?
RYAN HARRISON: It's just now the beginning of August, so you're speaking like that is just out of the realm of possibility for the rest of the year.
It's like we're halfway through the season, you know what I mean? I got to a career high of 43 a few weeks ago. Obviously I'm going to strive as hard as I possibly can. That's my goals, because I want to be the best.
Whether or not I achieve my goals, I mean, once I achieve my goals, my goals are really high.
Q. You were talking about the level of the top four guys. If some lay fan came up to you and said, Hey, Ryan, I've heard it's a great time in men's tennis, I'm going to watch some players in the US Open, who would you tell them to look at?
RYAN HARRISON: Wow, that's a good question. That could be one of the best questions I've ever been asked, I've got to be honest (laughter).
You know, you can look at the fitness level of these guys. I don't think we get the respect for being as good of athletes as all these guys are. We're really powerful, really fit. Also the flexibility. Everything comes into play when you're playing a sport like tennis.
Just look at the speed of the game. If you watch it on TV, it looks like it's going really slow. Then as soon as you're there and on the court, it looks a lot quicker. So it can kind of get mistaken how difficult it actually is, how fractional errors are, et cetera.
I think just being there and seeing the energy of it, realizing how much more it is than just swinging and hitting a tennis ball, that once you've witnessed it live, I think that's why so many people fall in love with it.
I can tell you a number of friends and family members that I have that didn't really play tennis. As soon as I started playing, they started watching it, now they love it, including my mom's parents. They didn't really watch or know anything about it. Now they know everything that happens.
My grandmother and grandfather will text me all day about tennis stuff. It's just like I think that once you start getting a part of it, that's why so many people like it.
USOpen.org: Christian, in having a brother whoís gone through the process of making it as a professional player, do you feel you have an advantage over other players in your generation or more pressure with Ryanís success thus far on the ATP World Tour?
Christian Harrison: Itís definitely an advantage. Being at these tournaments, and around these environments, itís partly why Iím so self-motivated. Whenever youíre playing in the US, have a crowd like today, and then come through with a win, it pumps me up just thinking about it. I just want to go out and get better to hopefully be back in this situation as often as I can. Even if you lose those matches, you want to try and get back in that position so you can look to come through the next time.
USOpen.org: Ryan, wherever you are in the world, you heavily follow your brotherís results, even if it means getting up at 5 a.m. or staying up till 3 a.m. Would you consider yourself to be his biggest cheerleader?
Ryan Harrison: I think he knows Iím his biggest fan. Thereís a sense of motivation, but also a protectiveness to see him do well. I also know heís going through a level that I just recently eclipsed within the last two years. Obviously I want to see him get there as soon as he can. Having him out here is so much fun and to share these experiences with him is really rare. Hopefully we can keep doing it.
USOpen.org: You both wear your pride for the New Orleans Saints proudly. How do you think they will fare this season, with head coach Sean Payton sitting out for the year with a suspension, but at the same time, having one of the most respected leaders in the league, Drew Brees at the helm?
Christian Harrison: I think theyíre going to be good. Their offense is going to be amazing as always, with Drew Brees. Defense has never been their strong spot, but I think if they can keep their offense rolling, theyíll be in good shape.
USOpen.org: What do you make of John Isnerís Carolina Panthers? He seems to have ignited a rivalry on Twitter with you Ryan?
Ryan Harrison: Isnerís Panthers doing well is more of a dream than a reality (laughter). His team in the unfortunate NFC South with the Falcons who are very good this year and the Saints, who are also very good. I think that his Panthers are a good, young, athletic team, but itís going to take a little while until they can compete with my Saints.
USOpen.org: Whatís one thing about yourself that you believe your brother does not know about you?
Ryan Harrison: Oh wow, let me think.
Christian Harrison: Probably that Iím faster than him (laughter).
Ryan Harrison: Iím now thinking about how untrue his statement is! I honestly donít know. I feel he knows me pretty well.
Q. Just too good tonight?
RYAN HARRISON: Yeah, he played really well.
Q. How is the court playing?
RYAN HARRISON: It's a little faster than I remember last year. Kind of shoots off the court a little bit.
Q. How does the match compare to the previous two?
HARRISON: Well, the first one was kind of tough to tell just because it wasn't a slam.
Q. You sound like once you got broken in your first service game you were playing catch up the whole time after that.
RYAN HARRISON: Yeah. I mean, I was never really at any point in time level. It was every set.
Q. He's such a great returner. Do you see ways it could work? How complicated a task is it?
RYAN HARRISON: It's tough because anything he puts his racquet on is usually coming back deep.
Q. Is this a tough loss or is it easy?
RYAN HARRISON: It's one where you're disappointed because obviously leading up he last day and a half, two days, I'm all excited because I'm wanting to make a statement, wanting to win this match, wanting to step up.
Q. Do you see this as a good gauge to where your game is or more he came out blazing today?
RYAN HARRISON: It's tricky because my goal for this year is to be a lot more assertive, a lot more aggressive. But like I talked about before, how are you going to take control of a guy whenever he's putting the ball a foot from the baseline and absolutely tagging it. I'm never going to be like Nadal where I play 10, 12 feet behind the baseline and hit it up and heavy like that. I mean, I'm just not going to be able to do that. My focus and my goal is to get to where I can play near the baseline, like he does.
Q. I thought you were creating more opportunities to keep the ball low on him. Just too hard to do off those kind of balls?
RYAN HARRISON: You know, yeah, I got a couple where he missed a few here and there.
Q. Have you been watching a lot of tape of Djokovic or other top guys you mentioned?
RYAN HARRISON: I mean, I'm doing everything I can in order to get there. It's not from a lack of effort. I watched like an hour and a half of film of me playing Djokovic this morning to find out things I was doing successful. I've seen him play a ton on TV. When I go back to the States I'll be watching the rest of this tournament, if I'm not in doubles still. Like I said before, I love tennis, I love watching tennis, and I love learning. I see the way it needs to be played. It's hard to execute. You know, whenever you're playing guys at the highest level and you're in high intensity and high pressure situations. There's no trick to it. You've got to go out and work at it. And I will, and I'm gonna get there. It's just going to take some time.
Q. Do you think it takes some draws that give you more of a head start into the tournament? You hit a bunch of walls early here.
RYAN HARRISON: I'm not concerned about the draws at all.It doesn't matter to me the draws or things that you can't control. Like I said before, my goal is to win these tournaments one day.
Q. Did you get a chance to see what happened to Brian today?
RYAN HARRISON: I saw that, yeah. I mean, I heard. Was it a torn meniscus and locked leg?
Q. Three to four months out.
RYAN HARRISON: It's sad. Brian is a great guy.
Q. Has it been strange to have no Roddick around here?
RYAN HARRISON: I mean, not really.I talk to him pretty much every day since I've been here. He's been actively talking to me and helping me. Any time I ask him how he's doing, he's always doing great. He doesn't seem like he's depressed, to say the least. He's loving life. It's certainly strange that he's not the top dog right now. But as he would tell you guys, he's still ranked ahead of me, so...
(I don't know whether this is the full version or not)
Q. What did Nadal do in the second set? The first set you know, seemed a little bit tougher.
RYAN HARRISON: He started passing a lot better. I was just kind of throwing him off rhythm a little bit with mixing the serve and volley. 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. Did you have any sense of how he would play tonight, knowing he had been off so long? 346 days not on hard courts.
RYAN HARRISON: 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. You talked about how disappointed you were in the Djokovic match in Australia. Today, forced Nadal to a tiebreak. Step in the right direction at least?
RYAN HARRISON: I feel a lot better after this match, even though I lost, than I have hitting the ball in a month or so. 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. 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. I guess easier said than done, play the match on your terms against him because he likes to dictate also, no?
RYAN HARRISON: Definitely. As you saw in the second set, even like I was throwing him off rhythm by serving and volleying a lot. I wish I would have made more first serves. 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. I wish the first‑serve percentage could have been higher.
That's one thing I wish I could have changed. As far as the strategy goes and everything, I felt like I played the way I wanted to play. Just at that point becomes an execution thing. As you have seen with Rafa, even whenever you play well sometimes he comes out on top because he's so good.
Q. You're a sports guy, and every athlete has to sort of face what comes their way. But if I have it right, your draws have just been over the top I think in the slams. Talk about that. Does it go through your head sometimes when it's another Djokovic, another Federer, another Nadal?
RYAN HARRISON: I'm aware of it, but what's the great news about the situation? I'm not 21 yet and I've played against a top player on center court of every single slam every single stadium. 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. 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. I'm definitely hitting the practice courts hard and going to keep working on it.
Q. Which one of the matches did you learn the most from, did you step away from it with the best lesson?
RYAN HARRISON: You can take a lot from all of them just because they're all different surfaces. They're different guys. 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. You can get a few more free points on your serve. 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. John Isner's loss today means we have a potential of maybe no American in the top 20 at the end of the tournament. Obviously there is a lot of soul searching that goes on in that situation when that happens. Rankings are the measure of the state of American tennis. What does that say to you?
RYAN HARRISON: 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. And as John proved here last year with the way he plays, he can beat anybody anywhere. 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. Maybe that was two years ago. When he's serving big, he's dangerous. I don't think John is going to be out of the top 20 long. 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. It's definitely just an execution thing. 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. Was it difficult on you guys when Andy retired? I know you talk to him frequently and he was clearly the leader. 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: Like you said, he obviously carried that weight on our shoulders. 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. It's going the wrong direction. We are going to turn it around soon.
That's the plan soon. 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. I think Mardy being back, he definitely brings that experience. 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. 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. I spent a few days on the court with him.
I can honestly say it contributed a lot to my confidence turnaround. 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. We in the press corp know as well as anyone Andy Roddick can be pretty outspoken and direct and kind of blunt. When he's been talking to you, does he give you some tough love?
RYAN HARRISON: I mean ‑‑yes. To answer the question, yes. (Smiling.) Yes.
Q. What sort of things does he say?
RYAN HARRISON: You know, a lot of things that he's learned over his career. It's all‑‑ I mean, none of it is like bad. 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. Especially earlier in your career you got criticized for temper tantrums and throwing your racquet. After the Olympics it's been completely gone for you. Has that been a focus for you? Is that easy for you to keep that out, and do you think keeping it out has been helpful for your game? Maybe not.
RYAN HARRISON: Definitely. You know, this match would be a good example of a match where I lost but it was still enjoyable. 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. 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. Do your best with it, compete as hard as can you, and try to enjoy it because this is your job. Not many people get to play a sport as their job, so there isn't much to complain about.
Q. Was the Olympics the turning point on that for you?
RYAN HARRISON: I would say so. I would say that was definitely ‑‑it was something I had been working at. It's something I have been aware of for a long time. 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. Do you remember the first big court you played on? What was the very first?
RYAN HARRISON: It was probably here against Dent, I would say. 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. And that was the full year, first time I actually had big match exposure.
Q. What's the coolest court to walk out on and emerge in the arena and see the crowd and all that?
RYAN HARRISON: I never played on Ashe. I can't speak for Ashe. But I honestly love it here. Outside the Grand Slams, I can say this is my favorite court to play on. It's awesome. The fans here are great. I have always played well here. 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. That was a pretty awesome atmosphere.
Q. Are you planning on playing doubles with your brother in Miami?
RYAN HARRISON: That's the plan. Hopefully we can get in the draw. We didn't get in this year.
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports
He's very talkative
and definitely cute :P
Last edited by wuliaude2012 : 03-12-2013 at 03:55 AM.
Q. Ryan, close match. You had some chances, hung in there. How do you feel about how you performed?
RYAN HARRISON: Just wish I would have served a little better. Felt like I was‑‑ felt like I was in the match. Obviously, I had some chances. Could have easily been at 5‑All right now. Should never get broken from 40‑15 serving, especially at 5‑All in the third.
Had uncharacteristically a lot of double faults. Just a little windy. Tough to judge from side to side whenever you're going after your second serve that much, how much to‑‑ if you just roll it in there, he's obviously such a good player he's going to make you eat it. So there's that pressure to hit a good second.
And then obviously I overhit a few, and kind of a costly one there at 4‑5. That's the most disappointing part, just not that I didn't make him play that point.
Q. But you came back to break him back. Did you go down after that game?
RYAN HARRISON: Well, obviously not. I got the 40‑15. So kind of a self‑answering question there.
Q. Ryan, obviously it's a really good effort today, just not‑‑ obviously you're looking for more than just a moral victory, I guess, at this point. Do you still take positives out of today overall?
RYAN HARRISON: Yeah, I mean, definitely. I think that anyone who watched the match can see the difference in my game, especially being aggressive with my forehand and looking to dictate points.
Obviously, my backhand I'm still working on developing. I'm getting a lot better with being steady with it and using my slice and mixing it in whenever I can.
I feel like I'm hitting my forehand well enough to where it's a shot that wherever I am in the court, if I get a hold of it, I can really take control of the point.
That's kind of the direction we want. I don't want to be winning points because guys are missing midcourt balls or giving me things left and right.
You want to have a game where you step up and you can initiate and take the aggressive side of it, and I think that's where I'm headed.
Q. Got announced today that you're getting a wild card into the US Open.
RYAN HARRISON: Awesome. Didn't know that.
Q. You didn't know that?
RYAN HARRISON: Thanks for the news.
Q. Now that you do, what are your sort of goals, plans, expectations for New York?
RYAN HARRISON: Well, I'm not sure what we'll do next week. I'm pretty sure I'll probably head up to New York a few days early and get used to everything, get used to the courts up there, and obviously just getting the New York City vibe.
It's got a certain aura around it where it takes a couple practices to sink in that you're at the home slam and playing in a big crowd, and obviously all the excitement of playing at the US Open.
So I'll get up there a couple days early. Haven't gotten to sit down yet with my coach and decide where we're going to go as far as like tomorrow or tonight or whatever I'm going to do until then.
I know I'll be in New York for at least a few days before it starts.
Q. You're also back in the top 100. I know that this is‑‑ so it seemed like you sort of‑‑ at least the direction is moving up. All the right direction now it feels like for you?
RYAN HARRISON: Yeah, you got to just worry about the game and let the ranking take care of itself. The biggest thing we're focusing on right now is it being a process, being a player in playing development stage, not necessarily a ranking building.
You let the ranking come with hard work and good results. A lot of positives to take today. Played 2:45, or I don't know exactly how long it was, but a long match, with Ferrer, who's one of the most physical guys out there.
I was still able to go and do my full cooldown and I'm feeling good. That's a good sign leading up to a slam, knowing that your body is ready.
I feel like my game is obviously right there on the brink of playing those top guys. That's kind of where you want it. Obviously, it would have been great to get a win today, but I know that going in, if I compete the way I can and play the way I'm capable of, I'm going to be able to challenge just about anybody.
That's the feeling you want.
Q. You had a serve show up at 152.
RYAN HARRISON: Yeah, I don't know if that's accurate or not. I've never hit one over 142 before. I'll take it. (Laughing.)
Q.Ryan, though your ranking doesn't really reflect it, in many ways I think you're probably‑ and you would agree‑ that you're a better player now than you were a couple years ago, but you're not quite over that hump yet where you can come out of a match like this on top. Is that a frustrating thing for you, or is it a positive?
RYAN HARRISON: It's not a positive that you're not coming out on top. I mean, it's one of those things where you look at a guy like Ferrer, and he's 30, 31 years old. I don't know exactly how old he is. He's been one of the hardest working guys on tour for 15 years.
All those wins that he gets, he earns. He's put in the work for years and years and years to get in tight moments and come through.
I'm doing things the right way and being professional. It's going to take me a little bit of time to consistently have a good base to where I get in those moments and raise my level.
I did a good job of raising the break there at 5‑3, and the next step is just taking care of that service game at 40‑15, making a first serve, not giving away the double fault.
I could sit here and dissect the whole match point for point with you all day, but when it comes down to it, it's just a matter of getting into the bigger moments and executing because you've done so much work that you trust it.
Q. A couple times you showed some emotion. You were obviously frustrated, but yet you were able to come back. Is there a point where you just are able to push it back down and concentrate?
RYAN HARRISON: Well, I'm very energetic. I mean, anyone that watches me play knows that I get fired up and I also get emotional.
At no point in time did I have like a sulky like kind of whiney, where I looked like I was kind of going into my shell. Like the outbursts were kind of like, All right, let's put that behind us and let's keep moving forward.
Obviously, that's why‑‑ and I wouldn't have been in the position I had been if I hadn't taken myself out of the match.
Q. Ryan, why aren't you playing next week?
RYAN HARRISON: We'll see what the‑‑ I haven't pulled out next week. I don't know. I'm going to have to meet with my coaches and talk about it.
The positives and negatives is what I can give you right now.
Q. You're entered in Winston‑Salem?
RYAN HARRISON: Yeah, I'm entered in Winston‑Salem. Knowing that I got the wild card, I just found that out right now, so I'll have to meet with Jay and discuss it.
But the positives of playing next week, obviously get a few more matches and keep playing well into the Open.
The positives of not playing next week, getting to New York, get into that vibe, have a good like solid training block behind you, because I have played four weeks in a row now. Those are the positives and negatives there.
Q. How is it going with Jay and the USTA?
RYAN HARRISON: It's been great. They've been completely behind me. They're all behind me. I have a great group of guys. Coach Gullickson, Brad Gilbert is now working with the USTA and helping out a lot.
Jay is kind of handling the whole program and keeping it under control and making sure we all stay organized. He's a guy who made top 10 in the world because he's known for just being a total hard ass, I guess, if I can say that.
But he's just a guy that works really hard, and you want that passion as a coach. You want someone that's going to come out there and just give you that energy, where they're going to sit there and have the blood, sweat, and tears with you on your wins and losses, and they're going to hold you accountable for your mistakes.
He's a guy who's a true professional. Not going to let me get away with anything, and that's exactly what you need as a young athlete.
Q. For a long time you weren't really in the fold of the USTA when a lot of young guys were. What was the thinking behind making that switch?
RYAN HARRISON: Jay is a guy who I've kept in touch with a lot. He's also part of the Davis Cup. He's the assistant Davis Cup captain. Even when I wasn't working with USTA I'd have plenty of meetings with Jay throughout the year.
Throughout the last three, four years, I've had different coaches and done different things. I've had at least six to ten meetings with Jay a year. Just, How are you doing? How are you feeling? What are you working on? I really trusted him a lot.
I trusted in the work he's done, and all of our conversations about tennis kind of just got into the area that I really felt like I needed to go, you know, his views on it.
So obviously his position in the USTA being‑‑ you know, having so much going on, I was never sure if he was going to be able to take on a role like a coach full‑time.
And so whenever I met with him, which our last meeting before he started coaching me was Wimbledon, and I said, Look‑‑ basically I just said, I'm not playing as well as I want to. I don't care what it is I have to do. I want you to set everything up. I want you to take care of it, and I trust you to put me in the right fitness program and the right scenario to be successful.
So we had kind of a man‑to‑man serious talk about me, my career, my age, what I'm looking to do and the sacrifices I'm going to need to make if I'm looking to make the strides I'm hoping to make.
And from then, you just‑‑ it's on me to do the work. You put the team around you that's going to make you a professional, and you hold yourself accountable for the work they're making you do.
Q. There's been a lot of talk about the American rankings, falling out of the top 20. We asked John Isner earlier today, and he said, Well, I've never been the next big thing. It doesn't really bother me or anything. You've had that label before. Is there pressure about being the great American hope, especially at this time?
RYAN HARRISON: We've got a lot of guys that are‑‑ that have skill. Myself, Sock, Kudla, a number of guys. I know Kozlov. I've seen him play down in Boca. He's going to be really good, and I'm 100% sure he's going to make some impressions on the tour.
I don't know exactly when that's going to happen, but he can play. I think it's something where if you're‑‑ it's better to be recognized like that because that's going to come with winning and with being successful and with having talent.
So if you're not getting that sort of pressure then you're not being successful. Anyone that's ever been successful in anything has had to deal with the pressure and the expectation.
My situation compared to what like Andy Murray deals with in England is just a bleep on the radar. It's nothing. Anyone that's ever had to deal with that‑‑ Roddick, whenever he had to follow up, Sampras and Agassi and all those guys, is dealing with the exact same thing.
It's just a matter of holding yourself accountable for the day‑to‑day work and not worrying about‑‑ basically, not getting consumed in your own aura and ego and whatever. Just doing the same thing every day and trusting the process.
Q. Ryan, you mentioned your emotional nature. Do you feel like sometimes there's been too much of a focus on your emotional side?
RYAN HARRISON: There's been times where I've gotten too negative, and there's also been times when I've gotten too quiet. I'm a guy that, if I kind of go into this like robotic side‑to‑side mode I will not play well.
I might look like I'm not being upset or whatever, but I don't play well whenever I go into this like kind of mopey, side‑to‑side mode.
So for me, it's finding that line of intense and energetic, but also not negative and unprofessional.
Q. Do you feel like the media has maybe focused on it a little bit too much?
RYAN HARRISON: Well, I've had some moments that I let too much negative emotion out on big stages, which has obviously been not a good thing. You don't want to do that.
And whenever you have people‑‑ like right now in American tennis you have ‑‑ obviously you're talking about the rankings drop and everything. It's negative talk, so they're going to look for negative reasons. Then if my attitude is poor, it's going to lead to negative stories.
So it's just part of it. You deal with it, and you understand that's just part of it. It's nobody'selse's fault but mine if I act unprofessionally.
But at the same time, the longer I am out here the more I understand it's okay to show some emotion, and nobody's going to get on you for showing emotion as long as you don't go overboard and go into like an unprofessional rant, I guess is what you'd call it.
Q. I'm paraphrasing here, but Fish and Isner kind of were saying on the American drop thing, like, Not our problem. We've done our thing. As one of the younger guys, does it bother you?
RYAN HARRISON: What they say?
Q. No, no, no, just where we are.
RYAN HARRISON: I'll tell you what. Me, I'm not going to say too much about it because it's on us to do the work and get it done.
But it's‑‑ if I'm 3 1/2, 4 hours into a workout and somebody tells me that, then I'm going to get the last little 30 minutes done. It's something that can fire you up.
Future Hall of Famers: Nadal (XIV) | Djokovic (VII) | Murray (II) | Safin (II) | Del Potro (I) | Wawrinka (I) | Roddick (I)
He is not in the qualifying draw at Winston-Salem, so I guess he decided to go to NYC rather than try to get in a few matches.
Americans, Canadians, Brits, Del Potro and whomever else I feel like rooting for (on any given day it might be Federer, Nadal or Djokovic since they are all awesome)
"Itís not just the athletic artistry that compels interest in tennis at the professional level. Itís also what this level requires -- what itís taken for the one-hundredth-ranked player in the world to get there, what it takes to stay, what it would take to rise even higher against other men whoíve paid the same price number one hundred has paid." -- David Foster Wallace
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 Josť 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.
Future Hall of Famers: Nadal (XIV) | Djokovic (VII) | Murray (II) | Safin (II) | Del Potro (I) | Wawrinka (I) | Roddick (I)