M. Fish Interview - Day 3
Wednesday, 28 June, 2006
Q. So how does it feel to be back at a Slam and playing that well?
MARDY FISH: It feels good. Uhm, this was I think 2005 Australian Open, last time I was healthy at a Grand Slam. So it's it feels good.
You know, I've been playing well coming in, even though at Queen's I didn't play as well as I would have liked to against Nadal. You know, I still played some good matches the week before and the round before, had some good practices and, you know, never really lost confidence.
You know, came in, came in feeling really good. You know, I don't have anything to lose. Robby was obviously the favorite out there. He's beaten me every time and I've gotten over a few humps this year in Houston and here, beating some guys that I've never beaten before.
So it feels good.
Q. On grass, you go out there and you're a good grass court player. Even though Robby has beaten you before, are you saying, If I play to my level, I can win this match regardless of who's up against me?
MARDY FISH: You like to think that, but you never know. Robby hasn't had the year that he had hoped for. I'm sure he'd be the first to say that. You know, I mean, guys know that going in. You know, guys know that, you know, he's not as confident as he was a few months ago or last year, you know, last summer. You know, we can feel that and try to pick up on it. You just try to stay on top of him.
I mean, it was a good opportunity for both of us. You know, the draw looks good for the winner of that match, and, you know, I was ready to go. I was fired up, as I'm sure he was. I'm happy to get through, I guess.
Q. A different start for you around here.
MARDY FISH: Yeah. I, uhm, think I won my first round well, this was the fourth time I played it. I won my first round three of the four times.
Q. Three of the four. Who did you lose to? It was a big server.
MARDY FISH: I lost to Joachim Johansson two years ago. I didn't play last year.
Just one match, long ways to go.
Q. How much of a grind has it been for you to get back to the level where you are right now?
MARDY FISH: Yeah, it's I mean, the toughest part was, I think, the ranking, you know. It just drops to I don't know how far but I'm pretty sure it was at least 300, you know. That's only like, you know, a hundred points or 50 points or something like that, and you win two matches here and you get I think the same amount of points I had in, like, Indian Wells.
You know, so that was just knowing what I went through to get to where I was before, you know, up to the top 20, you know, how long that took and how much of a grind that was, you know, having to basically do it all over again, it was the toughest part. Mentally, it was the toughest part.
I stuck with it. You know, I stuck with it after my first surgery. Second surgery was a little bit tougher because I had five months, at least five months off after that surgery. It was tough to get going after that one because I worked so hard after the first one thinking, Okay, I'm gonna come back stronger, and a better player. I felt good coming back there and my wrist just wasn't ready.
So I had another one and struggled for a little bit mentally, just trying to get up, trying to work hard, to work hard again. Because I really busted it after the first one.
Took about a month to get me to where, you know I still had four months after that first month, to where I was gonna be a hundred percent or close to it. It took me about a month, like I said, to really get going and really, you know, get my mind back and mentally get your head back in gear.
You know, I did it again and, you know, I'm glad that it's paid off. I wanted to be a better player. My goal, when I got hurt, was to come back, you know, a better player, come back stronger and hopefully healthier and fitter and everything. And, you know, I worked hard on ground strokes, on the forehand because that was the only thing I could hit, and the serve and the volleys and stuff.
You know, I kind of feel like my backhand's always gonna be there. Those other things were a little bit lacking. But it's not often that, you know, you can work out for four months straight with what we do. If you don't get hurt, you got a couple months to where you're trying to rest, really, in the off season.
So I had a unique opportunity that I knew I had. And, you know, looking back now, I'm glad that I put in the hours. And when I really did get down to business, because it's paying off.
Q. Have you changed technique on some of your shots?
MARDY FISH: No. I'm lucky enough not to I still have a full range of motion and everything. That was one of the things that we didn't know about, was, you know, range of motion, being able to, you know, go as far as the right hand. I can do I have full range in everything. I think I was lucky because two surgeries not far off, not far apart, and basically in the same area in my wrist, in the small areas. Pretty lucky I think.
Q. Right wrist?
MARDY FISH: Left.
Q. Were they different surgeries?
MARDY FISH: Yeah. One was a ligament, and one was cartilage, the TFC, which is like they describe it as like your ACL of your knee. It's the worst thing to tear.
Q. And you tore it after the first surgery?
MARDY FISH: No. Well, I don't know. I mean, we don't know if it we think it had a little bit of a tear in there before the first surgery. And then when I came back in Indianapolis, I really did it bad to where it was completely open, and they definitely had to go in there and fix it.
But I tried we just didn't know what to do, you know. We just kept going week by week, and that was the most frustrating thing. It was nice to, after actually having the second surgery, have actually a timetable, where I was like, Okay, it's February. Even though it's five months, at least it's a timetable.
Q. A lot of problems with wrists. Marat had the same thing, Kim had the same thing.
MARDY FISH: Kim had the same thing. I don't know what Marat had. He's got a few different things, I think.
Q. Is there any reason for that happening more now?
MARDY FISH: I don't know. I use a lot of left wrist on my backhand. It's just not as strong. I don't use my left at all besides my backhand. You know, my right arm and wrist and everything is stronger than everything in my left. So, I mean, that is just what is weaker. I've used, and I'm sure Kim does the same thing, used a lot of left hand with her backhands. It's just a different style to hit it with.
Q. You've got one of the smartest coaches in the game with Todd. Would you like to see the ATP revisit on court coaching so he could visit with you in between sets?
MARDY FISH: You know what, I think it would be cool to have maybe a tournament or a few tournaments like that. But I also think that that's what makes like Hewitt and Federer and Andy so well so good, is that they figure out what to do on their own. I think that's a big part of the game. I don't really think I don't really want to lose that.
It's kind of like it's just my opinion but it's kind of like the line calls. I think the human aspect of the game has always been there and always should be because that's part of the game. Everybody gets bad calls and you got to bear down and focus and not let it bother you. You know, again, I think that's part of the game that you have to deal with.
Q. So you're not a big fan of instant replay?
MARDY FISH: No, not I mean, I'm a fan of getting it right, but then again I'm 50/50. I could care less either way. But I see it both ways.
Q. Big moment for you, you've come a long way to get back here. Was there any moment, you know how tough it's been for Robby, where you were sitting there, you beat him in straight sets, did it cross your mind during the match or any point on the court, "Poor guy"?
MARDY FISH: Uhm...
Q. Or just Darwin all the way.
MARDY FISH: It's tough. I mean, he's top 20 in the world. He's been for quite some time. He's had a great year. Semis of the US Open, which is a great achievement in its own. Everybody's been there. Everyone's had confidence problems. He'll be back. I'm sure he'll be back in the hard court season. That's where he plays the best, the summer stuff in the States.
You know, he's a tough, tough player. I've lost to him probably four or five times, so to be honest with you, I don't think that ever crossed my mind. He's beaten me quite a few times to where I can be happy with beating him once and not feel bad.
Q. James, who's your good buddy, did much of what you did in his time off, worked on his strokes. Obviously his backhand improved like 300%, his serve is better. The results showed. Do you legitimately feel like you've improved all those areas that were weaker?
MARDY FISH: Definitely. I feel like I'm playing the best tennis I ever have before right now. It's a little tough to judge that playing on grass. You know, this is my favorite surface. This is the surface I play best on. It favors my game more than any other surface.
But, yeah, I mean, you know, it's we had very similar I mean, apart from his personal tragedies, you know, we had very similar years in '05 and '04. We kind of leaned on each other. You know, I was always there for him, and I'm sure it was really tough for him in '04. He wanted to be, you know, a part of the Olympics, I'm sure. We would have loved to have had him over there. You know, it was tough for him not to play. He loves playing the US Open. That's his favorite tournament. He missed that that year. I missed this last year, and this is one of my favorite tournaments.
You know, we kind of leaned on each other to, you know I, you know I was lucky enough to have him go through it before me, you know, so I could ask him questions on what he did when he knew he had four months or three months left.
So it was a little, I guess, easier for me because I had him to ask.
Q. Can you just talk about the match a little bit. Third set, you fell behind. Coming back.
MARDY FISH: Yeah, I played a pretty loose game that game. I missed I had four errors, three in a row, actually. And, you know, but he's dangerous like that. You always have to stay on top of him, you know, because he's not going to give up. He's a fighter. That's the reason why he's done so well and had so many good results, because he never gives up.
I knew that I was I was feeling, you know, very good and really confident. Felt like if I could just hold serve, you know, to get to 3 1, see what happens, put a little bit of pressure on him, I still knew that I was two sets to love up, which is a pretty big margin. Yeah, I mean, I just kind of stayed on top of him and was lucky enough to get the first break back, you know, to where we're on serve and got a little lucky to get the second one, I guess.