M. FISH/J. Ward
6‑3, 5‑7, 6‑4, 6‑7, 6‑3
Q. How do you feel? So close.
JAMES WARD: Yeah, it was. It was a long match. Ups and downs. But, you know, I tried to give myself the best chance.
In the end, he was just a little bit better than me.
Q. You gave him the run around.
JAMES WARD: Yeah, I mean, he played well and so did I. It was a long match, as I say.
Yeah, I mean, sometimes it don't go your way. He's a top player for a reason, and he came up with some big points at the right times.
Q. Was it the aces that made the difference?
JAMES WARD: Yeah, I mean, every time I sort of had a chance he came up with a big first serve. You've got to expect that. He's a great player, so he's most likely to go for it.
Today it came off.
Q. With him having not played much in a while, did you think the longer it went, the greater your chances there would be?
JAMES WARD: Maybe there's a lot of talk, but you could see out there he wasn't really struggling too much. I don't think he's the sort of guy that's going to play for the sake of it. If he didn't feel like he was ready, I'm sure he wouldn't be playing. He's fine.
Obviously hadn't played for a few weeks. By the way he was playing today, I think he's ready.
Q. You were playing really well. In the eighth game of that fifth set, you seemed to lose your timing a little bit there.
JAMES WARD: Picked up a lot in that game. I know down the other end there is shadow and stuff, but there's no excuses at all. You know, he made me play balls; it gets to a tight moment the longer the set goes on. Maybe that's a bit of his experience. He just made a lot of balls.
Yeah, that was probably the only difference today.
Q. Were you feeling pressure at that stage?
JAMES WARD: No, not really. I wasn't feeling too much pressure. There were bigger moments in the match where I was feeling more pressure than that time. We was both holding pretty comfortable, except for the breakpoints in the first two games of the fifth set.
But, yeah, as I say, there was chances on both sides, and he took a couple more than I did.
Q. Been in an atmosphere like that before?
JAMES WARD: No, I mean, that was unbelievable. At the end especially, a standing ovation is I've watched Wimbledon since I was a little kid, and I don't think I've seen too many here, so it was special.
It was nice of Mardy, as well. He said the standing ovation was for me, so go out and enjoy it. It was nice. I appreciate it.
Q. When you compare your performance today against Mardy Fish in 2010, where has the improvement come from?
JAMES WARD: Well, back then it was the first match of his 21 or 22 match unbeaten streak where he played in the States unbelievable. It was a fast court. It was quick conditions, bouncing high, and he was serving well that day, as well.
It was one of my first main draws of an ATP that I played. If you don't start well, these guys get on top of you quickly. And if he's playing comfortable, he's going to be serving a lot better and returning better, so...
Yeah, he got on top of me quickly there and it was pretty much over before I could do anything. Today you know that you're going to have a chance, even if he does get on top in fact first set. But it's a long match and it's best of five sets, so you're going to have a chance. You've got some time to try to create something.
I was down and it wasn't looking good, a set and a break. Sometimes you got to try to mix it up and do something different. I did, and it came off for a while.
Yeah, it's pleasing because it shows big improvements.
Q. Was that your first five set match?
JAMES WARD: You've asked me I don't know how many times now, but, no, I've played Davis Cup how many times either. I've played five sets a lot.
Q. In Grand Slams?
JAMES WARD: Yeah, and in Australia as well. I played Wimbledon last year and the year before that, so...
Q. Because the ball came off your frame a couple times tight at the end. Was that a tired thing?
JAMES WARD: No. I mean, you saw he hit the frame as well. Just because it wasn't in the last game, it doesn't make too much difference. I wouldn't read too much into it.
Q. So your efforts have been recognized by Arsenal. You must be quite pleased.
JAMES WARD: Yeah, I got a bag today. They gave me a shirt and a really nice letter. I really appreciate that, and I look forward to going to a few games next season.
Q. (No microphone. )
JAMES WARD: No, my name actually.
Q. What was the number on the shirt?
JAMES WARD: It was 12. I don't know why, but I'm guessing 2012. Yeah, that was it.
Q. Looking to the future, what do you take from today, the manner of your performance, the grit, and shots you showed? If you had any doubts at all that you didn't belong at this level, have those been dispelled?
JAMES WARD: Yeah, I mean, I didn't really doubt too much before this match either. You got to have self belief otherwise you're never going to be a good player. I've been playing at this level for a while.
But, as you can see, the top players, they play well every week, and that's the difference. You got to be consistent throughout the year and not just do it for the odd tournament.
That's the next step: Get a bit stronger physically and try to be able to back up each match every week.
Q. Arsenal offered you a box for a game next season?
JAMES WARD: No. They said to me to come to the director's box. They invited me there for one of the games.
Q. Maybe they'll give you one after today.
JAMES WARD: I hope so. They all said they would be watching. If they are, yeah, it would be nice.
Just before I played, I asked to get it because I knew it was on its way. I thought I'd like to see what they got me, because I was just told there was a bag from Arsenal.
It was nice to get the new shirt with your name on it. They'd actually gone to a lot of effort to see who I've been playing. It wasn't just, Good luck in your next match, it was against Mardy Fish.
I appreciate it. Small details make a difference.
Q. You're off to Newport next?
JAMES WARD: Yes. I'm going to decide what to do over the next few days, but I think I'm still going to go to Newport. I'm just a few out of main there, and so I'll wait and see if I get in, which will be great.
If I'm not, I'm debating playing the quallies there. It's a long trip in the States. Probably stay there six, seven weeks up until the US Open.
Q. What's your emotion after coming so close to that?
JAMES WARD: I mean, me, I'm disappointed. Everyone else seems to be pretty happy. I don't know why.
But, no, it was a good match. I'm not going to lie and say it wasn't. It was a great match, great atmosphere, and it was a special day for both of us.
He hasn't played for a while, and I'm sure he'll be happy to get through that one. Me being at home, with that standing ovation at the end, it's unbelievable. A moment you remember for the rest of your life.
I'll be thinking a bit later on tonight and over the weekend. But, yeah, obviously I don't like losing. Still a little bit disappointed with it.
Q. There's a lot of people around here who were pleased with what you've done, not just you but Heather as well. Should we start writing about a mini revival?
JAMES WARD: (Laughing.) It's up to you. I'm not the one who's writing it. Obviously, everyone is doing well. You can see the results are getting a bit better. I can only speak for myself, you know.
I mean, it's pleasing to play a match like this, and to even win a round is a big improvement on last year. It shows that things are going in the right direction.
Other players as well. Look at what Heather is doing. She's doing great, as well.
So if everyone pulls in the same direction, I'm sure it will be better for all of us.
Q. (No microphone.)
JAMES WARD: Not to me. Personally, I've always had pretty good support from everyone and everyone around me. I can't comment for others. No, I'm not complaining about anything that's happened to me in the past.
FastScripts by ASAP Sports