M. FISH/J. Ward
6‑3, 5‑7, 6‑4, 6‑7, 6‑3
Q. 4 hours, 30 minutes, how did you of after that?
MARDY FISH: I feel pretty tired. My legs are pretty tired. But it feels good to win. Certainly feels good to win a match like that. Sort of felt like sort of a Davis Cup type atmosphere at the end. Pretty well versed in those situations, so it's always good to win those.
Q. Just the length of the match, it has to feel good on a lot of different levels just with your conditioning, your heart; you got through all these things.
MARDY FISH: Yep. I've never had an issue during the matches, like I've always said.
Q. Coming back maybe before you were ready and getting through a long match, all these things are...
MARDY FISH: Yeah, sort of the level of play is indicative of maybe coming back slightly too early, but, you know, those are matches that feel good to win, when you don't play that well and I just kind of find a way.
Q. A month or so ago when you were being rolled in for the procedure. If someone said, Don't worry, you'll win a couple rounds at Wimbledon...
MARDY FISH: I don't know. I've always maintained that this is a great surface for me. I've had a good draw here, and James Ward played very well today. I mean, he played good enough to win, for sure.
I was lucky to get through. I was getting tired at the end obviously just from sort of lack of fitness a little bit, but that was to be expected.
Q. You seemed to be cajoling yourself throughout. Was it quite frustrating?
MARDY FISH: You know, you're sort of used to a level of play. I haven't played in a long time, and so I felt like there were times where I could have played a little bit better.
Like I said before, it's nice to win those matches when you don't play those matches as well as you think you could.
Q. How much do you prove things to yourself now as you test the waters after what happened and gain confidence in your fitness and ability?
MARDY FISH: Yeah, I mean, you know, that's just it. I mean, you know, you sort of get your feet wet and kind of get into the event.
I wasn't sure of how I was going to come out, how I was going to feel, how I'm going to feel after matches, things like that. It's still kind of new to me.
I didn't feel great after my first round match, but it had a lot to do with just sort of doing things that I hadn't been used to doing in the past few months. You know, I feel a lot better today, that's for sure.
Q. One of the things you've experienced is missing time on the tour. What sense of appreciation does that give you for the durability and the dominance of those three guys at the top over the last seven years who have won 28 of the last 29 slams?
MARDY FISH: Yeah, I mean, you can even throw Murray into that nowadays. He hasn't won any slams, but he's won a lot of big events. Just speaks volumes for how someone like Djokovic can have a year like he had last year and just keep coming back and the pressure on him to win.
You know, having new sponsors and things like that. Having new expectations. It's a very difficult game if you just cut it down in that regard.
It's just amazing. You almost look at what he did at the French Open where he didn't have as good of a clay court season maybe as he wanted to, and he kind of still comes through and is battling in the final of the French Open.
It never ends. It just seems like it never ends for all of us. They do an amazing job of staying healthy and staying invested in what they need to do. That's one of the hardest parts, is just sort of staying committed and staying focused and all that.
I mean, they don't have any days off. It's pretty amazing.
Q. Andy Roddick yesterday called it a golden age of tennis. How would you describe what we've seen and experienced with those guys over the last seven years?
MARDY FISH: I would agree. Two, possibly three, of the guys are going to go down as three of the greatest players ever. Two for sure; we know that.
It just seems like there's no easy road to semifinals of any slams for anyone else besides the top four. It's incredible. And they've done an amazing job.
Like I said, just the consistency that they've shown over the years, there's just no bad days for them. There are a lot the really good players out here.
Q. In terms of the weaponry, you have that incredible Federer forehand, the heavy Nadal forehand, maybe the backhand or return of Djokovic. Which do you think is the foremost stroke?
MARDY FISH: Good question. It's hard to pinpoint just one. I mean, what Novak does, he puts so much pressure on you with his defense, with his footwork.
Rafa puts a ton of pressure on you with his power on his forehand and his tenacity.
Roger can hit any shot at any given time.
Andy Murray is one of the fittest guys out here, so you just really feel like, you know, no matter the conditions, he's going to be a really tough out.
It's hard to pinpoint one exactly. I know it doesn't answer your question.
Q. Switch to the mental side. Can you distinguish the mental toughness of Rafa with his tenacity and the three of them?
MARDY FISH: I think there's only a few you almost see just a few guys that you can pick off the top of your head that show up for every single point, and it's amazing. Rafa is definitely one of those guys.
Lleyton Hewitt is one of those guys.
Andy Roddick is one of those guys.
It's unbelievably impressive.
I'm sure Roger does it as well, he just does it a different way. He just does it a lot more smoother than anyone else. I can't tell you how difficult that is.
There's just so many points, so many matches, so many games and sets and all that, it's hard to show up for every single one, and those guys do.
Q. Did it feel like you were up against the world No. 173 today?
MARDY FISH: No. No, he didn't play like that. I mean, he served as well as anyone served against me all year, for sure. I don't know what his percentage of his serves were, but I guarantee the percentage on like a big point was very high.
You know, I had Love 40 I think twice in the second set. I lost the set. I didn't win any of those games. That doesn't happen very often. He came up with multiple times in multiple games down Love 40, you know, five serves in a row that were unreturnables almost where I didn't even get to play.
He doesn't have that kind of serve that just blows you away. When he misses his spot but makes the serve, it's sort of right there in your honey hole; but when he does hit his spot, it's almost impossible to get it back.
Q. Any words of encouragement you can give to him?
MARDY FISH: Keep playing like that. I mean, obviously he's comfortable on grass. He played with the crowd and sort of relished in that a little bit. He's not going to get that all the time. That part's hard.
He's going to play where it's the opposite. He's going to play where he's not feeling good, where he's injured. You just got to show up every day.
Q. Talking about his serve, talking about the top three, is it interesting they're doing this incredible dominance and none of them really have a monster serve?
MARDY FISH: Well, it just shows that they've slowed everything down so much that it doesn't really matter the serve necessarily anymore. Those guys all get free points on their serve for sure, but they don't rely on it.
I think they all have great returns of serve. They all move extremely well. They're all fit. They all fight hard for almost every point.
It seems like movement and sort of groundstrokes are key now.
Q. What do you know about David Goffin?
MARDY FISH: Not much. Not much. I heard about him in Paris, but I didn't see him play at all. We'll have to dig deep.
Q. Who are you going to talk to to get some scouting on him?
MARDY FISH: We'll talk to Knowlesy, we'll talk to Gimel probably. We'll talk to a few of these guys that we know that watch a lot of tennis. I won't get a game plan necessarily from anyone besides my coach, but how does this guy play type thing.
Q. Talk to Jesse Levine who just played him?
MARDY FISH: Sure. Try to talk to him maybe tonight. Maybe he's leaving tomorrow. I don't know.
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