Ryan Harrison Interview - Indian Wells, Mar 15

Posted on March 16, 2011

Ryan Harrison Interview
March 15, 2011

7-6, 4-6, 6-4

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. Congratulations. Can you take us over the match? I think the match had a couple match points and he broke back, kind of your mindset through that whole thing trying to figure out the match?
RYAN HARRISON: Well, thanks. Obviously I got broken the first time serving at 5-2, but played a pretty good point on first match point. I had a couple deep forehands, I came to the net, and he clipped the tape and actually had a let cord get one his way on my first match point at 5-2.
Um, yeah, I mean, he played a great service game at 5-3. I went up 40-15 and he played a couple good points. I didn't really play any bad points on the point I lost. I was able to compose myself and I won the match, so I'm excited.

Q. Can you express in words what it felt like when that last ace was hit?
RYAN HARRISON: Well, I hit it, and as soon as it came off my racquet I knew it felt good. I was extremely excited as soon as I looked up and saw it going by. I can't remember thoughts going through my head at that point. I was extremely excited, very emotional.
Like you side, I blew one service game at 5-2 and closed it out there after that. I felt incredible.

Q. How much having actually beat him before helped going into today?
RYAN HARRISON: Well, I mean, I think he's been playing a lot of matches as like the underdog. I think he's the up and comer that's been kind of like being a giant killer right now. He's taken out a lot of guys in the top 20, and even the top 10 in the world.
He's played a lot of matches where he's just looked at the guy that serves huge and plays big and doesn't really have much to lose right now. The fact that I have been beaten him a couple times and the fact that we're somewhat similar in age and I'm younger than him also helped me a little bit.
With that being said, it's not like he played a poor match. We played a very high-quality match and high level of tennis. I was able to edge him out there at the end.

Q. Any explanation for how well you handled his serve today?
RYAN HARRISON: Um, I think a lot it has to do with my concentration. I feel like I have a fluid motion. I feel like I have the ability to hit all four spots on my serves.
Most of the time whenever I do get broken, it's something that I do wrong, not necessarily what my opponent does well. So that's the biggest thing for me that I have been doing better, is I have been keeping my concentration and playing complete games.

Q. Has your experience helped, your feelings from six months ago in New York?
RYAN HARRISON: Well, for one, I won a tight match. (Laughter.)
You know, very similar feelings when it comes to, you know, the crowd and when it comes to being in the moment. Obviously playing someone who is top in the world and being in that situation where, you know, you're playing a match, and five minutes can literally determine how, you know, the next couple weeks are gonna go.
Because if you play a good five minutes from 5-4 there, I could have been looking down a break. If he holds there to get it back to 6-5 up and then I get broken and I lose the match, that's literally a five-minute swing. I can be completely different in this press conference in that short period of time.
But with that being said, that's sports. I mean, little moments like that are what great players handle themselves well in continuously time and time again. I think that's just the biggest thing I did differently here than in New York. I had a couple match points in that match against Stakhovsky, and I let them get away.
I double faulted at 6-All in the first set breaker, and didn't make first serves there. That was the biggest thing today that I did well today, is that I stayed composed.

Q. You play a pretty good player in the next round. What are your thoughts about that?
RYAN HARRISON: Yeah, he's not bad. (Smiling.)
Roger is unbelievable. He's done everything that you can accomplish in this sport, and he's looking to do more. I think the thing that makes him and Rafa so good is the fact that they approach matches like he's gonna play against me tomorrow, and him and Rafa don't take those matches lightly. I know he's gonna come out and give me his best stuff, just like I'm gonna go out and try to give him my best stuff.
I'm looking forward to the match, I'm looking forward to playing some of my best tennis, and I have full confidence in myself.

Q. How far back do your Federer memories go?
RYAN HARRISON: Well, I feel like you really start being able to dissect and pick out things you want to take from somebody's game from like 10, 11, around that age. Before then you kind of see and remember things, but it's not exactly like you can really understand the process of what's happening.
So once I hit, you know, 12 years old, I'd say that Roger has been dominant in the sport for the last, what seven years? As long as I can remember, he's been someone that I looked up to and idolized as far as how he handles himself and plays his game.
It will be a great opportunity to go out there and play him.

Q. Roger was saying this evening he didn't know who he was going to play, but he was looking forward to it. He remembered back to 1998 when he was in your situation playing Carlos Moya in Marseilles, who was ranked 4; he beat Moya. What sort of mindset did you take into a match against the world No. 2?
RYAN HARRISON: Well, first off, you know, Roger is a very, very smart person. He knows that he's gonna come out and play his game. You know, he's not gonna take any match lightly. Whether it be me or someone who has no ATP points, he will play on his terms. And the biggest thing for me is to go out there and keep my head together and make sure I stay on my terms as much as possible.
I think whenever you're playing your service games and you have the ball in your hand, at that point you can control what's gonna happen and you can control how you want the point to be constructed.
You know, on his service games, obviously he's one of the best servers ever, so I'm gonna be just trying to neutralize and hopefully be able to turn into offense at some point. But it's not going to be easy.
Other than that, I will do everything I can control and focus on the things that I can do well, and that's gonna be the game plan.

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. No athlete or no team wants to have sort of a mindset of, Gee, I'm happy just to be here. On the other hand, Roger was talking at some point about all these big matches he had earlier, about Moya or Agassi or Sampras. Talk about a match against Roger. Is there just a value in your career to have a big match and what kind of mindset again?
RYAN HARRISON: Well, you know, it's kind of same question just a little differently. He's like -- I said before, it is a great opportunity to play him. He's got -- he's got a lot of experience, and I don't have a lot at this point.
But, you know, whenever you walk on the court for that next -- you know, let's say an average match is an hour 45 minutes, two hours -- nothing has happened yet. Everything is in the future at that point whenever I step on the court.
What he's done in his career and what I've done in my career, biggest thing for me is going to be to realize that doesn't matter. Whenever we step on the court, we're two guys playing tennis against each other. We're gonna play and compete and try to play our best tennis, and I'm gonna have full belief that I can win whenever we're playing in those two hours.
That's the mindset that I'm gonna have, and that's how I'm gonna approach the match.

Q. Did you say anything to Milos after the match, when you shook hands or at any point after the match?
RYAN HARRISON: No, I haven't spoken to him in the locker room after the match. He said, Congrats and good luck. I said, Thanks. Well played. It was good match, or something like that.
Milos is a great player. I have a lot of respect for him and what he's done, especially recently and the way he's handling himself. Yeah, there is a lot of respect there.

Q. Milos has had all this success this year. Have you been watching it? Are there things you watch and take notes and learn from the experience he's going through and apply to yourself?
RYAN HARRISON: Not necessarily. I mean, I haven't been microscoping the way he's been handling situations. It's kind of like a common theme when guys get to the top, whenever they have success, they do something very well, and that's they stay humble and they keep working and they don't get satisfied.
That's what he's done, and that's what every single person who has had success has done, you know, just not be satisfied with any particular result, and just look for more. That's what he did after he did the Australian Open, and he went on to win San Jose and final in Memphis. That's what he's done well, and that's what everyone has done well that had a breakthrough.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports