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An Interview With: Sam Groth

Friday, August 29, 2014

Q. Were you competitive enough out there to enjoy the experience?

SAM GROTH: Yeah. I mean, obviously it was an enjoyable experience. Like I said, I'm pleased playing in front of a crowd as big as the amount of people here, so to play on a packed house on Friday night against the greatest of all time, yeah, it's an unbelievable experience. To be honest, I feel I should have won the third set. Game points at 4-2, game points at 4-All. I didn't execute when I needed to.

Q. What is it like to play Roger Federer? I asked Marinko the other night. He said it's like he's floating.

SAM GROTH: To be honest, for me, I was trying not to get caught up in the whole Roger act out there. You walk out, you get a few cheers. He walks out and the crowd goes ballistic. So from the word go you know he's there. I was honestly just trying to focus on what I was doing. If I go out there and I worry too much about what he's doing, especially the way I play, I'm not trying to grind a guy down. A lot of it even until the very end, a lot of it - especially on my service games it's on my racquet. A lot of the points I lost was missed volleys and things that I probably -- he puts the pressure on you, of course, but I can't worry too much about what he's doing. I tried to run with that the whole night and not worry about Roger and just play tennis really, I mean.

Q. You say you don't want to worry about Roger. Is there a mystique when you're playing a player of that caliber?

SAM GROTH: Yeah, of course. But, I mean, he's got an aura because of how good his tennis is. Yes, there's an aura because of what he's done, but his tennis speaks for itself. You don't win 17 Grand Slams if your tennis is not that good. I knew I was playing Roger Federer. I was pretty nervous probably all day. Once I got out there I actually felt pretty good. I missed about the first five forehands I hit. Once I got out there, I felt okay. I wasn't shaking. I didn't feel nervous. Not because of the situation, not because it's Roger. Yeah, I mean, his tennis is probably the thing. His record is unbelievable. Like I said, personally I just didn't try to think about it too much. It sounds stupid. You probably hear about it from everybody, but honestly I tried not to worry about it. Yeah, I mean.

Q. Does this taste leave you wanting more?

SAM GROTH: Yeah. I think my whole year's left me wanting more. This is the biggest stadium you can play on and it's a packed house on a Friday night. Like I said, you know, leading up to this match, it's a dream come true to play on a stadium like this, especially where I've come from over the last couple of years. Not just the last couple years. I refer to that because I sort of walked away and that. It's been a process. I've been traveling full-time as a pro since I was 17, 18. It's not just a couple years. It's building up when you're a junior and building up the last few years. To be honest, I want to be here. I feel like I'm doing a lot of things right. I'm going to go away from this and work out what I need to get better now. I've improved a lot of things, but it's time now for me to take it to the next level as well.

Q. You're a big guy physically. When you walk into a place like Ashe, which is so big, how intimidating does it feel? Do you feel small?

SAM GROTH: No. To be honest, when I walked out there -- we'd spoken about it enjoying the experience -- I walked out and I just tried to soak it up at the start really. I tried to look around and take it all in. Smile, you know. Yeah, I mean, it's huge. I mean, the stadium is massive. Sometimes you look up, you look at the top tier and the top tier is packed. I was in there the other day. I couldn't hit a ball halfway up the top tier. Probably the only stadium in the world I can't hit it out of. The place is humongous. I'm disappointed I lost. I'm not happy walking away with a loss. I am not happy I lost to Roger. Not saying I could have won, but I enjoyed my experience out there, and I want to be there more often.

Q. Do you stay in New York a bit?

SAM GROTH: I've got doubles tomorrow. My doubles ranking has been pretty good this year. Improved that a lot. Semis at the French; won a title. So my focus switches to doubles now. We're up tomorrow. Got the second seed in doubles as well. I'll go home and chill out and be back here tomorrow morning to get a hit and on court tomorrow at 2:00 for dubs.

Q. Aside from your massive serve, do you feel there's an advantage in terms of surprise when the other players have to play against a serve and volleyer when they're not used to?

SAM GROTH: Yeah, I think so. This court's a little bit quicker as well than probably some of the other big courts throughout the year. But I feel like that's one of my strengths, something I need to do. Yeah, there's not too many guys doing it now. You go back 10 or 15 years and it's a lot more common and that sort of thing. I think it brings a different element to it. I don't know. I didn't play too many serve-volleys myself. That's how I play.

Q. Does it make you feel part of that Aussie tradition?

SAM GROTH: Oh, I don't know. I grew up idolizing Pat and Mark Philippoussis, were the two guys coming through at the top of the game at that stage. I loved watching Pat and watching him win here. But I don't know if it's a throw-back. I grew up on grass in Australia. I always sort of serve-volleyed, came to the net. Ever since I was young, I always rushed the net. Hasn't always worked for me, but I think I'm getting better at it. I think it's what I've got to do. I'm a big guy. I'm never going to be the quickest guy around the court. Not necessarily taller, but I'm bigger than most of the guys in terms of size and weight and that sort of stuff. I think I've got an aggressive style of game. I think that's the best way for me to play, and I'm going to keep doing it.