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August 30, 2001

Ivan Ljubicic

NEW YORK CITY, M. SAFIN/I. Ljubicic 7-6, 6-7, 7-6, 7-6

MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. What was the difference in the tiebreakers?

IVAN LJUBICIC: Score. I mean, I didn't play any different first, second, third or fourth. These kind of matches just happening. I mean, he came up with some excellent serves on important points. Second set he didn't, I took a chance. I mean, the whole match was so equal, I mean it could go either way, you know. I don't think there is any difference actually.

Q. You went for the big second serve and double-faulted on one set point. Is that a matter of against Safin you have to be aggressive?

IVAN LJUBICIC: No, just my decision. I took it. I did it. That's why I wasn't mad on me. At that certain point, I wanted to do that. I did it. If I made an ace, it would be... Just at that time you take the decision, you do it, that's it. If you start to think, "Maybe I should just put it in," it's a problem. Also a lot of times I make a point with huge second serve. Maybe, of course, when I lose a set like that, then after I say, "Maybe I should go for the safe second serve." It's just at that time I wanted to go for something like that.

Q. Did you feel that that was a special match out there?

IVAN LJUBICIC: Was getting very exciting. Especially in the end I felt the crowd is going to be on my side if we go in the fifth. That's why I wanted very bad to win that fourth set. It didn't go. For me, I mean, like every match, this summer I played, it's pretty big. I feel very confident. I really feel like I can go for big things. But, I mean, last six tournaments I lost to players like Corretja, Haas, Kuerten, Hewitt and now Safin. All these matches pretty close. If you play well, there are a lot of important matches. Especially, as I said, last five, six weeks, I've been playing really well. Every match was pretty big for me. Also quarterfinal in Cincinnati. From quallies I came up. I lost to Hewitt, two tiebreakers, then 6-4 in the third. Especially in the Slam, it's very important because I played before this Grand Slam eight first rounds on a Grand Slams. Finally I won a match here. When you play second round against defending champion, it is pretty big match.

Q. You had one breakpoint in four long sets. What can you say about the way he was serving?

IVAN LJUBICIC: I mean, he serve unbelievable. I think I play a little better. In the middle of the second set, I step back a little bit. I think I had more time to return. But still, I mean, it's not only serve. After that second set, I put a lot of balls back. But still I have no chance to break him. It's not just serve, you know. His game was pretty good whole match. Actually, I did expect that he going to give me some chances, but he played a great match and IT just didn't happen.

Q. You rolled your ankle at one point. Did that hurt you?

IVAN LJUBICIC: No, it was nothing. I just slide. It was okay. Actually, I had bigger problems with my lower back, especially after the first set. I had a strong pain in my lower back. I took some pain killers. That's why my stomach now is pretty tight.

Q. Did you borrow them from Goran?

IVAN LJUBICIC: No, no, no. I'm not using them that often as him.

Q. He's so demonstrative on the court. Do you keep an eye on that, look for signs that he might be unraveling at any point?

IVAN LJUBICIC: No. Just watching each other's match. We are not giving any advices each other, especially on the court.

Q. I was talking about Marat.

IVAN LJUBICIC: No. Is not too much to say about Marat. Everybody knows his game. It's just when he's playing well, his game, everybody knows what he going to do. But it's still good, you know. We all know he's big server, he can hit every angle, better backhand than forehand, but forehand he's still not missing.

Q. As much as Marat struggled, did it give you confidence going in?

IVAN LJUBICIC: Actually, I was more concentrate on me, that I've been playing well. I know that I'm going to at least have a chance, at least compete. I knew that it's not going to be 3-3-3. In that way I had a little bit of confidence. I know if he was struggling in the beginning of the year, he's very focused now because he has to defend big, big tournament here. He finally put a lot of things back like racquet, these changes. He's healthy finally. I know that he going to be big again. Especially on that central court, he's probably feeling very confident because his biggest win in his career just happened there. That's why actually I concentrate on myself and felt confident for me.

Q. How do you practice now for Davis Cup? What do you think about that match?

IVAN LJUBICIC: Well, I go back now home couple days, just rest, then I go to Monte-Carlo, practice on clay, play Bucharest on clay. I think that's pretty good preparation for it.

Q. Are you and Goran both playing Davis Cup?

IVAN LJUBICIC: Both playing Davis Cup. I hope. I mean, it's something very unusual happen in between. We are scheduled to play.

Q. What do you mean?

IVAN LJUBICIC: You never know.

Q. What do you think about that match?

IVAN LJUBICIC: We should win because we are better players. You never know with Davis Cup - especially when you play away. Also we don't know who is going to play for them. It's still 20 days I think in between. I'm sure we're going to prepare as better as we can, then we'll see what is going to happen. I think if everything is normal without any strange things, we should win, that's what I think.

Q. Even on clay?

IVAN LJUBICIC: Why not? I mean, I've been playing on clay also very well. Goran can play well. I saw him hitting the ball pretty good. In Davis Cup he has special motivation. I mean, it's not like we're playing against Corretja and Moya. Even on clay, yeah.

End of FastScripts….

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