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April 21, 1999

Ivan Ljubicic

MONTE CARLO, I. LJUBICIC/Y. Kafelnikov 6-1, 6-2

ATP: Questions, please.

Q. I don't think many people saw the game. Could you tell us something about why it was so easy? Was Kafelnikov off form? What happened?

IVAN LJUBICIC: Well, what I felt in the match is that he played bad, to tell you the truth. But I make everything to make him play bad. He never get into the match, actually. It was easier than I was expecting. But I just play my game. He didn't find a way to get out of it. So it was a pretty quick match.

Q. Do you think you took him by surprise because you had those matches in the qualifiers and everything, so you were warm and he wasn't?

IVAN LJUBICIC: Well, I know that he played like two first rounds before this tournament. Of course, he wasn't like in confidence. I played with Cherkasov and Andrei Medvedev very definite before this match, which is pretty similar games. That's why I played, you know, I mean, easy. The quality of the ball is almost the same, so I didn't have a problem with that. So he play like three first rounds now, so it's not easy for him to get into the match.

Q. Can you tell us a little bit about you? I think you were playing in Italy right now.

IVAN LJUBICIC: I'm practicing here in this club.

Q. This club?

IVAN LJUBICIC: Yeah. That's why I feel great actually, it's like playing at home. This is already two years, two winters actually that I practice here. I'm playing great. All my results I make in Croatia, because I'm from there. Now, I mean, I played excellent here. It's because I know. It's like playing at home, so it's a good feeling.

Q. How did it come about that you're spending so much time here?

IVAN LJUBICIC: Because I'm practicing with Mr. Ricardo Piatti, which is Italian coach. He's official coach of ATP Tour, which is here, so we are practicing here in Monte-Carlo. The good thing is that we can play outdoor all year, even if winter, so we have hard court, we have clay court. I mean, it's pretty simple to practice while we are here.

Q. Who pays for your expenses? Do you get some help from the Croatian Federation or nothing?

IVAN LJUBICIC: Well, yeah, yeah, I have some help from Croatian Federation. Actually, I'm playing Davis Cup for them. They are helping a lot actually. They're trying to cover some of my expenses. But, I mean, when I played Juniors, they covered like everything. Now when I get out, I have to cover something by myself, something by them. But still, it's a big help.

Q. Can you explain where you're from, how you started tennis?

IVAN LJUBICIC: Well, I born in Bosnia, so I get out in '92 when the war start and everything. I went -- my parents are Croatian, so I went in Rjeka actually is the name of the city in Croatia. Then I moved to Zagreb. In '93, I moved to Torino, which is Italian city. I practice there for two years and a half. Then I come back.

Q. With Piatti?

IVAN LJUBICIC: Yeah. He was there, but I didn't practice with him. I played in like the biggest club in Italy. All professional players practice there. Then I came back in '96 at home and I played like '96 juniors. I didn't practice so much. Then '97 I started to practice with Piatti, first in Como, in Italy, and then here.

Q. You said you were in Bosnia, now you play for Croatia. Are you getting some information about what happened in Kosovo right now?

IVAN LJUBICIC: Well, I had a lot of problems in Bosnia. I'm from there. I'm trying not following what's happen there in Kosovo because I'm really tired of those things. I mean, I know what is happening because that was ex-Yugoslavia. It's my ex-country. Well, I'm sorry. I mean, the war, it's not a way how to take care of things. I'm sorry about everything. But I try to forget everything and just play tennis and try to concentrate. I think I did it. I'm going forward. Those things, I mean, I cannot do anything about that. Yeah, I'm following a little bit, but not like someone else who is focused about that. I mean, I don't care too much about that.

Q. So what is your schedule from now on?

IVAN LJUBICIC: Well, before this tournament, the schedule was qualification at Ljubljana, then home, then I would like to play Rome quallies, then French Open quallies, like four tournaments qualifications. Now I don't know what I'm going to do. If I have to play quallies, that's not important which tournaments I'm playing. Maybe I'm going to Munich next week or Prague. It really is not important anymore because I have to play quallies anyway. It's not a problem which tournaments. But French Open for sure and Rome I'll try, if I get in, in quallies.

End of FastScripts....

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