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March 16, 1997

Bohdan Ulihrach


JOE LYNCH: Thank you for coming. Bohdan Ulihrach appearing in his first Mercedes Super 9 final, should move into the Top 30 from his current 43 in the rankings, and heads to the Lipton Championships as a hardcourt specialist now. First question for Bohdan.

Q. Let's say that you were to call home now and not have talked to your family for a whole week, when you call them now and they say, "How did you do, what happened in California," what would you say?

BOHDAN ULIHRACH: That I was in final and they ask me, are you crazy, are you in hospital, what happens with you?

Q. So you did a crazy thing and you got to a hardcourt final. What happened when you got into this hardcourt final? You didn't play a crazy guy.

BOHDAN ULIHRACH: I was playing well all week. I beat some good players. I was very well all week. I beat Pete Sampras, No. 1, wonderful week for me, best week of my life.

Q. Was Chang too good on this day, on this surface?

BOHDAN ULIHRACH: Yeah. He was too good. The difference was he was serving much better than me. He was running and fighting all the time.

Q. Is it just a matter of him wearing you down?

JOE LYNCH: Does he make you tired when you play him?

BOHDAN ULIHRACH: Yeah, I was tired.

JOE LYNCH: By the end?


Q. After winning the first set, you thought you could finish it off maybe?

BOHDAN ULIHRACH: Yeah. I start to thinking that I can win today, but this is a best of five. You have to concentrate all the game, every point. I lost a little bit concentration at the beginning of the second set and he broke me.

Q. You were finding the lines very well, moving him around a little bit early.

BOHDAN ULIHRACH: My tactic was to don't play with him rally because he's strong, to hit the ball immediately after the bounce, to play into the court. But then he start to play cross-court ball and that's exactly what I don't like.

Q. When you were playing so well in the beginning, weren't you a little surprised that the crowd was not more demonstrative, that it wasn't more noisy out there?

BOHDAN ULIHRACH: Crowd was okay. I wasn't surprised. He's American. I think it was 50/50. They stood behind me. Very nice people here.

Q. Bohdan, is this the biggest money you've ever made in a week?


Q. Biggest paycheck?

BOHDAN ULIHRACH: Biggest money, yeah.

Q. What are you going to do to celebrate such a big paycheck?

BOHDAN ULIHRACH: To celebrate? Probably nothing. We are going tonight to Lipton, to Miami. So tomorrow I have day off. There will be some little bit celebration tomorrow night.

JOE LYNCH: Watch out for South Beach.

Q. Bohdan, on TV, Cliff Drysdale was mentioning your game was maybe a little bit like Miloslav Mecir had a few years ago. Is Mecir one of your role models? Your game is inspired by his game or not?

BOHDAN ULIHRACH: A lot of people say that we have a little bit similar game, but he was much better player. I have to work a lot.

Q. What's the difference between playing Sampras and playing Chang?

BOHDAN ULIHRACH: Difference between playing Sampras and Chang? Sampras, he's playing more serve and volley game. Michael, he's a better player from the baseline.

Q. You've had a pretty good week out here in California. What is your favorite thing about California?

BOHDAN ULIHRACH: About California, it's really Paradise here. We wanted to go to Joshua Tree but we had no time. It's really Paradise here.

Q. How much opportunity did you get to watch him play when you were growing up, Mecir, did you see him much?

BOHDAN ULIHRACH: Yeah. I practiced once with him in my life when I was younger, when I was 14, because I moved from a city where I was born to Prague when I was 14 years old. He was in our club for military, so I was practicing with him one month in my life. It was nice.

Q. What sort of things, can you remember what he might have said to you at that time?

BOHDAN ULIHRACH: No. I was a young guy. I don't remember. It's eight years ago. I think it's a time when he was on the top.

Q. What was the name of the community in which you lived before you moved to Prague?


Q. How do you spell it?

BOHDAN ULIHRACH: K-o-l-i-n. It's a small city, 30,000 people, 60 kilometers from Prague. I think it's 40 miles.

Q. When you went to Prague, where did you go and play? Was it at the Sparta Club?

JOE LYNCH: Sparta Club?

BOHDAN ULIHRACH: No. It was the club where always the people move for to take military. Now it's police club.

JOE LYNCH: Anything else for Bohdan?

Q. You're best known for results on clay. Have you changed your game a little to be more effective on hardcourts? Do you like hardcourts?

BOHDAN ULIHRACH: Yeah, I like hardcourts from Indianapolis last year. I made semis. I never won before the match on a hardcourt, then I make a semis. I like Indianapolis. I'm trying to play the same, the same both surfaces.

Q. Your coach used to work with Petr Korda. Did you ever play against Korda or learn things from him?

BOHDAN ULIHRACH: Yeah, we are practicing a lot when we are in Prague. We are big friends. We will play some tournaments together, maybe next week at the Lipton. We will play also Dusseldorf.

Q. You had a behind-the-back lob that forced an error from Michael. Is that a shot that you practice? Is that one of your strong shots?

BOHDAN ULIHRACH: I play a couple of nice shots today, but I'm not practicing. I'm trying only, you know, to hit easy ball.

Q. Now that the final's finished, would you like to go fishing with Michael?

BOHDAN ULIHRACH: No. We have dinner with a friend and then we going to the airport and flying to Miami.

JOE LYNCH: Anything else for Bohdan? Thank you.

End of FastScripts....

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