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March 12, 1997

Bohdan Ulihrach


JOE LYNCH: Bohdan Ulihrach has beaten the world No. 1, Pete Sampras twice in his career. He was the last person outside the top 40 to beat Sampras when he beat him at the World Team Cup on clay last May, and is the first player outside the top 40 to beat Sampras since Paul Haarhuis, who beat Sampras here last year. First question for Bohdan? He will play Francisco Clavet in the next round.

Q. Why do you play Sampras so well?

BOHDAN ULIHRACH: You can image how nice feeling it is to beat him because he didn't lost -- won 20 matches in a row, won three tournaments this year. It's unbelievable feeling. I didn't expect to win today.

JOE LYNCH: Why do you play so well against him?

BOHDAN ULIHRACH: I didn't play so well today, but I think it was not his day. He didn't play so well.

Q. What do you think he has trouble with your game most?

BOHDAN ULIHRACH: I don't know if it is my game. Maybe he has trouble because he played a lot of matches, everybody ask him how many matches he can win.

Q. So you think the pressure?

BOHDAN ULIHRACH: Pressure on him.

Q. How with about the heat? Sometimes he has not done well with the heat. Do you think that was a factor and was it for you?

BOHDAN ULIHRACH: Yeah, but I think it's the same for both sides.

JOE LYNCH: Not a lot of heat in the Czech Republic.

Q. How hot was it out there? Could you feel the heat from the court?

BOHDAN ULIHRACH: Yes. I start to feel it at the beginning of the second set, the heat from the bottom, from the surface.

Q. Like burning your feet?

BOHDAN ULIHRACH: It was a little burning on my sole.

Q. You made very few mistakes today. Is that as well as you've played for a while?

BOHDAN ULIHRACH: At the beginning I wanted to concentrate, to just push the ball, to make not so many mistakes. I was successful to make pressure on his backhand because he has one of the best forehands.

Q. But you also hit some very impressive winners, too, didn't you?

BOHDAN ULIHRACH: Uh-huh (laughter).

Q. What about Pete's game did you feel was a little bit off today?

BOHDAN ULIHRACH: As I said already, it was not his day. I saw him play better.

Q. Was his serve easier to return today?

BOHDAN ULIHRACH: I was returning very well today.

JOE LYNCH: For him particularly, his backhand or forehand, serve not as good, for Sampras?

BOHDAN ULIHRACH: For Sampras, baseline game was not too good for him. He was serves as normal.

Q. What did you think when you won the first set with that outrageous net cord?

BOHDAN ULIHRACH: It was a very important moment that I saved two set points. It was 40-15 on my serve. It was a good moment of the match.

JOE LYNCH: Then the net cord in the tiebreak, the set point?



BOHDAN ULIHRACH: It's also a question of luck, a little bit.

Q. When that happens, you always see the player put their hand up like to say, "Sorry."


Q. Are you sorry?

BOHDAN ULIHRACH: Yeah, I'm sorry that I beat the best player in the States here at home, so I apologize (laughter).

Q. What would you say is the strength of your game? What was working well for you today?

BOHDAN ULIHRACH: What was working well for me? I was playing very well from the baseline. I can be satisfied with how I was serving today.

Q. Did you say his serve was just as good as you remember it today?

BOHDAN ULIHRACH: Yes, his serve was as I remember. Baseline game was not so good when I saw him, for example, at the Australian Open. He was doing much, much more better from the baseline.

Q. During your rallies, was it your strategy to keep hitting to his backhand?

BOHDAN ULIHRACH: Yes, that was my strategy to keep on his backhand because he has the best forehand shot and he is not so good backhand.

Q. How much does it help you to go into this match knowing that you've been able to beat him before?

BOHDAN ULIHRACH: It was completely different. It was on the clay. It was in Europe. It was close to Czech Republic. I was feeling like I was at home. It was his first match after a long time on clay, after I think six months. It was soon after his coach died. It was completely different.

Q. But did you go out there today thinking, "Yes, can I beat him, or did you go out there thinking, "Maybe I can beat him"?

BOHDAN ULIHRACH: I thought I had nothing to lose, I can always surprise.

Q. What was your first impression that you saw you would have to play him? What did you think, that you'd be going home quickly?

JOE LYNCH: When you saw the draw.

BOHDAN ULIHRACH: I said, "I have to win first round, then he's waiting for me." Then I said, "Nothing to lose."

JOE LYNCH: 50 points to gain.

Q. When he broke his serve in the second set, when you broke back, at that point did you figure this was your match?

BOHDAN ULIHRACH: I started feeling this was my match after match point (laughter). From the beginning of the second set, I was 30-Love on my serve, served two double-faults. I started to thinking about the third set. I broke him soon back, and it was important.

Q. You said you had nothing to lose, does that make you play differently, say, if you were playing somebody comparable ranked to you? Do you just go out and play a lot freer and try more shots, try to hit more winners?

BOHDAN ULIHRACH: Yeah, exactly. Play much more easy, for the crowds, for people.

JOE LYNCH: Anything else for Bohdan?

End of FastScripts....

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