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August 11, 1998

Daniel Vacek


GREG SHARKO: Daniel's first career win over a top ranked player on the ATP Tour. Will be in the third round on Thursday. First question for Daniel.

Q. Is that exciting, beating a No. 1 guy, as exciting as it was for the fans to watch it?

DANIEL VACEK: I think it's maybe exciting at the end. When you play, it doesn't make any difference if the guy is ranked No. 1 or No. 50 or No. 100. We know each other really well because we all like a big family, all the players. We know each other. Then you got to play a match, it's another game. Just try to do the best and the right tactic and beat the guy.

Q. There's a point that you know all (inaudible)?

DANIEL VACEK: I thought when I get the break in the second, that definitely help very much. If I can keep it going, I'm in the right way.

Q. Is there anything you see in another player's eyes or demeanor?

DANIEL VACEK: No. When you get up a break, and since I served really well today, then mentally it helps very much because I can even go for a little bit more and still knowing that I'm up a break. So that gives me the little bit over the edge when I have over him because he really has -- from that moment on, he has to play the best tennis and don't make any errors. Although I can play well, still make a few, you know, it shouldn't make me lose the match. It's a great advantage.

Q. He said he was having trouble picking up your serve with the lights. Did you sort of know that going in? When did you sense that he just wasn't returning?

DANIEL VACEK: Well, I know I played him two times before, so I know where to serve, how to get him off the balance a little bit. Today I had very high, for my tennis, very high percentage first serve in. They were all around or over 120, so it's quite high, especially when we see the percentage. That was I think the very important thing.

Q. What were you thinking, you were having a little bit of problem closing out the match?

DANIEL VACEK: Well, I played the whole match, I was going for the points. The last game, I hit maybe two inches wide, the first match point. The second match point I hit two inches wide down the middle. Then I hit a let cord out. They were all very close. It was a matter of inches. I know that if I keep it going, if I just keep on serving as I was before, then it will be in because the right tactic was there and the technique was there, so there was nothing really major worries.

Q. Does this rank as the biggest win of your career or one of the biggest, or is it different because it's not the final in a tournament?

DANIEL VACEK: Well, if I played the final, I would be very happy (laughter). That's obviously very difficult. One of the biggest wins, I think the one was (inaudible) when he was 3 and two weeks later won The Open. I think that was the biggest win.

Q. What was the difference today as opposed to the first two times you played him?

DANIEL VACEK: The first time I beat him one and two.

Q. Head-to-head count is he was up 3-1.

DANIEL VACEK: But then I played him a long time ago, I think. The last two I played him in '96 and I play him in New Haven.

Q. You beat him in New Haven, as well?

DANIEL VACEK: I beat him in New Haven. Then I lost to him two weeks later at Toronto.

Q. Basically you own him?

DANIEL VACEK: Basically, yeah (laughter). Also a Super 9. He played exceptionally well. I could see that he learn a lot from the meeting in New Haven. He played tactically very well.

Q. Besides what would seem obvious, the serve, is there anything that you do that you think causes him problems?

DANIEL VACEK: I think I was mixing it up quite well and I was moving him around. I played the spots he doesn't like so much. Since he's not coming in that much, it also gives me a little bit of advantage.

Q. His reputation is one that mentally he might fold. Do you feel that that is true?

DANIEL VACEK: Well, it used to be true. What I know this here year, he's won a lot of close matches when he was behind a lot. When you No. 1 or when you are I'd say Top 5, Top 10, then you have to have something more than the other guys. It's certainly you play till the last point of every match. That I don't think is true anymore.

Q. There's been some controversy about who is No. 1, he hasn't won a Grand Slam tournament this year. Does losing a match like this, does that sort of add fuel to that fire, that maybe he's not a legitimate No. 1 and he shouldn't be?

DANIEL VACEK: Well, I don't know what's the point of questioning. He's No. 1 on the rankings. The rankings been around for long, long time. Everybody know what they up to. When it comes that way, I think he's the best. This year so far he's playing the best tennis, at least the most consistent one. So I wouldn't question that.

Q. Do you give him as much respect as Pete, even though he's No. 1 and Pete is No. 2?

DANIEL VACEK: Pete, I think he's the best player ever. He's somewhere else. All these guys are so far around still, they much, very far behind from what he achieve. He's somewhere else. I don't think there's any question that he's the best, although he may not be the best at this particular moment. But overall, he's the best player.

Q. So if you beat him in the final, this would be a very big win for you?

DANIEL VACEK: Yes (laughter).

Q. Then would you be the best?

DANIEL VACEK: Well, the ranking is based on one-year ranking, so it's not one tournament or one week or two weeks; it's just you have to play consistently well, then you can be No. 1. The amount of points you make one week, it's not as important.

Q. Do you think Rios had his best stuff tonight?

DANIEL VACEK: Well, I don't know the best, but he didn't get his rhythm too much because some of my serves, didn't play any points. On my serve, I kept it short. He couldn't get into his game. It was his first match on the hard courts. For him I think it was difficult coming out of clay, play first match on hard court. Tonight it was lights, and I played like a little bit like indoor tennis. From that point, I think it was very hard for him. I'm sure that we'll see as the season goes on that he gets definitely better. I think already next week he will be playing much better tennis.

Q. You said you hit spots which he didn't like. What were those spots?

DANIEL VACEK: You could see, short.

Q. Short?

DANIEL VACEK: Short and low.

Q. If someone in the locker room came up and said, "Since we all know that you own Marcelo Rios, what could I do to beat him," what would be your advice?

DANIEL VACEK: I think everybody has to find his way. If it's somebody, a Czech from the Davis Cup team, then we can discuss it.

Q. You said you were all a family.

DANIEL VACEK: Yeah, but from the family we know almost everything about each other. We see each other ten months a year. From that point, we are close.

Q. Do you have any idea how many times you've played the No. 1 player?

DANIEL VACEK: I played Pete a lot of times. I played Andre, I think he was No. 1 already or No. 2.

Q. Did you win any of those?

DANIEL VACEK: No, no. I always lost to Pete. Pete is one of the most difficult guys to beat, I would think.

Q. Do you have any kind of personal relationship with Marcelo?

DANIEL VACEK: No. Just the friend, we see each other.

Q. Sounds a lot like my family actually.

End of FastScripts....

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