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August 31, 1996

David Wheaton


Q. Can you talk a little bit about how your serve was working? That's one of the things Alex kept pointing back to, every time he had a breakpoint or was close, you came up with a big serve.

DAVID WHEATON: Yeah, I think that's fairly accurate. I felt very relaxed on it. I think when you're relaxed, you give yourself a good opportunity of hitting a good serve. For me, when I force my serve, I don't serve well. I think that was key. I felt pretty relaxed on my serve, good rhythm.

Q. Did you also feel key on your serve when you were facing all those breakpoints? Were you relaxed as well?

DAVID WHEATON: Not really, but I kind of took some deep breaths and tried to get myself relaxed. Obviously you can't be perfectly relaxed when you're facing breakpoints or big points. He was coming back the last game. In that kind of situation, you just have to kind of trust your serve and stay as relaxed as you can.

Q. David, you've had a lot of ups and downs in your career. Can you explain what's happened to Alex in the last six weeks?

DAVID WHEATON: Well, I think he's done very, very well. I've seen Alex play very well in his career. I've seen him struggle in his career. Now he's playing very well again. I think that's really great for him. I don't know why he's playing all of a sudden a lot better, but he certainly is. From what I've read, he just said he was winning some matches and gaining confidence. I think it's great for him as well. It really shows something when someone can be down to whatever he was, 260, now he's 65 in about a month. That's a pretty good effort.

Q. What about you? Where have you been?

DAVID WHEATON: Well, I've been playing. That's a good question. Where have I been? Over the last few years, had a great year in '91. I was basically in the 30s and 40s for a few years. I think this year I was injured at the beginning of the year, lost a lot of points at the beginning of the year, my ranking dropped a bit. This is the first time I've had to be out for a length of time with an injury. You know, it's part of maturing as well. I think tennis for me is not an escape, it's been a learning process for me. In every area of my life it's been a learning process. I think I'm still learning. I'm 27, so. One day I hope to have it, you know, as I say, I don't think you ever figure anything out, but as I continue to learn, I hope can I play better.

Q. When you dropped the first set in 22 minutes, what were you thinking to yourself? Were you thinking it was going to be a quick match or were you still in it?

DAVID WHEATON: I didn't think the match was over. I certainly wasn't too pleased with the way I was playing. I knew that Alex was an excellent player and if I didn't start picking my game up that I was going to be in a world of trouble there. I think it was important for me to start playing some good service games, started to come a little closer to breaking him in the second set. Then I had the first set point in the second set, thought I hit a shot out and I stopped playing the point. I ended up losing that game. That was very important. Fortunately I broke him at 6-5 for the set.

Q. You played him --

DAVID WHEATON: I'm not sure how many times.

Q. When was the last time you played him?

DAVID WHEATON: I think Newport in '94,.

Q. '95.

DAVID WHEATON: '95, okay.

Q. Is there a huge difference between him then and now?

DAVID WHEATON: It's hard to say. That's a long time ago. It's hard to remember, to be honest. He's playing with more confidence, you can definitely tell that.

Q. What were your injuries?

DAVID WHEATON: This year, I basically hurt both my Achilles tendons at different times. Fortunately about the time of Wimbledon, they started to get a lot better. Basically I was out from March and April, and then since then I've been playing. Since about Wimbledon, I've been feeling pretty good.

Q. Were they in tournaments that you hurt them?

DAVID WHEATON: Yeah. I had it for a long time, about a year, but it was very minimal, wasn't really bothering me, ache and pain. All of a sudden it turned into something where I was limping. It took a while to settle down.

Q. You guys were never at Stanford at the same time.

DAVID WHEATON: I think he was the year after I was there.

Q. Looking forward to facing Agassi?

DAVID WHEATON: I think so. I really haven't had a chance to think about it yet. Happy to get off the court with a win in that match. I'm looking forward to facing him. He's a very difficult player to play for anyone. I'll have to be just playing really good tennis to have a chance.

Q. In the second set when you got up 6-5, three straight aces there, is that the point where things started to turn around for you, because you won the last two points of the next game with just great shots, the half volley and the service return?

DAVID WHEATON: I think it started to turn around a little bit early in the second set where the points started to be contended a little more evenly. Then it turned a little bit in my favor all of a sudden when I held that game at 5-All in the second set and then played a good game the next game to break him, then it's one set all. All of a sudden it went from me playing poorly to it being one set all. Then things started to go in my favor. In the third set, I played well and he gave me a few points, I was able to continue the momentum in the fourth set.

Q. Did you see him sag a little bit after you broke him there to win the set?

DAVID WHEATON: Yeah. The second set?

Q. Right.

DAVID WHEATON: I don't think so. Basically it was kind of a weird break. I played a couple of good points, and all of a sudden before you know it the set is over. It wasn't a 20-point game. It was a real quick game. As I said, I think he did make a few more unforced errors in the third set than he had in the first two.

Q. What did you think when he bowed to you?

DAVID WHEATON: I didn't see him do that.

Q. On your serve?

DAVID WHEATON: I didn't see him do that.

Q. There's been attention paid to this run that he's had over the past five or six weeks. Now, you're in the midst of one as well. You're here in the fourth round. How do you feel about what you're staging here at the Open?

DAVID WHEATON: I don't consider myself on some hot streak or anything like that. I've played three good matches. Over the summer I struggled a little bit early in the summer. I played pretty well at Wimbledon. I struggled a little bit after that, first few hardcourt tournaments. I played a little better in Indianapolis. I seem to be playing a little better here. I don't consider myself on a hot streak. Every day is a new day. You have to go out and be able to produce good tennis every day. Whether I can do it my next match or next day, something that remains to be seen.

Q. You said before tennis wasn't an escape for you.

DAVID WHEATON: It's never been an escape for me.

Q. You mean it's more like hard work?

DAVID WHEATON: No. I think -- I see tennis as more an extension of my life. I see, what happens to me off the court, other areas of my life, affect my tennis. I think some people can have all kinds of things going on in their life, a whole circus act around them, they go out on the tennis court, it's like this is one place where they can get away from it all. Tennis isn't a place where I get away from it all. It sort of kind of reflects who I am when I play, I think, whatever that means.

Q. How has that played a role in your life? Has it held you back?

DAVID WHEATON: As I said, I think I've gone through some ups and downs off the court and on the court. As I said, it's been a maturing process, gone through a lot of different things in my life. I think my tennis has kind of reflected that. That's why I say it's more of an extension rather than an escape.

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