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April 11, 2004

Thomas Johansson

Mats Wilander


THE MODERATOR: Questions in English.

Q. Could you talk about how well Roddick played in that third set of the first match there, talk about the way his play improved.

CAPTAIN MATS WILANDER: Not really, because I think once you play that well, it's not hard to play the game of tennis. I think when he impressed -- that doesn't impress me at all. I think what impresses me was the way that he handled being down to Thomas Enqvist the first day, and the way he handled Jonas Bjorkman in the first two sets today - or at least the first set. I think the second set he was up a break early. It's different when you're ahead. He obviously plays better when he's ahead, but he showed that he's a gutsy player. The third set, I think if you just close your eyes, you can do that as well. So hopefully he won't try and play like that in any other situation, because that's not his game. I think his game is to be kind of a scrappy player and serve huge and fight with a lot of heart.

Q. Mats, when the draw was initially made for the Davis Cup, you guys were not too pleased that you weren't seeded. Do you think with your Australia win and your efforts here and how tight you played the Americans that you've proved your point?

CAPTAIN MATS WILANDER: I would think so, yeah (smiling). Yeah. I think Davis Cup is totally different. And hopefully by beating Australia and playing a pretty close match here, I think we've proven that it's one thing to be ranked No. 15 in the world in ATP ranking, and it's one thing to have played 25 singles and, you know, won most of them, and Davis Cup is two totally different things. I think they need to look at the record of the guys that are in the Davis Cup team, not just ATP rankings. But I'm sure they do, and I'm sure it was a close call this year. We could have lost to Australia easily and then they made the right decision.

Q. Did Roddick show you some mental toughness here at this tie that maybe you didn't think he had that much of?

CAPTAIN MATS WILANDER: No, I knew he had that. I saw the US Open last year, and I saw him in Key Biscayne. I knew he had that. I think he's now getting to the point where he's not the underdog in any situation at all, and he's able to win tennis matches and he's really hard to beat.

Q. Unusual for someone 21 years old to be that tough mentally?

CAPTAIN MATS WILANDER: Well, it's unusual for anyone to be No. 2 in the world; there's only one. So he's got to have something, yeah. I don't think you can teach that. I think you have it or you don't have it.

Q. Mental part of the game, you mean?

CAPTAIN MATS WILANDER: Yeah. I think you have that or you don't have that. I think he has it. I think Lleyton Hewitt has it. They play very similar styles. They're both 21 years old; 22, maybe Lleyton Hewitt. They have it, so...

Q. What is it, just nervelessness, that "There are not going to be any nerves out here. No matter what the situation is, I'm going to find my way out of it"?

CAPTAIN MATS WILANDER: I think he has more nerves and is more nervous than any normal player, but he knows how to deal with them. Being more nervous just means you care more. I think he proved that, especially against Thomas, that he really just, "I am not missing." That's what, you know, makes the difference right there, is he just cares. And I'm not saying he cares more, but something inside him tells him, "Hey, I'm not going to lose." He's got a pretty good serve, too, though (smiling).

End of FastScriptsâ?¦.

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