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March 22, 1996

Mats Wilander


JOE LYNCH: Mats was in the quarterfinals here last year. A little bit tougher today. The first question.

Q. How difficult is it for you to play right now in your situation, is it a normal situation, or not?

MATS WILANDER: I think that it doesn't really make any difference playing matches. It is harder before and after, but during the match, I don't think it makes any difference. I think playing the match is the only time you don't -- where you don't think about what is going on in the rest of your life, whether it's -- what's going on in my life or whatever else kind of problems you might have or good things in life. When you are playing a match as a tennis player, you are just focusing on what you are doing at the moment, so I don't think about it.

Q. Is this one of the reasons why you like so much playing matches?

MATS WILANDER: That's the reason I always like to play matches, yes, because it is not that easy to -- it is not easy to do something in life where you have the energy and the concentration to be able to focus for two hours in a row every second of those two hours on the same thing, I think.

Q. Have you ever had something else in your life that tennis has helped you get away from mentally?

MATS WILANDER: Well, I think, yeah, you mean, whatever-- whatever is happening in your life; whether it is good or bad, I think tennis is -- when you are playing a match I think you just step away, you step outside of your day-to-day life and you become a tennis player, competitive -- a competitor who doesn't really think what's happened five minutes before the match or afterwards.

Q. Can you think of any situation --

MATS WILANDER: I can think of about 100 different situations. Yeah, I'm not going to tell you any of them, but 100 bad ones and 100 good ones, whatever. I mean, whatever. I think whether you are happy outside the court, it doesn't necessarily help you play a good tennis match if you are sad or upset; it doesn't necessarily make you play a bad tennis match. I think that's what I like about playing, is you just focus.

Q. What's the situation? There is an appeal pending?

MATS WILANDER: Yes. We are going to appeal the court's decision and I believe it is going to happen some time next week.

Q. How much can you speak about the whole story?

MATS WILANDER: It depends what you ask me.

Q. What's your view on the story, on everything?

MATS WILANDER: What's my view on the story? Well, I think it's not fun for-- hopefully, it is not fun for them either. It definitely is not fun for us. At the same time, it is something you are going to have to go through and you are going to have to end it which ever way it is going to end. What else can I say? I mean, as you know, we are tennis players. We are not used to dealing with these kinds of things with lots of paperwork involved and lots of lawyers and things you can say and things you can't say. It is -- we are used to speaking our minds and thinking about it later and not thinking now. It is a little different. You can't spit out what you want to say. I think you have to wait. Eventually I think we will, but I think at the moment you have to be -- you have to have patience and things don't happen as quickly in this court as it does in the tennis court, so you have to just wait.

Q. Is there any real way you can defend yourself on something like that, seems like it would be kind of difficult?

MATS WILANDER: Is there any real way?

Q. Outside of saying, like you didn't do it, you know, concrete evidence, or --

MATS WILANDER: Well, I actually read an article this morning where it was said they don't have any proof that they didn't do it. I mean, how are you going to have proof to someone -- how are you going to prove that you didn't have a drink of water somewhere. That is pretty difficult to, you know, to have actual proof of that but, we can only say our minds and tell the truth and then we have to try and find the reason why it happened and where the mistake was made. That's why we are going through this whole process, to be able to get the information and to get everything cleared up so we can find the reason where -- or the mistake-- where the mistake was made. Unfortunately, we had to go through this whole process where the English court to be able to get that information from the other side, which should have been actually provided to us at the initial scheduled hearing in London in January, which it wasn't, so the only way we were going to get all the information which upon the result was based on, obviously, we need that information; otherwise, how are we going to prove our innocence? So it has taken this long to get there and hopefully that is going to happen.

Q. Karel yesterday said he was a little disappointed that no one from the official world of tennis even bothered to call him after being in the game so long saying, "did you do this or what was the story." Have you received any phone calls from the people you like --

MATS WILANDER: I haven't, no.

Q. Does that disappoint you or surprise you maybe the ATP or ITF or --

MATS WILANDER: I understand the ITF is officially in court. I can understand Brian Tobin called me up, no, I think -- I am also disappointed. I don't know what their response is. I heard somebody saying we are not going to comment until everything is cleared up, but, I mean, that's besides the point. I think the players union is there for the players and I think when somebody is having problems, whether they are good problems or bad problems, or whether they believe this story or that story, I think it is in their place to make sure that we personally are okay, than whether they -- their side or our side. That's their decision. But I think they are there for us. I don't think we should have to call them and ask them to please, you know, please help us out. I think they are there for us. They were put there because of us and, yes, it is disappointing for sure.

Q. Hasn't their role changed since the ATP Tour came about; they are not so much a union as they were before?

MATS WILANDER: I think they were supposed to be more of a union. I think they are less, unfortunately.

Q. You said a little to defend yourself, you can only tell the truth. What is your truth in this story?

MATS WILANDER: Is there another truth to the story?

Q. The truth is very --

MATS WILANDER: We deny allegations which the way the tests came out, which were positive and Karel and I are innocent of that. We deny the allegations. We are trying to prove our innocence, but it is -- as I said before, if somebody tells you that we have tested -- we've done these results in this way, we've used these drugs and blah, blah, blah, these are the results and we think you are guilty. Now, if we are going to prove our innocence, obviously, we need all the information which made those results. If you just get a paper which says you are guilty, how -- we can't find information that is not related to the testing procedure to prove that we are innocent. We need their information that they have tested; that they've done the tests on; that's the problem. Otherwise, it is our word against their word and that's, obviously, I think, not going to stand up in any court.

Q. I assume you have experts. What have they said is wrong with the testing procedure?

MATS WILANDER: Lots, lots. I can't give you specifics, but there is more wrong than right, for sure.

Q. Can you tell us who your experts are?

MATS WILANDER: I can tell you that we have an American lab, forensic lab expert, which I'm sure you have read in the papers. Actually everyone-- that is, we are working with the Americans, because this is where we live.

Q. How did the players react to this whole controversy?

MATS WILANDER: They haven't, really. They haven't really made any comments, I don't think. I think they just -- they ask you how you are, I mean, they do that anyway. Now whether they do it for a different reason, now, I am not sure, you know, it doesn't really make a difference to me. I don't think so. I think Karel and I are both very well liked and I don't think they really give a shit what happened or what's going to happen. I think they know we are good guys. I don't think they necessarily believe this way or that way. I think they all seem to be waiting for the end result, if they are waiting at all. I think the bottom line is they don't really care. It is not part of their life. I think -- I am sure they are not happy about all the press that it's getting and all the attention that it's getting. I think they should be lucky and happy that they are not in our position.

Q. You are a little concerned by the testing process because if you feel the testing process is not good, it would interest every one of them?

MATS WILANDER: That's what I am saying. That's why I think they should be happy and concerned that it is not them. It could happen to anyone, so, yeah, I think the process and the procedure where -- where the idea how they are handling it to think you can just -- I mean, you can look at the time frame. I mean, when was the testing done? It was done in June of 1995. It is now running up on April, '96; that's ten months. There is something seriously wrong with that, so -- which could be because it is apparently the first time that it's ever happened in a Grand Slam tournament where the ITF has been involved, so maybe their procedure -- or they have not tested before, I guess, maybe that's why it is taking a long time. I am not really sure. But I think it is way too long.

Q. The reactions at Piedmont, people have believed you there mostly?

MATS WILANDER: I think people -- I mean, I don't know. First of all, I don't -- I haven't been in Sweden since because I don't live in Sweden. There has been no tournaments there, so I don't go back there. I know there has been -- the press has been following, obviously, every day pretty much. I think that the press guys are -- I know most of them as friends before I know them as reporters, so I think they obviously find it hard to believe if I say that this is the way that it is, then I think they believe it. That's the way it is. But at this same time, they have to report what's been said and decided by a different body, like the English high court and whatever, so I think they are just reporting what's happening. I don't think they are on their side or on our side, so I don't know if they have been good to me or not. Under the circumstances, I guess they have been pretty good. If people believe that -- believe our story or believe the test results, I am not really sure. I don't know. I mean, I can't comment on that. That is up to each individual. I think it is going to change. I know my friends and family, obviously, believe us. Apart from that, I don't think we really care. Apart from that, I don't think we really care what people really think. We know what happened and we are just trying to clear it up and the whole thing. I mean, we are healthy, happy people and this is just a small little problem in our life that we have to sort through, so it is no sense to --

Q. What do you think your chances are of actually winning out on an issue like this that you really can't deliver concrete evidence possibly?

MATS WILANDER: Well, what do I think my chances are? I think if I look on the evidence that we have and all the proof we have, I think the chances are very good, but I am not sure that's enough. I mean, this is a private organization where obviously they decide; they call the shots and they decide what's happening and I am not sure how powerful they are when it comes to the whole procedure. Hopefully not too powerful and hopefully we get a fair chance at the end. So far I don't think we have it, a fair chance, but I think that's what we are working towards and maybe through these -- these court hearings and appeals, whatever, maybe we will get to the point that we feel, well, now we actually have a fair chance and we have been provided with everything that we need to be able to prove we didn't do it, but up to this point, ITF have the big guns and we don't, I guess. It's their tournament, or whatever. I hope they just can't do what they want to do. That is what we are hoping and that there is a fairness to the whole thing, which I hope and I believe that there is at the end. I think we are just trying to establish how everything is supposed to be done, whatever. Eventually, I think both sides are going to sit down and hopefully we will solve it in a quiet manner and an adult manner.

Q. I think you are one of the players -- when the players decided to get drug testing?


Q. Do you regret to have that now?

MATS WILANDER: Why should I regret it?

Q. Because you are involved in such kind of thing.

MATS WILANDER: No, of course not, of course not. I was involved in the -- when they came up and said that -- somebody suggested we should have doping test because it is good for the image of the game to be able to show that it is a clean game and that nobody is using social drugs. I mean, the main thing is steroids, I think, or performance enhancing drugs, and that's basically what I was part of deciding. I think it is good. I think it is good. I think it's the process of how you determine if they are guilty or not, and the whole procedure, I suppose it had to be tested once the whole procedure -- and that's the problem, it hasn't been, at least their procedure and now it has been so -- so hopefully, this case will set the standards for whoever is next in line; whether there will ever be anyone next in line and hopefully the whole thing will be solved much quicker and in a better way, in a smoother way than this has been.

JOE LYNCH: Anything else for Mats?

Q. How is your business going with Global Caps? Have the allegations affected that business at all?

MATS WILANDER: No, it hasn't. The business is going very well. We are selling more caps than ever and to answer your question, more, it is another thing, I don't find that any companies, any tournaments, anyone involved in the tennis business has so far stopped me from doing anything. I don't find that they are treating me in a different way, or anything yet. Maybe eventually they will, who knows, but, no, I don't find -- I find that everybody is very positive and helpful and I think they just wish me the best and they want to help you out as long as they possibly can, so, no, I don't, I don't think it hurt me in that way, no, my image hasn't been hurt.

Q. If your appeal is denied, what will be the following process, the ITF Committee will be judging the case and then you sue them, or --

MATS WILANDER: Well, if, let's say, our appeal is denied, then the ITF is going to schedule their hearing again for the second time and hopefully that will be some time when we have a chance to -- both of us go to it. We are not playing a tournament. We don't have to alter our schedule too much, if we do, then hopefully they don't cancel; we can actually go through with it this time. Hopefully, our appeal will not be denied and hopefully we will win the appeal. If we don't, then the next step, I guess, we have to go to them and hope the panel will listen to both sides.

Q. You can still sue them or you will still during the hearing of the ITF --

MATS WILANDER: I guess you can always sue them, yes, but I don't know, we are not thinking along those lines yet. I think all we are trying to do is get to the point where we can sit down with them and lay out everything; feel like we have received all the information and evidence that we need; put it on the table and say, this is what happened, this is our story and then they give their story; then the panel can decide which of the ways is right or wrong and hopefully, as I said before, it will be solved easily and smoothly, you know, whichever way. After all that, then we have to decide if we are going to sue them. At the moment I don't think -- I think we are not more upset with the idea as much as disappointed that it's taking so long. It has been such a hassle and everything is such a problem, so I don't think we got to the point where we are really angry and we feel we are going to sue them for money and all this. I believe in the U.S. you don't have to be angry and upset to sue somebody. You sue your best friends. In Sweden the thinking is a little different. At the moment, no, we just want to have, you know, a clear, clear, hearing and a fair chance. After everything is over, I don't know, we'll see.

Q. Do you know what you would do if you would be suspended for three months, continue playing or --

MATS WILANDER: Well, I don't know, I am not sure. I guess I have to be playing exhibitions for three months, I don't know.

Q. Are you more upset about the fact that the results of this so-called positive test were revealed or the testing process itself or was it a combination, because it is supposed to be a confidential test and the results?

MATS WILANDER: Well, I think first of all, we are mostly upset about the fact that the tests are positive. That is obviously the most upsetting thing. Then the fact that we are denying everything and then it leaks out in the newspaper. That is, obviously, then becoming as upsetting, but, I mean, the second step doesn't happen without the first step, so the first step is what is really upsetting. The fact is that it was leaked to the media. I don't know how it got leaked to the media. I mean, I hope it was good journalism rather than poor judgment by anyone involved in the case.

Q. Can you talk about your goals on the court? The sport, are you relaxed? Enjoying winning? What does it mean to you?

MATS WILANDER: Everything you said. I mean, I like to play. It is not really relaxing. I think it is very -- it is exciting and you get very tense when you play matches and you get an adrenaline kick from being involved in close matches and close points, close rallies, whatever it is, it is just great to be able to do something at such a high standard because I think most probably for the rest of my life, or -- it won't be easy for me to do something at such a high standard as I am able to play tennis- some days; not every day, but some days and I think if you are able to do that, I think sometimes you don't enjoy it, but deep down, I think you are going to miss it if you quit before you actually should quit; that's why I am not quitting. I like to play and like to compete.

Q. How about the music today?

MATS WILANDER: The music hasn't moved, I haven't done anything with that. I haven't done anything with that. I don't have time for that really, with two kids and tennis.

Q. What do you think of the way Stefan Edberg, his farewell tour around the world with you, what's your feeling about that?

MATS WILANDER: What's my feeling about that? Well, I think -- I don't think I have a right to express my opinion about his way of designing how to quit playing tennis. I would never do it myself, but that's the way he wants to do it, so -- for me I know when I am quitting, I am going to quit now, right now within ten seconds and not within 12 months. I think tennis for me is not a matter -- it is not a job, it is not -- it is an emotional thing and it is a passion and I think once you lose the fire, you lose the fire and I cannot see myself playing having decided in my head that I am going to quit in a year because what happens if you enjoy it in six months or suddenly start playing great or if you play shitty in a week, there are so many options. This is the way he has decided to do it and it is not the way I would do it, so -- I think -- for him it is good, he is going out in style. He is great for the sport. Everybody, I suppose, is giving him his last good-byes on the tour and the fans have a chance to come out and appreciate the last time, you know, in a professional tournament, whatever. In a way, I think he is treating his fans and everybody else better than if he would have quit just like that. I am not sure he is treating himself that fairly by doing that, but obviously that's his problem, or -- well, obviously it is not a problem for him, his decision.

JOE LYNCH: Anything else? Thank you.

End of FastScripts....

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