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September 1, 1993

Mats Wilander


MR. FINN: We are going to start in English first, please.

Q. Mats, when you were talking about playing team tennis, you said that you had no problems playing a set, but anything longer would tax you mentally. You might not be able to do it. What are you thinking now?

MATS WILANDER: No, I was little surprised today, I had actually-- didn't feel that tired, and it wasn't really worrying me to lose the third set either because I didn't think I have a problem. But the matches that I have played before in New Haven and Schenectady, I got a little bit tired quite early in matches, but today, it felt pretty good.

Q. Very nice to see you back, I was glad to talk to you during the match. Are you back; are you just having a lark, what is going on?

MATS WILANDER: I don't know. I just -- just like to play these local tournaments. As long as you can drive there it is fine with me. I don't know, I thought I was playing pretty good in team tennis and it is-- actually playing local tournaments is a joke, but not really as well. I don't know if I would if the French Open was now, I don't think I would have gone there to play, you know, I think here it is so convenient, you can stay at home and practice. I have a court at home, practice as much as you want on the same surface and I don't know, just fun to hang around this tournament and if you get a chance to play as well, then, yeah, I will take it.

Q. How long has it been since you have won a match in a Grand Slam?

MATS WILANDER: I won a match in my last Grand Slam actually at the French, whenever it was, '91, I think.

Q. Do you still consider yourself like a pro?

MATS WILANDER: Do I consider myself a pro?

Q. Like a pro player playing so -- not so often anymore?

MATS WILANDER: I don't know. I have a green card so they don't have to ask me that question anymore to fill it out. Yeah, I mean, I play team tennis and I feel like, obviously, like a pro player, yeah.

Q. Just when they call your language a leap haber (Phonetic), someone who just enjoys being out there? That is German.

MATS WILANDER: I enjoy it. It is a little bit different from playing before. You know, and unfortunately in tennis there is not a second division, like it is in-- like there is in soccer or our soccer in Sweden where you play at the highest level then you can step down and still play a pretty good level but you just don't play with the best but you can still play, play matches every week. In tennis, it is either or. You got to commit yourself to the tour or you have to have one Grand Slam so you can get wildcards otherwise there is no in between really. It is either 14, 15 tournaments a year or none. So that is a bit of a problem for me because I like to play some tournaments a year, but I don't want to travel for 30 weeks a year yet.

Q. What happened with Oncins just before the end of the game?

MATS WILANDER: What do you mean?

Q. Well, was it out or not?

MATS WILANDER: I guess it was. I am not sure, makes no difference to me.

Q. You seem like a different kind of player than when we saw a few years ago, more aggressive; taking more chances; more emotional on the court. Is that just maturity, in terms of the way you play, because, you know, you are not going to want to stay out there just hitting balls?

MATS WILANDER: I think my attitude today was that I was going to try to stay pretty relaxed and not tense up too much because when I do, I get pretty tired, and I am not able to focus for however long the match was anymore. I used to be able to do that. When physically you are 100% fit and you don't have to worry about anything but to get the ball over the net. I have to worry about that, and also I don't want to get into the same kind of rallies that I used to because I know I am not going to outlast these guys anymore. I think that is -- it is a bit of intention that I am trying just to stay relaxed.

Q. Would you just go over again why you cutback after you won here and seemed to not really play that much anymore; why did you do that?

MATS WILANDER: Because I couldn't think of anything more boring than playing tennis at that time and I didn't enjoy travelling and-- I don't know, I had-- I didn't feel like I was playing for the right reasons anymore. I was just playing because I was ranked one and I just kept playing and I just kept travelling because you are making money and because you are a professional tennis player, but I didn't start playing tennis like that and I don't want to end up playing tennis like that. So that is why.

Q. When did you decide to play in this tournament?

MATS WILANDER: We asked for a wildcard, three, four weeks ago, maybe. I decided to play New Haven and Schenectady and here and asked for wildcards in all three.

Q. You said a month and a half ago; this is not a comeback like Bjorn Borg; changed your mind about that or can your mind be changed if you have more success?

MATS WILANDER: What is a comeback like Borg; what does that comeback mean?

Q. Try to be in the top 10?

MATS WILANDER: That is not on my mind at all, no. I have no idea if it will be in a year's time, but now it is last thing I'm thinking about is to get back on the tour and play 35 or 30 weeks a year. But I am not saying that it is impossible that it will happen, but this is not -- I don't know. I hate the word comeback. I mean, just taking a few years off doesn't mean that you are going to come back to No. 1. I am just playing because I enjoy it. If I can win matches, good, then, yeah, I think I feel the same way Connors felt, just that I am 15 years younger than him.

Q. When you were 10-All, 13-All, in that third set tiebreak; did you feel like now I am playing for the right reasons?

MATS WILANDER: Yeah. Yeah. I mean, I love to compete. There is no -- I love to compete and I love to win and I hate to lose. It doesn't make such a big difference anymore now compared to before, so yeah, I was enjoying every moment. It is a bit frustrating when you can't win the match because obviously it is more fun to win it. But, no, I have a different attitude.

Q. Is it possible that you might wildcard your way around and play six to seven tournaments a year?

MATS WILANDER: It is pock, yeah. Yeah, it is possible.

Q. Without worrying about rankings or anything like that?

MATS WILANDER: Yeah, well that -- yeah. I mean, that is the way you are going to have to do it if you want to play but still not play completely on the tour.

Q. Can you tell us a few of the things that you have been doing when you haven't been playing that you have enjoyed to have a good time?

MATS WILANDER: I don't know, I can't really think of anything. I just been playing a little golf and producing a baby and that is all, really. Just stay home.

Q. Service game, your game all-around seems so much stronger than it had in recent weeks. How aggressively are you working on improving things, on your service, no doublefaults, had about nine aces?

MATS WILANDER: I haven't really been working on it that hard, but I changed rackets about five days before the tournament started and it made a big difference. I get a lot more power suddenly, and I can even hit winners, and even off my serve, I used to have a decent serve and with a racket that is powerful as the one I am using now, then I also get aces and that is what I need.

Q. What kind of racket change did you make?

MATS WILANDER: I used to play with Rossignol. Now I changed to a Wilson.

Q. You say you came to this match today on your own terms. I mean, when is the last time you enjoyed a Grand Slam match as much as this one; has it been a while, and do you remember back when you actually enjoyed it?

MATS WILANDER: I don't know. It is -- it is impossible to compare. It is like comparing winning the French Open at 17 or winning the U.S. Open and becoming number one. It is two different feelings. I don't know; before, I think it is -- it is more of a satisfaction when you play really well because you work so hard to achieve something and to play 100%. Today, I don't know, I have -- I don't have much of a clue at what really happens when I play compared to before. So it is just -- it is a thrill every time that I hit a good shot, I think, compared to before.

Q. If you were interested in devoting yourself full-time to tennis again, how good do you think you could be or how far do you think you could go?

MATS WILANDER: I don't know. I think it is impossible to say because to get-- if I would start to play again, I would play a little more aggressive like I did today, I think, and I have never played like that before, so I don't know where that will take me. But I have realized that if I play as good as I did in '88, I would have trouble beating all these guys, because there are so many good guys these days that do play or that can just blow you off the court and you don't even have a chance to play anymore. So -- yeah, I don't know.

Q. Do you have any regrets having started so young on the pro tour, do you think you would have a different perspective now about the sport if you had started couple of years later? You were 16, I think, when you started?

MATS WILANDER: Yeah, I think I would have had a different perspective. I think it is harder to get good if you are-- if you start professionally when you are 19, 20 than if you start at 16 because by the time you have learned everything; by the time you have reached the peak of your game, you are already 25, 26; then you are running out of time. So I think that I am happy that I started early; I would have changed everything if I started later for sure.

Q. Do you wish you had started somewhat later?

MATS WILANDER: No. I am happy as happy as can be.

Q. Mats, you won in 1988, which really when looking at your career seemed to be the end there. You were on a little longer. When did the thrill go out of it?

MATS WILANDER: Yeah, I think my -- I didn't feel like playing much after 88, I must say.

Q. About there.

MATS WILANDER: Yeah. It was just working for so many years and working so hard to achieve something and I wasn't ready to stay there, you know, I wasn't ready to keep working that hard to stay there and with the only possibility to move down rather than up, it is not -- it is much more fun to try and get there than when you actually get there and I just wasn't ready to -- I think it took me too long to get there. I think if it happens to you when you are really young and you become No. 1 you are used to be in the position I think like it happened to Courier, he went to No. 1 pretty much straight-a-way. Now I think he is used to be there. One week he is 1, then 2. It is a different thing for me. It was a very long road eventually I got there and the balloon exploded.

Q. Mats, how far would you like to advance to be satisfied? How far would you like to advance in this tournament so that you will be satisfied?

MATS WILANDER: I don't know. I hopefully going to play my countryman Pernfors in the next round and that is satisfaction for me.

Q. Thank you.

End of FastScripts....

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