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August 27, 1997

Jimy Szymanski

1996 U.S. OPEN CHAMPIONSHIP, Flushing Meadows, New York


Q. Can you tell us where you were when you found out, what you were doing, what you did to prepare to play this morning?

JIMY SZYMANSKI: It was pretty exciting for me because I was in the last round of qualifying. I was lucky loser No. 5. I didn't know when I get in today, especially against Sampras. It was pretty nice to me. Take me like a little bit as a surprise. I was sitting in the players' lounge waiting. They called me. I had like 10 or 15 minutes to prepare to the match. But it was a good experience.

Q. Did you go out and hit balls for ten minutes?

JIMY SZYMANSKI: Before the match, I warm up like 15 minutes. It's difficult in that position because you never know when you're going to play. Have you to be ready at any time. You are the lucky loser. But it was very exciting.

Q. How do you prepare in your head when you have 15 minutes before you play Sampras?

JIMY SZYMANSKI: Well, I think if I would have had three hours, also I would want to play a little bit nervous. I was a little bit nervous at the beginning of the match. As soon as the match starts and I get in a little bit better.

Q. Do you think because you were told so close to it that maybe you didn't get as nervous because you might have had three hours to think about it?

JIMY SZYMANSKI: First time that I play against a player like that. First time in the stadium court. It's difficult. I've been playing all my last two years challengers, some ATP Tours. I'm starting to play well now. My ranking is 160 right now. It's different, this level, this level of play.

Q. Was there a point where you were able to kind of just forget who you were playing, that you were in stadium court today, and you just were playing a tennis match?

JIMY SZYMANSKI: Yeah, yeah, that's right. When I won the first game in the match, when it was 5-Love, I won my serve, then I started to play much better.

Q. Did you get a chance to have breakfast today?

JIMY SZYMANSKI: Yeah, of course. I prepared to play a match. I didn't know which one I was supposed to play.

Q. What time did you get here?

JIMY SZYMANSKI: I got here at 9 o'clock.

Q. And you have to go through the motions of believing you're going to play today, no matter what?


Q. When you got here today, you had to do the things you would have to do to play even though you didn't know you were playing?

JIMY SZYMANSKI: That's right. That's right.

Q. When you play a guy like that in center court, do you ever tell yourself, "I don't want to look bad"? Is that the first thing?

JIMY SZYMANSKI: No. I tried my best, and that's what I did. He played very good, so I couldn't do anything today better than that, but I tried hard, I tried hard.

Q. You have a very popular Polish name. Do you have Polish descent?

JIMY SZYMANSKI: Yeah, my father is Polish. He was born in Germany, but their parents are from Poland.

Q. Do you speak Polish?

JIMY SZYMANSKI: No. (says"no" in Polish) (laughter).

Q. Where were you in the lounge and what were you doing when you heard the news and who told you?

JIMY SZYMANSKI: I was talking about a friend. I was telling him that I was one out, first lucky loser. They announce my name. My heart started like boom, boom, boom, very hard. I didn't know I was going to get in. Five persons pulled out of the tournament already. In my case, it was very difficult to get in. I was lucky loser No. 5. Yesterday I find out that I was lucky loser No. 1. When they called me, I was a little bit nervous.

Q. Did you find Daniel Scotti, your coach?

JIMY SZYMANSKI: I didn't find him. He told me, "I'm going to see some matches." He found out I was playing in central court.

Q. You were on the court already when he came?

JIMY SZYMANSKI: Yes, he was on the court.

Q. When did you find out you were playing Sampras?


Q. When they told you you were going to be playing, did you know instantly you were going to be playing Sampras?


Q. Is he every bit as good as you thought he was? What's it like? You've probably seen him on TV, tournaments. What's it like being on the other side of the net with a guy with that kind of ability?

JIMY SZYMANSKI: He's the No. 1 in the world, so you can see he also make unforced errors. He has a lot of control, big serve. It's different. It's different between us and him. There's a lot of difference.

Q. Were you happy to get to play him, just for the chance to play Pete Sampras, or would you have preferred to play somebody a little less intimidating?

JIMY SZYMANSKI: I've been playing some good tournaments this year against good players. Three months ago I had a victory against Mantilla, right now 16 or something. I was happy, very happy to play him here. I tried hard. Of course, I tried to win the game. I knew it was going to be a little bit hard.

Q. At some point during the match, do you say to yourself, "I'm not going to win, but I'm not going to get embarrassed"?

JIMY SZYMANSKI: No, I don't say that. I just play point by point. That was the only thing that I did.

Q. Is there some other tournament, by staying here and signing in as a lucky loser, was there something you were giving up by doing that? Could you have gone some other place to play this week instead of playing here?

JIMY SZYMANSKI: I'm going to Aruba Challenger in the Caribbean.

Q. Nothing this week?

JIMY SZYMANSKI: Nothing. You just can play one tournament each week. You cannot play two tournaments.

Q. Was there a challenger tournament this week you could have played in rather than stay around here?

JIMY SZYMANSKI: No, no, no. I couldn't because I was playing the qualifying, so it's part of this week.

End of FastScripts….

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