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June 13, 2016

Richard Krajicek

Birmingham, England

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. Does 20 years ago seem a long time?
RICHARD KRAJICEK: Well, it is a long time but it doesn't feel like it. It's like, wow, incredible because I remember when I first -- my first Wimbledon was '91, I think, and it was only 11 years ago that Borg won his last Wimbledon, and that felt like unbelievable long time. So guys who just started now at Wimbledon I must be ancient, because the people who won in the '70s, that's like the Czech, Jan Kodes, won. So that was how it was, and I don't even remember those guys almost.

So I feel really old if I think about that. But for me, it's so vivid, the memory. It doesn't feel like that long ago.

Q. Was there a streaker?
RICHARD KRAJICEK: Yeah. Yeah, I'm not that old. I remember that one. (Laughter.) And I was lucky, you know. There have been two streakers at Wimbledon. One was male and I had the female one. So that was good. (Laughter.)

Q. I remember reading somewhere weather had been bad and you practiced indoors a lot that year?
RICHARD KRAJICEK: Yeah, but also I start to play on purpose on other surfaces, on hard court, if possible. And, yeah, two things I didn't like about grass court tennis. One was moving I thought was difficult, and I remedied that. A friend of mine, one of my -- not coaches but more physical, my physiotherapist, said maybe you should do some karate. You learn how to fall and roll, because I was afraid to slip and fall.

And the other thing was I had no rhythm. Of course my game was not really a lot of rhythm but still I would like to hit the balls sometimes. On grass every day I felt like I was the worst player, and then I read that Agassi, when he won Wimbledon in '91 -- '92? I think that he practiced basically only -- he never practiced on grass, or hardly. I thought I'm going to do that. 20, 30 minutes on hard court, I felt like I'm playing good again.

So I tried, actually every day off I tried to practice on the hard court. And I went -- there is a little park close by behind the golf course there, and really -- really not great courts. But that was good enough for me. I hit on those sometimes or somewhere else. Yeah, it was really -- that was important.

Q. Have you recommended either of these tactics to Stan?
RICHARD KRAJICEK: The courts here are so good, so it's almost like playing on hard court. When I played early '90s, the courts were still not that great in Rosmalen where I played, and now they are much better there also.

So I said, you know, one, if they don't feel like you're hitting the ball well, then we can hit on hard court, but the good thing is we have the British summer so we have hit two days on hard court already. So it is an idea, yeah, to do it. But at the moment it's not necessary. Actually, we're looking for time on the grass would be nice.

Q. And karate?
RICHARD KRAJICEK: I did it for a while. And to Stan, no, he's not afraid to fall. That's only for people who are like me that you run and walk unnatural on the grass. Yeah.

Q. For the game he has, why do you think Stan is underachieved in grass in his career till now?
RICHARD KRAJICEK: Do you think that?

Q. Yeah.
RICHARD KRAJICEK: Yeah, I mean, last year was one or two points away from making semis. I mean, he was really close. I remember that 5-All in the fifth, Love-30, Gasquet came out with the most incredible volley to not go down Love-40, triple break point. Yeah, there are some really good players on grass. He's lost to Roger I think twice. Gasquet played an incredible tournament.

Yeah, sometimes you feel better on other surfaces, and it can go very quick on grass. I mean, not only the game but somehow you lose three games and it's like, What happened?

Yeah, I think it's a bit of, yeah, feeling at home on the grass. I think he plays very well. I have seen him play great matches already. Also when he lost last year to Gasquet. I think he's got the game for it.

And why? I don't know. Last year he came off of the French Open. Maybe a bit tired. Maybe that was his moment to go to the semis or do better.

Yeah, sometimes also you don't know. You prepare well, you feel well, hitting the ball well. You can still lose. I mean, I remember that I have also left Wimbledon, it was actually not a bad tournament and I lost in the third or fourth round.

Q. Why do you think Lendl and Murray - I don't know if you have any inside information or from your view - why do you think Lendl and Murray, when they first worked together, why was that such a good match?
RICHARD KRAJICEK: I don't have any inside information, but if you look at the outside, a little bit what you know from Ivan, Lendl was a really hard worker and Murray is that, as well. So there was a good match.

And I think Lendl, it took a long time for him to win his first major. A lot of time -- at one stage people didn't believe he could ever win a major, and then he was down against McEnroe in the French Open, and like, Oh, here we go again, he's not going to do it. Then he did that, he overcame it, and he had incredible career.

And with Murray, had a few very good results, couple finals I think in Grand Slam, and maybe in the press and also himself start to believe, like, am I ever going to win a Grand Slam? From a lot of point of views, I think they were a great match.

I don't know what Lendl said to him, but apparently he really started to believe. He had a great run -- actually when he lost the final to Federer but of course then he wins Olympics and beats Novak twice in the final of a Grand Slam, since then he's had a couple of finals but for different reasons maybe didn't make it. I think French he played very well this year. But I think he was a bit tired. I mean, he played five hours more before the final, and I think you saw that a little bit in the match. At least that's the feeling I have.

I think they are a great match, and I think it's very smart that they work again.

Q. You're now construed as a celebrity coach. So is Ivan. What do you think you guys -- because it didn't really happen in your day, did it? What do you think you guys can bring to the table?
RICHARD KRAJICEK: I think the only one was Tony Roche, I think with Lendl, was the only really former top player that worked with someone. Sometimes you visited a top player. I remember, the beginning of my career, I went to Emerson for ten days to work on my slice backhand. But nowadays you have a lot of these, you know, former players just to add.

I got a call from Magnus Norman on Wednesday, and so like to add -- like with Becker, it can be a little bit extra confidence. Sometimes you can give a little strategy on how to play on the surface or maybe that you recognize certain difficulties, things that happen. Maybe, like I said, maybe that happened with Murray and Lendl. Okay, took me a while to win the first Grand Slam but doesn't mean that if on the first or second try you don't make it doesn't mean you're not going to be a great champion.

Yeah, I think it can be a combination of things. It can be sometimes a little bit technically, also. I think that Roger's forehand volley improved a lot since he was with Edberg. I think other things on how to play the game or how to approach the game -- Boris has done an incredible job. Somehow Novak lost a lot of finals I think just before they started working together, I think four out of five Grand Slam finals, and now he's unbeatable.

If you look at Boris and Novak, in a way, game-wise, and maybe in a lot of other things, pretty much opposite, but it works.

So it's different things you bring to the table, and it's up to the coach what he wants to, what he all can say or bring to the table and also up to the player how much he wants to absorb.

Q. Your relationship with Stan, is it just for the grass court season for the moment, or do you see it extending beyond that?
RICHARD KRAJICEK: It's only for grass court season. I was a bit looking already for the grass court season, and my goal is to, after US Open, to try to work with a player for about 18 or 20 weeks.

So I don't know which player that's gonna be. Maybe also few more weeks with Stan, I have no idea. But this Thursday actually is a big day for us at home because both my kids will hear if they finish their school. Because if they don't finish, then I won't be coaching after the grass, because then I have to wait another year because then they are home for one more year. And if they both pass the exams, then, yeah, that is something I want to do, the coaching profession here.

Q. Is it because you have seen what happens with Becker, with Lendl, with Chang, has that encouraged you to go into it?
RICHARD KRAJICEK: No. It's nice to see, but actually when I retired, some people asked, What do you want to do? I said, Look, I'm tournament director now because I like to stay close to tennis, but if my kids leave the house, then I want to work with a player.

So I already said it like -- I already had it in my head like, when was it, 2003 I retired, so 13 years ago. But now actually it somehow caught up last couple years because so many coaches. Somebody say, Oh, you're also one of those? Yeah, it's true, but I already had this in my head.

I know former players that I know, totally different, but I always wanted to stay in tennis. That's the place I know and the place I love the most. And this would be great if I can continue in this profession but we'll see. If Stan plays terrible, everybody thinks, Oh, we're not gonna work with this guy. So we'll have to wait and see.

Q. You said that Magnus contacted you just recently. Did it come as a surprise that you were contacted? How long did it take you to make up your mind?
RICHARD KRAJICEK: Yeah, it was totally a surprise that I was contacted. Like I said, I was looking a little bit for grass, talking to one or two other players. Then I thought, I said to my wife, Look, I don't think it's gonna happen for the grass this year because now it's too late. I thought during the French maybe one or two players, but then suddenly Magnus called and that's why I could make such a quick decision, also, because I already had, like I made time free for this period.

Yeah, it was a really nice surprise, also that Magnus called, because then you know the main coach is totally behind it, as well. It was a very nice conversation. Also talked to Stan first -- not before Magnus but before I made decision.

So, yeah, it was -- yeah, it was a quick one, because on Wednesday afternoon he called. Thursday evening we were agreed upon everything. Then Friday morning at 7:00 a.m. I was in the plane. Because once he said maybe I come beginning of next, like now, today, tomorrow, I said, No, no. Let's do it as quick as possible, because it's short time while you are on the grass. So let's try to work as quick as possible.

Q. What did Stan say to convince you it would be a good match?
RICHARD KRAJICEK: It was also about what Magnus said, he says, Look, we want some extra help on the grass and Stan is really open for it. So also Stan said a little bit same thing, yeah, that he has a feeling that I can add to his game and that it's the only Grand Slam he never made semifinal.

So, yeah, when somebody is ambitious and he's got the huge game -- I saw last year, you know, I don't know if "unlucky" is the right word, but last year he could've/should've made semifinals, so he has the tools of course to beat anybody and to hit anybody off the court like he did even on clay last year with Novak. Yeah, he's got such a huge game.

Yeah, it was his ambition and also just the talent he has or however you want to call it, the ability he has to do, to really improve on his game. But the most important was he was open and he really wanted -- he was ambitious to do well.

Q. Do you think you might win the Tournament of the Super Coaches?
RICHARD KRAJICEK: Well, let's see. Who's there? Chang is pretty -- the only thing that matters is how fit somebody is, how well they run. There's one or two guys I think I'm fitter, but Chang is in good shape, so it will be tough against him. Maybe on grass -- actually, we are on grass now so I can still outserve him a little bit. That's good.

Q. Who would you beat? Lendl?
RICHARD KRAJICEK: Lendl would be -- I think I would, yeah, yeah. I think Boris...(laughter).

And Lendl will be a close match, but I think Chang -- I think Chang is the best of, at least -- that's the only four I know. Are there any -- Goran? Oh, no. No chance. He kills me all the time. Goran, I forgot him. Goran is the best one, especially on grass. He's the No. 1.

Ljubicic? I don't know how much -- you know who plays unbelievable but on grass is not dangerous is Bruguera, Sergi. He probably would win the clay court version and Goran would win the grass court version.

Q. Do you think Lendl's appointment might be the difference of Andy winning Wimbledon and not winning Wimbledon?
RICHARD KRAJICEK: Yeah, could well be. Because he was so close at the French and he just needs a little bit more -- maybe Lendl, just having him there, maybe if he would not say anything for next couple of weeks, just sit there, maybe that's the last thing he needs. I don't know. Because he was a bit tired, but in the end of the fourth, I mean, if he makes 5-All, I don't know. It would be interesting still.

So it's really close. And I think he also believes that or he would not ask him to come back, I think. Yeah, it is a good -- it's a probability. Yeah.

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