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March 22, 2017

Tommy Haas

Miami, Florida


6-7, 6-3, 7-5

Q. (In progress.)... kid at Bollettieri's, and by the end you looked like that tournament director a few days ago. How did you feel? It was a high-quality match I thought.
TOMMY HAAS: Yeah, I thought so, too. The mindset obviously was to go out there, compete as hard as I can, and try to win the match, just like every other time.

And I came close. It's one of those matches, again, this is only my third match of the year, so the year has been very different for me from a professional athlete point of view.

I came close in Delray and I came close here again. It's frustrating to lose those kinds of matches. Would love to get over the hump. At the same time, everyone is out there to compete, and came down to a few points here and there.

Definitely feeling it right now due to the fact that I wasn't as prepared as I would like to be coming here.

Again, when you look at all these aspects, which in the end doesn't matter, because you go out there, either as the winner or loser you leave the court, it doesn't matter.

But overall very pleased with how I played.

Q. One quick follow up. 4-4 in the third. Really tough, grueling game and you held for 5-4. Seemed to gas you a little bit.
TOMMY HAAS: Actually what gassed me more was the next game I felt like at 4-5, for me, 15-30, you know, I had a passing shot that I can make. When you're so close to the finish line, you start to -- your brain starts to go in different directions, especially when you want it really bad. Didn't make that pass.

Next rally was actually a really good rally from both sides, and I came up short on that one. I thought for sure that I could have won that point maybe twice already. He came up with some good answers. Got to give him credit for that. He gave that gassed me a lot, that game basically.

Yeah, then he served well as well serving the match out, so he deserved it in the end.

Q. I wanted to ask about the iguana. I'm assuming that is a first, an iguana during the match. Can you talk about that? You took a picture with it. Tell us when you went through. When did you first notice it?
TOMMY HAAS: I don't know. Maybe the iguana got the note that this is most likely the last time playing here, and he wanted to say hi and take a peek or something. I don't know, but it was pretty cool. Of that size, I don't think I've ever experienced that, yeah.

I don't know where he came from and why he wanted to come out on Court 1 and kind of say hello to everyone, but, yeah, the main reason was then to try to get him safely away gray there. That was really my main concern at the end. I think at one point the people were just trying to see if we can just get him off the scoreboard, but then he made an appearance and ran up and down the court as well back to the other scoreboard.

So it was fun. I thought that's an interesting picture to take. Again, I don't think it'll ever happen again, to be honest, especially in my career, because it's almost over anyway.

It's nice for him to stop by. Good looking iguana.

Q. With the last months coming up, how do you look at the end of your career? Is it maybe relief? Maybe sad? Maybe both?
TOMMY HAAS: I think a lot of everything. You know, I think when you have done something for so long, you don't really know when it's going to be your time maybe to go -- which I still don't know exactly when that's going to be, the time, which tournament it might be. That's not really in my head right now.

My main concern right now still is to try to get as fit as I possibly can and play still at a very high level. At times I feel like I'm still competing and playing at a very high level.

The consistency is not quite there yet to maybe take it to the next level. But that's the goal: to get to a point where I feel like I'm giving it my very best on and off the court to get to that level again.

I'm looking forward now to the next few months. That's what I've kind of had in mind even at the end of last year when I was trying to get healthy again, is to play the clay court and grass court season one more time, and then we'll see what happens after that.

That's going to be a couple tournaments now back to back, and the grass court season would be some back to back. That'll be something I hope to be in good shape and compete hard.

Q. You were tournament director at Indian Wells, which is one, if not the, biggest tournament after the Grand Slams. Here in Miami some players are complaining about the structure, that the tournament is not growing a lot of years. You've played a lot here, too. How do you see this event, situation of this event, especially coming after Indian Wells, about structure-wise and for player condition?
TOMMY HAAS: Yeah, well, I mean, I came to Florida back in '91. When I first arrived here at this tournament it was '92 or '93. At that time it was always the biggest tournament after the Grand Slams. The Lipton it was called, and it was just basically around the corner from where I grew up playing. So I've had a really close relationship with this event.

Unfortunately, just hasn't been able to grow. Unfortunately there is not much that has been done in many, many years now, and like everything in life, you have to progress and you have to sort of step it up at times and give the players and fans and sponsors what they want as well.

We are sort of like the benchmark I think of what is possible in what we are trying to do for the love of the game. I don't know the exact situation. You hear many different things about the people that gave the land, they don't want people to build more here, to expand the event, to build permanent stadiums.

So I needs to look at that first and know exactly what's going on. I hear other stories. People are trying to investment. Maybe they are going to move the event at some point, which would be sad. I think this is a great spot. I think people love coming here.

Just hope for the best, and I am going to try to help out as a much as I can to make sure that this tournament also and blossoms again and gets what it deserves.

Q. In general, what's the experience like being tournament director in Indian Wells, and then how hard was it to flip the switch to player here?
TOMMY HAAS: It was a great, fun experience, no question about it. The whole leadup, buildup for the event, not really knowing all the challenges that are going to come up during an event.

But it was a full two and a half weeks, probably the toughest two and a half weeks, longest working-wise that I've ever had. Then I still tried to find the time to play some tennis or go to the gym. Didn't manage to go to the gym once, so that didn't really work.

At the end of the day when it's 11:30 at night and you're driving home, it's very tough to get motivated to go in the gym. Had a few days where I could actually hit some before the tournament started. I hit with Alex Zverev and Stan Wawrinka, which was good.

Here and there get a hit out there. Thanks to Kyrgios pulling out, I jumped in to play a little exhibition set, so that helped me to maybe actually not play too bad here.

Again, it was a full hard-core time for me, but the team at Indian Wells and everybody did a tremendous job. I think it was a well two and a half successful weeks for everyone. It was great.

Q. Tommy, how did you feel about giving the trophy Roger, a good friend of you?
TOMMY HAAS: You know, it was very special, no question about it. I know everybody can play extreme good tennis out there. I know how hard it is to win matches, how consistent and good you have to be. What Roger is doing again this year is absolutely crazy. It's crazy how good he is.

For me being tournament director for the first time and obviously handing over the trophy to a close friend of mine is obviously very special, no question about it.

Q. At the end of the match, crowd was really obviously in your favor most of the match. Salute them. You waved good-bye. Was that a good-bye to Miami basically?
TOMMY HAAS: Yeah, pretty much. Yeah, I was actually shocked when I came here. It's been four years since I had that great run here to the semifinals when I beat Djokovic and Simon and had a really good chance to maybe get to the finals when I was up a break in the third against Ferrer. You remember those kind of tournaments and matches that you play.

At that time my daughter was in the stands when she was maybe about two and a half years old, yeah, something like that. You don't forget it. I can't believe it's been four years. I mean, time just keeps going by so, so fast.

I was here three years ago and I had the shoulder problems already, even though I played Indian Wells and I couldn't really play here, so it was tough to pull out. Last two year basically recovering from shoulder surgery, foot surgery.

So for me to be actually back here is also a big step from a personal success point of view. No athlete will tell that you losing is fun. It's never fun. It's tough, especially when you're two points away to possibly winning a match.

Again, there are a lot of things to look at that I'm personally very proud of. And to have played here one more time, to kind of stop on my own terms, is something special. So I appreciate the crowd coming out there and supporting and staying and giving me a nice wave-off.

Q. You've had a great career obviously. Spanned the ages. Can you just briefly give highlights and biggest regrets.
TOMMY HAAS: Yeah. There are many highlights and many highs and lows in tennis. To be honest, any regrets, it's tough to say. When you're kids growing up and you idolize people playing tennis and you want to become a tennis professional and you've been doing it now for 20-plus years with obviously lots of ups and downs, surgeries and then injuries, the fact that I'm still doing it and I'm almost turning 39 I'm just really thankful and happy about it.

I'll continue to support this game. The friendships I've made and the connections I've made with people that love the game is absolutely fantastic. Just in the long run just really, really appreciative. Obviously, again, when you lose matches it's never fun. Takes a few days to get over that.

Looking forward to playing a doubles match here with Lucas Pouille, maybe tomorrow or the next day, whenever that might be, and then continuing on to play some more events throughout the year that really are close to me as well.

You know, try to be okay with stepping to the next step, which is going to be spending more time at Indian Wells and focusing on the event there.

Q. Can you tell us a pair of words about Del Potro and the chances of playing against Roger in the third round?
TOMMY HAAS: Del Potro is amazing player, a great human being, great guy. He is well-liked in a lot of places. I don't think anybody has a more powerful forehand than he does.

I certainly didn't enjoy being across the net from him when he was playing that well a lot of the times, but, no, it was also fun to play him, of course.

He is on his way back up. Obviously winning the Davis Cup last year was a big deal I am sure in Argentina, getting it for the first time. He's had some tough draws now lately playing Djokovic back to back and possibly here against Federer.

But, again, he's also one of those players that if he's playing well and confident, he can beat anybody, as we have seen in the past. I would love for that matchup to happen, and if I am still around I will definitely take a look at that one.

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