August 31, 1996
NEW YORK CITY, NEW YORK
Q. Jeff, you seemed to turn things around in the third set a bit, but what happened?
JEFF TARANGO: Well, he's a player that likes the pace. I hit a really clean ball, a really good ball, so I think he really liked my pace. I was really having a hard time finding a game plan. Actually I had to change my entire game and kind of push the ball deep. That was something that was really difficult for me to do. Once I started doing it, it worked really well. I didn't have much confidence doing it, so I probably should have been able to approach a couple more times than I did. You know, changing my game so much, it kind of hurt me in order to have to beat this guy. I really had to play what I felt was bad tennis.
Q. But you've played him before, so you must have known the type of game?
JEFF TARANGO: I've played him on clay, which is a lot different. I've played him indoors, which is a lot different. The last time I played him here, I was up a set and a break. I thought that I played better than he did. But I lost the match. It was just a big disappointment for me.
Q. Today was?
JEFF TARANGO: Yeah.
Q. You also put yourself in a hole at the start of the first two sets. How did that affect you by getting broken right away?
JEFF TARANGO: What do you mean?
Q. How did it affect you for the match to have to be fighting back out of a hole all the time?
JEFF TARANGO: Well, it wasn't easy. Made it a lot more difficult. I think at 4-3, he was serving in the first set, I was up 40-Love on his serve, lost that game. Took a lot of confidence out of my game. I had an approach at 40-15, had a really good forehand to his backhand. I didn't come in behind it; I kind of watched it. Then I missed a backhand. He ended up winning the first set. I think if I would have won the first set, would have been a lot different. Would have been more pressure on him in the third set when I finally did figure out how to play him.
Q. He admitted that you made him nervous with the way you were playing in the third set, he got tighter and tighter.
JEFF TARANGO: Well, he doesn't like when you don't hit pace to him. He likes pace. When you don't hit pace, he can't even hit the ball on the strings. It was a little frustrating to me because I like to hit the ball hard. It was tough for me to change my whole game. Like I said, in the first set if I had broken back, I think I would have had a lot more confidence to maybe be more aggressive on some points. I wasn't, and he hit a couple winners off some approaches, and that discouraged me. I just didn't play the match as confidently as I would have liked to.
Q. He said also that you were upset with him for trying to slow down the pace of play, I guess.
JEFF TARANGO: Well, it's interesting to me that they have a rule, play to the service pace, but they don't enforce it out there, that he's able to tell me when I can and can't serve is pretty strange. Over 20 times he must have asked me to wait in between my first and second serves or when I was just sitting there waiting for a first serve. You know, that's the way the ball bounces, I guess.
Q. Did you speak to the umpire about that?
JEFF TARANGO: I don't think that umpire really could have done anything. He's not as experienced as most.
Q. Will you be back at Wimbledon next year?
JEFF TARANGO: Yes.
Q. Did you have the feeling going into this match that this was a Grand Slam tournament where you could have a real impact? Were you confident that you were going to beat him?
JEFF TARANGO: Well, no, I wasn't confident that I was going to beat him. I thought I had a chance to beat him. I've lost to him a few times and I've beaten him once. I knew I could beat him. I knew I was going to have to play well and I was going to have to play a game that I didn't like to play. Whenever you come into a match like that, you kind of go back and forth. You kind of feel like a schizophrenic, "Should I hit this or play it soft?" It plays with your head too much. It's tough to play a match like that. I guess that's something that Michael Chang does really well, and something that Pete does really well. Maybe that's why they're No. 1 and 2, because Pete can really take the pace off the ball and he can really sting the ball; Michael can do the same. It's part of getting to the next level. I've been to the Round of 32 a hell of a lot of times in Grand Slams. If I'm going to take it to the next level, that's something I'm going to have to be a little more adaptable on. I think that's definitely the only way I can look at it.
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