January 19, 2004
THE MODERATOR: First question, please.
Q. That appeared a pretty easy win for you. How did you see it?
PARADORN SRICHAPHAN: Well, it's good to get through the first round in three sets. Definitely always first round in a Grand Slam is tough. But make it look like easy. But during the match it's quite tough. I'm glad that I'm playing quite well today.
Q. You played him once before.
PARADORN SRICHAPHAN: I played, straight sets, 6-4, 7-6 in Miami, second round. Yeah, this is my second time to play him. I think he didn't play for a while, he was injury, his legs or something. And is look like his first tournament he come back and play. Yeah, I'm glad that I pull it out in three sets.
Q. What were your expectations today? How did you think the match would pan out today before you went out and played?
PARADORN SRICHAPHAN: Well, it's always tough to play I would say in Australia, because it's quite windy and it's been on and off, the wind has been on and off. But I think what I did well today is maintain my level of tennis today, just hit the ball and play a lot of ball on the court, hit the serve well. But my first serve percentage I don't think was that high today. But I get away from my second serve a lot.
Q. You haven't been past the second round here at the Australian Open. This is the sixth year you've been here. What are your thoughts about this year's tournament?
PARADORN SRICHAPHAN: I lost to him once I would say three years ago in Toronto , the Masters. Yeah, to play him again would be tough. He qualifying and he won a match. He's lefty, so I try to get practice with a guy lefty tomorrow and just to get used to the ball, the way it's coming. Yeah, is look like he's playing well, you know. But he didn't play for a while because he got injured but still look like he made good comeback. I try to get through my second round this year because my record is, you know, second round.
Q. Is that a goal for you, to get through this period, the second round?
PARADORN SRICHAPHAN: Yeah, I would think so. Just try to reach -- my goal is try to reach the second week of the Slam, which I did for the last two Grand Slam, Wimbledon and US Open.
Q. Do you find more pressure at the Australian Open given it's the Grand Slam of the Asia/Pacific and you're the face of Asian tennis?
PARADORN SRICHAPHAN: I don't feel any pressure at all. I just feel great for Australian, Asia. The name Asia-Pacific Grand Slam. It's great for Asian country, too. Australian Open always give the wildcard to the Asian player every year. It's good for Asian player who get wildcard.
Q. Do you think the profile in Asia has increased over the last two years?
PARADORN SRICHAPHAN: I would think so, yeah.
Q. You've become something of a poster boy for Asian tennis with the ATP and Grand Slams now. You've become the face of Asian tennis, I suppose. Is that something that you see, you know, as a good thing, an opportunity?
PARADORN SRICHAPHAN: Well, I would say it's really good thing for me, for myself. Especially for Asian junior, young kid, who always like when I was young, I always looking up to good player. I always looking up to Michael Chang because he's one of the Asian out there, you know, to do well. So I would say to have some younger player from Asia looking up to me is one of the key that they can get success.
Q. What do you think needs to be done to get even more Asian players up there?
PARADORN SRICHAPHAN: I would say there's a lot of junior in Asia. The thing is, is it's quite a lot of tournaments in Asia, too, but I would say the player have to traveling more, to go outside of the country to get the tougher competition in Europe or in US, to get improve their game. That's what they need to do. In the past, they not really traveling to play the tournament outside of Asia.
Q. Are there any particular good kids coming through that you're aware of in Thailand, for example?
PARADORN SRICHAPHAN: Not really. It's gonna be a while (smiling). It's take time. You can't build something in one day or in one week. So everything's take time, so... But, hopefully, there gonna be some more coming out. I mean, after my career, hopefully is gonna be more. But my career is not finish yet. It's gonna be maybe, you know, four to five years hopefully.
Q. Currently you're 15 in the rankings. Starting 2004, where would you like to see yourself come the end of the year?
PARADORN SRICHAPHAN: I finish the year 2003 as 11. Well, my goal is I would love to reaching the Masters, of course. It's like everybody goal who in Top 20. It depends how well I can play this year. Last year I miss by three people. I would say if I do well in the clay season, I would say I have more chance to get into the Masters.
Q. Does that mean more clay matches for you this year?
PARADORN SRICHAPHAN: It's gonna be same schedule, but like last year, I winning two matches on clay in six weeks, so that's not a good result on clay. So, you know, if I do a bit more, maybe quarters or semis, it would get me enough to get into the Masters.
Q. Are you doing more clay work at home? How does that work out?
PARADORN SRICHAPHAN: Yeah, I -- this is my maybe fifth years on the tour, so it's getting better on clay. But, you know, to play these guy on clay, they get used to it more than me. They really have experience on clay. Just like me when I play on hard court, I feel like this -- I know what I gonna play, I know how to move. It's little bit difficult for me, but I'm learning so it's getting better and better every year.
Q. You travel on a diplomatic passport now. You've become a huge star in Thailand. How has that affected life at home?
PARADORN SRICHAPHAN: It's like a celebrity there, you know. But I'm really happy that I'm doing well for the country, and the government was giving me the diplomatic passport which is, I mean, is so great to me. They also give it to my father, too. So we both travel with the diplomatic passport. We still need visa, I still need visa, just make it easier to get through the gate, everything. So, yeah, is like they do their best to support me, what they can do. You know, to live at home is still okay for me but to go around shopping center, it's quite difficult. But, you know, the people is happy to see me and asking for autograph, which is normal.
Q. Just sort of rush around you and ask for autographs?
PARADORN SRICHAPHAN: Yeah, something like that. Even, "Could you talk on the phone with my mother? She love you." So I say, "Yeah, hello, hi, how are you?" That happen often.
Q. What about the military service? Is that off the agenda?
PARADORN SRICHAPHAN: Yeah, only Thai people have to do it when they turn 20. I don't have to do it because the government said, you know, "You don't have to do it because you're playing tennis for a country anyway." So I got exempt.
Q. How long is the military service in Thailand?
PARADORN SRICHAPHAN: About two years.
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