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June 23, 2005

Dmitry Tursunov


THE MODERATOR: Who would like to ask the first question.

Q. Broken leg, bad back, only four events all year on the regular tour. Can you sort of recount the odyssey of getting here in the last four or five years, how you were able to achieve this today in 25 words or less?

DIMITRY TURSUNOV: I didn't have a broken leg, though. But I did have some problems with the knee. That is still -- there's still a problem. But thank God, you know, they have good antiinflammatories here. As far as I can recollect, I think I played Indian Wells. I lost in three sets there. That was my first tournament after US Open, which was my last tournament last year. I was out with a broken vertebrae. That was a little boating accident. A friend of mine misjudged the wake and landed pretty harsh (smiling). What are friends for?

Q. Where was the boating accident?

DIMITRY TURSUNOV: It was in the river. We went on the 4th of July.

Q. Sacramento or Yuba?

DIMITRY TURSUNOV: Around Sacramento area. Anyway, so I started playing Indian Wells as my first tournament. I'm not actually sure how many tournaments I played. I know I played French Open.

Q. Four regular tour events.

DIMITRY TURSUNOV: Really? Oh, that's right. Nottingham and Queen's. Actually, I think the last few tournaments -- well, the French Open I pulled out. I wouldn't expect myself to do real well against Gaudio on clay. Clay is not my favorite surface. I think Queen's, lost to Greg Rusedski, definitely a tough opponent. Lost to Johansson in Nottingham. So that was a pretty difficult opponent, as well. Grass is a weird surface for me because I wouldn't say that I'm in love with it. I still prefer hard courts, but it seems like I do really well on grass. You know, this tournament has been treating me well so far (smiling).

Q. When you served for the match and Henman broke, did you think you'd blown it then?

DIMITRY TURSUNOV: In the fifth set?

Q. Yes.

DIMITRY TURSUNOV: I've gotten broken a couple of times.

Q. In the fifth set when you served for the match, he broke you after two match points, what did you think then?

DIMITRY TURSUNOV: Well, I really -- you know, it definitely wasn't the best thing I've done today. But, you know, my main concern was not to let that affect me and lose the next service game. I think that, you know, I'm pretty pleased with myself for staying -- you know, keeping my head in the game, squeezing through I guess is what you would call it.

Q. A couple Northern California writers here. Can you just go through your brief history. You're playing for Jose Higueras, practicing with him sometimes at Indian Wells. How much do you spend up north. Are you actually at Granite Bay, Sacramento? Where are you?

DIMITRY TURSUNOV: Well, it's Roseville, which is a small town, but in the area of Sacramento. If you say Roseville, nobody really knows where that is. You have to say Sacramento. My first coach when I moved here was Vitaly Gorin. At first I practiced with him one-on-one, but then he opened an academy. When I switched coaches, and when I switched to Jose Higueras, Jose met Vitaly and they formed I guess -- I guess they united. Now it's Gorin/Higueras Academy. I'm still based out of Roseville, but I don't really spend much time there if I'm traveling. Sometimes I practice in Indian Wells - not Indian Wells, but Palm Springs. That's where Jose lives. You know, my time off, I split between Roseville and Palm Springs.

Q. That's where the academy is, Roseville, and you have a place there?


Q. How old were you when you first came to Northern California?

DIMITRY TURSUNOV: I was 12 and a half.

Q. That was with your coach?

DIMITRY TURSUNOV: No, no, no. My coach, his family immigrated from Kiev, which is Ukraine. I still consider it Russia, same thing. Anyway, they immigrated from Kiev when I was 10. So basically he grew up in United States. That's why he's got a funky last name, might seem to you. So I've stayed with him. He was my guardian. I stayed with his father originally the first year and a half, then I moved -- and I stayed with his college friend, and then I stayed with him as well.

Q. Does anyone ever tell you that you sound like you're from California?

DIMITRY TURSUNOV: Quite a few people, yes.

Q. I notice you have a Wimbledon club shirt on.

DIMITRY TURSUNOV: Well, I'm promoting.

Q. Where did you get that from?

DIMITRY TURSUNOV: From a referee. He was nice enough -- actually, I had a shirt that I thought I played in last year, and that wasn't allowed or maybe it's a new rule. They told me -- I really didn't have any other way of wearing anything. They told me that I have to wear a shirt for the match. That's the one that they gave me.

Q. How long before the match was that?

DIMITRY TURSUNOV: That was the first match. I've worn -- actually, those two got stolen in the locker room, believe it or not. Yeah, I had to wear it for my first match, as well.

Q. From Alan Mills?

DIMITRY TURSUNOV: No, I don't think Adam (sic) came out. I don't think he gets off the Centre Court.

Q. What got stolen in the locker room?

DIMITRY TURSUNOV: The couple of my shirts that I wore for the first match, so I had to scramble for new ones today.

Q. Wimbledon shirts?


Q. Can you talk a bit about the match, how you feel, and if you realize what you've done today? You've sort of terminated a very long-standing British dream that we might produce a British champion here.

DIMITRY TURSUNOV: I think the dream, definitely for you guys in Britain, it's pretty hard to see your guys lose. But at the same time I feel that there's so much pressure on all of them, and since there's only three of them, you know, there's a lot of pressure - especially for Tim Henman, because he's the best out of the three of the players. So he's under immense pressure of performing and winning every match. That's very difficult to do. I mean, I really don't envy him. I was on the court. I think the crowd and the media as well, they put so much pressure on him that it's very hard to perform.

Q. Do you think he's gotten enough credit for what he's actually accomplished here over the years from the English press and the English people?

DIMITRY TURSUNOV: The bits and pieces that I've gathered from, you know, reading newspapers about him, I mean, he's done pretty well. He's gotten to four semifinals. With the pressure that I've talked about, I think that's extremely well. But because he hasn't won it, it seems like he's down-sized because of that. Very few people get to win Wimbledon or any other Grand Slam event. I think because of -- it might be the pressure, but I think that's a big reason why he's not winning it or why he's not winning tournaments in England.

Q. From a player's point of view, do you think he's actually exceeded his ability in a way in what he's done here as opposed to not living up to expectations? If you take a realistic look at Tim, maybe he's exceeded expectations doing well at Wimbledon.

DIMITRY TURSUNOV: That's hard for me to tell because I haven't really seen him play enough. He's a pretty good player.

Q. No question.

DIMITRY TURSUNOV: No question about it. But whether he exceeded his capability or whether he hasn't, you know, it's very hard to tell - at least for me. Yeah, I think he's done very well and he hasn't gotten enough respect from media, at least in this country.

Q. Tim has been doing a lot of complaining the last couple of weeks about the balls being opened early, the grass is too slow. Is it possible for this stuff to get into a player's head so badly that it affects his performance on the court?

DIMITRY TURSUNOV: Well, I think the way his game is based, it's based on coming into net. Basically he plays a fast game. When they slow it down, it's not to his advantage. I think it can get to your head definitely, because you feel like you're -- the tournament makes you work harder to win your matches. All of those things, you know, the slowing -- they slow down the grass maybe a little bit. I'm not exactly sure how they do it. Opening balls early. You know, those things are definitely not to his advantage. I mean, I can't blame him for not feeling very pleased about it.

End of FastScripts….

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