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August 29, 2003
NEW YORK CITY
MODERATOR: First question, please.
Q. What's this sudden penchant for five-setters?
DMITRY TURSUNOV: Well, I've never played them before, so I thought I might enjoy them as much as I can (smiling). Get as many of them in as I can.
Q. How do you find your conditioning to be, being stretched that long?
DMITRY TURSUNOV: Well, it's been working well so far. So, hopefully, I'll have some shorter matches. But I think it's a good way to have those matches in the long run. So, you know, this is not the last tournament I'm playing so, you know, even if I lose, I still think of it as, you know, getting more experience for the next matches. So I'd rather do them right now simply because I'm going to have to do them sooner or later anyway. So it just works out well for me right now.
Q. How many five-setters have you played?
DMITRY TURSUNOV: Two.
Q. That's it in your career?
DMITRY TURSUNOV: Yeah. Never played them before (smiling).
Q. Do you still have problems with your back?
DMITRY TURSUNOV: Not really. I can't bend it all the way, but it doesn't bother me when I play. Although it gets a little bit stiff if I sit for too long or if I fly on planes for too long. Gets pretty stiff.
Q. How about if you sit for about 15 minutes in a match waiting for somebody...
DMITRY TURSUNOV: Yeah (smiling). It just, I think, a lot of sitting or being in a position where it's not straight is kind of bad for me. But basically the doctor told me if I just sit -- I mean, if I stand or lie down, it's better than if I sit. So I try to get those -- get in that position before sitting.
Q. You were the runner-up in a Bronx tournament before you came here. How did that help you using the same balls, same court? Was it a good warm-up for you?
DMITRY TURSUNOV: Actually, I don't think we used the same balls. I'm not too sure, but I think the US Open balls are used only at The Open. But it was the same conditions, so it helped me a little bit. At least it prepared me. I had some long matches there. I think it was a good preparation, just mentally dealing with the long matches and trying to be able to channel my energy pretty well through the match. So, yeah, it was a good run for me.
Q. You're two rounds into a Slam now. What do these two wins do for your confidence?
DMITRY TURSUNOV: It gets me in the room with you guys (laughter). But I try not to treat these matches any different than the matches that I've played before. I think that's partially why I'm doing pretty well, is because I've been able to trick myself into thinking that they are just another matches, they're not Grand Slams. We have the same people usually showing up the at the challengers. They're usually top seeds. So we do get the same level in the challengers, but it's just not as -- not every single match. But, you know, if you are planning to stick around, you're going to have to play the top people all the time anyway. So it's good for me to get used to playing them day in, day out. You know, just good experience as well.
Q. You talked in The Bronx about the mental part being the hardest thing to make that next leap. How much do you feel, the two matches you've had, that people are trying to play with your head a little bit, maybe rattle you?
DMITRY TURSUNOV: Well, I mean, we're all sort of aware of those tricks and possibilities, you know, going to the bathroom, taking time-outs, medical time-outs. A lot of them are justifiable, but some of them are also used just kind of to stall the match a little bit. It's just, you know, the game that anybody will play because we're trying to win any possible way. So you try not to react to them in any way. For me, it has always been the key to be able not to get distracted by these things. Like I said, channelling the energy sort of, you know, just kind of not react to it - pretty much not even mention them.
Q. I couldn't hear what you were saying, when he was arguing that point, did you go up and offer that he was right or to do it again?
DMITRY TURSUNOV: I actually -- I've never seen -- you're talking about Van Lottum, right, and the ball that he dropped?
DMITRY TURSUNOV: I haven't seen it. I had the same case in the qualifyings. The ball was flying, I saw it out of the corner of my eye, it was flying towards the court. The umpire didn't see it. I stopped playing before the ball actually landed. He said he couldn't do that. So it goes both ways, I think. It was bad timing for him.
Q. Karlovic also just won his match here. Do you think you two are adding some credibility to that tournament in The Bronx?
DMITRY TURSUNOV: Karlovic, yeah, he's... I have nightmares about that guy (laughing). No, he's just a -- I think the key for him is to be able to stay healthy because he has such a big frame, and be able to support it. I think that he's been making that run for a while now. He's done well at the Wimbledon. He's always been playing really well. It's just, for him, it was the problem of getting a little bit of confidence. I think he got that at the Wimbledon. He's been on the run ever since. He won two challengers, now he's in the third round as well.
Q. Would you play him any differently if you met him this time here?
DMITRY TURSUNOV: I would try not to play him (smiling). I think that, you know, with each match, you learn some things about another player. It's kind of tough because, you know, the players also (inaudible) and they work on their weaker sides. Each one of us kind of studies the other opponent with each loss. I do have a couple of things I would have done differently. I would have tried to keep my serve for a change. He's a tough player to play anyway, any way you look at it. So with him, I think it's a lot about luck and just, you know, timing and things like that.
Q. What do you expect of your next match?
DMITRY TURSUNOV: Not much, really (smiling). I mean, I've gone further than I was expecting myself to, and I try not to put expectations in front of me because if you have them, then you can also get disappointed as well. And if you just try to play one match at a time, it's a little bit easier on your mentality. You know, each single match you win is a positive, versus, you know, "That's the way I was expecting to do." Hopefully, I'll just come out and I'll play my best game. If I can't play my best game, then I'll try to get myself to play my best game. I think that's the only thing I'll try to concentrate on.
Q. Do you know Malisse?
DMITRY TURSUNOV: I know who he is. I've never played him. I think it's gonna be interesting to see how both of us, you know, react to playing a new player.
Q. Would you believed it if someone had told you you'd reach the third round of The Open at the beginning?
DMITRY TURSUNOV: I wouldn't dismiss it simply because nowadays men's tennis is very, very tough and it's also -- not only in the Top 10, but it goes way deeper now. We see some of these players in the challengers. Like Van Lottum, for example, he would be able to play in a challenger and he would be probably seeded Top 5, but he would still be there. In Bronx we had Justin Gimelstob playing, Karol Beck. A lot of those people who are in the main draw here are playing challengers as well. We play against each other once in a while in challengers, so I've been able to beat some of the people in the past. And, you know, it's kind of tough to expect yourself to win, but you never dismiss the fact that you can beat a Top 100 player. It's really not about physical aspects of the game; we can all hit the shots similar. It's more of about how you concentrate and how much confidence you have in your strokes and, you know, who panics first.
Q. What are the strengths and weaknesses of your game?
DMITRY TURSUNOV: I wouldn't tell you my weaknesses (laughing).
Q. Something you need to improve on.
DMITRY TURSUNOV: It's tough to say, you know. It varies. Right now I'd say probably my volleys. I definitely need to work on those, and trying to get to the net once in a while. Because I feel like my game is a little bit one-dimensional, in a sense, where people can predict I'm always gonna be at the baseline. So if I sneak in once in a while, it could add a different effect to how people respond to me. But I think that's what Andy Roddick started doing a lot, he started coming in to net. I think that's partially why he's doing so well, because people now can't predict what he's going to be doing next. I think I would work on that. Mentality, you know, how to trust my shots when, you know, when it's a close point. Because it's sort of like you try to take over your subconscious. I mean, you never process how you're hitting the shot because it's way too fast, you know, everything happens too fast. So I think that's the problem with a lot of players, is that they try to control, you know, and make sure that they guide the shot in. That's where the problem starts, you know, when you try to take over your subconscious.
Q. How about your strokes? What's your biggest weapon?
DMITRY TURSUNOV: Strokes, I'd say my forehand is one of the weapons. My backhand, I think, is pretty solid. I mean, you know, I've seen a lot worse backhands (smiling). There are some backhands that are bigger, but I think it's kind of, you know, in between. My serve is sometimes a good weapon; sometimes it kind of backfires on me. I think it's mostly just with trusting my strokes. Because, you know, if I don't trust them that day, then they're not gonna be working that well.
Q. I know you're concentrating on match to match here. Making it to a third round here, do you even think about the credibility you might add to the challenger up in The Bronx by making it to the third round here?
DMITRY TURSUNOV: It's always been a tough tournament. It's unfortunate that people who go there, they think that it's a lower event. A lot of players from the main draw go there to play simply as a preparation. You know, I wish that we could change the minds of people somehow, that challengers are also a good event to watch. Essentially, it's the same players, it's just you don't have to pay as much money to go and watch them. But, you know, it's sort of like a Triple As and Major Leagues, you know; it doesn't matter how much you're gonna say that Triple As is very similar, people just won't treat it similar.
Q. You mentioned Roddick before. He's in your quarter of the draw and, similar to your game, he builds his around a big forehand and a big serve. Do you look at players like him or anybody else and kind of either style your game after them or just kind of watch what they're doing?
DMITRY TURSUNOV: I try not to mold my game to anybody else because, you know, everyone is different. I think you go with your strengths and your weaknesses and you try to work around them. I think that me and Andy are similar in our games. He's just, obviously, way higher in rankings. He does some things a little bit better. And at this level, there's very little difference between players. I think he has a lot more confidence in his game. You know, obviously, he's in my quarter of the draw, but I don't even look at that match yet. I have a different one in front of me. But, yeah, he's very similar style-wise.
Q. Having made it to the third round, do you feel you've made it, or do you still have a long way to go before settling down?
DMITRY TURSUNOV: Well, I've gone further than I would have expected myself. With that being said, I didn't really expect myself to be anywhere either. I'm definitely pleased that I'm in the third round, but I know that if I continue to play my game, I could also be a little bit further. So I think that for me, it would be better to live in the present than in the past and the future and just kind of concentrate on my next match. If I win that, then concentrate on the next one.
Q. After the US Open, have you set the bar higher? Are your expectations changing now?
DMITRY TURSUNOV: Well, usually we have some sort of deadlines. I think for challengers, I think it's three or four weeks in advance. So I did set my schedule, but it was mostly for challengers. I still think that even if I do well in this tournament, my ranking won't be high enough to where I can forget about challengers. I'm planning to go back there and just work on some things. And, you know, hopefully I'll get high enough in rankings to where I don't have to show up there.
Q. How do you see yourself in the future? What are your dreams?
DMITRY TURSUNOV: Well, it's kind of hard to answer because I haven't -- I used to look in the future when I was a little bit younger. And you get burned on it, you know. You set the expectations, whether it's subconsciously or consciously. And, you know, if anything happens, I mean, this sport involves a lot of luck, and a lot of things have to come together in order for you to do well. So if something goes wrong, then your expectations kind of dissolve. And, hopefully, I'll be able to achieve my best and, you know, whatever it is - if it's Top 10, then it's Top 10; if it's higher, then it's higher. I think in the end, that's all we can do. We can just get as good as we can get, and hopefully that's gonna be good enough.
Q. What do you think you have in you, Top 10?
DMITRY TURSUNOV: It's tough for me to step outside and kind of look at myself. But a lot of people say that I have potential to be Top 10. So it is sort of nerve-wracking to think of yourself as Top 10 potential but not being there. So I think that's an expectation in itself as well. Right now, I'm just gonna try and work on my game and, you know, hopefully achieve my potential - whatever it is.
Q. Is it hard for you to be playing here and having success and have your father be in Moscow, so far away, when he was kind of the one to introduce you to the game? Is that difficult at all, or is it actually easier on you?
DMITRY TURSUNOV: I try not to worry about it. To me, it doesn't really matter. I'm pretty sure he would have loved to see me play on TV - or in real life, anyways. But hopefully, you know, if my ranking is high enough, I can get, you know, to the point where I can show up at the Kremlin Cup in the main draw and not in the qualifying. I'm pretty sure he's pleased, you know, no matter how low-key he's gonna act. I think that a lot of his worries about me not making it as a tennis player are gonna dissolve after this tournament. And, you know, hopefully , well, I'll keep it that way.
Q. How long you live in this country?
DMITRY TURSUNOV: I've lived here for almost eight years. I'm losing track of time now (smiling). But, yeah, it's between seven and eight.
Q. I didn't hear the story. I don't know if somebody asked you, but how did you get to the States?
DMITRY TURSUNOV: It was a long story. A father of -- well, my father and a father of my coach have met back in Russia. He decided, the father and my coach, decided to take a look at me. He liked what he saw, he liked the potential. So he went back to California, he saw his son, and he told him about me. They decided to bring me over to the United States for a month and see how I do. And if it worked out for both of us, then I would have stayed there. So it just, you know, it worked out for both of us and my father took the return ticket back home and left, so I was here ever since.
Q. Your case is similar to Safin?
DMITRY TURSUNOV: Right. I think a lot of Russian players, especially, they would prefer to travel and train outside of Russia simply because at that point in time it was a lot cheaper. We had to pay for indoor courts, we had to pay for outdoor courts, we had to pay for a lot of things. Russian salaries didn't allow you to pay for those things. So what my father decided to do was for me to go to California because it was a lot cheaper financially. So that's what I did. I think that Marat did the same thing as well, and so did a lot of Russian players.
Q. Have you played for Russia, or are you planning to play Davis Cup?
DMITRY TURSUNOV: I'm playing so far for them, but I didn't, you know -- the federation never really contacted me or never asked me to. I mean, I'm sure that they will contact me after this, or at least they'll, you know, get notice - I mean, I will get notice. Sorry. But I try not to look at these things because, you know, there's nothing I can do about it. You know, I can come out, I can do my best. And, you know, if I do well, then they will notice me. But, I mean, that's about as much as I can control in that situation.
Q. Do you still feel Russian?
DMITRY TURSUNOV: It's tough to tell. I think that nowadays the countries are so close time-wise that a lot of people who are, you know, they're born in one country but they live in another one, it's not that big of a deal, I don't think, anymore, as people treat it to be. I feel Russian. I also feel somewhat American. So I'm sort of in between. It would be nicer if people treated people just, you know, as individuals, or not as Russian, not as Iraqi, not as African, or anything. You know, we all have our differences, and I think that that's partially why it's so interesting to meet other people, is because we're not similar, we're not clones. So it would be -- I think that I'm sort of in between, to answer your question. But, you know, hopefully people will treat me the same way.
Q. Would you play Davis Cup for the US?
DMITRY TURSUNOV: Well, I'm in the process of trying to get a citizenship, and I think that the US have their hands full with the US players for now.
Q. Yeah, but if they call you?
DMITRY TURSUNOV: But if they called, I would probably play, yes. It depends also on my citizenship, you know. For now, I can't because I'm not an American. But I think when that time will come, then that will be the time to make that decision.
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