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August 25, 1997

Michael Sell

Flushing Meadows, New York

Q. Did you get iced down, Mike?

MICHAEL SELL: Stretched out a bit.

Q. What was your schedule this past week?

MICHAEL SELL: Qualifying. I started Wednesday.

Q. And prior to that, didn't you play in the Bronx tournament?

MICHAEL SELL: Bronx Challenger.

Q. So you've been pretty active?

MICHAEL SELL: Very active.

Q. How many matches have you played in the past week?

MICHAEL SELL: The past week? Five in the Bronx for singles, four in doubles that week, and then three here. It's been a busy week.

Q. How did you feel coming here for the first time?

MICHAEL SELL: Well, I was here last year. I lost in the second round quallies.

Q. Of the qualifying?

MICHAEL SELL: Yes. Playing in a Grand Slam is great. The Bronx Challenger last week when I won, helped me a lot with confidence, realized I could play with the big players. I knew coming in here if I could play my game, hit my shots, you know, I could do pretty well. So far it's happened that way.

Q. You're playing in the doubles also?


Q. With who?

MICHAEL SELL: David Witt. We got a wildcard.

Q. W-i-t-t?


Q. Have you played with him before?

MICHAEL SELL: Never played with him before. Played him a bunch of times in singles, but never in doubles.

Q. Do you know who your next opponent is yet?

MICHAEL SELL: I think I play the winner of another qualifier. I don't know the name of that, and Daniel Vacek.

Q. In high school, you won the state singles title twice?


Q. What years were those?

MICHAEL SELL: Sophomore and senior. '89 and '91.

Q. In the NCAAs for Georgia, how far did you go?

MICHAEL SELL: For three years I went to the Round of 16. One year I went to the quarterfinals.

Q. This is your second year on The Tour?


Q. And last year, did you do anything at all?

MICHAEL SELL: I was ranked low 300s, high 200s, getting involved in the system, playing a few satellites, Challengers, to get up there where I could play.

Q. Coming along the way you planned and figured?

MICHAEL SELL: Yeah. It's a long process for most people. I had to go through it. Hopefully I'm in the very latter part of it so I can play Challengers and Grand Prixs, so forth.

Q. How was your game today? What did you feel about it?

MICHAEL SELL: I thought it was good. I moved really well. Cecil is a good friend of mine. I knew we'd have a lot of long rallies. Going into it, I knew I'd have to dictate play and go for my shots, which I did today.

Q. Somebody said you were almost ready to give up the game before you won the tournament in the Bronx?

MICHAEL SELL: I wasn't ready to give it up. You know, I had another six months to a year. I mean, it entered my mind, you know, a little bit, but not to a point where I was going to give it up if I didn't do well the next couple months.

Q. Your family is a big tennis family?


Q. You have three sisters?

MICHAEL SELL: Three sisters. The oldest sister, Jenny is the head coach at North Carolina State University; my middle sister, Kris is a junior at Kansas playing tennis; my littlest sister, Kathy is going to play for Duke next year.

Q. Who is your coach?


Q. What was the atmosphere like for you? Is this something you've always dreamed about, playing here, finally happened?

MICHAEL SELL: Yeah. Once I got to the main draw, my great friends from home all came up, my family was here, they were pretty rowdy, really got me going when I lost the second set, really pumped me up and gave me a lot of energy. So I really thank them for this. They got me through it.

Q. How does the Open feel different than all the tournaments you've played over the last couple years?

MICHAEL SELL: Well, I mean, playing a satellite, you know, you don't play a great place. The courts are cracked. Sometimes it's just not a good place. The Challenger level is a little bit better. You finally get line judges and things like that. Here, being an American, playing at the US Open, is a dream. You know, once I got in, I wanted to prove that I belong here and see how far I can go.

Q. Did you play at all in the Challenger that we had recently?

MICHAEL SELL: Which one was that?

Q. The one about a month ago.

MICHAEL SELL: Flushing Meadows, no, I did not. I was injured. I tore a groin muscle at the French Open this year.

Q. You were trying to qualify at the French?

MICHAEL SELL: Yeah, uh-huh.

Q. Bronx wasn't the first tournament after your injury?

MICHAEL SELL: The Bronx Challenger?

Q. Yes.

MICHAEL SELL: No. I played two previous Challengers.

Q. Do you feel like you've peaked at just the right time?

MICHAEL SELL: I'd say. I'd say my confidence is the highest it's been. I wanted to peak here at the US Open. Playing a couple Challengers before this really helped me out with my confidence. To really pull it together is a thrill.

Q. Do you think this will impact the rest of your tennis career in some way?

MICHAEL SELL: I think so. Now that I know that I can qualify in a round, see how far I can go at a Grand Slam, knowing I can beat the top players in the field, I know I can do it every week. Every week I won't do it, but I know I can do it every week, every time I step on the court.

Q. Is there a point in the rankings where you kind of feel like, "I pushed into the area that I want to be in, if I want to stay in this game"?

MICHAEL SELL: I would love to be Top 100. That's my ultimate goal. But, you know, in December, I wouldn't mind being in the low 100s, mid 100s, to get me a strong start for the new year. But I'm just going to reevaluate where I am after a year and go from there.

Q. Did you see the article in Sports Illustrated where they took athletes who were the hundredth ranked in their sports?

MICHAEL SELL: I did not.

Q. Interesting perspective. I just wondered, you said you'd be happy to be in the Top 100. That was your ultimate goal.


Q. If you got to 99, would you be thrilled?

MICHAEL SELL: Oh, I'd be happy. I'm sure when I got to 99, I'd want to be 50. If I got to 50, I'd want to be 30, so forth. I will never be satisfied really until I'm obviously No. 1. But, no, I won't be satisfied once I get -- I'll be thrilled, but I won't be satisfied.

End of FastScripts….

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