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April 23, 1998

Fabrice Santoro


Q. So, Fabrice, what's the secret? You always beat him.

FABRICE SANTORO: I was 50/50 before the match.

Q. You're the only one ahead of him now.


Q. Do you go into the match not only knowing that you've beaten him before, but feeling, "I can do it again"? Is it a set pattern? What happens?

FABRICE SANTORO: It's true that I won often against him, but it was 50/50 before the match. Specifically, I poorly lost against him in the French Open, and I remembered some lessons from that match. I didn't want to make the same mistakes today. Today, I can say that my objective has been reached in what I did on the court.

Q. What were those mistakes at Roland Garros?

FABRICE SANTORO: In fact, the lessons were that I made things easy for him in the French Open because I allowed him to impose his game on me all along. Of course, in the French Open, he served better. There's nothing I can do about that. But for the rest of the game, he was superior to me from the baseline, which in some ways is not normal on clay, because when we enter into long rallies on clay, I should be able to wear him out. In the French Open, I was standing two meters behind the baseline, and I was running and running. In these conditions, I have no chances of making the point. Today I played cross-court on his backhand quite often, but I didn't leave the baseline. I was staying on the baseline, so that the ball will come back earlier to him and it wouldn't give him time. That was the main difference, I believe. In the French Open, he did no backhands, and in this match, he made no forehands.

Q. Fabrice, you had not the best start of the year health-wise, one or two other things. What does a win like this mean to you?

FABRICE SANTORO: This year, '98, started very well in Doha where I reached the finals in singles and doubles, but it was a violent beginning of a season. Afterwards, I had health problems. I will not repeat myself, because I've been talking about it a lot this week. With Alain Deflassieux, in Barcelona, I was saying to him I was disappointed because I wasn't able to find the cause of this bad shape. Now that I feel fast on the court again, I know I'm not losing my tennis this easily after all the years. I feel well since Monday. I feel well on the court. And when I am well-placed, compared to the ball, I can hit with the ball well. Since I didn't have many victories lately, I'm hungry for it. I want to participate in the end of the tournaments now. This year started very well the first week, and afterwards there was a letdown. Thanks to this week in Monte-Carlo, I hope I will be able to stabilize my game until the French Open.

Q. You said actually on the TV, during the TV interview, after the end of the first set, Pete was upset and stopped fighting a little bit. In what sense did you mean that? Because you dominated him so much? That he was losing heart with his own game?

FABRICE SANTORO: In fact, today, it was a different opponent than yesterday. But the two matches are very similar. The first set was quite tight. Of course, I won 6-1, but you should not believe the score. I saved several breakpoints. I was lucky that I could have an easy win like that in the first set. But I saw that he had great problems. He wasn't able to hit his forehand. This is a handicap for him because he makes most of his points with his forehand. At the end of the first set, I saw that he felt that if he continued that way, he would have no chance against me, so he tried to change things. He tried to play more aggressive. But you all know that when you play flat and very fast on that surface, on clay, and you try to finish the point in two shots, it's very dangerous because you then might make mistakes. This is what happened, he started making many mistakes. I continued with my game. I tried to attack his backhand. But mainly I tried to push him to make mistakes and he tried to make more and more difficult shots, then he made more and more mistakes. The games went by that way.

End of FastScripts....

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