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May 8, 2003

Rainer Schuettler


THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. How is the fever? How do you feel physically?

RAINER SCHUETTLER: On the court I feel okay, but now when I stop playing I feel very tired, and I think I go straight to bed again. So, hopefully, tomorrow I feel better. But on the court it's okay.

Q. You don't feel weak on the court?

RAINER SCHUETTLER: I feel weak, but what can I do? The only chance is that I keep fighting and, yeah, so far it works.

Q. When did it start, the fever?

RAINER SCHUETTLER: On Saturday already.

Q. You were here already?

RAINER SCHUETTLER: Yeah, I came on Saturday. So I came from Munich to Rome, and then when I was on the plane I felt, yeah, that I have headache and sore throat and that I was sick. Sunday and Monday I felt pretty bad. Yeah, it's still there, so...

Q. You have the flu or...?

RAINER SCHUETTLER: It looks like a flu, yeah. I hope it's not SARS (smiling).

Q. So you're surprised for you to be in the quarters here?

RAINER SCHUETTLER: It's a big surprise.

Q. Especially knowing you don't feel well?

RAINER SCHUETTLER: I never won a match here in Rome, so for me it's a big surprise. But the temperature is nice, the courts are nice. The courts are fast so that fits my game. Yeah, so I feel pretty good on court.

Q. Generally, how do you feel on clay courts?


Q. Usually, and this year? Do you feel any difference between the other years and this year on clay?

RAINER SCHUETTLER: No, I mean, I played final in Munich last year on clay. I play quarters here now. I think I can play good tennis on clay, too. It's definitely not my best surface, but I feel okay. It's not too bad. I think I can play on every court - on grass court, hard court and clay court as well.

Q. You don't have a lot of problems adjusting your game to the clay?

RAINER SCHUETTLER: Of course, I prefer -- if I go to practice on hard court, after one, two days, I have the perfect feeling with my stroke. On clay court, I need a couple of days more. But it's normal because I have to move a little bit different, I have to go forward, back. Hard court, if the ball is bouncing, you can just go for it and it's easier for me.

Q. When did you start to practice on clay?

RAINER SCHUETTLER: I started after Key Biscayne for me.

Q. Because of the Davis Cup or...?

RAINER SCHUETTLER: No, Davis Cup was in January. After Melbourne I went straight to South America to practice for Davis Cup, but then I played hard court tournaments. And then after Key Biscayne I played the River Oaks Exhibition in the States on the clay, then I went to Estoril, Monte-Carlo, Munich.

Q. So you feel you have enough practice before playing this tournament on this surface this year?

RAINER SCHUETTLER: Yeah, I had for sure enough practice, yeah.

Q. There aren't so many German journalists here. Have more followed you since you've been in the final in Melbourne?

RAINER SCHUETTLER: Definitely there are more German journalists, yeah. But, I mean, it used to be a lot more of German journalists during the tournaments or in the tournaments. But, yeah, like tennis is popular in Germany. But after Boris and Steffi, it went a little bit down. It's difficult. The expectations are very high and I hope that, yeah, Tommy and Kiefer are coming back and then we get some more attention in Germany as well.

Q. So you get more attention now?

RAINER SCHUETTLER: Of course I get more attention. I played -- the first time I was in Germany after Melbourne was in Munich. Yeah, when I played on Wednesday and Thursday - or Thursday and Friday - the center court was full. It was sold out. So it's a great feeling.

Q. Can we find the famous red shirt in the shops in Germany?

RAINER SCHUETTLER: I don't know if they have it now, but after Melbourne it was sold out. It was pretty funny (laughing). It was sold out. I think, yeah, I don't know if they -- I think in May or something, May, June, they can get them. But before, everything was sold out. It's pretty funny. I was surprised.

Q. Do you see it as something like a "lucky" shirt, like for instance Paradorn, he says he wears his red shirt for luck?

RAINER SCHUETTLER: No, I don't know if it's a lucky shirt. Definitely as long as they want me to wear it, I'll wear it and I'm pretty happy to wear it. I mean, I don't think about this. I like it, I like the outfit. I played Melbourne finals. I'm not complaining about the shirt. It can stay in my bag.

Q. I think you're No. 13 right now.


Q. It's too early to ask the question, but do you already think about the Masters Cup, a possibility to go to the Masters Cup? Is it something that's in your mind?

RAINER SCHUETTLER: I mean, if I will be Top 8 and have the chance to play Masters Cup in November, it's for me dream. I mean, I try everything to reach the goal. And if I will reach it, it's like another dream. I worked hard for it and I can reach this dream, so... And if I am not playing there, I still had a good year. I mean, even if I play bad now, it was my best year on the tour so far. And, yeah, I'm not complaining. Like whatever happens, happens. If I am able to play there, I'm more than happy.

Q. Are you happy with how you've been doing since Melbourne? Do you expect more of yourself now?

RAINER SCHUETTLER: My expectations are for sure higher because I know that I can play good in the Grand Slam tournaments and the Super 9 tournaments. The last years I didn't play so good. I played good other tournaments, but not the Super 9s and the Grand Slams. So my expectations are much higher now. And, yeah, who knows, maybe I'll reach another semifinal or final of a Grand Slam; maybe never. But for me, I would always remember the success I had in Melbourne and the Super 9 tournaments this year.

Q. Can you be more precise about what do you expect now? How high do you expect to finish the year?

RAINER SCHUETTLER: My next goal is to be Top 10. That's for sure. I mean, I'm No. 12 right now, or 13, I don't know. So my goal is to be Top 10. And I think if I keep work hard, I have a pretty good chance to reach it.

End of FastScripts….

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