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March 16, 2003

Rainer Schuettler


MODERATOR: Questions.

Q. Have you played many matches where you played that well and lost?

RAINER SCHUETTLER: Yeah. Actually, I did. I think I played pretty good today. Yesterday, the first set wasn't really good. I think I didn't play so well. But today I played really good. Yeah, I gave Guga a hard time, then I was a little bit -- I mean, he played great tennis in the third and I was a little bit unlucky with some points. But I'm happy with my performance, that I came back in the second set. I mean, I think it was a good match.

Q. Why so many dropshots?

RAINER SCHUETTLER: Because from the baseline, he's not making a lot of mistakes. He's standing always very far behind the baseline. I tried to move him a little bit in the court. If he's staying on the baseline, he has not so much time. So when I like to play aggressive, yeah, I think I can make a little bit more pressure if he's staying closer to the baseline.

Q. How tough is it to come and play a tennis match at 9:00? What time did you wake up this morning?

RAINER SCHUETTLER: I woke up at 6:00. I mean, normally you should at least be awake three hours before. So I woke up at 6:00. Yeah, of course it's pretty early. But, I mean, you can't do anything. I mean, you have to get up, otherwise I probably lost the second set already. I woke up, and it was better that there was rain. Maybe it was good for me that I had another day, because yesterday was definitely not my day. So maybe for me it was all right.

Q. How long was the afternoon yesterday? When did you know?

RAINER SCHUETTLER: We stayed here till 7 p.m. So we had to wait the whole day. We couldn't do anything. We had to wait here. Yeah, then I had a late dinner last night because the hotel was so busy. I had to way one and a half hours for my room service. Was a pretty tough day.

Q. Had you not been scheduled at 9 a.m., what time do you suppose you would have got up? Later than 6 a.m.? You say you got up at 6 a.m. Had you not had to play at 9 a.m., what time do you think you would have got up?

RAINER SCHUETTLER: That's a strange question because it depends. I always try -- if I play in the morning, I always try to get up three hours before. If I play in the afternoon, I don't know. Sometimes late, sometimes early. It depends.

Q. How important for you is it to go in the semifinal of a Masters Series a few months after your effort in Melbourne? Is it good for your confidence? It proves for you Melbourne was not only luck?

RAINER SCHUETTLER: Actually, I think I answered this question, I don't know, between one thousand and two thousand times already. I couldn't count. I stopped counting after 110. Of course, I don't think that Melbourne -- I mean, I was lucky that I came to the final, like everything came together. I played really well, Marat pulled out. I was lucky with some points, like Guga today maybe. I mean, everything comes together if you play in a final. You see Lleyton, he was match point down in the first set, and he's in the final now. If you want to go to the final or a semifinal, you always have to be a little bit lucky. You have to play good, everything has to come together. Yeah, I won a couple of tournaments. I played a few times final already. So I don't think that it's lucky that I played well in a Grand Slam tournament. Maybe it's a surprise that I didn't play well before because I was last year I was 23 in the world. Yeah, now I'm 15. I don't think it's a big difference. Of course, maybe for the press, for the people outside, for the people who watch tennis, now they say, "Okay, it was not just lucky that he played the final there." But for me, I think the people who are involved in tennis, they think it wasn't just a one-time thing.

Q. Do you think you should now be considered one of the best players in the world?

RAINER SCHUETTLER: It depends when you say "the best players in the world."

Q. Within you, how you feel about yourself.

RAINER SCHUETTLER: Okay, I know that I can beat anybody. I mean, I proved it I think the last years already that I can beat everybody. I don't want to consider me one of the best players in the world. I think I'm a good tennis player, but there are a hundred good tennis players out there. Every day, yeah, we can beat each other. You have to prove every day that you play good tennis, and you have to prove it on the court. I prefer this. If I play good, I'm happy. If I play bad, I have to work on my game. It's very easy.

Q. If you had won today this match, you would have been No. 1 in the race. How important would that have been?

RAINER SCHUETTLER: I mean, it's great if you're No. 1 in the race. Also then I would move up in the entry system ranking. Of course, it's great. It was a big, you know, chance for me to get up and maybe get some attention, be No. 1. I mean, it's great, also for maybe the Road to Houston, it would be a big deal. I think the difference is, I don't know, 100 points, 200 points, the entry system points between semis and finals. I don't know, but it's a lot of points. Yeah, it would help me, definitely. Not only No. 1 in Champions Race, but also Road to Houston, get up in the entry system. It's always a big deal to play semis in a Super 9.

Q. Talking about points, you can talk about dollars. You've now won four times more than Hewitt. That ought to be satisfying, right?

RAINER SCHUETTLER: Yeah, this year was pretty good. I don't complain. No, I don't complain. What can I say? I played pretty good this year, so I made some prize money.

Q. Do you have news of Tommy Haas?

RAINER SCHUETTLER: He got surgery in December. I mean, he's working on his shoulder like I think twice a day. The shoulder's improving. But he didn't play tennis yet, but I hope soon he can start. I think he will come a couple of days to Key Biscayne.

End of FastScripts….

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