January 20, 2003
MODERATOR: First question for Rainer.
Q. Last time I saw you, you were playing very well in Indianapolis. You had bad luck not to win. Anyway, I found out who you are. You're an "unruhestifter."
RAINER SCHUETTLER: What (laughter)?
Q. A troublemaker.
RAINER SCHUETTLER: Yeah, that's right, sometimes (smiling).
Q. People are going to pick up the paper in Boston tomorrow, where Blake is a great favorite. They're going to say, "Schuettler, who the hell is he?" I'm not trying to be rude. But how would you describe yourself as a tennis player?
RAINER SCHUETTLER: I think I try to play aggressive from the baseline. I think my strength is, yeah, the good movement and my return.
Q. And you run down a lot of balls, don't you?
RAINER SCHUETTLER: I try to, yeah.
Q. Have you always done that, as a little kid?
RAINER SCHUETTLER: Yeah. I played soccer before.
Q. You did?
RAINER SCHUETTLER: I did, yeah. So maybe it's coming from my soccer practice when I was young. I don't know. I like to run, so it's a perfect game for me.
Q. Were you a good soccer player?
RAINER SCHUETTLER: Normal, medium. Not good, not bad.
Q. In the United States, you'd be great.
RAINER SCHUETTLER: Maybe. If I wouldn't be a tennis professional, I wanted to be a soccer player.
Q. You tried?
RAINER SCHUETTLER: Yeah.
Q. Can you tell me how important it was to not play the previous match?
RAINER SCHUETTLER: I mean, okay, it was good that I didn't play the third round. But, I mean, I was in a good shape, and I'm still in a good shape. I was lucky. It's bad luck for him. I'm in the quarters, so for me it's fine.
Q. Your ranking came down to 33 from 111, and you spent three years around there. Why are you improving at this stage?
RAINER SCHUETTLER: Actually, my best ranking last year was 23. I don't know. I tried to practice hard, I tried to work hard. Yeah, I think the older you get, the more you just enjoy the game and the more you appreciate, yeah, what you have around. I mean, it's really a great life. It's a perfect life. Yeah, right now I just enjoy staying on the court and playing the tennis.
Q. Do you feel like you're getting better, the older you're getting?
RAINER SCHUETTLER: So far it looks like it. I hope it stays like that.
Q. Were you affected at all by smoke out there today?
RAINER SCHUETTLER: No, not really. You could see the smoke, but it was not too bad for me. It was okay.
Q. Have you encountered conditions like that before?
RAINER SCHUETTLER: You mean, with the smoke?
RAINER SCHUETTLER: No, I never played -- in Sydney last year, it was the same. But when I played, it was fine. It was the first time I had smoke on the court.
Q. Is it easier with the other guy being the crowd favorite, as Blake probably was today?
RAINER SCHUETTLER: Actually, I don't really care because I go out there, I try to play my best. I mean, I had no pressure today at all. I just went out there, tried to play good tennis, and I did. So I'm happy with it.
Q. Have you had a random blood test at all?
RAINER SCHUETTLER: Here?
RAINER SCHUETTLER: Actually, that's for sure, drug testing or blood testing. Like I didn't speak to any players because I practice, I try to go back to the hotel, have my own schedule. But every year there's anti-doping testing here, there will be this year, as well.
Q. This year they're doing blood testing, needles. Have you heard about that at all?
RAINER SCHUETTLER: Yes. But I never spoke to players in the tournament because, I mean, I don't care if I do it. If I have to do it, I do it. If I don't, I don't.
Q. To clarify, you know about it?
RAINER SCHUETTLER: Yes.
Q. But you don't specifically know if anybody has been tested?
RAINER SCHUETTLER: No, because I didn't talk to them.
End of FastScriptsâ€¦.