January 26, 2004
THE MODERATOR: Questions in English first.
Q. So sorry you have ruined Australia Day beating Philippoussis today.
HICHAM ARAZI: Sorry (smiling).
Q. How do you explain you played so well?
HICHAM ARAZI: Yeah, I mean, I'm very happy. I'm very happy the way I played today. I mean, I didn't miss too many shots. I returned pretty good his first serve. I think today I feel it a little bit in the beginning of the match. He was a little bit more heavy than in the first and second and third round. I saw him playing. He played great tennis. I was surprised today with the score. But I feel that from the beginning that he was not in his best days.
Q. Did it hurt when he hit you in the head?
HICHAM ARAZI: No, no, no. No, no, no. I just (ducked). I was scared a little bit because he's hitting pretty hard. But no.
Q. Did you go over the game plan of trying to keep the crowd out of it, as well?
HICHAM ARAZI: Sorry?
Q. Were you going out hard early so that you kept -- the crowd seemed to be quite low, and eventually got into the game for Mark. Were you deliberately trying to keep the crowd out of it by getting early points?
HICHAM ARAZI: Yeah, no, I was -- I knew that all the support was going to go with Mark, and I was just concentrate, you know, on my game, and to be very concentrate on the return because he has a huge serve. And that was I think the key of the match. He's serving big. If you can return his serve, then it's on my advantage.
Q. Were you conscious of the crowd at all?
HICHAM ARAZI: Sorry?
Q. Were you conscious of the crowd at all during the game?
HICHAM ARAZI: No, because I was all ready before to go on the court, I knew it was going to be like this, so I was prepared.
Q. Were you surprised at how easily you won the first two sets?
HICHAM ARAZI: Yeah, I mean, the way I return today and the way, like I said before, I saw that he was not feeling as good as the round before, no.
Q. This is the fourth time you've made a quarterfinal of a Grand Slam. Do you feel better prepared this time to perhaps progress?
HICHAM ARAZI: Yeah, I mean, that's my second time here and two times at the French. Yeah, I'm more -- I want more. Before, I was happy, you know, to be there. I had the chance to go to the semis at the French Open with Cedric Pioline match, who went to the fifth. But now I know that everything is possible, you know. I believe more in myself.
Q. You won some big-pressure matches last year, particularly in Davis Cup. Do you think that will help you?
HICHAM ARAZI: I think it's more the matches, you know, that I play in Grand Slams, you know. And I always wanted to do well in those tournaments. I have always good motivation. Also I think it's going to help me a lot, like the result that I made last times at the French in '97, '98, and here also. That helped me, yeah.
Q. Do you think players with more talent have an advantage to play the Australian Open because it comes after one month of vacation, so if you have more talent you play better than the others who practice a little less?
HICHAM ARAZI: No, I don't think so, because it's not one month of vacation, it's one week vacation, and then it's hard work for five, six weeks. So, no, I don't think. I don't think so, no.
Q. Can you talk about your match-up with Juan Carlos?
HICHAM ARAZI: Yeah, I lost him. I played him four times, I think, or five times. On clay I always lost to him. I beat him two times on the hard courts in Cincinnati and in Bercy. So that's the only two times where we play on hard courts. So I think he improve a lot his game on those courts. Is going to be for sure very hard. But I believe that I can win again after tomorrow.
Q. What do you have to do well to beat him in your game?
HICHAM ARAZI: Just to be aggressive, you know, and try to come more at the net. I think I'm going to have to be also fit because he's going to make me run a lot. But to stay aggressive and to come.
Q. He's had a few injuries, as well. Are you conscious of his fitness as well at this stage?
HICHAM ARAZI: I didn't know, no. I just going to be, you know, focused like today and try to think about my game, not thinking about him. And then I think I have good chance.
Q. Were you a bit nervous during the interview with John McEnroe on court?
HICHAM ARAZI: A little bit because my English is not very, very good. And he's speaking pretty fast, you know, like the American accent. So it's pretty tough to understand him.
End of FastScriptsÃ¢â‚¬Â¦.