March 24, 2001
THE MODERATOR: Questions for Hicham.
Q. Looked like you could never do too much with his serve. Do you feel like that was the key, his serve? ?
HICHAM ARAZI: Yeah, I think I couldn't see very well, you know, where he's gonna put the ball. He was like serving pretty hard. Even if I was on the ball, it was tough for me to return it back. I think was, yeah, was in the match, in this match I think was the very important thing, yeah, like you said.
Q. Do you think there was anything else that kept you from winning that match aside from his serve?
HICHAM ARAZI: I think I need a little bit more confidence, you know. I didn't win too many matches the last time and since the beginning of the year. I had the little injury in my arm and so I couldn't, like, prepare like I prepared the last past years. And I think I needed some victories.
Q. How did you feel you were playing overall?
HICHAM ARAZI: Sorry?
Q. How did you feel that you were playing overall out there aside from lacking a little confidence?
HICHAM ARAZI: Yeah, in the beginning was not very good. He was playing great. Then the level went -- he went little bit down, I went little bit -- I played a little bit better. So was like up and down, was not very -- I didn't feel like I played great tennis.
Q. Going into the third set did you feel you had a good chance to win it?
HICHAM ARAZI: Yeah, in the beginning, yeah. In the end of the second he was like starting to make some mistakes, and, you know, feel like I had a chance in the third. I think in the beginning of the third I had -- I was like I get in more on the court and I was not playing like from two meters from the baseline and I tried some things and, yeah, I really thought that it was possible this time, yeah.
Q. Have you played much with McEnroe before, John McEnroe?
HICHAM ARAZI: I play, what?
HICHAM ARAZI: Just practice?
HICHAM ARAZI: Just once.
Q. How did you do?
HICHAM ARAZI: How did I do? I lost.
Q. What was the score, do you remember?
HICHAM ARAZI: No, I don't remember. (Smiling.) I don't remember.
Q. Kuerten of course finished the year No. 1. Do you think he's the best player in the world?
HICHAM ARAZI: Yeah, I mean he did it. You know, he won couple of tournaments on clay, French Open, Hamburg, I think Rome or a final in Rome. He won the Masters on indoor. I think yeah, he is the best player in the world, yeah. I think.
Q. Can you talk about that drop volley you had that came back over and just that sequence with the crowd, getting them back into it? Talk about that shot a little bit.
HICHAM ARAZI: Well, was -- I was little bit sad. Everybody was like for Kuerten. So I was -- I wanted to put the crowd a little bit with me, and, yeah, was I think very lucky shot. And I think the crowd enjoy it, and I enjoy it too.
Q. The time you played with McEnroe, what was that like? Was it fun?
HICHAM ARAZI: Sorry?
Q. The time you played with McEnroe in practice. What was it like playing against him?
HICHAM ARAZI: I don't know, I never play him like before. He stops like before I was playing like those big tournaments, and I think yeah, I was always watching him on the TV. I think I was very, very happy. I was just looking for someone to practice the day before my third round in US Open and, yeah, I was very happy.
Q. Did it make you nervous at all, playing against him?
HICHAM ARAZI: No.
Q. Was it difficult to play against someone of that style since nobody else on the Tour really seems to play that style?
HICHAM ARAZI: Yeah, the thing is like all the time in the changeover, he was like speaking for 15 minutes and just joking, and so it was tough to really concentrate.
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