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January 14, 2003

Wayne Arthurs


THE MODERATOR: Questions for Wayne, please.

Q. How did you pull up today? How's the leg?

WAYNE ARTHURS: The leg's actually very good, actually. Other parts of my body are a little stiff, but that's the price you pay for not having played a match for two and a half months.

Q. And practicing, is that the difficult part, to get physically ready for the match?

WAYNE ARTHURS: Yeah, it was. I really had no clue how I was going to pull up during the match, and I was actually surprised with the way I felt during the match. I actually felt like I was getting stronger towards the end of the match. My calf got a little bit tight, but no real problems with it. Physically, I felt very good.

Q. How close were you to missing the tournament altogether?

WAYNE ARTHURS: Very close, actually, yes. The doctors actually gave me no chance of playing. I surprised myself by being here, in the first place, and I suppose it's a little bit of a bonus now that I've won a round as well.

Q. Do you remember that match pretty fondly in terms of coming back from two-sets-to-love down, being so unprepared, where does it rank among your gutsier efforts?

WAYNE ARTHURS: It was strange, because I really didn't know how to go into the match. After being two-sets-to-love down, I thought, "This is another Australian Open, and I'm 31 years old. I might not have too many left. I've got to do something here. I've got to dig in a little bit." Sort of maybe thought of some of Lleyton's matches and how he digs in, and that's what I was just thinking about, "I don't want to go out here in the first round. I've had a lot of preparation before I did the injury," and that's all I was thinking about. Yeah, probably to come back from two sets to love is sort of special any time, no matter who you play , and even more special to do it at the Australian Open.

Q. You amazed to still be playing a day session match at 11 o'clock at night?

WAYNE ARTHURS: Yeah, little bit. It would have been even later if Alicia hadn't injured herself. It was very unfortunate for her. Having played so well over the summer, it's very unfortunate. But, yeah, to finish 11:30 on a day session is a little strange.

Q. It was a really good day for the Aussies. Can you remember another day where seven Australians have won a Grand Slam round?

WAYNE ARTHURS: Probably not when I've been playing main draw. I'm sure it has happened at some stage. But, no, that's really good. Hopefully we can win more rounds.

Q. Before your injury had you sort of set yourself anything particular in the upcoming year? You're 31, you still setting goals or just seeing how it goes?

WAYNE ARTHURS: I set my own personal goals. I have those in my mind. But I really thought I had a good chance, having a good summer this year. It's the first time I'd had good preparation coming in and a little bit of time off as well, which I hadn't had with Davis Cup obviously coming into sort of December each year in the last three or four years. So I really thought I could have a good chance in maybe Adelaide or Sydney, one of those tournaments, and obviously would have been nice to be fully prepared for this, which I would have been if I'd played Adelaide and Sydney. I just take it one match at a time now. Good to be in the second round at this stage.

Q. Any benefits from not having played the other matches, feeling a bit fresher, maybe being fresh last night?

WAYNE ARTHURS: Mentally, I was pretty good. That's the only thing, mentally fresh. But physically, obviously I'd lost a little bit of physical movement after having the injury. I really couldn't do anything for sort of two, two and a half weeks. You sort of lose fitness very quickly, especially when you're over 30.

Q. Any extra aches and pains this morning?

WAYNE ARTHURS: I've got a few stiff points right at this stage that I'm going to go and see about soon.

Q. You had treatment last night after the match?

WAYNE ARTHURS: Yeah, I had treatment last night.

Q. On the leg or anything else?

WAYNE ARTHURS: Little bit on the shoulder as well. When I don't serve for a while in match sort of situations, it gets a little stiff around the shoulder. And the legs, obviously. Little different when you get a little bit of tension through the body through the match play.

Q. You seemed to be a bit more demonstrative last night than you normally are, especially in that final set. Was there something particular riding on the match, some reason for that?

WAYNE ARTHURS: No, I think it was just being injured, I think, at this time of the year. It was just getting on my brain a little bit in the first two sets. I knew I had a good chance to beat this guy, and I probably should be beating this guy. It was getting to me a little bit in the first couple of sets. I know it shouldn't have because I had pretty bad preparation coming in. But it's just wanting to do well at the Australian Open, which I haven't really done in the years before, and I was just probably a little tenser myself more than anything else.

Q. Santoro, what's your thoughts on him?

WAYNE ARTHURS: Very difficult player to play, actually. I've lost to him a couple of times in the last previous meetings. I might have to think of a bit of a different game plan than last time. But very difficult player to play against, little dinks and stuff. I'm going to have to serve pretty well against him, obviously. Probably, hopefully, build the attack from the baseline and get into the rally and try and dominate the rally a little bit. Otherwise, he could be moving me around a little bit. And not being at full fitness, I suppose it's not a good thing.

Q. In a match like last night's, how big a factor is knowing you've got your serve and you'd get probably 25, 30 cheap points?

WAYNE ARTHURS: My whole game is based around my serve. If I'm not serving well, I'm going to be ranked 350. No, it's always good to be able to rely on that. If I'm not serving well, then sort of pack my bags basically (smiling). It's one thing that comes very natural to me and one thing that I can pretty much rely on every time I step out on the court.

Q. You didn't get rusty in the time you were off the court.

WAYNE ARTHURS: No, actually didn't - surprising. Probably a little rusty in the first two sets, probably wary of how my calf was going to react to moving forward straight off of the serve. But I was a little bit more confident sort of as the match went on and started to serve pretty well.

Q. Your old body got a few more matches in it this week?

WAYNE ARTHURS: Hopefully. Hopefully, it does.

Q. Considering the injury, what's your goal for, A, the Open, and for, B, the next 12 months?

WAYNE ARTHURS: A, the Open, is to get through it without reinjuring it, I think, and anything above that's a bonus. Next 12 months, hopefully at least stay where I am and be fit and healthy at the other end.

End of FastScripts….

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