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September 13, 1998

Mark Philippoussis

Flushing Meadows, New York

Q. What was the difference there? It was pretty tight for a while, then all of a sudden he just had 22 out of 26 points.

MARK PHILIPPOUSSIS: Yeah. You know, kind of a few points here and there to decide the first couple of sets. You know, one break in each set. I mean, you've got to hand it to Pat. I think five unforced errors for the whole match. That's pretty impressive. At the moment, he's playing like the best player in the world.

Q. Were you nervous going in?

MARK PHILIPPOUSSIS: Obviously I was nervous. You know, I knew that was coming. I felt good, though. I was ready for it, looking forward to the match.

Q. That big point at 3-2 when you were serving down 2-3, in the third set. That big point where he chased down your overhead. How deflating was that point, to win it and he'd come back and break on the next point?

MARK PHILIPPOUSSIS: Yeah, that was a bit disappointing. But, you know, I think just a bad choice of shot for myself. You know, Pat is very quick around the court. I mean, things happen like this. One point here and there. A point like that can decide the set, even the match.

Q. How emotionally spent were you? Were you up for getting into this? Was it hard on you to come through these two weeks? Were you fresh today?

MARK PHILIPPOUSSIS: I mean, I wasn't fresh. I felt good. I'm sure the same with Pat. You know, I was pumped for it. I mean, you've got to get pumped, it's the US Open final. So no matter how you're feeling, even if you're tired, your legs aren't feeling great, you've got to be pumped out there.

Q. Were you tired?

MARK PHILIPPOUSSIS: I was a little bit tired. But, you know, feeling pretty good actually for the amount of tennis I've played.

Q. How do you feel your serve was today? Was it as good as you would hoped it would be, a little off?

MARK PHILIPPOUSSIS: No. You know, way too many double-faults. My rhythm wasn't there today. But that's how it goes. Like I said, I don't like to rely on my serve only. The ones that -- the service games I got broken, I served like maybe, I think, three double-faults in it. That putts a lot of pressure on me for other points.

Q. Where do you rate Patrick Rafter now, after the hard-court season?

MARK PHILIPPOUSSIS: Hard-court season, he's got to be the No. 1 player in the world. He's lost two matches in the summer. That's pretty damn good.

Q. Yesterday you were talking about how you go and warm up, and you know if you're in rhythm, feel in sync. Yesterday you were bombing 130, 136 miles an hour. Today sometimes your first serve was maybe 102 or 100. Did you feel that rhythm today or you never had it?

MARK PHILIPPOUSSIS: I mean, there was rhythm. But I think I slowed down my serve today trying to get the first serve in and move in for the volley. I didn't want to play a lot of second serves, you know, I was just concentrating on getting the first serve in.

Q. Can you reflect on what these two weeks mean to you? Can you still see there has been a great development in your game?

MARK PHILIPPOUSSIS: Sure. This is the start of something in my career. I'm only 21 years old. Definitely hoping and counting on having a lot more Sundays in Grand Slams. Like I said, this will make me work a lot harder. Sometimes it's good -- like I said, things happen for a reason I think in life. It was good maybe today that I lost, you know.

Q. Did Pat Cash say anything to you after the match? Have you talked to him?


Q. What did he say?

MARK PHILIPPOUSSIS: He said bad luck, it was a great two weeks. You know, like I'm saying now, this is just the start for everything, just the start for me.

Q. What are your plans now? What are you going to do over the next few weeks?

MARK PHILIPPOUSSIS: I'll go back home to Florida, just relax there for a week, and then start training and go off to Europe.

Q. You indicated you have to work on your game to develop a few more things. If you could do one thing to develop it to a higher degree than it is now, what might it be?

MARK PHILIPPOUSSIS: I think I'd have to say consistency. I have confidence in my all-around game. Just try to make it consistent. You know, there's patches where I can play some great tennis, and then that goes off for a couple of games and comes back again. You know, to play some great tennis week in and week out, you've just got to be consistent.

Q. Is that an issue of mental discipline or is it something else?

MARK PHILIPPOUSSIS: Definitely mental discipline, and also just patience. You know, not to go for the most unbelievable shot, the play of the day, instead of just making him play the shot or getting the ball in.

Q. Where have you settled down in Florida? Are you going to make that your in-between-tournaments home?

MARK PHILIPPOUSSIS: That is pretty much my home in Long Boat Key.

Q. Were some of those rallies as much fun for you guys as they looked to be for the fans in the stands?

MARK PHILIPPOUSSIS: Fun for me? Only when I won it (laughter).

Q. How did the Australian final factor play in this? How did it affect you? How did it play in the game?

MARK PHILIPPOUSSIS: You know, there was two players out there playing the US Open final. We happened to be from the same country. That's all it was, just another player out there.

Q. If you had to summarize your two weeks here in New York at the tournament with just one or two words, what would that be?

MARK PHILIPPOUSSIS: A start, really.

Q. How mentally fatigued were you in the fourth set? It didn't seem like you could get yourself into too many points.

MARK PHILIPPOUSSIS: I was a little fatigued. But, you know, I mean, I really didn't do anything that much wrong, except for a few double-faults. I mean, Pat hit a lot of passing shots, he made me volley a lot from my shoelaces, a lot of hard volleys. He was just playing, you know, great tennis.

Q. What do you think was the most frustrating thing? What frustrated you the most out there? Just that he got it back all the time?

MARK PHILIPPOUSSIS: No, I wouldn't say frustrating, because I was expecting that. I know he's quick. I couldn't really say anything frustrated me, except the end honestly. Nothing really frustrated me out there.

Q. When you were sitting in the chair, watching him, you sort of put your head in the towel. What was going through your mind?

MARK PHILIPPOUSSIS: Well, obviously I'm disappointed, you know. You work so hard to get in the final, to see someone else put the trophy up, obviously that's what I was dreaming about. It's just hard to look at someone -- it was hard to look at him, to be quite honest, lifting up that trophy. I was just disappointed.

Q. Was there any sort of reminiscence -- I know you guys have settled your differences. But was it okay out there between you?

MARK PHILIPPOUSSIS: Yeah, it was fine. He was playing for the same reason I was, to win. Everything was fine.

Q. Seeing that trophy go up, as you say, that hurt. Does that make you even more determined now by having seen someone else do that?

MARK PHILIPPOUSSIS: Exactly. That's what I said probably -- like I said, things happen for a reason. Seeing him lift that trophy up, I'm going to go home, relax. When I go out on the court, I'm going to work twice as hard as I have been. That could be good for me, you know, definitely.

Q. How would you like to use Pat Cash next year? Would you like him as a traveling coach?

MARK PHILIPPOUSSIS: That's something I'll sit down and talk about. Hopefully he can be part of the team full-time. It's hard for him. There's a family involved.

Q. How important will that be for you to have him full-time next year?

MARK PHILIPPOUSSIS: It will be very important. It's great having him by my side. Like I said, being part of the team.

Q. What was your game plan when Pat was serving?

MARK PHILIPPOUSSIS: You know, obviously I wanted to make him play. It's just -- I didn't want to just chip the ball back because he's quick, he gets in quick. If it floats, he just comes in and puts the ball away. I had to be aggressive on my returns. For a moment there, I started getting some rhythm on returns and I was on him. He was quick out there.

Q. You had a lot of great moments en route to reaching the final. Months from now, what do you think your single favorite recollection or moment will be from the tournament?

MARK PHILIPPOUSSIS: Probably that quarterfinal match, just fighting through that. I think, like I said before, that's changed a lot for me.

Q. For you, what's it like mentally when you're out there against Patrick Rafter, every time you look up you know he's going to be in your face at the net challenging you to hit a great shot?

MARK PHILIPPOUSSIS: I don't know. It's -- like I said, the guy's quick. It's just like, you know, Stefan Edberg, when I was playing him at the net. It was the same thing. The guy was always coming in. You were expecting the pressure, expecting him to make some great volleys. Just up to me to hopefully, I don't know, try and make him miss a little bit. Like I said, five unforced errors, you can't do anything.

Q. I was just talking to Tony Roche, he was very complimentary about your game. He said in terms of the Davis Cup that the door is always open for you there. What are your thoughts in terms of that?

MARK PHILIPPOUSSIS: I have no thoughts about that. You know, I'm just -- at the moment, my thoughts are to go home, in Florida, see my mom, just relax.

Q. You're not thinking about playing in that any time soon?

MARK PHILIPPOUSSIS: No, that's not in my thoughts at the moment.

Q. What happened in the fourth set? Did you just lose all your focus?

MARK PHILIPPOUSSIS: I mean, you know, down an early break, I think three serves come in a row, I had 40-15. Hit some double-faults. He hit some passing shots. I mean, tennis is like that. Anything can change, and you can lose the set to Love, which happened.

Q. Peter Rafter has extended an invite to join them tonight, is the repairing of your friendship to a stage where you can join them?

MARK PHILIPPOUSSIS: Like I said, we're friends at the moment. We've worked things out. To be quite honest, I don't know if I played, I beat you, I said, "Come and celebrate my victory," How would you feel? You're like, "Yeah, here is a beer for you, well done."

Q. What do you plan to do?

MARK PHILIPPOUSSIS: What would you do?

Q. What will you do tonight?

MARK PHILIPPOUSSIS: I'll have my own party (laughter).

Q. Did you two say anything much afterwards? Have you seen him? Has he said anything to you?

MARK PHILIPPOUSSIS: No. Shook hands. I said, "Congratulations, great defending your title." That's it. He said, "Bad luck." Just all the things that, you know, you should say.

Q. Do you anticipate any increased pressure playing in Australia next year?


Q. Pressure or even anticipating the enjoyment of being a runner up at the US Open going into Australia as one of the favorites?

MARK PHILIPPOUSSIS: There's no pressure. You know, like I said, I know what I'm going to do now. My game, just going to go and work hard. All I can do is do my best out there. You know, bottom line, I'm playing for myself, no one else.

Q. An extension of that question, maybe there will be a greater expectation, particularly back in Australia around the Australian Open time. How do you think you'll cope with that greater expectation?

MARK PHILIPPOUSSIS: I don't know. It's a Grand Slam. You know, I'm just going to go and treat it like I treated this one. Obviously, there's a bit more - like you said - expectations, a lot more focus. But, you know, it's another Grand Slam. I'm going to do well and just play my game.

Q. You got up pretty well for the Grand Slams. What about the other tournaments? What's the challenge there? Are you going to try to apply yourself to the other tournaments, as well?

MARK PHILIPPOUSSIS: Sure. I've got a few tournaments to go to in the year. You know, I'll put everything into it. Obviously, each tournament you go, you'd like to win it, you know, not act like it's a warm-up or anything like that. I have a few tournaments to go, I'll just put everything in it, then I can relax.

Q. Did you learn something about your mental approach here?

MARK PHILIPPOUSSIS: Yeah. I mean, like I said, I've grown up a lot in these last couple of weeks, a lot more mature. That is just the start, knowing that I could take my confidence in these next few tournaments coming up.

Q. You live in Florida, you are not very keen to play Davis Cup. Is there some tension there between Australia or Australian tennis and you right now that needs to be sorted out?

MARK PHILIPPOUSSIS: No, no tension at all. No, I mean, I've worked out things with Pat. I've tried to work out things with John Newcombe, you know. Everything's fine. To be quite honest, today when you see those guys, Davis Cup captain, coach, sitting in his box, I think -- what's the right words?

Q. Is it "us and them" a little bit?

MARK PHILIPPOUSSIS: No. I would say I was extremely disappointed, you know. I expected a lot more. I should have known a lot better. I should have been neutral.

Q. So you're not happy about that?

MARK PHILIPPOUSSIS: Well, I just -- that's got no affect on me and my tennis. I'm disappointed. I'm sure if you were in my position, you'd feel the same way.

Q. Did you and Pat, because you know each other, speak at all before the match?

MARK PHILIPPOUSSIS: Say hello, you know. He walked in, I saw him in the training room. Just smiled at each other, knowing we were going to go at it today. That's it.

Q. He hit only five errors. Did you make him hit enough balls, enough difficult balls, or was he just playing well?

MARK PHILIPPOUSSIS: Well, I could have, you know, made him hit a few more. But, you know, at some stage, I was returning well, and the guy was just -- you know, he hardly missed a volley. Like I said, he's the hottest player on the tour definitely at the moment.

Q. You said after the Johansson match that you were a new player. Could you explain what you meant by that and the impact of the match on your game?

MARK PHILIPPOUSSIS: I just think that I proved something to myself there, you know, that matured me, I grew up a lot during that match. Just knowing that I could fight and come back, you know, proving not only to myself, but others as well.

Q. Is it going to be hard for you to play Davis Cup for Australia if Newcombe and Roche are pulling the strings after today?

MARK PHILIPPOUSSIS: I mean, I don't want to speak about that anymore. I just pretty much said what I wanted to say, expressed my disappointment, and that's it. I prefer to just keep positive right now.

End of FastScripts….

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