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September 6, 1998

Mark Philippoussis

Flushing Meadows, New York

Q. When you were getting your first serve in, you were pretty unhittable?

MARK PHILIPPOUSSIS: Well, yeah, I definitely didn't have my timing in on the serve today. It's a bit strange out there, you know, under the lights, it was hard to see. But just something to work on tomorrow, just relax a little bit on it.

Q. You should be happy that he tried to move you around the court a fair bit, and you got on top of that.

MARK PHILIPPOUSSIS: Yeah. Like I said before, I'm moving great. It hasn't worried me a lot how much I'm moving. Physically I feel great on the court. I'm not worried about working the ball, even if it takes 40 shots. So I'm feeling good out there.

Q. Where are you placed after this match? How do you feel about how it went? Where you are now?

MARK PHILIPPOUSSIS: Well, that was a strange match because I never played him before, I've never seen a lot of him. I don't know too much of him. It was a bit difficult, sort of just getting to know what he does in a first set a bit. You know, just one of those matches that you don't really play great, but you're just happy to get through.

Q. How do you prepare for Henman? That's a tough match.

MARK PHILIPPOUSSIS: Yeah. There's no easy matches here. Henman is a tough player, all-around good player. It's going to be a very interesting match. I'll definitely be up for that. I'm sure he will be, too.

Q. Obviously, as you said, Henman is a big challenge for you. I suppose looking at the draw, today with Krajicek dropping out, whatever else, I don't know if you've actually looked at the draw, I suppose Patrick is looking at the hardest lot of tennis he could possibly imagine in the next week, while you seem to be slipping under a little bit there, just sort of moving through quietly. Are you content with --

MARK PHILIPPOUSSIS: Like I said, in Grand Slams, to be quite honest, some people -- I think personally, it looks like it's sort of easier to get through because the draw always seems to open up. You've just got to worry about yourself, take it match by match. Sometimes, somehow the seeds drop out. For instance, I'm sure everyone thought I would have been playing Korda today. That happens. Like I say, you just worry about who you're playing that day, and anything can happen. The draw can open up for everyone.

Q. I know you've got a ways to go, but you are in the easier half of the draw. I mean, are you realistically looking at a semifinal, for instance?

MARK PHILIPPOUSSIS: No. Tim Henman is an extremely tough player. I'm looking forward to that match. Take it point by point. Once that's over, then I'll worry about it.

Q. What is it in your game tonight that you'll take and improve before you meet Henman?

MARK PHILIPPOUSSIS: Well, you know, I know what to expect from Tim. Like I said, I didn't know what to expect from Arnold. I'll be ready to go forward. I'm sure he's going to apply pressure. I'll just do the same thing. I'll pretty much play my own game. You know, I definitely have to be solid. I can't afford to give any free points, or else he'll take advantage of that. Just pretty much worry about myself.

Q. Apart from a few little things you've done for the crowd, you look very businesslike, just going from one point to the next point, really getting on with the job, even when you were down. That is a deliberate mind set, something you've really concentrated on?

MARK PHILIPPOUSSIS: Yeah. Like I said, I've come through the last couple of Slams really well. That's how it's got to be for every tournament, don't get me wrong. The good thing is it's coming at the important time, the Grand Slam. I'm concentrating really well. I'm enjoying myself. I'm enjoying the challenge, you know, the fight. When it gets to a tough situation, I'm enjoying that at the moment. That's very important. You know, I'm not really letting myself down. I'm disappointed if I don't get the point in because I'm expecting a lot from myself. But I don't want to put my head down and dwell about it too much.

Q. Is this something you've been working on with Pat Cash, this businesslike approach?

MARK PHILIPPOUSSIS: No. Pretty much I think my work ethic on the practice court has been definitely a lot better. That's improved a lot. I've been a bit too casual, a bit too relaxed. It's good to be relaxed. I've been working extremely hard in my practice sessions. I've been playing a lot more than normal. I've just been trying to do a lot of things, you know, as it would be in the match on the practice court.

Q. Do you see yourself very similar to Tim? Tim has had one week in the 10, desperate to get there, you're also trying to make that one step.

MARK PHILIPPOUSSIS: You just worry about winning your matches. You get through each match, you win the tournaments, the ranking will take care of itself. I don't want to think about rankings. Hopefully everyone is out here to win the US. If you do that, you're automatically in the Top 10. But, I'm just worried about my tennis now.

Q. What does Henman present in terms of a challenge to you? What specifically do you have to look for? What's he going to look for in you?

MARK PHILIPPOUSSIS: I'm sure -- I think he'll definitely attack a lot. That's what he does. He's serve volleying, he's chip and charging, he can hit from the back; he's a very good all-around player. I think he'll be expecting a lot of loose shots from me. But I'm going to go out there and just play a great -- not a great match, I mean play a consistent match, nothing special, but just nice, consistent tennis. Come in, stay back. Like I said, I've just got to play my own game, just worry about myself.

Q. One of the things that Goran said yesterday when he was here was that, as he was looking at his own game, sort of criticizing his own game, breaking it down, he said when he got out of his rhythm and things weren't going for him, he immediately would try to go for big winners on the first serve, and then when they don't go in, he would try to do it on the second serve, try to blast his way out of trouble. Have you thought about that's how you've looked at it in the past?

MARK PHILIPPOUSSIS: In the past, yes, that's maybe how I did look at it. If I was down, I was trying to get the easy way out by a big serve, the first point I'd go for a huge forehand. I think that came down to fitness, to be quite honest. Now I know that I can rally with anyone out there and run side to side for 40 shots. I feel great out there. I have no problems with that, so I can work for the ball. It's just I think that's helped a lot, the fitness side. I think if I wasn't as fit as I am, I would have gone for the shot earlier. But, yeah, I think that comes down to fitness.

Q. How about patience?

MARK PHILIPPOUSSIS: Definitely patience. Like I said, I think fitness has a lot to do with that, too. Knowing if I could stand their shots, 20 side to side, then getting a short ball, if you're not committed to run side to side for 20 shots, you're going to go for an easy one.

Q. You got a lot of those in today. You did go for a lot of winners, made a lot of winners.

MARK PHILIPPOUSSIS: That's part of my game, too. I'm not going to stop doing what's brought me here. I like going for my shots. That's what's brought me here, going for some big second serves on important points. They go in, that's just the way I play. I take chances.

Q. How about your backhand? You're changing a lot. You were chipping sometimes, you were going down the line, a lot of down-the-line winners on your backhand, too.

MARK PHILIPPOUSSIS: Yeah. I think the guy was leaving a bit of a space open down the line. He had a good backhand. Definitely I think he was just favoring his backhand a lot more.

Q. Is there a particular moment when you decided perhaps fitness -- recognized the fact that fitness was a problem with you, and you decided to do something about it? Was there a particular event that motivated you to change your ways a little?

MARK PHILIPPOUSSIS: It's just that growing up, I've always been tall. I had that growth spurt at 15 or 16, like a few inches in a year. I became lanky. It was difficult. I've always been tall, a bit slow on my feet. I'm flat-footed. It was a bit of a problem. I mean, I've been with Gavin four years now. We've been also working on the fitness side as well as the tennis. We've been doing a lot. Slowly, slowly it's come along, come along well.

Q. Maybe if the last few weeks even you've picked it up?

MARK PHILIPPOUSSIS: We haven't done anything different in these last few weeks. Maybe practiced a lot more on the court, I think just eating habits. I think that's one thing I've improved out of everything, eating habits. I eat healthy now. Before I pretty much ate shit.

Q. What sort of stuff did you used to eat?

MARK PHILIPPOUSSIS: The pizzas. I've been eating the late pizzas, popcorns, the Cokes, the ice creams. Now I live in America. Thank God for TCBY, the fat-free ice cream. I pretty much live on that stuff. It's great.

Q. What do you eat now?

MARK PHILIPPOUSSIS: I don't eat too much for breakfast. Just cereal, muffins, a lot of muffins. Honestly, I eat TCBY for pretty much lunch and sometimes dinner. I'm not joking. I get these big tubs. They're fat free, sugar free. I get the nuts and the big spoon in front of the TV. That's great for me.

Q. I suspect the perception in Australia is there's a race within the race now, two Aussies left in the tournament. Tennis fans will be looking to see who can go further. What does it mean to you to go deeper into the tournament than what Pat might?

MARK PHILIPPOUSSIS: I don't think that's the way of looking at it. Pat and I are friends. We're good friends. He comes off his matches, "Congrats." I go out on the court, he says, "Good luck." We're on a different half. He plays great tennis. He deserves to be where he is now. I mean, I'm working hard. My work ethic is getting better. I just worry about myself. It's just good. We sort of push each other along. I don't think there's that jealousy there, which is great. I think people would think there's a lot of jealousy there, but there isn't. I mean, the guy deserves it. He's worked extremely hard. Maybe I've looked at that and it's picked up my work ethic, too. It's made things better for me. The guy's playing some good tennis, deserves to be there. I just want to follow that, too, and at the same time worry about myself.

Q. Has he raised the bar for you, knowing that he's won here last year, that he's been playing very well since June, he has the best record of anyone? Has that inspired you to say, "I'm coming in there, as well"?

MARK PHILIPPOUSSIS: Yeah. I think it's like up-and-down. I think maybe last year or year before, maybe he inspired me, a few years ago, then I inspired him. Again, he's inspired me. He's had an unbelievable hard court record this year. Pushes us along, I think. So that's great.

Q. Can you be a little bit more specific about Henman in terms of, can you remember some moments when you played him, some things you remember about him or the way things went?

MARK PHILIPPOUSSIS: Last time I played him I think was in the indoors, in I think it was Basel. I won there in straight -- three sets or straight sets, I'm not sure. But, I mean, he's a tough player. I know for a fact he'll be coming into the net a lot, serve and volleying, chip and charging. All I've got to say is -- how can I put it? Like I said, I just want to concentrate on my game, what I do. I'll mix it up, I'm come in, I'll serve and volley, I'll stay back. Pretty much you have to see how the match is going. If he's hitting winners, I'll stay back. If I'm not hitting well off the back, I'll change it up.

Q. You're willing to come in?

MARK PHILIPPOUSSIS: Yeah, sure, that's part of my game. I feel comfortable coming in. I feel like my volleys have improved a lot. That's part of my game that's improved a lot. It has to do with movement, get in closer for that first volley. Everything is coming along well.

Q. You like where you're at right now?

MARK PHILIPPOUSSIS: Yeah, I do. I'm comfortable where I am. I'm feeling good.

End of FastScripts….

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