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March 13, 1999

Mark Philippoussis


GREG SHARKO: Mark advances to his second ATP Tour final of the year, and his first Mercedes Super 9 final. He's now increased his win/loss record for the season to 13-2. He's a 2-0 lifetime against Carlos Moya. First question for Mark.

Q. Mark, you were serving very well today. Is this the best you think you've served in this tournament?

MARK PHILIPPOUSSIS: I'd definitely have to agree. I felt confident out there. I had some good rhythm on the serve. It was good today.

Q. Were you in kind of a zone for other parts of your game?

MARK PHILIPPOUSSIS: I wouldn't say a zone. I was just being consistent. He was the one coming up with the unforced errors.

Q. You have a winning record against him. You have a good record this year, but he'll be No. 1 next time you meet. Make it a little more difficult?

MARK PHILIPPOUSSIS: I don't think about what the player's ranked, you know. I'm just going out there. He's an extremely tough player. You know, I'm sure he's very up at the moment. He's No. 1 in the world. I'm sure he'll be wanting to win tomorrow. Same with me. I'll be going out there, trying to compete well.

Q. You've been playing very well this year, you say you enjoy yourself even more on the court than you used to before. Was there a turning point when you felt this was starting to happen?

MARK PHILIPPOUSSIS: Yeah. It helped a lot, more of a relief than anything, at Wimbledon, reaching the quarterfinals. Since then, I was playing okay, not some great tennis during the American summer. But at the US Open, the final was great for me. I've just been very relaxed the last few months. Like I said, just enjoying my tennis and competing well.

Q. If you had to look at the way you were playing on a percentage basis, how many more percentage points would you have to go up to be playing your best tennis?

MARK PHILIPPOUSSIS: You know, I feel at times -- I mean, this week, I'm playing some great points when I have to in tough situations. I'm coming up with some good shots or good defensive points, you know, good returns. I feel confident at the moment. I mean, I definitely think it's not like I'm playing the best tennis I could play, it's just that I'm competing well, and I'm playing solid tennis is the difference there.

Q. Do you think with almost any shot that comes across the net at you, you can return for a winner at the moment? Is it that sort of confidence?

MARK PHILIPPOUSSIS: I wouldn't say that. I just feel like I'm moving well. I feel like I can get to, pretty much I would say, nearly any ball at the moment. I feel like I'm moving so freely around the court. Yeah, I just feel very loose. My groundstrokes, I just feel like I have a rhythm on my groundstrokes. Like I said, I'm just playing some solid tennis, you know.

Q. If you played tomorrow the way you played today, would that be enough to beat Moya?

MARK PHILIPPOUSSIS: You know, Moya's not going -- Chris made some unforced errors today, which I can tell you definitely that Carlos isn't going to make. I'm looking for an extremely tough match. He moves extremely well. He's not going to miss much at all. You know, I'm going to just try to play the same tennis. At times, if I need a little bit more, so be it.

Q. Besides the fact that you played well today, could you tell he was kind of a little drained from the long week, coming through the qualifying and stuff?

MARK PHILIPPOUSSIS: No. I wasn't really looking towards how he was feeling. Maybe I made him look drained. I'm not sure.

Q. You mentioned that US Open final. How did you cope with that loss? Was that something that was hard for you to take, or was the satisfaction of having reached the final enough for you to look forward?

MARK PHILIPPOUSSIS: No, I wouldn't say it's enough satisfaction, going to a Grand Slam final, going all that way, fight for those matches, to lose. You're playing for a Grand Slam title, for your name to be on that trophy. It was a very hard loss for me. I think in some cases it's better for you when you lose matches. That could have done more for me losing it. It's made me work harder, it's made me a lot more eager. You know, just makes you want it more.

Q. Who among your support system and your networks, was there a piece of advice about handling that defeat which you recall that was particularly helpful?

MARK PHILIPPOUSSIS: Yeah, everyone with me, Gavin, my father. It was a tough time. I had to take something positive away from that, reaching the final. It's the start of everything. I'm 22 years old. Hopefully, I've got years to come and a lot more Sundays in Grand Slam finals to look forward to.

Q. Before the matches, do you have any prematch rituals that you have to do, any good luck charms that you take with you to different tournaments or anything?


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