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April 22, 2000

Cedric Pioline

Q. Can you tell us a few words about your opponent tomorrow? How are you going to play him?

CEDRIC PIOLINE: It is going to be our first meeting. It is going to be difficult, although he played three sets today. It is going to be difficult because he is an excellent baseline player: He runs a lot. And he also has a very good fighting spirit.

Q. In the former Finals you were playing against the best players on clay court at the time, Bruguera and Moya. This year you have Hrbaty who is not the best player on clay of the moment. Are you the closest you ever were from winning this tournament?

CEDRIC PIOLINE: If you see things that way, okay, but the conditions are different. He may not be the best clay court player, but he is among the four best players since he was in the semifinals last year in the French Open. It is true, though, that the way I am playing and I am dealing with my matches is excellent. I can only have a good impression about tomorrow's match even if I believe it is going to be a difficult one, and that is not going to be easy neither for me nor for him.

Q. Earlier you were saying that for once you started your match properly and you said that everything can happen. Today it was the same situation?

CEDRIC PIOLINE: What happens once can happen other times.

Q. Do you have the impression you already changed at this level?

CEDRIC PIOLINE: I think it is too recent to really say it is forever, but in this tournament it is working well. I hope this tournament will be a good reference point for the following tournaments. It helps saving energy which is not negligible.

Q. Did you change things in your way of preparing before coming onto the court?

CEDRIC PIOLINE: I tried to warm up well in order to be able to make big efforts immediately and to be able to counterattack when my opponents attack me.

Q. In the way you are playing we have the impression that you have an indestructible confidence in yourself. Is it the fact that you work with a mental preparator?

CEDRIC PIOLINE: Maybe. But I think it is too recent to really tell. He gives me some little tricks to keep concentrating and to feel relaxed. It is not complicated or extraordinary. But maybe the way he tells me those things is different from what I had heard before. It has more influence on me. And I think it can indeed help me to be consistent all along the match. It is important.

Q. What satisfied you best today?

CEDRIC PIOLINE: It was a bit like yesterday with a different opponent. I was able to adapt my game to a different game and to react to a different opponent, more aggressive, going up to the net, playing longer rallies, being able to counterattack his game and winning with a good score. Everything worked well.

Q. Your serve is particularly impressive. Two matches in a row you couldn't lose your serve one single time?

CEDRIC PIOLINE: On clay court it is good. It is more difficult not to be broken.

Q. From the tactical point of view when you are serving you were hitting big kicks on his backhand.

CEDRIC PIOLINE: Yes, he stands a bit far away behind the service line. I think he is not used to having that kind of serve on him. I believe he might have been a bit surprised.

Q. We felt you were extraordinarily confident. When you missed your first serve, your second serve was quite sharp and was bouncing brightly. Is this a sign of a fantastic confidence in yourself?

CEDRIC PIOLINE: It is true that when you feel good, you try to do some things and these things work. But you need to be confident. And also you also have to choose the right moment. It means you take risks. When you take risks sometimes people applaud you but it can quickly transform into a mistake.

Q. Can you describe your program tomorrow until the time you are going to go to this famous final; when are you going to wake up and what are you going to have for breakfast?

CEDRIC PIOLINE: It is going to be like every other day. I will warm up at 11 o'clock. Then I will have lunch. I will try to get my digestion going before the final.

Q. At what time are you going to wake up?

CEDRIC PIOLINE: About 9 o'clock.

Q. On TV we saw you in the lockerrooms reading magazines, being very relaxed. Is it always the same way or do you feel particularly well these days?

CEDRIC PIOLINE: My nature is being cool. When I am on the court I don't smile too much. I try to do my best to keep concentrated. But outside of the court I am quite relaxed and I am not asking myself too many questions. So it is different because on the court I look serious. I concentrate. I try to settle my tennis. It is not easy, but outside the court I am rather cool.

Q. What are your memories of your two former Finals?

CEDRIC PIOLINE: Bad memories.

Q. Do you have any regrets, you went into the Finals being tired?

CEDRIC PIOLINE: The last final against Moya I had a sore arm and I was really exhausted. I was not able to play. These were the circumstances. My first final was a first one precisely and we played on a court with a roof on Monday. It was not easy. I played one good set and then after I couldn't do much more.

Q. The fact of playing a player you never played before, is it bothering you?

CEDRIC PIOLINE: No, we know each other. We see -- we have seen each other playing. And we practiced together. There is no problem with that.

Q. On Monday you won against Larsson. The day was bad, the weather was bad. It was dark and you won under the rain. We asked you whether you would have preferred to play the next day or rather playing this same day. Your answer was that you preferred to play on this Monday because in this tournament you have to play six matches in seven days. Were you able to -- were you sure at that time you were going to go to the end?

CEDRIC PIOLINE: You always have the prospect of being able to. I never won a tournament of this category but I always believe it is possible. Six matches in seven days is difficult, so having a rest on Tuesday is better than on Monday when you didn't even start the tournament.

Q. Were you sufficiently confident?

CEDRIC PIOLINE: I played a good match against Larsson. I was a seeded player, so I didn't expect to lose first round. Being in the Finals we are two of us, yes, I thought it was possible.

Q. Statistically you prevented your opponents to play well and you improved your game. Is it thanks to experience or do you have good information? What is it due to?

CEDRIC PIOLINE: It seems to me I always was a good tactician. Maybe it is the fact that I can hold the score better that makes it more obvious. But it doesn't seem to me there is a big difference with before.

Q. About holding the score, how come, for example, last year you were not able to do it and now --

CEDRIC PIOLINE: It is my secret.

Q. Although in the end...

CEDRIC PIOLINE: I have everything in my game to be able to do that. I serve well. I am able to win the point from the baseline. It is up to me to remain concentrated and not to give the opportunity to the opponent to make me run.

End of FastScripts….

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