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August 9, 1999

Cedric Pioline


Q. Is this a bigger deal for you to beat him because he was No. 1 at one point this year?

CEDRIC PIOLINE: No. I mean, we play and I know I have to play well if I want to beat him. So it's what I try to do.

Q. What, in particular, do you feel was working well for you?

CEDRIC PIOLINE: I think I serve very well. And so I was not in trouble on my serve, and that helped me because I could put him under pressure when he was serving.

Q. Did you sense the second set was a little easier? He talked about being frustrated after you got the first set.

CEDRIC PIOLINE: I think when I broke him at 5-4 was important mentally, because it was very tight and I finally won the game. And then he start maybe to meet a couple of shots, and I tried to keep that level of tennis. And then it was a difficult point for him to come back.

Q. How important is it to start a tournament like this and beat a decent player? Does that give you good confidence for the rest of the week?

CEDRIC PIOLINE: Yes, of course. It's important to play like this -- this match after a few weeks off. And yeah, it's very good for my confidence because it's not easy to have a first round against Carlos. And so that means I play good tennis.

Q. Did you sense anything different the way he was playing today compared to other times you've played him?

CEDRIC PIOLINE: I played him on claycourt; so, it's completely different game. On hardcourt, I can be more offensive; so, it's better for my game.

Q. Did you have some knee problems?

CEDRIC PIOLINE: Last week I pulled out because I was not sure I would be a hundred percent. So, I preferred to take one more week and be really ready for all the U.S. tournaments. It's a long -- it's a long summer to stay here for four or five weeks; so I prefer to be sure I'm healthy.

Q. What was the injury?

CEDRIC PIOLINE: Just knee tendonitis.

Q. Your right knee?


Q. Is that the first time you've had that?

CEDRIC PIOLINE: It happens sometimes.

Q. What do you think of court speed? Fast, slow?

CEDRIC PIOLINE: Good for me. (Laughs.) Good for me.

Q. Does it seem faster?

CEDRIC PIOLINE: Medium, I think. Medium surface. I think you can stay here -- you can stay back or go to the net. Good mix.

Q. You seem to be going through a pretty good period now in your game. Is there anything that you can pinpoint, just confidence?

CEDRIC PIOLINE: Yeah, I think it's confidence. You stop to win some matches on one, two, three, and you don't think too much about your tennis, about how you should hit the ball. You just do it, and then you keep winning. So I think it's all about confidence.

Q. Do people play you tougher now? Do you find that players play tougher against you after being in the finals at the U.S. Open?

CEDRIC PIOLINE: I think all the players know my game. I'm playing for many years now. So I'm sure they all know they have to play good tennis if they want to beat me. So yeah.

Q. One of the things that Carlos was talking about was he didn't really realize what he had done when he became No. 1 until later when he thought about it. Have you found that with your career, like when you were in the finals at the U.S. Open that you didn't appreciate it at the time maybe as much as later?

CEDRIC PIOLINE: Yeah, that's true. When it's happening for the first time, you don't realize it's very big. And you're in your tennis and you don't think about this. And then when you are -- when you're getting old, you will start to realize and if you look back, you can say, okay: Carlos, you won French Open; been No. 1. So he knows what he did after.

Q. And you felt that way, too?

CEDRIC PIOLINE: Yeah, it was same for me when I reach the U.S. Open finals.

Q. What sorts of goals do you have in the near future?

CEDRIC PIOLINE: Just try to keep that level of tennis. I think it's all ready for me; just trying to play good tennis. I know if I could play good tennis, I'm going to win matches, but that's it.

Q. Once you've done something like made the finals of the U.S. Open and, probably when you did it didn't seem as hard later, do you find that you can't realize how hard it was to do until you try to do it again?

CEDRIC PIOLINE: Well, of course it's hard to reach a Grand Slam finals. So many players playing good and who can reach finals. I mean, you need to play, of course, good tennis and you need a little bit of luck with the draw. And then it's very difficult, of course. You have to trust yourself if you want to go to finals, because otherwise, it's not a question of tennis. It's a question of belief in yourself. Just be sure you can do it, you know.

Q. It's an accomplishment that you've been in the U.S. Open finals, but how much of it is disappointment being defeated?

CEDRIC PIOLINE: Of course, I mean on the Sunday final it's big disappointment because you lost. But being in finals, it's already very good results. And two times now, twice, I've played Sampras, it was very tough because I never beat him. Maybe next time, I hope.

End of FastScripts….

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