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September 3, 1999

Richey Reneberg

Flushing Meadows, New York City

Q. First of all, for you to get this far in the tournament, it's kind of an accomplishment for you considering your US Open past?

RICHEY RENEBERG: Yeah. I mean, I thought that, you know, I played real well my first round. And then obviously playing Todd is difficult, particularly on courts that are this fast, and he's got, I think, a great game for this surface. I think that if he serves well -- I thought he served well today -- I think it's -- there are guys that could beat him, but I think he has as good a shot as anyone.

Q. He's sort of been overlooked here, but he could be the one who benefits from all of this?

RICHEY RENEBERG: Yeah. The top half of the draw, a lot of the seeds and big names go, there aren't that many left. But, I mean, you know, there are a lot of good players. Everyone that plays is good. I think, obviously, it helps for Todd. Like I said, I think the conditions here are very good for his game, and, you know, like I said, if he serves well and is able to -- like for the first two sets today I couldn't really do anything on his serve. That frees him up to go for his returns and -- but, you know, I think he has a good shot here.

Q. There's a lot said about the whole wildcard situation with you picking one up, just when you heard that Mal went out and that, you know, they offered you a wildcard. What was your initial response?

RICHEY RENEBERG: Oh, I mean obviously I was glad. I was trying to get a wildcard from the beginning, and, you know, they went with the younger guys, with the exception of Mal's brother. I had a feeling Mal might not play, but I thought Alex O'Brien had a good shot. I was surprised that once Mal didn't take his, I got it. But, you know, it's nice. I feel -- last year I was in the same position, I gave him my wildcard back as well. So I don't think it had anything to do with it, but I mean it's -- I appreciate him giving it to me.

Q. A couple players, I guess most notably Jim Courier, had a lot to say about you and guys probably like Alex not getting a wildcard.


Q. While Mashiska and other guys did get a wildcard. Were you aware of that?

RICHEY RENEBERG: I was a little disappointed. But, like I say, I mean I think it's good. Obviously, in the U.S., we have an, according to a lot of people who are working with a lot of the Juniors, we kind of have a problem out on the horizon for the -- on the men's side, and we need to get some of these young guys playing. Six of the eight went to young guys. I think that's great, you know, I think Mal definitely deserved one. And Mashiska, I don't know what -- there's a kind of -- I don't know what it was -- a lawsuit between them. But, you know, Mashiska's a nice kid. He works hard. And, you know, it was their decision. They could give it to whoever they want. I don't really feel that anyone's entitled to anything. I certainly felt like I had, over the years, done a lot, you know, played a lot of Davis Cup, the practice partner bit and that. So I felt like I had a pretty good shot. But, yeah, I mean, I was disappointed at first. But, I mean, it's not my decision. It worked out well for me in the end.

Q. What kind of guy is Todd?

RICHEY RENEBERG: Todd? He's a very nice guy. He and I are very good friends.

Q. So you're good friends. You can tell me more than just, "He's nice."

RICHEY RENEBERG: Well, he really is. I mean he's -- he wins all these sportsmanship awards and all that stuff. He deserves them. He's very well liked on the Tour, and obviously a very good tennis player.

Q. He seems to be willing to take a leadership role.


Q. Yeah. He does on the Davis Cup stuff.

RICHEY RENEBERG: He's been committed to the Davis Cup, which I think is great. And, you know, he does a lot with the Tour Council, I know that, and he's a very bright guy. He has a lot of integrity, just the type of person that, you know, you like to be friends with. He and I have been friends for a long time. We get along pretty well.

Q. Is this kind of ironic that the last time you did, you know, kind of this well in the US Open you were supposed to play Todd, or maybe you --

RICHEY RENEBERG: I was playing Todd, yeah, in the fourth round.

Q. You were playing Todd and had to pull out with a hamstrung --

RICHEY RENEBERG: Yeah, in the night match I won the first set and then I hurt my leg. But was it what?

Q. Is it kind of ironic that, you know, this is a --

RICHEY RENEBERG: Oh, you know, I guess sort of. I mean but, you know, that was so long ago.

Q. Yeah, that was '94.

RICHEY RENEBERG: Doesn't seem like it was that long ago, but it was. It was obviously disappointing, five years ago, it was very disappointing. I had beat him back in the first round, won a couple other matches, I was playing very well. You know, I've never done great at the Open, I felt like I had a shot that year to do pretty well. I was disappointed. But I forgot about that today, it didn't really have any effect. Todd and I have played I think eleven or twelve times, and I think, you know, I was just kind of worried about today.

Q. Sure, sure. For you, I saw you in Indy and we were talking about the future and everything.


Q. Does this give you a better feeling for the future either way, this little run here?

RICHEY RENEBERG: The bottom line is for me I kind of somehow need to get my ranking a little bit higher if I want to continue to do this. Last year after having knee surgery, my ranking dropped outside the Top 100 for the first time in quite a while. And so, you know, unfortunately -- I feel like I've been hitting the ball well. This summer I feel like I've hit the ball very well, but I haven't picked up a ton of points. But, you know, I think that I'd like to play, you know, the end of the year and maybe start off the beginning of next year and see how I'm doing. I mean, it's -- I think if, you know, if my wife didn't have a little baby boy, I would be more inclined to kind of persevere a little more. But at the same time, you have to be realistic, I'm 34 in a month, and in a sport, you know, where if you're 34, you're old. And so, you know, it's in the back of my mind that this is, you know, it may stop pretty soon.

Q. But does this US Open, does this kind of tell you, give you a good idea of where your tennis is, though? Just like, hey, you know, I have something left in the tank?

RICHEY RENEBERG: I feel like I do. You know, this summer I, you know, when I played singles, I mean starting back in Wimbledon, I qualified in two tournaments and actually played okay, both of those, Wimbledon and Holly. Then I played a good match against Andre in Montreal. It's one thing to hit the ball well. The one thing I feel like I'm sort of lacking is a little bit of confidence to win some of the matches. I mean the last two weeks, I lost to Grosjean in Indianapolis and to Ljubicic in Cincinnati, where I had a few opportunities, particularly in Cincinnati, and it just didn't converge. I mean that's the thing that seems like, you know -- compared to earlier in my career when I was a little more consistent and felt like, you know... Nowadays I'm not quite as confident probably and that makes a big difference. I mean, you know, it's easy to get to a point where you can win a match, but you need to go ahead and win it. That's kind of the problem I've had this summer, where I've had, you know, some chances against just, you know, just about anybody. With Andre, I had a pretty good shot against him sort of, and then the other two matches, you know, I felt like I had chances to win. So, you know, I think I need to -- in order to get my ranking back up there, I need to try to get a little confident. Even just winning a match here gives me a little confidence. Sargis is a good player, the guy I beat first round, Sargis Sargsian. So that helps.

Q. For example, today, if I remember the score correctly, you were serving to stay in the set, in the first set, and he broke you at the end?

RICHEY RENEBERG: Yeah. I just played kind of a sloppy game. I don't remember exactly what happened. But, you know, a couple points here and there, and there's one where I came into net and I don't know what I was doing, he hit a kind of a weird drop volley, I came in, thought I had more time. All of a sudden I was on top of the net and didn't hit a very good shot. I didn't hit a very good shot.

Q. Hit it right to him.

RICHEY RENEBERG: Yeah, I mean, a match like that obviously would have been nice to win the first set. A lot of times in these matches, particularly with a guy like Todd, at least I feel so much pressure playing him. It's just, you know, he's -- he doesn't really give you an opportunity a lot of times to play very much. I mean he's very good on his return serve, he's a very good server, he hits the ball very hard. I mean he doesn't, you know, when you see his serve, his serves are clocked at 115, occasionally 120. But it's a lot, it's an equivalent -- for some reason, certain guys have very heavy serves. His serves are very heavy serves. It's like hitting a serve at 130 miles.

Q. Also, once you won the third set, did you feel like, hey, I've kind of --

RICHEY RENEBERG: I felt like I sort of turned around. I felt a lot better. In the third set I felt I played much better than I did in the first two. But there, again, it's nice for him. When he serves as well as he does, even though -- when there's maybe a slight shift in momentum, he's able to still hold serve and you can go up there and crack a few serves. I feel like I played much better in the fourth set than I did in the first two, even though I lost it 6-1. But, yeah, I mean, I felt like I was starting to get into the match. With Todd's conditioning in the back of my mind, even though he won the long match the other day, I don't think -- he's had a lot of injuries and stuff like that. So in my mind, I was thinking maybe I could turn it around. He played a pretty good game at 2-1 to break me, and I just was never able to -- I had a couple of chances, 30-Alls and stuff like that, but I came up with good shots.

Q. You didn't feel like you ran out of gas?

RICHEY RENEBERG: No, no. Not at all. I felt great. I didn't feel like I was running out of energy at all. Like I say, he's the type of guy -- I can't remember what happened the first couple games he served. It seemed like I was returning a little bit better, held, like -- I thought he played a good game at 2-1 to break me. It's tough. You're playing against him, you're down a break. With his serve, it's hard to get it back particularly on these courts. They're very fast.

Q. In your career, how many matches have you played on the stadium court? Like the main stadium, obviously not here?


Q. Whether it was the old Louis Armstrong back then or --

RICHEY RENEBERG: Here at the Open?

Q. Yeah.

RICHEY RENEBERG: Let's see, I played Becker, I played Todd years ago when I had to retire.

Q. Do you remember when you played Becker?

RICHEY RENEBERG: '94 or something.

Q. Yeah.

RICHEY RENEBERG: I think I played John McEnroe in, like, '87.

Q. Yes.

RICHEY RENEBERG: I played Todd, Beck in '94 as well. I was in the Grandstand a few times. I'm trying to remember the times I played in the stadium. That might be it.

Q. I'm just thinking in this vast career, you've been out there for a long time, and in this whole career you've been on the show court, "the" show court, maybe four times in your career?

RICHEY RENEBERG: Here, yeah? But, I mean, the thing, as you know, being within the States, even times when I was ranked 20th in the world, 25th in the world, you're still the 6th ranked American. That's fine. I never really did that well here. I had fourth round, but for some reason I never really did all that well here.

Q. Did you hear them announce in the middle of your match that they were putting a doubles match on afterwards?


Q. What was your thought at that? Did you think about it at all?


Q. My reaction was they're not giving Richey a whole lot of credit of being able to come back in the match. It was in the third set.

RICHEY RENEBERG: I think they were excited that there was going to be another match after that. I don't think it had anything to do with --

Q. I just meant time-wise. They wouldn't put another match on if yours went to 6:30.

RICHEY RENEBERG: It was only 4 o'clock at that point. Even if it went five sets, it would only be 5:30.

Q. You didn't think, "They're not giving me a whole lot of credit"?


Q. I did.


Q. Yeah.

RICHEY RENEBERG: It might not even have been that late.

Q. It was only about 4 o'clock. Not even. It's only 4:30 now.

RICHEY RENEBERG: That didn't register.

Q. Have you given any thought to how much longer --

RICHEY RENEBERG: Yeah, I've given a lot of thought to it. I think, you know, if I didn't have a little boy, it would be a lot easier to try to play a little longer, maybe even just play doubles. It gets harder and harder. I think I'd like to play through the fall, try and play qualifying for some of these tournaments in Europe. Then, you know, maybe start the year. If I don't do well next year, I'll probably stop in the spring.

Q. So it's a safe bet to say that this might have been your last US Open?

RICHEY RENEBERG: I think there's a pretty good chance, yeah. I'm 34 in a few days, so, you know, it's got to end some time.

Q. What are you thinking when you walk around the stadium here? When you walk around this place, do you think about, God, I might not be back here as a player?

RICHEY RENEBERG: It doesn't really -- doesn't really phase me, I guess. You know, I don't know. I kind of feel like I've been lucky to play as long as I have. I really don't -- you know, I'm not sentimental. I'm not --

Q. You're not going to take a piece of the court out? (Laughing.)


Q. Just kidding.

RICHEY RENEBERG: I'll definitely miss playing tennis on the Tour, but at the same time I'm kind of looking forward to doing something else.

Q. Do you know what you're going to do?

RICHEY RENEBERG: Not yet, no. I'm trying to decide if I'm going to stay in tennis, or not. I'm inclined to initially do something outside of tennis. But, you know, I have some ideas but I'm not sure. I haven't got anything firmed up. It's a thing a lot of guys go through at the end of their career. You think you can play forever, then you realize you can't and try to decide what you're going to do next.

Q. What did you and Todd say to each other? It was a sweet moment.

RICHEY RENEBERG: We're really good friends. We had this little joke, I do this thing for him where I mock -- I do this goofy forehand. And yesterday I said, "You know, if you get up matchpoint throw me a --" a couple days ago I said this, before I knew we were going to be in the stadium. I said, "If you get a matchpoint, throw me a serve to my forehand." He laughs every time I do it.

Q. And?

RICHEY RENEBERG: And, well, today we didn't. And today he said -- we obviously didn't, I didn't want to do it out there. We were just kind of joking around.

Q. You had baited him to throw you an easy --


Q. An easy serve?

RICHEY RENEBERG: No. It's really -- we kind of joke around. I imitate certain players and stuff like that. But this was before I knew we were going to be in the stadium.

Q. Whose forearm were you imitating? His?

RICHEY RENEBERG: No. Who was it? Pernfors. We were imitating Pernfors' forehand. I know it's kind of bizarre. We just kind of goof around with practice and stuff. So it was --

Q. When you walked up to the net, you said, "Where was my --"

RICHEY RENEBERG: I said I forgot to tell you that the Pernfors thing was off.

Q. He said that, or you said that?

RICHEY RENEBERG: I said that. He asked me, "What happened?"

Q. He did serve to your forehand. He held up his end of bargain, and you hosed him?

RICHEY RENEBERG: No, he didn't do it.

End of FastScripts....

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