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March 24, 1998

Marcelo Rios


MIKI SINGH: Please welcome Marcelo Rios, a straight-set winner today. His eighth straight match win. He'll next face Thomas Enqvist. Of course, he has a chance to become No. 1 should he win this event. First question for Marcelo.

Q. How does No. 1 look to you, Marcelo?

MARCELO RIOS: I haven't even like think about it. I'm just in quarters. Have three more matches. Maybe when I'm in the finals, I'm going to start thinking about it.

Q. Any problems from Ivanisevic?

MARCELO RIOS: I think I felt pretty good. I was returning really good. I'm feel I'm really moving good, hitting good the ball from baseline. When I was serving, I feel really comfortable. I think I played a smart match, played many winners, without many errors. I feel pretty good.

Q. Were you surprised breaking his serve so easily?

MARCELO RIOS: Well, I don't think it was so easy. I break him like three times, two times. Really tough games. Like I say, I was returning really good. When he miss his first serve, I was like taking control of his serve, moving him around. He miss a lot of backhands. I guess I feel pretty good from baseline.

Q. What is your most important victory until now, until today, in your career?

MARCELO RIOS: Well, I think every match I win is important. I can't tell you names. But I think every round I'm winning right now is important now that I'm close to get No. 1, every match is really important.

Q. Were you surprised that you're this close to No. 1 so soon?

MARCELO RIOS: Well, I've been playing really good. I've been feeling really good every match, like from beginning of the year I was ranked No. 8. Like I never thought about it like that, being No. 1 in three months. I think you don't think like that. But Australia, I play some good tournaments after that. Then you start thinking, "Maybe I can become No. 1." But really, I never thought about it.

Q. The support you're getting here, which sometimes feels like a home crowd, is this important for you, does this motivate you?

MARCELO RIOS: Sure. I think being on the court with a lot of Chilean guys supporting you, screaming every point, is good. Feel like playing Davis Cup at home. It's really good, like motivation. Like even if you're losing, they're trying to keep you up. I think it's an advantage.

Q. With the hardcourts, did you like them at first, coming off clay in Chile? How long has that taken?

MARCELO RIOS: I always say maybe my favorite court is the hardcourt, outdoors. Well, like all South Americans, we were born on clay. I play all my life on clay. Never touch a hardcourt. We don't have that many in Chile. But I think I play much better on hardcourt outdoors. Indoors, I don't like it that much. I like to play indoors, but not that much like playing outdoors. Maybe right now is my favorite surface.

MIKI SINGH: Thank you.

End of FastScripts....

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