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August 14, 1996

Marcelo Rios


JOE LYNCH: Marcelo Rios is the 6-0, 6-2 winner. Moves into the third round here. No. 5 seed. First question?

Q. You surprised on how easy it was today? Seemed like Leander wasn't really in the match. You took advantage of that pretty quickly.

MARCELO RIOS: Well, I think played the first games good and after that like he didn't -- I didn't miss many balls. I think I played very smart, tried to put it in, he was missing a lot of balls.

Q. Have you surprised yourself the way you shot up through the rankings over the past couple of years, I mean from 400 something now to almost the Top 10. Are you surprised at how quickly you progressed?

MARCELO RIOS: Well, maybe. I knew I was playing good, was coming through my rankings a little bit fast. I think I was playing good. I did serve good today. I thought it was coming like it would come. It maybe came a little bit fast.

JOE LYNCH: You did reach the Top 10 earlier this year.

Q. You were expecting at least somewhere down the line, but maybe --

MARCELO RIOS: When I was going to be Top 10, it was just coming, I was just playing matches. I wasn't aware of it.

Q. How has your game improved?

MARCELO RIOS: I think I'm serving better than before. I'm like playing more smart, like not going for many shots, not playing so fast and missing too much.

Q. Where do you think you still need to improve to get to the next level?

MARCELO RIOS: Well, I think there's many things to improve, to be more concentrated on the court. I'm not very concentrated, I miss match because of that. I think I have to work and it's going to come with the time. I'm not like worried about it.

Q. We just talked to Leander. After he won the bronze medal in the Olympics, everybody in India was very excited for him, came out to see him at the airport. You are also very popular in your country. Can you talk about how popular you are in Chile?

MARCELO RIOS: I think in Chile there's not many sportsmen, no good like sports guys. When one come out, everybody wants to be with him. You get like famous. Also one soccer player. There's no many.

Q. Are you comfortable with it?

MARCELO RIOS: At the beginning it was a little bit tough. You couldn't do your life like you want, but now it's like I have to feel like a way of life. I'm okay.

Q. Is it hard being 20 and being so --

MARCELO RIOS: Maybe at the beginning it was tough, but now it's like it's not easy, but it's a way of life, and I'm getting customed with it.

Q. Agassi and Sampras have dominated the Open. Someone like yourself to come in and do well this summer --

MARCELO RIOS: I feel there's many players that have chances. Whoever is playing good those weeks will win. I think everybody's close.

JOE LYNCH: Marcelo did win the 1993 Junior US Open three years ago.

Q. What's changed about your life? Have you gotten to the point where you maybe can't even go to restaurants or go out anymore without being recognized or mobbed?

MARCELO RIOS: It's not like that (laughter). People know me on the street where you go, but you can go most of your life, you can go anywhere.

Q. People like to compare you, because of your hair, to Andre Agassi. Your personality seems very different. Do you like those comparisons?

MARCELO RIOS: I don't care. It's like everybody's like saying something. I don't think I look like Agassi. I don't think I have nothing to do like with Agassi.

Q. Did you have an idol growing up?


Q. Where did your passion or desire to play tennis come from?

MARCELO RIOS: I lived in a country club in Chile. Have tennis courts there, friends played tennis. That's why I think I started playing tennis.

Q. Go out in New Haven?

MARCELO RIOS: I'm sorry?

Q. Any night life here in New Haven?

MARCELO RIOS: No, I haven't gone.

Q. Anything in particular that made you feel like, "I can do this for a living, I can play tennis for a living"? Seems like you didn't have many role models to follow or any reason to believe somebody from Chile was --

MARCELO RIOS: I don't understand.

Q. What drove you to get into professional tennis? What made you believe that you could become one of the best players in the world?

MARCELO RIOS: Well, it was tough before. When I start playing, I decide to go to school, to play tennis. I started playing tennis. It was really tough. I think I'm going to like play all my life tennis, I have to do it good and try to learn, have to leave many things if I play tennis.

Q. Was there somebody giving you the belief in yourself that you could do it or was it just something you wanted to do?

MARCELO RIOS: It was more something I wanted to do.

Q. You seem pretty even with all the pressure being put on you by a lot of media in terms of being the next great tennis player. How do you react to that kind of statement when people come up to you and say, "You are going to be the next great tennis player"?

MARCELO RIOS: Well, when people tell you that, you feel good, give you more confidence to continue playing. I'm trying to do things better and getting a lot of confidence.

Q. You seem very laid back right now. Is that your personality or are you a very different type of person?

MARCELO RIOS: Sometimes I'm different. I don't know.

JOE LYNCH: Anything else in English? Thank you.

End of FastScripts….

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