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August 30, 1997

Alex Corretja


Q. Alex, what's wrong?

ALEX CORRETJA: My leg is the problem. I got a -- well, actually during my match against Ulihrach on last Thursday, I start to felt some pain on my left leg. It was an old injury that I had like two years ago. I thought it was not that bad, but at the end of the match, I started to feel much worse. And I just finish it, which I was thinking that maybe one day would be better. But yesterday was quite bad. Today it's a little better than yesterday, but it's not enough to play.

Q. Which leg and what exactly is wrong with it?

ALEX CORRETJA: Well, I don't know. Doug Spreen is the trainer from the ATP. He can help us. He knows exactly what it is. It's great, because he knows exactly.

DOUG SPREEN: It's a left, we'll call it a left quadriceps strain. Quadriceps is the thigh muscle in the front of the leg.

Q. What degree?

DOUG SPREEN: I would put it at a moderate strain.

Q. Typically how long do those taking to rehab so that he can play?

DOUG SPREEN: Probably one to two weeks.

Q. Alex, any thoughts of trying to make it through?


Q. Were there any thoughts of trying to make it through today?

ALEX CORRETJA: Well, I was trying to warm up, just to see how my leg goes. But after five minutes, I just saw there was no way to play because I couldn't move at all. Just when I push off, I just feel a lot of pain on my leg. I think it's not worth it just to walk out on the court, just to play three games, just retire. I knew for sure that I could not play because, I mean, if I cannot move just from my forehand, just two steps, it seems that I cannot move at all.

Q. You're pretty popular here, given last year. How disappointing is this for you?

ALEX CORRETJA: Well, it's really disappointing. Not because I'm really popular, because I was playing quite well. I won two good matches against two good guys. Today I -- today I had a great match against Krajicek, great experience for me as well. Right now I cannot do anything else, but honestly I feel quite bad because I was really motivated to play this match. It was good for me. I cannot do it. Hopefully, I will have more chances to do it in the Open. But this year it seems to be a good chance for me to play well here. I cannot go farther than third round. It's a little bit disappointing.

Q. Alex, when this injury first appeared two years ago, what had happened to cause it?

ALEX CORRETJA: Well, I just pulled my muscles, you know.

Q. Do you remember where you were playing?

ALEX CORRETJA: Not now. Really, it's difficult to remember that. It was like during like two years ago, '95 or something like this. And I had like a scar tissue on my left leg that when it gets tired, so then it's much worse. I never had it again, so I thought it was gone. But as I see, it's not. So I will have to take care again. It happens a little bit the same in French Open this year. I have something similar on my right leg. I just said, "Okay, I'm going to try to play. I'm here, fourth round, I've been playing quite well during the whole claycourt season, I'm just going to try it." After that, I saw it was much worse for me because I was like five weeks off, I lost Wimbledon, all the grass court season, which was not my best surface, but it was a Grand Slam also. I don't want to take the risk again to go into the court and just to step out of the court for six weeks again because I take a lot of risk.

Q. Are you committed to that whole claycourt circuit? I think it's Uzbekistan, Santiago? Are you playing all those?

ALEX CORRETJA: Actually, we didn't decide yet. It was depending on a little bit of my results here at the Open. We will have to discuss with my coach and my manager. We will have to see what's the better way to do it. Actually right now I'm supposed to play in Uzbekistan next week, but I don't know how it's going to be. I think it's going to be close to play there. I just defaulted here on Saturday. It's going to be difficult to play next week again.

Q. You're talking about the week after the Open?


Q. Alex, you're at No. 8 now, the final slot to get into Hannover, big money, big points, big tournament. Do you have enough tournaments left between now and November that you can stay up there at that level? Are you going to lose a few rounds here that you can't defend because of the injury at the US Open?

ALEX CORRETJA: Obviously, it was a good chance here to win some points and to make it easier for Hannover. But actually, my goal for this year was not Hannover. I was just starting to play the year, just trying to recover my tennis, that tennis that I have inside for a lot of years. I start to play great. I was 4 in the world. Now I think I'm 7 or 8. Honestly, I really don't care right now about Hannover. I just want to recover myself. I think I will have some more tournaments to do it well. But it's not going to be like an obsession to go to Hannover. I think this year my goal was not to go to Hannover; just to try to finish between the Top 15 players. I think I'm going to reach it I'm going to be quite happy because the season was quite good for me.

Q. When you think back about you here last year, where you were in your tennis game and you here this year, are you at all surprised by how far you've come in such a short time?

ALEX CORRETJA: Well, you know, I was just waiting for this moment for a long time. So I've been working so hard to see just myself on this spot, on the top of the Tour. And now I feel a little bit surprised because everything, it comes quite quickly. But it was not that quick because I've been playing a lot of years on The Tour. This is my sixth year on The Tour professional. So actually it was not like, boom, after I won a Grand Slam, or after a finals in a Grand Slam, which happens to another player, no? My career was just going slowly, and this year suddenly I start to win tournaments and make the difference. But now, I just feel that I can be here. I feel much more disappointed this year than even last year when I had a match point because I never thought I could win a Grand Slam since last year. And this year I just came here just thinking about going step-by-step, but maybe thinking to do it quite well in this tournament. So I feel even worse than last year.

Q. Do you think the turning point was having that match point or playing Pete that close last year?

ALEX CORRETJA: Yes, absolutely. I mean, it was a great point in my career to change my mind that I could be also one of the good players of the Tour. And now I don't know if I'm good, but as I see in the ranking, I'm a little bit higher.

Q. Did you think you had a good chance to beat Sampras this year if you were healthy?

ALEX CORRETJA: I don't know. It's really tough to say that. It's so difficult. I was in third round against Krajicek, so it would be a tough match for me as well. I mean, it's disappointed. But maybe if I would have played with him in good conditions, maybe I lost 6-2, 6-2, 6-2. Maybe it was even better to don't play.

Q. Is it disappointing to know you'll never know how it would have turned out this year, had you played Pete?

ALEX CORRETJA: No, no. I mean, hopefully we will have many more chances to play against each other. I think this is not the end of my career. This is just maybe a bad luck of my career. I mean, last year I think it was not bad luck. This is a bad luck for me. It's not a big deal. I mean, just have to admit that this can happen to everybody. It happens to me. This is the first time in my career that I have to defaulted even before the match. I think for one time it happens to me since six years I've been professional. It's not that bad.

Q. This is the first time in your career that you've had to default a match before you've taken the court?


Q. How many times do you replay that match last year in your mind?

ALEX CORRETJA: At the beginning, a lot of times. After five, six days, I just trying to forget because could not just sleep with that much on my mind. Maybe a thousand times in five days, but then it was gone.

Q. When you replayed it, what happened? Did you win the match when you replayed it in your mind?

ALEX CORRETJA: Yeah, absolutely.

End of FastScripts….

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