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August 27, 1997

Alex Corretja


Q. This is your first match here since you played Sampras. Been any thoughts about that match? I guess that was some kind of reputation you got because of that.

ALEX CORRETJA: Well, actually the first memories was when I went to practice this morning. I tried to practice on that court because it's much different than the other ones. I remember match point, just when I fall down at the end of the match. It was kind of a tough situation. But it was funny. I was just kidding about that. One year later, my tennis just improve a lot, so I just have to do farther. I don't have to care much.

Q. Are you looking to be playing him again sometime?

ALEX CORRETJA: For sure I wish to play against him. We have to go step-by-step. I guess if God wants, we will have the opportunity, the chance to play again. That's tennis, so we hope to play again once.

Q. How important was that match last year compared to the great year you had after that? Do you think that was some sort of clicking point?

ALEX CORRETJA: It was a great point. Many people just thought that maybe after that, I wouldn't have any more chance to be a good player because it was a great chance for me to be in the semifinals of a Grand Slam. But I just turn it to the other face and said, "Okay, if I could stay here four hours playing with him at this level, why I cannot be a good player?" That helped me to see that my game was improving a lot, even on hardcourts.

Q. Back last year you said this was, that far, the best match you ever played, and yet you lost it.


Q. Do you feel since then you've played better matches?

ALEX CORRETJA: I played quite good matches this year on clay, especially in Rome, Finals. Tough match, three sets, straight sets, but it was great. I don't know. I have good memory from this year. Also Stuttgart when I didn't drop a set and won the whole tournament. I was playing quite good tennis. Maybe on hardcourts, that was the best match still.

Q. Are you getting better on the hardcourts?

ALEX CORRETJA: Yes. I can play on hardcourts. I have to believe in myself that I can play because I'm moving okay on the court, I'm moving well, serving a little bit better than before. I just have to believe in myself. My hardcourt season was not so good. Mentally it was a little bit relaxed after I won in Stuttgart. I came a little bit down, with no power. Now I feel fresh and great to do it well again here.

Q. Your first set today, you seemed to be having a problem. You seemed very sluggish, you weren't into it.

ALEX CORRETJA: Yeah. I mean, I was quite slow on the court. I didn't find my place on the court. He was just hitting quite well. He was serving well, so he didn't give me any rhythm. Also it was tough because when I was serving, I didn't find the place. My legs were not moving at all like with good speed. I have problems. I just play too short, no power. He was just hitting winners. Then after that, I decide to try a little bit more aggressive, even with his second serve I just start to play a slice to don't leave balls in the middle of the court. That changed a little bit. Then it was a good moment at 3-All in the second set when he had a breakpoint and it was a long rally, I won that point. I start to believe in myself, that point gave me confidence. It change everything. After that, I broke him. I beat the second set 6-3. After that, it was much easier than I expected.

Q. Seemed to be.

ALEX CORRETJA: It was not easy.

Q. No, no. He seemed to get a little tired.

ALEX CORRETJA: I don't know if tired. Maybe disappointed, because he was playing much better than me the first hour of the match. Maybe he saw that he has a couple of chances and he couldn't get it. Maybe he came down a little bit. I just came up. So it was from less to more.

Q. You said that last year you realized you could play four hours with Sampras on a hardcourt. This year at the Australian Open the Spanish did very well. Do you feel there's some sort of consciousness in general on the part of Spanish players that they can play well on any surface?

ALEX CORRETJA: For sure. We are quite young.

Q. That didn't exist before.

ALEX CORRETJA: You have to believe in yourself. I guess the Spanish players are quite good on hardcourts. We are showing much more better tennis than before. We are good athletes, so we can play as well on hardcourts. Now we just have to try to get by in quarters or semis at Wimbledon and we will believe we can also play on grass. You have to believe and see that tennis is for everybody the same.

Q. Now that you're the president of the ATP, is that taking up a lot of your time? Do you find it interesting?

ALEX CORRETJA: I find it great, I mean, for me to be the president of the tennis players. But also it takes a little bit of my time, not too much, because the ATP Tour staff, they are helping me a lot. It's just a great experience. I'm just trying to do it well. But sometimes it's not easy because you hear complaints of the players when maybe you prefer to be just in your hotel room and resting. But I like this kind of situation. I just try to help them. I feel just like glad to be there.

Q. Do you get good feedback from the players when you go and talk to them about their opinions?

ALEX CORRETJA: Yes. They understand a little bit more that everything is not that easy than they maybe were thinking before. That's why they have to realize that it's not easy to just try to go on the court and just play there. There's many other stuff out there that we don't even know that it's really difficult to find sponsors. I don't know, just to make the people to be really interesting because sometimes it seems like we're just like a machines, so we have to create something spectacular for the public. That's not easy because the player doesn't want to make interviews. They just want to go to the hotel. They don't want to make an autograph session or they don't want to make Kids Day. I know it's tough, but they have to understand it's good for tennis.

End of FastScripts….

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