September 5, 1996
NEW YORK CITY, NEW YORK
Q. Alex, what are you thinking right this very minute.
ALEX CORRETJA: I don't know. It is really tough to say. It was one point I had to win the match and I got passing shot. I played crosscourt, he was there; maybe if I played down the line, I win it. I don't know. It is really tough to explain right now because it was probably the best match of my career and probably the best match and the worst one, so it is really difficult to explain. I was playing for too much today, for a lot of things, but I think I have to feel happy because I was almost knock out the No. 1 in the world, but it is really difficult. It is really - right now it is really disappointing because you feel like you got it and suddenly it escapes, so it is really tough.
Q. What were you playing for? What things were you playing for? You just said "I was playing for a lot of things today."
ALEX CORRETJA: Well, you can imagine beating No. 1 in the world, going to the semifinals at the Open. It is a lot of things. This is a lot of things. Maybe if I win this match I will go to top 15 in the world; I don't know. I didn't see it. But probably, and I was - that was a good goal for me. I don't have to feel disappointed, but honestly it is really difficult to don't feel like this.
Q. How much did it distract you with him being so ill on the side of the net?
ALEX CORRETJA: Well, I saw him a couple of times. I don't know if it is because at the right moments he feel like really tired, because I saw him also a couple of times like this, Davis Cup last year he was really tired and he is more dangerous, then he starts to play better. He just plays relaxed and it doesn't distract me a lot because I was thinking just in myself, but he played good serves either with - I don't know - 3-All in the tiebreaker something; he was playing 124 miles per hour one serve, so if he would have beat that, he cannot serve like this. Maybe some points not the others, I don't know. But it was difficult, the last point I -- just when I put the ball in and it goes out, you know, at the matchpoint just because I was thinking, just put the ball in. I have to go for my serve and don't care about him, but I couldn't.
Q. How about the doublefault?
ALEX CORRETJA: That is what I explained.
Q. What did you say to each other at the net after the match?
ALEX CORRETJA: Well, I just tell him good luck and I hope that now he can win the tournament, after he beat me like this, because it is really good important match for him, I think.
Q. Alex, when you had your matchpoint, you hit a passing shot, did you think Pete was going to get his racket on that ball?
ALEX CORRETJA: I didn't believe. I saw him just on the net and I just want to play passing shot and he was right there. I saw his racket and I was, oh, no, again. You know, it was disappointing when I saw him on the crosscourt side because maybe I played down the line and I won the match, but you never know. Maybe I play down the line, he do it there.
Q. When you hit it, did you think "this is it, I got it, this is the winning shot?"
ALEX CORRETJA: No, I hit thinking about it and go for the next shot, but I couldn't arrive. He was really far away from me. I didn't think "this is it," you know, you have to always -- you have to go for more, for more, and if it doesn't come, it is better for you, but you have to be prepared for everything.
Q. When he hit that ace on that second serve, do you remember how far up you were?
ALEX CORRETJA: That is what I said before, he was really, really tired 7- All in the tiebreak, second serve, and he can play an ace, so it means he has something in there. Maybe this is because he is No. 1 in the world, I don't know. It was a good decision for him. He couldn't move and he just said, okay, I am going to try to play an ace, and he does it. So it is good for him. Maybe impressive me because I saw him really tired and he plays an ace, and I was started to think, oh, this guy is not that tired. (Audience Laughter) That is when I played the doublefault.
Q. Do you think there is - from seeing how he felt tonight - anyway he can recover by Saturday for the semis?
ALEX CORRETJA: I think so. He has more than one day. I think he has to be preparing -- he is more prepared than me. I think he is more used to playing these kind of matches and I think he is going to recover because he has a lot of enough hours and I hope for himself and do it well.
Q. What you do you think about the reaction of the crowd when you left the court?
ALEX CORRETJA: Well, it was for me, it was fantastic. They were cheering for Pete, but then they recognized myself and it was really good because I was -- I couldn't move. I was like sitting down on my chair without thinking anything, just disappointed, and they make me react because they called my name. I was like, okay, I think this is the time to go, because I couldn't move, you know. Maybe if they left the court I would be still on the court right now. (audience laughter) So they helped me.
Q. Fifth set tiebreaker should be changed, do you think?
ALEX CORRETJA: No, I think it is good for the spectators, and I think it is good for everybody. It is more emotion, if we go 8-All, 9-All, I mean, it is good I think to have a tiebreak 7-All in the tiebreak fifth set after four hours, I think it should be exciting for the people. Maybe for the players it is a lot of pressure, but I think we have to play with this. That is why we are playing tennis because we want to be good, so you have to be under pressure and to play tiebreaks in the fifth set, I think it is really good.
Q. Looking back at the tiebreaker, did you play as aggressively as you would have liked to?
ALEX CORRETJA: Well, I was -- he just was too -- maybe 1 or 2 points that I didn't play really aggressive just because I saw him moving really bad, but then I react and I think from 3-2 or something I played 3-All and then I start to play better. I think I was like 5-All for me; then I got the matchpoint and I think I played well. Just matchpoint I played bad, but I think I played okay.
Q. If you were a spectator having watched this match, what would you say at the end about the heart and guts of the two people who played?
ALEX CORRETJA: Well, I don't know, it is tough to say. I think I would feel like I saw one of the greatest matches ever of my career, I mean, not whole tennis - I don't think I am too good - and I would think that tennis has to be improved everyday because I think you saw the crowd today, they were excited and, for sure, people that were watching TV, for sure, they were also. So this is good for us, and good for the tennis and I think for myself, it would be unbelievable to beat Sampras today, but I couldn't. I was just one point ahead. I think I have to feel satisfied a little bit.
Q. At what point in this match did you have a sense that Pete was ill and was going to have some real problems?
ALEX CORRETJA: Well, I was saw him during the match. He wouldn't run a lot with my serve. He was just running sometimes. I think he was feeling some fatigue or something, but at the end I saw that he was just serving -- he was not winning points from the baseline. I think I was the best on the baseline and I was playing comfortable from the baseline, but he was serving too good. I don't know how many aces he played, but he played a lot of aces, so it was really tough for me because I was keeping my serving then I think couldn't break him, you know, so it was really tough.
Q. What about your serve, I mean, you came into this match I think with 16 aces for the whole tournament. I think you probably finished with 20 or more in this match.
ALEX CORRETJA: Yes, because you have to keep it in your pocket the aces for the good matches. (Audience Laughter) You don't have to use it in the matches before, just if you need it.
Q. How many more sets could you have played out there physically or hours could you have played?
ALEX CORRETJA: Probably 50 more or, something like that - no.
Q. Physically you were running --
ALEX CORRETJA: I felt okay. I wouldn't say perfectly because I was tired, but probably I could play another set. I don't know. I hope to not play more than five sets ever because it is tough. But I felt like okay, on the court. Just at the end of the fourth set I feel like a little bit tired; then I recovered again. I don't know how many sets could I play, but I think I was in good shape to play. I think that the match was really long, but not that many long rallies from the baseline. There were a lot of extra bonus points - serves.....
Q. Years from now when you think about this match and look back to it what do you think the one thing you will say to yourself about this match would be?
ALEX CORRETJA: That I think I have to feel satisfied with myself because I played great. I didn't go impressive to play Pete in quarterfinals here. It was my first experience in the quarters. I never played quarters before and I feel like I just have to think about myself and that is what I did and I think that is why I played really well. If I would have think about Pete -- like the other day, someone told me how you see Pete, he won seven Grand Slams. You have to think about yourself. That is what I did today. That is why I have to feel more satisfied.
Q. At 7-7 in the tiebreak, he served a 76 mile an hour fault. You think he was trying to trick you, so to speak, to make you think that he was --
ALEX CORRETJA: I don't know what -- you have to ask him after when he comes here. I don't know. I don't think -- he was maybe tired and he just went to put the ball in just to play the point, but after he played the ace he was -- it was really strange, so, I don't know. Maybe it was a trick, I don't know. I have to be prepared for the next time.
Q. 90 mile an hour ace. It wasn't -- it was only a 90 mile an hour ace.
ALEX CORRETJA: It was really wide.
ALEX CORRETJA: Yeah, it was tough to get it. I think even if I was in the crosscourt side, I couldn't reach it. It was really tough.
Q. Did you relax on that serve, you think? After it, did you think you might have perhaps unconsciously relaxed too much?
ALEX CORRETJA: No, I didn't. You think I could relax after four hours playing? I would be stupid. I would have could be concentrated one more hour if it was necessary. I didn't relax, but if he played wide open 90 miles per hour what can I do? I just have to say, okay, good play, man, that is all. Don't say anything.
Q. Do you think this will do something for your career; that you will take something out of here that you will use in the future to --
ALEX CORRETJA: I hope so for sure. I think this is going to help me a lot to see that I can play also on hard court as well as on clay and I hope to do it better now on clay and -- sorry, on hard court and on other surface and my goal now is just to try to play also in indoor because it is going to be tough for us for the Spanish guys because we don't have indoor courts in Spain because always it is good weather there. (audience laughter). Yeah, it is true, but it is bad for tennis. So we need indoor courts and this is one of my goals right now to go for the indoor courts and try to play because I think in my whole career I have played one indoor tournament, which is ridiculous.
Q. You had so very few unforced errors, you did in this match. Did you get to a point in this match where you just felt like I can hit anything he hits at me as long as I can get to the ball?
ALEX CORRETJA: Well, I was feeling really well on the court. I was moving well. I have been playing pretty good tennis last couple of days. That is why maybe I didn't make unforced errors. I don't know. As you see the match, I didn't go for winners the whole time. I was not like running and winners. I was playing my tennis and maybe I didn't make errors; I don't think it was like because I was playing against Pete just relax and play whatever you think, you know. I think I was really concentrated on my game and that is what make me play five sets against him. Maybe if I would concentrated on another thing I would play three sets and I lose.
Q. You played a great match last year against Andre Agassi, okay, so far you have played one of the best match of the tournament this year. How do you explain that?
ALEX CORRETJA: About last year?
Q. Yes and this year.
ALEX CORRETJA: What do you mean?
Q. Why you played such great tennis against these two players?
ALEX CORRETJA: Well, last year it was different. I think last year I think I played at another level than maybe I couldn't play at that time. Maybe just was one match, but now I feel like I can play this level like I showed the other days I was playing pretty well on hard court and I think this is the difference. Last year I played like when they serve like right now, like winners, every time, fantastic, I play Agassi; doesn't matter if I lose. But today I think I had played concentrate on the match better than last year even it was really tough, both matches, both matches I lost, but last year I lost 6-2 in the fifth. This year I lost 7-6, so next year I have to win for sure. (audience laughter).
Q. Where do you go from here?
ALEX CORRETJA: Well it is tough. I got to go to Bucharest right now not because the tournament is pretty good, but right now I feel a little bit tired and a little bit also disappointed, so my motivation to go there is good because I have been playing really well on hard court the whole month, but now I don't know how many -- I don't know, you know, if I am really happy to go. I hope to take the plane and just relax and try to concentrate on another thing that is play on clay, but I go especially there because then we have to play Davis Cup in Spain to go to First Division again which is really important for us so I have to be prepared for everything and if I lost today 7-6 in the fifth, I have to be happy and just focus on the next tournament and just go there and try to win the tournament.
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