September 3, 1996
NEW YORK CITY, NEW YORK
Q. Alex, you played a great match here last year against Agassi. Had a great tournament
this year. It just seems like the Spanish players could be very, very good on hardcourt if
they played more hardcourt matches. You come in here and you all -- Javier Sanchez had a
good tournament. Why aren't there more hardcourt tournaments for the Spanish players?
ALEX CORRETJA: We practicing in the Barcelona on hardcourt last winter. That's probably
the key of our game. We've been playing hardcourts at Indian Wells, Key Biscayne. Been
playing the hardcourt season the whole summer. We gain confidence because we see also we
can play here on hardcourts. We are good players, so we can play on hardcourts or whatever
Q. Are you surprising yourself about how good you can play on hardcourt when you grow
up playing on nothing but clay?
ALEX CORRETJA: I've been playing on hardcourt the last couple years. Two years ago I
played semifinals in Indianapolis, I beat Courier and Edberg. Last year I played great
match here against Andre. This year I came again with confidence. I've been practicing a
lot in Cincinnati, Indianapolis, I play quarters also there. Gave me confidence to see
that I can play here on hardcourts. I beat good guys. When I came here, I came really
confidence because I see that my game is playing much better than the other years on
hardcourt. I'm serving much better, I can go to the net. As you see, last point, I was not
afraid to go to the net. This is good for me because before I was like afraid to go to the
net. Now I feel much better, much comfortable. That's good for my game.
Q. In your next match, would you like to meet Philippoussis or Sampras?
ALEX CORRETJA: Which one is serving faster? I don't know. It's a difficult question.
Sampras is the best player in the world right now. Philippoussis is coming up. It's really
difficult. I think I've been doing a good tournament, I'm in quarterfinals. I think I
don't have to think in the next match, I just have to relax a little bit now. Let's see
tonight who is the winner. I'm with confidence, but I know it's such a difficult match for
me. Both players are really, really good. It's going to be a good experience for me. I
think I can test my game also there.
Q. For us who didn't see the match, what did you do on the last point? Did you hit a
winning volley on the last point?
ALEX CORRETJA: I served to his forehand, and then after two rallies I came into the net
with approach, backhand approach, slice. He play a passing shot, so I volley, then he play
a lob, and I smash. The first ball, I hit it pretty well. Maybe another time I came into
the net and the first ball I would be like this (indicating). Today I put the ball like a
hardcourt player does, so I was happy about that.
Q. Are Philippoussis and Sampras equally imposing with their serve or is there one guy
whose serve is more effective than the other?
ALEX CORRETJA: Well, I think Sampras is better player than Philippoussis, but also
Philippoussis can beat him. He beat him in Australia. So it's going to be a difficult
match for both. For me to win, it doesn't matter, because it's going to be a really,
really tough match, probably the toughest match that I have this season on hardcourt.
Q. And would the key things to you to be to return serve or some other part of the
ALEX CORRETJA: I think I have to be concentrated on my serve. Their serves are pretty
difficult. You cannot expect to return a guy who is serving 137 miles or whatever. You
have to be concentrating your game and just take the chances when it comes. You know,
sometimes they play a double-fault because they play really risk second serve. So you have
to be prepared for the opportunity and just take your chance.
Q. Which of these guys has the better second serve?
ALEX CORRETJA: I don't know. I just play with Sampras on clay. It's a huge second
serve. Well, I play against Philippoussis yesterday in doubles, but it's not the same. I
think both of them has a huge serve.
Q. Wouldn't you say that Sampras' serve is more finely located in the court?
ALEX CORRETJA: Yes, serve in the corners. Philippoussis also serve in the corners. I
think they have equal serves. It depends on the day, how they can feel it on the court.
Q. When you trained during the winter, who were you training with?
ALEX CORRETJA: We've been practicing the whole Spanish players, like Alberto Costa,
Carlos Costa, Berasategui, Moya, all of them I cannot remember. Right now we are a lot.
Q. Bruguera was there?
ALEX CORRETJA: Bruguera sometimes, not always, because he has an academy with his
father, so he's practicing sometimes alone, but also with him. That's good for us because
we get good rhythm. Then when we go to the tournaments, we can play pretty well because
we've been practicing really hard. When the matches came to us, we are really prepared to
Q. Those were on hardcourts?
ALEX CORRETJA: Yeah, on hardcourts. If you see my schedule this year, it's surprised,
because normally they call me a claycourt player. I have 11 hardcourt tournaments and nine
on clay, so I think this is why now I can play on hardcourt better than before.
Q. Have you all come to the conclusion that you have to play more hardcourt in order to
get your ranking up at the end of the year?
ALEX CORRETJA: I don't know them, but me yes. I see when I play on hardcourt, I feel
much better than playing on clay because I can be more aggressive. Here I improve a lot my
serve, return, volley and my aggressive game. I think it's really important for me.
Q. Your ranking can go up very high during the clay season, then when the hardcourt
season comes and you don't do well?
ALEX CORRETJA: Yes, normally. When the French Open finish, there are not good claycourt
tournaments. If you're not prepared to play on hardcourt, you cannot win points. It's
really tough every year to get the points early in the season between Estoril and French
Open. This year I play pretty well, Estoril final, Hamburg final. If I don't win points
now on hardcourt, when the season came again on clay, I will be really under pressure
because I if I don't defend my points right now, I couldn't play, because I'm going to
drop in the rankings, get pissed, go to 70 again. That's not good. That's why I decided to
play more hardcourts.
Q. Has the aggressive play that you show now in hardcourt season, is it going to help
you, do you think, on clay?
ALEX CORRETJA: Well, I hope so. I think last couple times when I play on hardcourt,
then I came back to Europe and I play much better. I think it's going to help me a lot to
play more aggressive. I don't know, maybe I go again to Europe. I have three or four
tournaments on clay, I play bad, I don't know. I hope it's going to help me a lot.
Q. What are the mental challenges in overcoming a guy like Sampras to has three US Open
titles and seven Grand Slams? What makes him so tough mentally?
ALEX CORRETJA: I don't understand this question.
Q. Mentally when you go against a guy who has three US Open championships, seven Grand
ALEX CORRETJA: You don't have to think about himself, then you cannot beat him because
he's really good. Then you have to concentrate on your game. It doesn't matter if you play
Sampras or if you play your brother, you know, you have to be concentrated on the court
and don't think about the other things. If you're going to be surprised of all these
things, it's really tough to beat him. Then when he's playing perfect, you don't have any
chance. You don't have to think about it. Nobody can beat him because everybody has less
Grand Slams than him, so it's really difficult.
Q. If he's on his game, is there anybody who beats him?
ALEX CORRETJA: Well, that's really tough. He's playing well. It's really difficult to
beat him. But also there are a couple good players, I mean, Agassi, Ivanisevic, whatever,
Muster. I think it's really difficult to beat them, not just Sampras.
Q. What is the name of the club in Spain where all of you have been practicing on
ALEX CORRETJA: We've been practicing -- remember in the Olympic Games in Barcelona?
ALEX CORRETJA: They made a hardcourt there, like 20 hardcourts. We've been practicing
there. It's from the Catalan federation.
Q. Does the facility have a name?
ALEX CORRETJA: It's really facility for us.
Q. Is there a name?
ALEX CORRETJA: La Teixonera.
Q. Santana involved in Spanish players?
ALEX CORRETJA: Yes, Davis Cup captain. He comes sometimes to see how we play. We have a
round against Denmark. I'm on the team so I'm really happy also. He is helping us when he
can. He's not coming every week, but he's coming sometimes.
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