August 26, 2002
NEW YORK CITY
Q. How did you play and where do you think your level is?
ALBERT COSTA: Well, I think today I played a good match - maybe not my best level. At the beginning, the first two sets, I played very good. And then I start a loss a little bit in my mind. But then I start to feel good again in the court in the fourth set. I think the match was all the time under control.
Q. Where do you think his level is compared to say a few years ago?
ALBERT COSTA: I think he's recovering. He's not a hundred percent, for sure. Maybe he's 80.
Q. Is it impossible to think that if you get yourself into the second week here that you could win this tournament?
ALBERT COSTA: Well, I don't want to think about to win the tournament. I just want to think about -- I have a very tough match against Ferreira. I just want to think about this match and how to play against him.
Q. Do you make any adjustments to your game at all when you play on hard courts as opposed to clay?
ALBERT COSTA: Yes.
ALBERT COSTA: I'm returning more inside of the court. When I have an easy ball, I try to push harder. Well, I'm trying to serve as best as I can, but on clay also.
Q. Are you comfortable on the surface? Do you like the surface?
ALBERT COSTA: Yeah, the surface here is good. You have to get confidence and you have to be in the tournament. You never know. But the courts are perfect.
Q. "Perfect" meaning they're medium speed, fair?
ALBERT COSTA: I think these courts are completely fair. Sometimes when you came here, the courts -- the balls were flying a lot, unbelievably fast. Now I think is fair for everybody. If you have a good serve, still is good. If you want to play from the baseline, it's good. So I think for the show, it's better.
Q. Do you still have the same confidence level you had after winning Roland Garros?
ALBERT COSTA: Well, I think it's a different moment. You know, when you are in the semifinals in a Grand Slam, you feel like you can -- you are playing very good and you are feeling the ball very good. Now you are in the first rounds, and it's different. Maybe if you are in the second week, you can think about it, you are playing better. The first two or three matches are difficult.
Q. A lot of players have said they think your forehand is one of the best in the game. Do you feel that way?
ALBERT COSTA: Well, I heard many things, no? I heard that my backhand also is very good. But I'm trying to improve every day, work hard, do my best in the court and try to be focused all the time.
Q. It took many years for you to have good results here. Why was that? Because you had to convince yourself you could play well on hard courts?
ALBERT COSTA: Well, I think unfortunately I didn't play so good here. I was like four or five first times in a row. I don't know, five or four. But I was playing semifinals in Cincinnati the same year. Is strange because I was playing semifinals in Boston. I did good results in hard court, but I never played good here. Last year I made the Round of 16. But, you know, is coincidence. Is not because it is here. I don't know why.
Q. Most of the reports at the moment in the American newspapers are about women's tennis. They are saying basically men's tennis is pretty boring and that players are unknown, such as Johansson, Costa, so on. What is your feeling when you read that? Do you feel the men's game has a problem at the moment or...
ALBERT COSTA: I think if they want to see all the time playing the same girls. In men's tennis, you don't know, you can't imagine who is going to be in the final here. You can imagine in women's who it's going to be. I think that's the difference. For me, you cannot compare women's and men's. For me is different. They play very good, and I love to watch the women's. But I think we play much harder, much faster. Is a different level. I don't know how to explain. But for me the show is completely different.
Q. Did you notice the planes overhead more than usual? Because of where it is, September 11th, do you notice more than usual the sound of the planes?
ALBERT COSTA: That question I don't understand. I don't know. It's unfortunate they have to look up there. I don't know how to say about it.
Q. Can you say a few words about your next match?
ALBERT COSTA: I have Ferreira. I lost two times this year, in Australian Open, battle, five sets, 9-7 in the fifth. A few weeks ago I lost in Cincinnati against him. It's going to be tough. But every match is different. I think here I'm tougher. If I have to play five sets, it's better than three sets.
Q. What made the difference in Cincinnati a few weeks ago?
ALBERT COSTA: Well, maybe you have a little bit more motivation here.
Q. What makes him so difficult to beat for you? What is the problem with his game?
ALBERT COSTA: He has a good forehand, very good forehand. He return very fast. He serves very good. Still I think I can make some damage to him.
Q. Do you feel the conditions of play are the same here as in Cincinnati? Slower here?
ALBERT COSTA: No, no, much slower here. Cincinnati was unbelievable fast, like Toronto. These tournaments this year was very fast.
Q. Since you've had some struggles here in the past, do you approach this tournament differently? When you win like today, are you happy to get it out of the way?
ALBERT COSTA: Well, I explained that before. I think I come here like the other years, but now I'm feeling more confident because you never know that you can win a Grand Slam. Now you feel that if you play good, you can win. But still I come here, try to play my best tennis, try to win the next match.
End of FastScriptsâ€¦.