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May 19, 2001

Albert Costa


ATP: Questions, please.

Q. Bad luck. You have been playing pretty well this week, but Juan Carlos is in fantastic form; isn't he?

ALBERT COSTA: Yeah, that is the only explanation I think -- he is playing unbelievable and that is the reason that he is winning all the tournaments and everything. Right now he is the better one for sure.

Q. Do you think he is as good as Kuerten was last year, for instance, the same level of --

ALBERT COSTA: For sure -- the same level, for sure, because I played last year with Kuerten and --

Q. Yeah, if you could compare....

ALBERT COSTA: Yeah, I could compare the same or best. For the moment he is playing unbelievable. I don't know he is going to continue like that or not, but if he plays always like today or like all these days, you cannot do anything.

Q. What could you have done better today?


Q. Yes.

ALBERT COSTA: Make every ball ace. (Laughter). Making backhand winners, forehand winners today, I think I played a good tennis because I was playing -- but I couldn't do anything. He was just playing much better than me.

Q. Can you project or guess how good you think he will become?

ALBERT COSTA: I don't know. It is so difficult to say that because now he is playing so good, but I don't know. His potential is unbelievable, but you never know, he has to be good mentally, good -- to be a big one, you know, like Sampras or Agassi or something, he is so young and he can make it. But it's very difficult to make these things.

Q. Defeat is rarely easy, but does it make it a little easier that it comes against a fellow Spaniard and against somebody who is playing so well, does that make it easier for you?

ALBERT COSTA: Well, it's better if I lose against Juan Carlo because I know he is a good friend of mine and for me I prefer to lose to Ferrero than Hewitt for sure or Henman or Safin, or all these guys.

Q. Would you say the reason that you are now the strongest tennis nation definitely on clay anyway in the world, is it because you have such a good personnel relationship between the players, compared to --

ALBERT COSTA: Could be one of the reasons but I think it is more than that reason. But this one is a good one.

Q. Other countries, other players hate each other, dislike each other....

ALBERT COSTA: Then I don't understand for everybody you can win points all the tournaments and one tournament for one and if you play -- it's space for everybody, I think. You have to be better than the other one, so, it is better than if it is a friend of yours that is winning everything than one person you never know. You don't know him, you don't care, so....

Q. Being on the other side of the net when Juan Carlos is playing his best tennis, what is the most, you know, difficult thing to face? Is it his angles; the weight of his ball --

ALBERT COSTA: No, I was playing and I was not feeling that every point I am going to lose every point, no, I was playing to win the points, but at the end he was making winner, or I made a mistake because he was pushing too much, so I was feeling all the time that I could win the point, but I never won the point.

Q. It's because the pressure is very high?

ALBERT COSTA: Yeah, he plays in the baseline. He know how to play in the baseline and he hits hard, hits hard every time he hits -- tries to hit harder and with angles, with everything. He is making everything. He returns very good. You cannot make points with the serve, so...

Q. Little bit like Agassi when he puts pressure --

ALBERT COSTA: No, but it is different. If you are playing to the baseline, he plays to the baseline and Agassi, if you push him too much, with top spin Agassi don't like too much.

Q. Same kind of pressure you feel on clay with Ferrero ---


Q. -- that you can feel on hard court with the same kind of pressure?

ALBERT COSTA: Yes. More or less.

Q. Are you looking forward next week to the Team Cup because you are real team-spirit country and then I think you are the favorite? This is my personal opinion.

ALBERT COSTA: I think Spain is favorite, especially in clay because they have two unbelievable players -- so Alex maybe now is not at his best moment, but he can change his mind and go straight to win tournaments or also he can win Dusseldorf and Paris because he is a great player and Juan Carlos, you can see how he is playing.

Q. And Albert as well.

ALBERT COSTA: I am not on the team. Juan Carlos, Corretja and Balcells.

Q. What are you going to do before the French Open, come back to Spain?

ALBERT COSTA: Come back to Spain and try to practice not too much, just for be ready for the French Open.

End of FastScripts....

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