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August 8, 1997

Albert Costa


MIKI SINGH: Welcome Albert Costa, a winner today over Sergi Bruguera. Sergi retired with leg cramps is his left leg. Albert is in his second career hardcourt semifinal. He was in the final in Dubai in 1996, and he plays the winner of Sampras Kafelnikov tomorrow. First question.

Q. (Inaudible.)

ALBERT COSTA: Well, it's no the same when you play against Sampras, it's not the same, but the serve is always important. And if you make some breaks it's very important, but it's in the like you play against Sampras or Ivanisevic. It's not the same.

Q. Did you see that he was cramping at the end of the match?

ALBERT COSTA: Yeah. Of course.

Q. When?

ALBERT COSTA: I think -- the start I don't know, but it was so, so clear. The only thing was in 3-2 with the break he was very bad.

Q. Is it hard?

ALBERT COSTA: It's hard. It's hard when you are feeling like this it is very hard, because you want to win and you cannot understand.

Q. Did you feel you were returning exceptionally well today and that was frustrating Sergi?

ALBERT COSTA: Excuse me?

Q. You were making exceptional returns today. Did you feel that you were returning really well?

ALBERT COSTA: Yeah. I was returning well. And I was playing really confident. No, I'm feeling very good, no, in the court.

Q. Sergi had came back from 18 at the beginning of year. What did you think of his come back?

ALBERT COSTA: I think only his motivation and his good condition, no. Because two years, during the two years he has a lot of injuries, but I think the most important thing is that he come back because of his motivation.

Q. Are you surprised by that?

ALBERT COSTA: No. I'm not surprised, because Sergi was No. 3 in the world, like he's an unbelievable player, no. But it's tough when you were top 10 like three years, like Sergi, I think it's tough to go down and then to come back is really surprise me, because it's very tough.

Q. Your rankings are rising steadily. What difference do you feel in the way that you're playing?


Q. The way your rankings are rising?


Q. What difference do you feel in the way you're playing?

ALBERT COSTA: Well, I'm playing good. I'm trying to do my best and I'm working all the days, practicing, I want to improve a lot in this kind of courts, I'm trying.

Q. Is your placement better or your serve or anything in particular that is making this difference?

ALBERT COSTA: No. I think it's only -- I'm spending more hours in these kinds of courts. You cannot play good if you no spend time in these courts. Two years ago I was practicing three days a year in hardcourts. Now, I am practicing a lot of hours.

Q. Do you feel confident going into the next round?

ALBERT COSTA: Yeah. Uh-huh. Both players are very good players, no. I think Sampras is the favorite. I played. In Australia against him I think it was a tough match, but, you know, Sampras is No. 1, no. For me it is a very tough match.

Q. Sometimes when other players get to No. 1, Muster got there, Agassi, and people say, "Well, he isn't that good of a player." But no one says that about Sampras?

ALBERT COSTA: Sorry, I don't understand you.

Q. Is Sampras clearly better than the other players?

ALBERT COSTA: I think he's better in his game maybe not -- maybe in the game, with the shots and the serve, I think not. But maybe in his mind he feels like he's the best and things like this. Now it's difficult, because now he has the confidence, no. He is the best one, because he's winning. I think when he wants, he always win, no.

Q. Who else would you say is as good as (inaudible.)


Q. What (inaudible)?

ALBERT COSTA: What player?

Q. Yes.

ALBERT COSTA: There's a lot of players. I think Rios he plays really good; he has a lot of talent. Kafelnikov has a lot of talent. I think that the difference is his mind. Agassi, he has unbelievable shots, but I think he has not the same mind.

Q. How would you attack Sampras in his game if you would play him tomorrow?

ALBERT COSTA: Well, I have to be like always. I have to try to play to his backhand and try return good, no. It is the most important thing. And when I serve I have to try to play to his backhand.

MIKI SINGH: Any other questions?

End of FastScripts….

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