October 13, 2003
THE MODERATOR: Questions.
Q. You played a brilliant shot to go a break up in the second set. At that point did you think you had the match won?
JARKKO NIEMINEN: Well, I was pretty confident. I had all my serves until 5-3, then I just -- maybe in the second set, I might have been too passive. When I had to take the match, I was serving for the match 5-4, he played more accuracy. He didn't miss any balls, he played a good game. Yeah, suddenly at 5-All, from that time you never know what happens.
Q. He is one of those players who seems to never know when he's beaten. How difficult is that when you're playing someone like that?
JARKKO NIEMINEN: Yeah, he really improved his game from 5-3. When he was down 5-3 in the second, I noticed that. I tried to be more accuracy, but I really couldn't. I had a few bad games in a row, then he was back in the match.
Q. Have you heard anything about the publicity out today regarding betting on matches?
JARKKO NIEMINEN: Well, I just read the news about it.
Q. You read the Sunday Telegraph?
JARKKO NIEMINEN: Yes.
Q. You have the gist of the situation?
JARKKO NIEMINEN: Yeah.
Q. One thing we'd like to know, nobody is suggesting that anything was untoward or has been proved, particularly in your match with Lopez in Long Island. What we'd like to know from a player who is coming up the rankings, is getting towards that stage of being a leading player, as you are, what is your view on the principle of the whole thing? Does it shock you that this may be happening?
JARKKO NIEMINEN: Well, I have no examples from anything like that. I'm not aware of anything that some players would bet for the matches. So I haven't heard anything. In that English newspaper, the Sunday Telegraph, they were talking about my match against Lopez, when he retired against me. He was really throwing up the whole day. That's only example that I really know that there was some such pieces of people about that match. Yeah, he was really felt terrible on that day. He was throwing up. He really couldn't play. He really couldn't finish the match. I think tennis is so tight nowadays that you can't play that so much on the paper. There's so many surprising results, I can say that. When I'm playing well, I feel like I can almost beat against anyone, even the Top 10 players. I have already done it a few times this year. If I play bad, I can easily lose against guys who are ranked over a hundred.
Q. Clearly some people are betting matches because a bookmaker did say there was more business in betting on that match. Does that worry you as a player, that some people are gambling lots of money on matches?
JARKKO NIEMINEN: Well, if some people are really so much into that, I can't do anything about it. Only good thing until now, I haven't heard those people would be players. I can't do anything if someone is betting a lot of money for my matches. I don't feel any pressure for that. I think ATP and those betting companies have pretty good information. They get good information between each other. If someone is betting huge amounts for certain match, they inform each others.
Q. From a player's point of view, presumably you are aware of the penalties of such an offense?
JARKKO NIEMINEN: Yes. I think it's good that the penalties are very big, they affect a lot. That's how it should be, everything. For example, if you use doping or if you cheat somehow, doesn't matter if you are betting, you don't give your best on the court, of course the penalty should be very harmful for the player who is doing that.
Q. If it was discovered that a player or players had done this, if it was discovered, the penalty obviously puts them out for three years anyway, with the big fine, I think $100,000, three years out of the game would put you out anyway, but do you think the other players would be disgusted and not want that player back anyway? Do you think it's possibly the worst thing that can happen in sport, that somebody would bet against themselves to lose?
JARKKO NIEMINEN: Yeah, sure, it's one of the worst. Like saying if someone -- like I say, if you are cheating, using doping, or you're betting against yourself, those are the worst things I could believe as a player. It would be very hard to come back for that player.
Q. Davis Cup, you have a tie coming up with Luxembourg. In Britain we're keenly seeing who wins that because it could be Britain against you in the new year. What are your thoughts going into the tie with Luxembourg? Is that a tie you feel you should win?
JARKKO NIEMINEN: Well, maybe we are a favorite this time. But we play away. They have been playing very well in Davis Cup. We have to be ready for that. I don't know the players so well. I saw some results from Davis Cup. They have been playing really well, so we have to be very careful and prepare well for that. I hope we can beat them and it would be great to play against Great Britain in their home courts.
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