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April 16, 2003

Magnus Norman


THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. You're down one set, 3-5, and you are receiving. At last you won the game. Is very strange?

MAGNUS NORMAN: Yeah, I mean, things turn around. Everybody told me to keep fighting till the last point, you know. I was taught by that. I was taught by my father and all my coaches that no matter what happened, no matter how lousy you play, always fight to the last point. You know, I've turned a couple of matches around. I was very close in Mallorca last year against Guga, almost the same match. Turned things around, but he eventually won in three sets. Today, I really wanted to have a revenge because we played the French Open final, we played in the Masters, we played last year in Mallorca, all three pretty close matches, pretty good matches, but he was the one who went away with a victory. So today I was really motivated once I got that break, 5-4, you know. I was really motivated not only to win the second set, but to win the match.

Q. Did he say anything to you? What did he say to you afterwards?

MAGNUS NORMAN: Well, just, "Good luck in the next match," you know. Is nice guy, probably one of the nicest guys on the tour. So he wished me good luck. Obviously, I feel for him. I been in the same situation a couple of times. But we always have great matches, great spirit on the court. And, you know, he's a great guy.

Q. What do you think in terms of what it could do for you to really kick-start you back, going for the big tournaments again?

MAGNUS NORMAN: I think this is huge for me. I've been struggling a little bit with my confidence since coming back from all my injuries. Yeah, this is huge. Not only playing a good match, but coming away with a victory, you know, that's huge. It's going to help me a lot. I felt like for the last three weeks I picked up my game a lot. Even if we lost in the Davis Cup against Australia 5-love, we had a lot of fun. The team was very happy to be under Mats and Jocke. Got some new ideas. Since that week, I been feeling a lot better. You know, playing better for every day.

Q. Kuerten, when he saved three matchpoints, were you nervous?

MAGNUS NORMAN: Yeah, I was nervous. Yeah, of course. Because you never know with Gustavo, he can all of a sudden, like I did, he can turn the match around. So I threw in two double-faults. You know, he played a couple of good shots. But, you know, I was trying to focus on one point at a time. This crucial stage of the match, you know, with the wind and everything, you got to be 100 percent concentrated.

Q. But from a set and 5-2, he's serving for it, I mean, I got the impression you just felt you were beginning to get into the match?


Q. Even at that stage?

MAGNUS NORMAN: I was. I think even if the second set went pretty close - or I mean fast up to 5-2, I felt like I was, you know, a little bit finding my shots, little bit finding the rhythm a little bit. Once I got that break, I got going, I got little bit adrenaline going in my body, you know. Because the first set and a half was just going so fast, you know. So I got the adrenaline pumping a little bit and got the fist working and, you know, turned things -- things can turn around pretty easy.

Q. What is your current level of fitness? You're fine?

MAGNUS NORMAN: It's good. It's very good. My knee has been, for the last , as I said, for the last three weeks, been good. That's an incredible feeling. That's the best feeling I ever had. You can't be able to, you know, practice day in and day out without, you know, going through all the pain that I've gone. That as well makes me more confident, you know. Fitness-wise, I think I can -- I'm close to better than I ever have been, so that's good.

Q. Really?


Q. On court you talked about the French Open final. You said it stuck in your mind for two years. Was it just the crowd?

MAGNUS NORMAN: No, I mean, if you lose a match like that -- when I was going into the match, I really thought that I was going to win because I beat Guga in the Rome final and I felt so confident with the background that I had - only dropping one set on the way to the final, he's having to play two five-setters, one against Ferrero the day before. So I was very confident, and I was very disappointed when I lost the match. And the way I lost the match, just -- he was just blowing me off the court the first two sets. Then I was, again, coming back a little bit. I thought I had the match in the fourth set. I was a break up. You know, when you are so close of winning a Grand Slam, you know, it took a while to get over it. It's been on my mind for a long time. But that's why it was very, very satisfying to come away with a victory today.

Q. Did you ever think at any stage during the match today that you had lost the game? Did you keep telling yourself that you could still win it?

MAGNUS NORMAN: Well, at 6-1, 5-3, things didn't look very bright (smiling). But, you know, it's also, I don't know -- no one expects me to turn the match around, you know, so I sort of got my shoulder down a little bit, starting to go for my shots a little bit, got the fist working a little bit and things turned around. If I just get going, I know I'm very difficult to beat on clay.

Q. You didn't play in January and March. Why?

MAGNUS NORMAN: March I played a couple of -- I played Indian Wells and Key Biscayne, I lost in the quallies, last round of quallies. But in January I had a knee operation.

Q. When were you told that you had a wildcard here? Did you ask for it?

MAGNUS NORMAN: Friday night.

Q. Huh?

MAGNUS NORMAN: Friday night, just before . I asked for a wildcard. Obviously, I was hoping, I'm very close friends to Trucchi, you know, and all the guys here. As I practice a lot here, it's very nice to, you know, to be able to, first of all, get a wildcard and, second of all, convert on the way I've done. Hopefully, I can build on this now, not only for this week but for the rest of the season as well.

Q. When was the last time you felt so good about things?

MAGNUS NORMAN: Jesus Christ, I cannot -- I don't know, guys. It's been...

Q. Perhaps during the French, that year?

MAGNUS NORMAN: Yeah, probably, yeah. Yeah.

Q. What's your ambition for Roland Garros?

MAGNUS NORMAN: Well, first of all, I'm happy to be in the main draw. You know, I'm ranked 91. Obviously, it's gonna go up a little bit. But, yeah, if I can work like I been working the last three weeks and improve like I improved the last couple of weeks, who knows, you know, if I can get a couple more wins under my belt like these two, perhaps build on this next week in Barcelona and a couple of weeks, if I can keep this going, I think I can be very dangerous this year again. I'm fit, and that's the most important thing.

Q. Have you asked for a wildcard for Rome also, because you are out of the draw?


Q. And you won Rome.

MAGNUS NORMAN: Yeah, I've asked for a wildcard in Rome.

Q. What did they say?

MAGNUS NORMAN: I think they will decide, you know, closer to the tournament who's playing good and who's not playing good. So we will see. Obviously, it helps that I won there one year. I always play good there, so I would like to get a wildcard.

Q. We support your request (laughter).


End of FastScripts….

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