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January 18, 2001

Magnus Norman


THE MODERATOR: First question for Magnus, please.

Q. Jack Nile, The Age. Talk about your preparation (inaudible)?

MAGNUS NORMAN: Well, I think the preparation last year was a little bit better than I had this year. This year, I was sick during last season so I couldn't really practice. I think the preparation was better last year. But I feel like I'm hitting the ball as good as I've ever done and I'm feeling better and better for every day.

Q. Sort of creeping through. You're not attracting a lot of attention. Getting through. There seemed like there was more focus on you last year?

MAGNUS NORMAN: Not really. I don't think so. No, I mean it's, you know, I think it was the same last year. It's always like I'm sneaking a little bit from behind, no one really takes notice of me. I like it that way, so I want to keep it that way.

Q. Is it very different to come to a Grand Slam tournament ranked four in the world, to come here as you did last year when you were, where were you, in the teens?

MAGNUS NORMAN: Yeah. Well of course it's a little bit different. Everybody wants to beat you. But at the same time, you know, I have a lot more confidence and, you know, I know if I can just get my game going, I know I'm going to be there in the second week. You never know what's going to happen in the second week.

Q. How many events did you play this year?

MAGNUS NORMAN: This year I played -- this is my third so far.

Q. Sorry. Last year how many events?

MAGNUS NORMAN: Last year, I think -- I think there are some -- perhaps 27 I think. I think 27.

Q. That would be at the upper level for the tournament then?

MAGNUS NORMAN: Yeah. That's -- I think it suits me pretty much to play around 25. Perhaps 27 is like three weeks too much. But around 25, I don't think I would play less because I tend to need, you know, I need a lot of match practice to get in good shape, you know, so...

Q. Some players like Rafter are talking about retirement. There's some discussion of whether -- how much players should play and how much is too much. Are you a player that you don't find the Tour to be a grind after a certain amount?

MAGNUS NORMAN: It's a lot of tournaments but at the same time you have the -- you can choose which tournaments you want to play. I mean I think you have to play 13 tournaments, and I mean then you can choose what you want to play. But of course the season is very long. Perhaps the season should be a little bit shorter. But, you know, at the same time, tennis is our job and I love to play tennis. So I don't mind as long as I play good, you know.

Q. Mental side of it is pretty easy? Is it easy to handle, keeping yourself fresh?

MAGNUS NORMAN: I think the schedule is tough. It's more mental tough, because you have to prepare yourself for every week. You know, you have to -- week out and week in, you have to be focused on tennis. And that's what I find more tougher for myself. I know some guys find it very tough physically. But I'm in good shape. I've been practicing a lot since I was 12, 13 years old so I don't really have a problem yet with that.

Q. And injuries?

MAGNUS NORMAN: No. Not so far.

Q. Have you ever played Alex Calatrava before and do you have any concerns about him?

MAGNUS NORMAN: I've never played him actually, and I don't know -- he's a good player. He's got is good results lately and he won two matches here so it's gonna be a tough match.

Q. Are you looking any further ahead in the draw?

MAGNUS NORMAN: No. I mean this is too tough, and if I play Calatrava, I have another tough match after that. So, you never know what's going to happen. And you know everybody expects Lleyton and me to play perhaps in the fourth round together in quarters perhaps. But, you know, you never know what's going to happen. I can lose next match and he can lose next match. So you always get -- you just got to look at the next match.

Q. Robert Smith. Do you find Lleyton's on-court behavior offputting? What are your views on that?

MAGNUS NORMAN: No, not at all. I mean he's a great guy off the court, and, you know, he's -- he's mentally very tough. He's one of the toughest guys on the Tour. You know, it's his way to, you know, to get pumped. I don't find, as long as he behaves good to the opponent, I don't have any problem with it.

Q. And he does that?

MAGNUS NORMAN: To me, he's been fine. We got some good matches together and last time he beat me, you know, and he was very pumped up. But I don't really have a problem with it because he wants to win the match as his opponent, you know, but he shows it. I don't have a problem with that as long as he's fair to the opponent, that's fine.

Q. Did you see any of the match against Haas he played?

MAGNUS NORMAN: No. I was playing at the same time.

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