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January 16, 2001

Magnus Norman


THE MODERATOR: First question for Magnus, please.

Q. Were you relieved to get that over with?

MAGNUS NORMAN: Yeah. I mean I'm happy that I actually won the match. It was 1-6, looking really bad. But I turned it around. I was happy with the way I won the match.

Q. What happened the first set? Were you nervous?

MAGNUS NORMAN: Not really. I mean I haven't played him before, this Stefan Huet, I haven't seen him that much. He's been around for a couple years. I haven't really seen him play, I haven't really practiced with him either. I didn't really know what to expect. I talked to some guys in the locker room. When I got out there, I came out and expected a little bit different game than it actually turned out to be.

Q. In what way?

MAGNUS NORMAN: Well, I thought he was, you know, not playing that aggressive. He was playing a little bit more aggressive than I thought and I didn't really have the depth in my shots that I wanted either. So, you know, it was little bit of a nightmare in the beginning.

Q. Does it affect your confidence, that sort of match?

MAGNUS NORMAN: Not in a good or not in a bad way I think. I'm still trying to find my game. As I said last week in Sydney, for every match that I play I'm getting more and more confident. I think I will be better next match I play.

Q. Sandra Harwitt, United States. This was really where you started to propel to the top of the game last year. What kind of feelings does that bring to you this year, returning here?

MAGNUS NORMAN: Well, it's always nice to be back in Australia, Melbourne especially with all the support that we get down here. It seems to be, the Swedish guys are very popular down here. It's a very nice place to start off the year, and it just brings out the best in me I think.

Q. Do you feel, because last year once you got to the semifinal you were really nervous. Do you feel like a totally different player? You're much more confident?

MAGNUS NORMAN: Yeah, exactly. I'm another player both mentally and on the court, physically. You know, I just have a new approach to the game, I'm No. 4 in the world. Everybody's out there to beat me now. But I think I've been more mature in the head a little bit and I think I can cope with the situation more now than I did a year ago.

Q. What is it about this tournament and maybe Melbourne that makes it different from the other Grand Slams in your view?

MAGNUS NORMAN: I think this is, I mean, probably the one Grand Slam that I like most because, you know, the atmosphere down here, all the courts, we stay just a couple of minutes away from here, we got great support and the weather is nice. You know, you just come off from holiday, so you're fresh, everybody's ready to go, everybody's happy, you know, everybody's wishing each other a happy new year. So it's a good place to start off the year, you know.

Q. Melbourne, do you like the city in particular?

MAGNUS NORMAN: I like Australia. I mean, I like the people here. Everybody's very nice. It's the same as Sydney and Adelaide where I've been before. It's like, you know, it seems like I always do good here, you know.

Q. Maybe another reason is the surface, the rebound ace? Is that also a surface that you like?

MAGNUS NORMAN: Yeah, I like it very much. I think it plays a lot slower this year than it did last year. That was also the case in the first set a little bit. I didn't know what to expect because I came here on Sunday and I just had to hit on Monday morning. And today I played a match, you know, because I was in Sydney. So, you know, it was a lot slower than I expected it to be.

Q. You were saying you're a more confident person now. Do you think you can go one better than you did last year?

MAGNUS NORMAN: Certainly, every tournament, you know, I'm happy for every match that I win, you know. But, you know, I'm here to hopefully to make the semifinal again. I got some tough guys on my side of the draw and, first of all, I have Santoro, which beat me last time we played. So, you know, I'm going to start to concentrate on that match first.

Q. Now that we've gone through one year of the Champions Race and everything, how do you feel about it? Do you feel any different than you did last year when they instituted it?

MAGNUS NORMAN: A little bit. I think I was a little bit skeptic in the beginning. I think we all were a little bit, always afraid of changes. But I think as the year progressed, I think I'm speaking for all the players that, you know, it got more and more interesting. And I like the way that everybody starts from zero at the beginning of the year now and, you know, it's sort of like a race. I think it's better for all the players. It's also more easy to follow for the fans. I mean, you're always talking about defending points and here and there. I think it's easier to follow.

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