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adidas International

January 12, 2001

Magnus Norman


THE MODERATOR: Questions for Magnus, please.

Q. Well, before the question, I think congratulations are in order for the way you both sustained that match and those conditions. What was it like playing?

MAGNUS NORMAN: Oh, it was very tough. You know, I was very tired even after six, seven games. I thought, as I looked at Jonas, I think he was also giving me a little, you know, sort of eye contact. We both said, "Let's go at it." We both, you know, gave it 100 percent, and Jonas is playing very good for the moment. It's the best I've ever seen him play I think in two, three years. So I'm very happy to get through.

Q. How did you feel physically at the end of it?

MAGNUS NORMAN: Of course I'm very tired, but I think it's going to give me a lot of confidence because I was out there two and a half hours and, you know, I think that's going to give me a lot of confidence for the Australian Open. I know that I can do it.

Q. After the year you had in 2000, a very successful year although perhaps you missed out on the very big prizes, how do you feel your game has improved, and how are you looking forward to the new year?

MAGNUS NORMAN: I'm just very, very happy with this week. The first week of the year was not really good for me. I didn't really have a lot of preparation going into the year because Lisbon was obviously very tight this year. But as things have progressed this week, I'm feeling very, very well. And I'm a little bit surprised that, you know, I can be able to perform as well as I've been.

Q. Is that because you didn't quite know how you were going to feel in the new year?

MAGNUS NORMAN: Exactly. Last year was something different, you know. I had like five, six weeks off, and I really was prepared when I came to Australia. This year was something else. I was three weeks sick, you know, after Lisbon, didn't really have a lot of practice. So that's why I'm, you know, I'm just happy that first of all I'm in the final, and second of all that I can manage the heat. You know, things are going my way.

Q. Why is it that so many Swedes seem to sustain themselves so well in the heat?

MAGNUS NORMAN: We are stubborn. We are stubborn. We, you know, we also practice very hard. Nothing comes for free. And, you know, we are grinders. That's, you know, that's the thing that I can come -- that comes to my mind.

Q. Are you envious of Sebastien and Lleyton going out when it's going to be a little bit cooler, not have to suffer the same torrid conditions?

MAGNUS NORMAN: No. I mean, I've had tough conditions the whole week when I played. The first three matches was very windy; today was very hot. I'm just happy that I'm still in the tournament. And I have played when it's very windy, I have played when it's very hot, and those things can play a big part in Melbourne. So I'm just happy to, you know, to get it over with.

Q. Magnus, you had that heart surgery a few years ago. Do you still have checkups for that or medication or anything?

MAGNUS NORMAN: No, no. Everything's fine.

Q. What do you think of your Australian Open draw?

MAGNUS NORMAN: I think it's pretty good, you know. I could have drawn -- I could have drawn something worse. You know, everybody's tough. Everybody is very eager to win against me right now. It's another situation from last year. So every match is dangerous.

Q. What do you think of Bjorkman? He's drawn Lleyton.

MAGNUS NORMAN: Yeah, it's a tough draw of course. But at the same time, he's got nothing to lose, you know, just go out there and have fun. If he can play like he did today, aggressive, why not? I mean, Lleyton is not, you know -- I think he can win.

Q. Is it quite good fun to be part of a kind of new brigade with people talking about Hewitt and Ferrero and the New Balls team as it were? Is it good fun to be part of that, to be looked upon as one of the leading young players in the world?

MAGNUS NORMAN: Of course it's fun. I mean, I'm only 24 and I think I've got a lot of years ahead of me. And I think I have still some room for improvement so, you know, it's very nice. Of course you get mentioned in the papers as one of the up-and-coming stars, you know. But I think at the same time I got to prove myself. I wanted to win Paris this year and I was very, very disappointed I lost there. But I think I can do it this year.

Q. You've had a lot of big match experience since the Australian Open last year. Do you think if the same situation occurs, this time you'll be better prepared to deal with it?

MAGNUS NORMAN: Oh, absolutely. Last year, as I said, was the first big match that I played in my career. I sort of freezed a little bit. I didn't really know what to do. This year, if I get the opportunity again, I think and I know things will be a little bit different.

Q. You've played around the world. This is a relatively new stadium. How hot was it out there compared to the other places that you've been in? Is there a particular problem with this place, or was it just a hot day?

MAGNUS NORMAN: No, it's just a hot day. I mean, when we came out this morning, I felt like this was going to be a tough day and it turned out to be. It turned out to be.

Q. After such an enthralling match out there, did you think it was a little shame that it ended as it did on a contested line call?

MAGNUS NORMAN: Yeah. Of course it's not fun when I would rather, you know, have gone for a winner or something like that. But at the same time, I thought the ball was out. But of course I got, you know, I got a little bit worried when Jonas was questioning the call, and Jonas is never a guy who questions a call if he doesn't think it's out. But my first view was that it was out, you know.

Q. Did you speak about it afterwards?

MAGNUS NORMAN: No, I haven't got a chance. He's playing doubles tonight and he's got to concentrate on that. Maybe when we get to Melbourne we'll speak about it.

Q. He had you in trouble in three or four games on his serve in the third set and you served your way out, but do you think he tightened up? Do you think maybe he's lost the ability to win matches?

MAGNUS NORMAN: No, I don't think so. I think rather he's getting it -- maybe he lost it last year or two years ago, but I think he's coming back again. I mean, the way that Jonas played this week so far, he hasn't -- it's the old Jonas again. I think he's going to do very good this year. You know, the fact that I'm facing breakpoints and I'm always at my best, it seems like without a breakpoint, that speaks for itself. (Inaudible).

Q. Were you surprised that he played such great serve-and-volley tennis?

MAGNUS NORMAN: No. I was expecting a very tough match because also I've beaten him three times in a row now before this meeting, so I know he was very hungry to beat me. So, you know, I'm just happy to get through.

Q. My question was kind of related to that. You have had a lot of breakpoints on your serve. (Inaudible). Is that a concern for you?

MAGNUS NORMAN: No, not really. I'm going to look at it the other way, you know, I'm very strong to save those breakpoints. It was the same yesterday against Bastl. And, you know, I'm very strong when it comes to big points, and that's why I'm No. 4 in the world.

Q. Do you like the idea of a five-set match in similar conditions next week? Will you approach that differently?

MAGNUS NORMAN: Oh, yeah. Absolutely. Absolutely. I can wear everybody down. (Laughter.)

End of FastScripts....

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