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September 5, 2000

Magnus Norman

U.S. OPEN CHAMPIONSHIP, Flushing Meadows, New York

MODERATOR: Questions for Magnus.

Q. What happened today?

MAGNUS NORMAN: Well, what happened? I mean, I lost the match. He played a good match. He didn't make any mistakes. I made a lot of mistakes. You know, normally I think I should win this match. As I felt today, I didn't hit the ball very good. Different conditions totally from the last match I played. Very windy, very cold. I made too many mistakes.

Q. Were you feeling any after-effects from that long match you had with Max?

MAGNUS NORMAN: No, not that. I have a bad throat, I mean, I have a sore throat. I don't think that's why I lost the match. Maybe I was a little bit tired in the end. You know, I made too many unforced errors.

Q. Were you feeling a little sluggish at all? Looked like it took you a while to get into your rhythm.

MAGNUS NORMAN: Yeah, took me a long time. I had so many breakpoints, so many opportunities. Against a good player like Nicolas, you can't afford to let it slip away like I did today. You have to take at least one out of five. I had so many chances, but I made some mistakes. He came up with some good shots.

Q. The match is going on, are you thinking you're going to get out of it and do a comeback like you did the other night, or were you feeling it wasn't there today?

MAGNUS NORMAN: Both. I felt like if I could have broke him in the last game, I felt like I had a good chance to at least win the fourth set. In the fifth, you never know what's going to happen. I thought when I won the second set, I was on a roll, I played some good tennis. Then I had some chances to break him again, but didn't take them. Then he broke me immediately, and things went wrong in the third set again. I didn't really get on top of him.

Q. When the red shirt came out, seemed like your game turned around. Did you feel at that point that maybe you could get this match back in hand?

MAGNUS NORMAN: Well, absolutely. I think if I just could have raised my level a little bit, which I did occasionally in the tiebreak in the first set, a few games in the fourth set when I broke back, but I didn't have the consistency, maybe because of the sore throat, or maybe because I was a little bit tired. He didn't make any mistakes, he didn't give me any shots. I had to make everything. You know, I made too many unforced errors. Just wasn't my day today.

Q. Did you wake up with a sore throat?

MAGNUS NORMAN: I had it a couple days. I felt it last night when I went to bed, felt it a little bit more, and this morning when I woke up. But my coach said I should go to the doctor. But I felt fine after the warm-ups. They said I should give it a try. I felt okay during the match.

Q. Are you going to try and get some rest after this match or stick around for the night session?

MAGNUS NORMAN: I'm going to try to go home to Monte-Carlo as soon as possible and take a few days' rest before the Olympics, try to recuperate.

Q. Even if Martina gets to the finals?

MAGNUS NORMAN: Yeah. I mean, first of all, I have to, you know, take care of my own career, and second, you know....

Q. How difficult did you find Nicolas' variety of game?

MAGNUS NORMAN: I was not sharp enough today. Normally I have no problem with that, I would kill those shots. Today my rhythm wasn't there. My head wasn't really there. My body wasn't really there. As you said, he didn't make it easy for me either.

Q. You won your match, your great match with Max, wearing that red shirt. Tiger Woods wears the red shirt just on Sunday. Do you think you might hold that red shirt for key matches from now on?

MAGNUS NORMAN: Well, it seems like I'm more on fire when I'm playing with that shirt. Makes me hot, you know. I will save it for -- hopefully have a good chance again this year, a good match, a big match again this year.

Q. Do you think you'll pull it out before the Australian?

MAGNUS NORMAN: I hope so. I hope I get a good chance in the Olympics to have a big match. We have two Super 9 tournaments left this year. I felt like this tournament was important for who's going to be No. 1 in the world at the end of the year. I let it slip way. Obviously, I'm really disappointed. Two more big tournaments to play this year, two more Super 9 tournaments to play. Hopefully I can do well there.

Q. Pete Sampras was saying the other day that he didn't think there was going to be a consistent No. 1 in the next couple years. He thought it would trade off a little bit. He said part of the reason is he thought nobody was dedicated enough to be No. 1 for a long time. Do you think that's true?

MAGNUS NORMAN: No, I don't. I think the competition is so much tougher now. People can play on all surfaces. Everybody's dedicated to be No. 1. Before, it was only one player. Now we have 20 players who is dedicated to be the best, who try to practice more than the other guy. That's the new generation.

Q. Do you think for you to win a Grand Slam would really maybe help cement your status near the top? Is that the thing you're missing?

MAGNUS NORMAN: Obviously, it will be a great help, you know. You know, I'm a little bit tired of answering that question about my status, you know, because I won five titles last year, I won four this year so far, I've been the finalist in the French Open, semifinalist in the Australian Open, and I'm currently ranked No. 2 in the world. I'm a little bit tired of answering that question.

Q. Are you greatly disappointed? It looked like a great chance for you here.

MAGNUS NORMAN: Absolutely. Absolutely. I'm obviously disappointed because, as you say, I think I was playing some good tennis. This tournament is going to, I think, decide who is going to be No. 1 at the end of the year. I had a great chance, but I let it slip. But he made a good match. That's tennis. That's how tough the competition is.

Q. How much has he stepped up his game since you played him in Australia?

MAGNUS NORMAN: He seems to be more focused now than he was there. I played probably a little bit better than I did -- I played better in Australia than I did today. Those are the two factors really. He seems to be more focused, and I played a little bit worse.

Q. Have you been affected at all by all the traffic confusion?

MAGNUS NORMAN: No, not at all.

Q. Who is the best player right now?

MAGNUS NORMAN: The best player? I think Pete is going to be difficult to beat here if he gets his game going. I think he's got a tough match, the next match against Krajicek. I think he's still the one to beat this tournament.

Q. Do you think whoever comes out of that match, whether it's Pete or Richard, will be the one to beat?

MAGNUS NORMAN: It's difficult to say because there are different match-ups. You know, Krajicek matches up pretty good with Sampras. He's beaten him in the past. If he plays a guy who is returning a little bit better than Pete, he's got more difficulties. I think if Pete can come through, I think he will be the winner. If Richard comes through, you know, I will go for Safin probably.

Q. Bypass this question if you answered it already. Inwardly, I would think you would be really pleased with this year. Could you assess the year in Slams and non-Slams?

MAGNUS NORMAN: Well, I'm very pleased with the year. If you would have asked me a year ago when I was in the fourth round, it was a huge achievement for me. This year, things have changed a little bit. I'm looking further ahead than the fourth round now, looking to semis and the finals, and one time to lift the trophy in the Grand Slam. I'm happy with the year so far. I played some really, really good tennis. Still some tennis left to play this year. This was a tournament who I think is going to be No. 1 at the end of the year. Obviously I'm a little bit disappointed, but I'm happy with the year so far.

Q. If Pete wins the tournament, regardless of rankings, would you consider him No. 1?

MAGNUS NORMAN: Well, there's still more tennis to play this year. If he wins here, he's obviously in a good position to be No. 1 at the end of the year. You know, there's still tournaments to play. In tennis, you got to show that you're a good player week-out and week-in. We play 11 months of the year. Every week is a new tournament. You've got to stay healthy to be able to be No. 1 at the end of the year. You've got to play good tennis for 11 months. If he wins here, he's in a very good position. He's a good indoor player, as well, going to the indoor season. He's going to be tough to beat there.

Q. So you regard No. 1 more as a reward for consistency as opposed to maybe winning Slams and just making it simple - whoever wins the most Slams is No. 1?

MAGNUS NORMAN: If you win Slams, you're going to be No. 1 at the end of the year. I mean, it's the same.

Q. To take this one step further, if Pete does go down before the final, that would mean there would be four different Slam winners. Who would you say then would be the best player of the year, if Pete loses?

MAGNUS NORMAN: If Pete loses?

Q. Yes.

MAGNUS NORMAN: Well, there's still tennis to play this year, there's still two tournaments. We play 11 tournaments of the year out of 12. Let's wait and see. Still a lot of tennis to play, guys. You should know the tennis schedule. It's very tough.

Q. So you could still be No. 1?

MAGNUS NORMAN: I can still be No. 1. But I think this tournament, you know, as you say, is a very big tournament.

Q. The reason I asked you the Slam question was because in Australia, you said you wanted to win a Grand Slam this year. I was also curious, from then you were very happy and excited to be in the semifinals. You've accomplished so much since then. What have you learned about yourself this year and being a top player?

MAGNUS NORMAN: Well, it's more pressure. I'm the highest seed left now in the tournament. People expect me to be in the final. You can't take anything for granted because everybody's so good. People start recognize you off the court, which is very good. I like that. Makes you feel that you done something good. When I go to a Slam now, I think I'm looking to be the winner all the time. Doesn't really matter where it is. It's both good and a little bit bad things also. But, you know, I like it, I like it.

End of FastScripts…

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