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August 7, 2000

Magnus Norman


Q. You do often talk about toughness and having a will to win. Seemed like a pretty good example today.

MAGNUS NORMAN: Yeah, I didn't play my best tennis, but I hung in there. I really wanted to win today to get another match because I need match practice; that is why I am also playing doubles here. And also to get as much time on the court as possible, that is what I want this week.

Q. Is that because of the way last week went?

MAGNUS NORMAN: Yeah, things didn't go my way last week. I played a good -- had a bad draw, played a good opponent in the first round, but I felt like my game wasn't really there. Today I was not hitting the ball very good either, so I am always trying my best and I happy for every match that I can win this week.

Q. Is it just the time away, the break or --

MAGNUS NORMAN: No, I had just one week off so that is not the problem. I think more adjusting from clay to hard courts, find the bounce, bouncing a little bit higher here and a little bit faster, so I got to be more ready. I feel like my game is picking up every time I step on the court. By the time the US Open starts I think I will be in good shape.

Q. What do you think about the purple courts?

MAGNUS NORMAN: The color doesn't really bother me. I think the courts play very fast, though. I don't know if it is the color or if it is something else, but I think the courts play faster than normally.

Q. Did you notice temperature difference?

MAGNUS NORMAN: I don't know, I haven't played before so I can't compare how fast they were before, but they are faster than the Open courts, that is almost certain.

Q. Do you see the ball better?

MAGNUS NORMAN: I like the courts, the color of the courts. I think it is easier to see the lines, I find because the lines are very clear, you can see them very good. I find it good.

Q. Can you briefly talk about the difference of moving your way up into the Top-10 and then being there, how other players see you, how difficult it is to stay where you are?

MAGNUS NORMAN: Well, I think when I came from nowhere to become -- Top-10 in the world I think no one really took notice of me. Now everybody knows who I am and everybody expects me to do well in the tournaments and that is a lot of extra pressure to live with, but that is also something I have to get used to if I want to stay on the top. So I guess it is something I have to deal with.

Q. You have been in the Top-20 for two years, but a guy like Sampras, Agassi, someone who has been there for a long time, if they lose early like you did last week, they could brush it off and say: Well, I will win next week. Can you afford that -- did that bother you? Did you ever think: Oh, maybe this is going to go away soon?

MAGNUS NORMAN: A little bit, I think like that. I am on the top right now and as I said, everybody expects me to do well, but I also know that if I am not out there practicing four hours today, I am going to drop like this. I have to stay on top of everybody and practice even harder than I have done in the past. What can I say, Sampras and Agassi, they have been there for a long time and I really respect them because now I know what it takes to stay on top and it is a lot of added pressure. That is for sure, that no one knows even if you are 20 in the world, it is a whole different story if you are 20 or if you are Top-5, I think.

Q. Did you expect to get into the Top-10 as quickly as you did?

MAGNUS NORMAN: To be in the Top-10 was the main goal for this year. Obviously I reached the Top-10 already and I think after -- after the Australian Open in February, so, you know, I raise the goal a little bit and the next goal was to be Top-5 and now I have been Top-5 already. Now my next goal is to win a Grand Slam.

Q. When you talk about "extra pressure," can you elaborate a little bit on that?

MAGNUS NORMAN: Well, it is like everybody wants to have a shot with you; everybody wants to know how the form is. I lost last week. Everybody is asking me what is wrong; what is going on. It is a lot of people watching my practice, do a lot of autographs and my private life is not there anymore. It is like everybody is sort of watching me all the time. That has changed a little bit. And, for someone who hasn't been there, it is hard. It is hard to explain really. But you are always -- it is always someone who watches you.

Q. Have you gotten any advice on that from people?

MAGNUS NORMAN: Not really. I just try to do it my way and, you know, try to do as many things as possible and try to write as many autographs as possible and try to be nice to everybody, but at the same time, you know, you have -- you are here to play tennis. You have got to focus on what you have to do and sometimes it is very hard to say "no" also. If someone came up to you and want to have an autograph small kids, 10 kids, and you see that they really want the autograph, but you have to go practice, it is really tough for me. New situation, but something I have to get used to.

Q. Has Martina been any help in that way?

MAGNUS NORMAN: No, not really.

Q. She doesn't tell what you to do or anything?


Q. Now that you are going most weeks to the end of the tournament do you feel that you are going to have to adjust your schedule a little like next year because you are playing longer at each event?

MAGNUS NORMAN: Yeah, I think I have done it already this year with all the success I had at the big ones. I am focusing more on the big ones. Last year I won five titles, but they weren't very big titles. This year I said to myself: I want to raise the level getting to the Top-10, I have to do better in the big ones. I think I have done pretty good in the big ones so far. That is going to be my main goal also for next year.

Q. You said that you lost your private life. Other than the autographs and maybe when you go out to eat, people bothering you, is there anything that has really surprised you that people will do now that you have reached a certain level?

MAGNUS NORMAN: No, it is -- what you are talking about, just everybody recognize me now, it doesn't matter where I go, really. It is always someone who is there whispering behind my back or something.

Q. Even in this country?

MAGNUS NORMAN: Yeah. I have been doing this for many years and this is what I have always dreamed of being. I am not complaining. I enjoy every moment of it, but sometimes you have to say no and focus. That is what you have to do.

Q. Was there a moment where you realized that you weren't going to have that private life again? Was there like a certain situation that had happened?

MAGNUS NORMAN: Yeah, I think everything changed after I won the first Super 9 event in Rome and I became No. 1 of the Champions Race and I was -- my face was on CNN; all of a sudden everyday and people wanted to know who Magnus Norman is, all of a sudden. So I would say after Rome, a lot of things changed even back home in Sweden, yeah.

Q. Do you remember being out somewhere where someone came up to you and you said: Oh, that is it?

MAGNUS NORMAN: Yeah, I was like at the airport after Rome and there was like, you know, a lot of people following me in the airport and then when I came back to Sweden and people just different, just acting different.

Q. Walking up to you?


Q. And taking pictures?


Q. What was your emotion, were you mad or just --


Q. Surprised?

MAGNUS NORMAN: I was surprised how it is just a tennis match what it can do to my life. It is amazing really. And it was not like I was overnight just became No. 1. I have been pretty good for many years, but all of a sudden when I beat Kuerten that changed my life a little bit.

Q. Did you notice that again after the French?

MAGNUS NORMAN: Yeah, more after Rome I felt like people start recognizing me.

Q. Do you like this format where they make you -- this year where they make you play an extra round and not give the top --

MAGNUS NORMAN: I would love to have a bye, of course. That was the only bad thing when I became Top-10 in the world, I was going to Indian Wells and I thought I had a bye, but they changed the rules, so didn't have a bye.

GREG SHARKO: Thank you.

End of FastScripts…

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