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May 14, 2000

Magnus Norman


Q. What is the secret of your victory?

MAGNUS NORMAN: I don't know, hard work I guess, you know. As you saw today, you know, the match was very tough and I think the third set today was very crucial. There was a lot of breaks in the beginning of the third set and I was a little bit lucky to be able to win the third. I think that won the match for me.

Q. In the first set you were certainly, for the first five or six games, you were serving superbly. He served very well in the second. Why did all those breaks start in the third? Were you getting nervous, both of you, or what?

MAGNUS NORMAN: I don't know. I think both of us were getting a little bit tired, actually, because of the heat and there was long rallies in the second set. I don't know really why, but as you said, I served unbelievable in the first five games. I came out and I was hitting the ball very clean and I thought, "This is going to be a pretty easy afternoon for me." But things got a little bit difficult in the second set. So...

Q. Magnus, Italy seems to bring luck to you. You won Davis Cup here and you won today. What is your best memory of both events, even though one is just very fresh, and what is the comparison you can make between the two moments?

MAGNUS NORMAN: I think Italy's a great sports country. Everybody's very interested in sports, and whenever you turn on the television there's always a soccer match or a tennis match or there's racing or whatever. And, I mean, the atmosphere to play here in Italy is just great, even though the crowd was on Guga's side, it's just great to be part of such an event. It was the same in '98 when we played the Davis Cup final. Even though the crowd was obviously on the Italy side, it was like huge, you know, one of my best memories ever.

Q. Were you aware that there was some sort of game or something going on next door?

MAGNUS NORMAN: Absolutely, Bud. (Laughter.) Actually, I wanted to check out the score. As you heard, Lazio is my team, and they have a Swedish coach. That's why. And, yeah, absolutely.

Q. It didn't bother you, the noise?

MAGNUS NORMAN: No, it didn't. No, absolutely not. The thing that bothered me a little bit at the beginning was all these damn helicopters flying around, but they seemed to disappear after a while.

Q. Magnus, could you turn the clock back a little bit. When was the actual turning point in your career, was it just before Orlando and all these titles started coming, was it the Davis Cup final, or was it even before that?

MAGNUS NORMAN: It was I guess Fabrice Santoro in Wimbledon last year.

Q. Why? (Laughter.)

MAGNUS NORMAN: I don't know why. The coach and I have talked about it, and even though I won the title early like last year in Orlando, I didn't play my best tennis and I felt like on Tour in Wimbledon, everything clicked. Even though I lost to Rusedski in the next round, I felt like the new Magnus Norman, you know. Ever since, I've been playing superbly, I've been really satisfied.

Q. Feeling a little better about No. 1? Yesterday you said you were No. 1 but you weren't No. 1. Are you feeling better about it?

MAGNUS NORMAN: Today I can speak a little bit higher about No. 1 because I won a Masters Series and that's something that everybody likes to do, and, you know, I don't want to say I'm No. 1 in the world. I'm leading the race and that's something that I never would have dreamed about after four or five months, you know. So I'm obviously very proud about that.

Q. When you speak about Santoro, is it because of his game or just his day like that?

MAGNUS NORMAN: No, because of my game. My coach and I were working up to Wimbledon very hard on me being aggressive, you know, taking the ball early, you know. I was doing that in practice but never in the match. Even though I won a lot, I felt like, you know, there was something missing. And all of a sudden against Santoro, I don't know why in Wimbledon, everything clicked and I felt like, "Hey, this is the way I should play. This is the way I should approach the game." And, you know, ever since then I've played like that. So that's actually pretty funny. I just remember that match like this, you know.

Q. Magnus, you're the first Swede since Wilander to win here. Talk about being a part of that legacy and if you have any memories of Mats winning in Rome?

MAGNUS NORMAN: I have no memories about Mats winning in Rome. I have memories from the tournament, you know, not a particular match but, you know, the Italian Open Championships, there has always been a lot of tradition in the tournament and I usually watch it on television, you know, when the other guys were playing. So, you know, it's just -- I haven't really -- that I won the tournament today, you know, hasn't really sunk in yet. But it's an unbelievable feeling, you know.

Q. Does it make you feel closer to those great guys in Sweden from the past to have won this big title that they've won as well?

MAGNUS NORMAN: Yeah, it's great to be compared to Borg, Edberg and Wilander. I was happy because of the last two days because of the No. 1 spot and it's just unbelievable. It's almost too much for me, but, you know, I got to be -- hopefully I can play like this, you know, throughout the year and the comparison will be even more, you know.

Q. Magnus, talking about the future, I mean you had a great week here in Rome. Now there is Hamburg and then the French Open. Do you think that this great week here will change the way you think about yourself in the next weeks?

MAGNUS NORMAN: Well, a little bit, you know. I'm leading the race now. Everybody wants to catch me for the moment, and I know going into the French that I can win the title. I've won here, you know, and, you know, it's a great feeling. But it doesn't change my personality at all, but it maybe changes the way I look at the tournament when I go to the French Open. Because now I know that I can beat a good guy like Kuerten on a big final, best of five sets, so, you know, absolutely. You're right.

Q. Magnus, when you think about Borg, Wilander and Edberg, first of all, who do you have a better relationship with, and when you were young, to which one of them were you looking at?

MAGNUS NORMAN: I think I have the best -- not relationship -- but I think I know Borg a little bit better than the other guys because he's from the same club in Sweden that I am. So normally we would pass each other in the locker room sometimes and we chat a little bit. So his son is actually playing doubles there also. So he's there all the time. But the one I remember from television and watching matches is Edberg, because, you know, his Finals against Becker in Wimbledon. Those are the matches that I remember most.

Q. What's the club?

MAGNUS NORMAN: The club where the Stockholm Open is played, called Kungliga.

Q. How are you going to celebrate Lazio's victory?

MAGNUS NORMAN: That's a good question. I haven't thought about it yet, but it's a good day for Swedish sports, and... Yeah. Let's wait and see. Something. But for the tennis players, it's always the next tournament next week, so that's a shame about our schedule, but, you know, I can celebrate at the end of the year maybe.

Q. The French Open is not too far away and you have another big tournament next week. Are you worried at all about staying fresh for the French, and how are you going to do that?

MAGNUS NORMAN: A little bit. I'm playing the World Team Cup as well the week after Hamburg, it's a really rough schedule. So maybe if I do well in Hamburg, maybe I have to think about quitting the World Team Cup, I don't know. But I'm pretty strong physically. I'm pretty strong mentally. So once the French is there, I'm going to be 100 percent motivated and I'll be able to do better.

Q. When you won the match, you went down on your knees and looked as if you were facing your coach. We've seen another Swedish player that used to do that a long time ago on another surface?


Q. Is this something you've done before, or is it something you remember from seeing Borg do?

MAGNUS NORMAN: Well, I don't try to imitate him. That's just something that came to my mind after the match, you know, that I did something similar to Borg. But, no, I was just empty when I won the match, you know, I had no thoughts at all and, you know, it was just an incredible feeling. All credit to my coach because without him, I wouldn't be here for the moment, so... You know.

Q. This is a joke, but talking about girls, do you think that now that you are the leader of the ATP Race, you won this tournament, it will be helpful, or you don't think so? (Laughter.)

MAGNUS NORMAN: No, I don't think so.

End of FastScripts…

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