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May 12, 2000

Magnus Norman


Q. Magnus, you are in the Semifinal, you have not lost a set, and nobody seems to notice you except your opponent.

MAGNUS NORMAN: Yeah, well it's like that, a little bit like that every tournament for me, you know. No one really seems to take notice of me. I'm always playing on the Pallacorda, and, I mean, that's -- that's the way everybody like it, I think. But I mean, you know, tomorrow I'm playing on center court, so tomorrow I hope everybody will notice me.

Q. Tomorrow you could go to the top of the race. But do you mind the fact that nobody really puts the spotlight on you? Maybe they will put the spotlight on you now.

MAGNUS NORMAN: I don't care. I mean, I'm a pretty laid-back person, so, you know, I'm not trying to create the spotlight to be on me, you know. I'm pretty laid-back. And if the spotlight comes on me tomorrow, I don't mind because I had it on me a few times and I know how to handle it and I actually like it. So, you know, it's not going to be a big deal.

Q. What do you feel about the No. 1? Let's suppose that you become No. 1. You feel as though you're No. 1 in the world?

MAGNUS NORMAN: Not really. I mean, I think Andre deserves to be No. 1 in the world, he won a few Grand Slams. I never won a Grand Slam. But I'm getting close to him, you know. And as a matter of fact, no one would notice me, that's even better. I kind of like it that way; that I'm sneaking from the background. That's the perfect situation for me.

Q. Is it slightly disappointing, too, Magnus, that there are no Swedish journalists at all, no Swedish media here? You're very much -- you and Thomas are very much on your own, in a sense?

MAGNUS NORMAN: Yeah, we're used to no Swedish media. Swedish media is kind of bad to us all the time. It doesn't really appreciate what we are doing. If they're going to write something, we have to win a Grand Slam. If I made a Semifinal in Australia, they're going to compare me to Borg who won six -- many, many Grand Slams.

Q. Eleven.

MAGNUS NORMAN: Six Wimbledon, I was going to say. (Laughter.) But we are used to it, you know. If they are going to write about us, we have to win a Grand Slam.

Q. Magnus, how do you feel, your physical state, for the Championship?


Q. Physically, how do you feel? How do you feel in this moment?

MAGNUS NORMAN: I feel great. I feel great. I had a lot of matches this week, I played doubles as well, which was great for my tennis I think. And I had some easy matches, so I'm feeling fresh for tomorrow. You know, obviously I think Hewitt is leading, but I don't think -- it doesn't matter who I'm playing, you know. I just try to concentrate on my own things. If those things are clicking, no one can beat me.

Q. The clay is as good a surface for you?

MAGNUS NORMAN: Yeah, I think one year ago I would say clay is probably my best surface by far, but last year I improved a lot on hardcourt. I would think it's 50-50 for the moment. That's an advantage that I have: I can play either on hardcourt or clay, it doesn't matter. So that's something I improved over the last season.

Q. What about grass?

MAGNUS NORMAN: Grass is -- (Laughing) -- is not really my cup of tea, but, you know, I'm improving. I actually won a few rounds in Wimbledon. And who knows? You know, miracles have happened before, so maybe I can start playing good on grass as well.

Q. Have you ever talked to Stefan about the grass at all?

MAGNUS NORMAN: No, no. The only thing when we talk about grass is soccer. (Laughter.)

Q. Are you aware you are the player who played more matches than anybody else this year so far?

MAGNUS NORMAN: Really? Is that true? That's good. And Hewitt, that means that you're winning, so... It's a good thing.

Q. But you're getting tired, or you keep winning?

MAGNUS NORMAN: No, no, I'm feeling fresh actually, so hopefully I hope I can play tomorrow the way I've been playing the last week as well.

Q. Do you think you are a better player than last year?

MAGNUS NORMAN: Absolutely.

Q. Which point?

MAGNUS NORMAN: I mean it's different, it's a different ball game really. I mean I'm -- last year I could win a few matches. I could win titles on clay, but from, like, Wimbledon on last year, I've improved very much on hardcourt as well. You know, it doesn't really matter like if I play Krajicek or a baseliner. I think I have an answer to everything today. And I'm also more stronger mentally, which helps a lot on the Tour.

Q. Would there be a street party in Filipstad tomorrow if you got to No. 1?

MAGNUS NORMAN: Probably be something really, because I'm the ambassador of the city, you know, so will probably be something. Tomorrow's Saturday as well, so, you know, I think there will be something.

Q. Could I just ask, as an ambassador for the city, what do you do? What does an ambassador do? Win matches?

MAGNUS NORMAN: I just try to -- yeah, exactly, promote the city and --

Q. You had a big festival there, didn't you, recently?

MAGNUS NORMAN: I had to organize like an ice hockey thing, like an All-Star Game in December, which raised money for the city. I have to do things like that to promote the city. It's a very small city, so anything you can do really helps the city a lot.

Q. It looks like most of the Swedish players are coming from different towns.

MAGNUS NORMAN: Yeah, yeah.

Q. There is not a town which has produced more players?


Q. Every town has --

MAGNUS NORMAN: Yeah. I don't know really why that is, but there's a lot of tennis clubs in Sweden, and we have an old tradition and a very good tradition, so I guess I don't know why really.

Q. Has there always been a good player from your town?


Q. Not before you?


Q. You beat Hewitt in Melbourne. Have you ever played him on clay?

MAGNUS NORMAN: No, I never played him on clay.

Q. What do you think?

MAGNUS NORMAN: Well, let's see first if he wins. But if it's going to be Hewitt, you know, he's like me, you know, one of the younger players coming up. So probably we're going to play against each other many times. Hopefully we're going to play against each other many times. So... I think maybe I have little bit advantage on clay because I'm more experienced on clay. But he's playing good for the moment as well, and I have to play 100 percent tomorrow to be able to win.

Q. And what about Puerta?

MAGNUS NORMAN: Puerta is a good claycourt player. That's probably by far his best surface. It's the same there, you know, I have to play 100 percent to win. That's the way it is even from the first match to the Finals. So... It's just as simple as that.

End of FastScripts…

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