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September 7, 1999

Magnus Norman

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

USTA: Questions for Magnus.

Q. Can you tell us exactly what happened?

MAGNUS NORMAN: What happened, I think it was not the point, 5-All in the first set. It was not the last point when I broke him. It was the point before. I felt like a click in the back when I was going to return the serve at 30-40, the breakpoint. I felt like just unbelievable amount of pain in the back. I thought this is something that is going to go over. Actually, I broke him for 6-5. But then when I came to the chair, you know, I felt like, "This is not right." I never felt like this before. I tried to serve, you know, but was no way. I mean, no chance. So I called the trainer. He tried to put some hot cream and tried to massage it, tried to stretch it. You know, there was nothing I can do.

Q. When it actually happened, on that very point, which was the breakpoint, were you trying to think, "Just forget about it"? That was a great run.

MAGNUS NORMAN: Yeah. Sometimes you feel like, you know, the back hurts a little bit, but the next point it's going to kick back or something. This was something else. Just talked to the doctor. I mean, he said I had a lot of bad luck today because it's a strain in the back. There's nothing I can do. Obviously, it's a shame because I'm playing the best tennis of my life at the moment. I really felt like, you know, I had an opportunity today.

Q. Was the wind anything to do with it?

MAGNUS NORMAN: No. I felt like the wind was playing in my favor today. I mean, the conditions today were great for me, I think.

Q. Have you ever experienced this type of pain before?

MAGNUS NORMAN: No, no, no.

Q. There have been a lot of players injured in this tournament. You're coming off an extremely busy schedule, final in Long Island. Do you think the ATP schedule is just too bloody full, too much tennis, the body wears down by the time you hit September?

MAGNUS NORMAN: That's not the case for me. I felt very, very fresh going into this tournament, going into this match actually. I felt great. As the doctor say, you know, "You just had an enormous amount of bad luck today." I can only speak for myself. I think the schedule is great. I love to play tennis. If there were tournaments during the whole year, I would play every week, I think, because I love the sport so much.

Q. Did the trainer give you any indication of when you could come back? Is it the kind of thing where you'll feel better in a couple hours?

MAGNUS NORMAN: No. Right now I'm feeling much worse than I did on the court. I cannot move to the side, nothing, not at all (indicating). We will see. Probably I'm going to feel even worse the day after. In a few days he said, "Maybe it's going to be okay." It's the sort of thing that takes time. Even if I feel good in three days, it's going to be advice to take maybe one or two weeks off and try to strengthen the back a little more before I come back.

Q. Technically what is it? Is it a lower back strain?

MAGNUS NORMAN: Lower back strain, yeah.

Q. Do you have a history of back problems?

MAGNUS NORMAN: Not at all. That's what surprised me. As I said before, it's a shame that it's going to come up right now when I'm enjoying my life most, playing such a great tennis for my standard. I really thought I had a good chance to do something here.

Q. John McEnroe has been on the television in his commentary today talking about the amount of players that have had to drop out hurt in the course of matches. He's not naming any names or anything, but he says that he believes that creatinine could be a factor? Apart from building up bodies, it promotes cramping and muscle pulls. Do you have any thoughts on that?

MAGNUS NORMAN: I've never taken it. I'm actually against it. You know, I don't want to speak for other players who take it. Maybe it's good for them. I don't know. I've never taken it. I'm never going to take it, so.

Q. Do other players take it, to your knowledge?


Q. Why aren't you interested in taking it?

MAGNUS NORMAN: Because I think creatinine is something that builds your muscles up. I think I already have enough muscles, so (laughter). I need to lose some weight. That's my problem.

Q. Was there a movement you made that triggered it?

MAGNUS NORMAN: I think it was movement. I mean, I can't remember if it was 15-40. I think it was 15-40. When I was trying to return that serve, I felt nothing. After that, I lost that point 30-40, I was going down to the baseline thinking, "This is not good." I can't remember what I was doing, but I felt like at this point, it happened. At that point it happened. The point after, I actually did an unbelievably good point, but I felt like, "It's not good, I cannot play like this."

Q. When you played him in Stuttgart, he had to retire, right?

MAGNUS NORMAN: Yeah, yeah.

Q. What was his problem then?

MAGNUS NORMAN: I don't know. We seem to have a bad influence on each other. We shouldn't play each other. The problem then, I think it was bad scheduling. I mean, he played the Davis Cup the week before. He was a little bit tired. That was his problem, I think, then.

Q. When Pete went out with his back injury, it was first diagnosed not quite as serious, then they took an MRI. Are you thinking you might want to go and have it checked?

MAGNUS NORMAN: I wanted to because maybe I felt like it's something with the ribs. When I'm taking a deep breath, I actually feel pain also. The doctor said it's a strain, and we will see in maybe a week. If I still feel something, maybe it's wise to do an MRI or something.

Q. Is there one particular thing that you put down your excellent form in recent weeks to? Anything you've noticed has been a marked improvement?

MAGNUS NORMAN: I mean, my confidence has grown. Of course, every match you win, you know, you're growing. I've been playing very good on practice during the whole year, but now I've been converting that to actually play good also on the match. That's what I'm very, very happy about. No, I really felt like I could do something this week, even on the big courts, you know, to make a name for myself. It's a shame that it's going to end like this.

Q. What is your program from now, assuming you're fit again?

MAGNUS NORMAN: I pulled out of Bournemouth next week. Then, I mean, we have a Davis Cup tie against Austria in two weeks. We will see if I'm fit for that. Obviously, I know the Swedish team, they really needs me, because we have a lot of problems for the moment. We will see. I'm not going to force anything. You know, if I'm not feeling great, I'm not going to go out there and try to do something. After that, I'm going to play the circuit in Asia for two weeks before I go back to Europe to play the Super 9 events. Still a lot of tennis to play this year. Hopefully, I can be fit in a few weeks and ready to go again.

End of FastScripts…

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