May 11, 2002
THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.
Q. Was it just a case that he was too good today?
JIRI NOVAK: Yeah, I think so. I play Andre already, I think it was the fourth meeting. And, you know, I never did it won a set. So I think that I got nice confidence for my game, and, you know, he's a player that got confidence, he's got experience, you know. And he's one of the best players in the world, you know. So I was expecting a really hard match. But I think that he was, you know, the better on the court today. Because he took the chances which he had, you know. And he won in the straight sets. So I think that he was a better player today.
Q. Yesterday Agassi compared you to Mecir. Do you agree with that or not?
JIRI NOVAK: It's tough for me to say something about it because I know Miroslav Mecir very well. I remember when he was playing, especially when he was from the same country. But it was Andre Agassi which was playing against Mecir. So he was maybe comparing my game with his game. But it's tough to say, Mecir was a much better player than me.
Q. Did you have a look at the draw in Hamburg?
JIRI NOVAK: No, I didn't.
Q. You're going to play James Blake again.
JIRI NOVAK: James Blake?
Q. Yeah. Good to know, that's all.
JIRI NOVAK: Okay (smiling).
Q. You seem a little bit down physically.
JIRI NOVAK: No, I felt very well, especially when I know I have nothing to lose in this match, you know. But I already told you he was a better player on the court. So maybe it was just -- you know, looks like that I'm a little bit down, but I wasn't. I was only a little bit maybe mentally down, you know, but not physically because I was just trying to hit every ball and I was just trying to fight. But he was better.
Q. Are you definitely happy with the way you played? Do you think you have to improve something?
JIRI NOVAK: For sure I'm very happy with my game, especially when I reach a semifinal here on the Super 9 even. But it's always tough to say because I lost today. But anyway, if somebody tell me before the tournament that I will reach the semifinal, you know, it is going to be big surprise for me. So I'm very happy I reach semifinal. I beat very good players during this week. So my game is improving, and I think I was doing fine this week.
Q. I know that Ivan Lendl was your idol. Of course Agassi still has a foot in the Lendl era. Does it surprise you or are you marvelling at the fact that this 32-year-old Agassi can still be as strong and enthusiastic as he is and eager to do better still?
JIRI NOVAK: It doesn't surprise me because I think that Andre is one of the best players in the history as well. And he's still fit, and he's working very hard I think, you know. Because he's still playing so good. And he's got good confidence, he's playing so many matches. So that's, you know, that's the point why he's so fit, you know. But Ivan Lendl is much older than Agassi. So let's say Ivan Lendl was, you know, finishing the career and Andre was starting, you know. So... But Andre is in the good shape.
End of FastScriptsâ€¦.