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August 29, 2003

Xavier Malisse

FLUSHING MEADOWS, NEW YORK, X. MALISSE/A. Calleri 6-2, 6-7, 6-3, 3-6

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. Back with Nick.

XAVIER MALISSE: What's that?

Q. Back working with Nick?

XAVIER MALISSE: Yeah, Nick comes on the court when I'm practicing in Bradenton. Not for that long, just a couple of pointers. It's going well, you know. He's here for the matches, comes on the court for practices a little bit. It works out well. You know, he's very smart about tennis. He helps me a lot.

Q. How did you decide to reunite with him?

XAVIER MALISSE: I was kind of a little bit tired in the beginning of the season. Wasn't that good. After the French Open, I just decided to start working out again. I was hungry again for tennis. I really wanted to enjoy it again. You know, Carlos, Jan, Mark, all the guys around me with Nick. It works well. It's a good team. We have fun. We laugh a lot. We work hard. I think I was tired in the two and a half years I've been playing. You know, I got it back.

Q. What happened in the second set?

XAVIER MALISSE: I don't know. I was 1-0 up, 2-1 with a break every time. You know, same thing. It's 4-0 up. I was thinking a little bit too much about it. Lost it a little bit for the four, five games. Started getting foot faults, too. Everything started happening in the second set. The breaker, he played well, served well. That's how it goes. If you're not on top of it, guys take advantage of it. The good thing is I got it back on track in the third set. From then on, everything went well.

Q. Did you think for a moment it was lost?

XAVIER MALISSE: No. I mean, when you lose a breaker, it's one set all. You know, it's not a loss until you've lost the last point. I felt good. I played a great first set. The second set, I let it slip away. But I felt like I was the better player, like I was playing well with the two breaks I had every time. You know, I felt good. Third set I played well again. Fourth set, he served better. He played well, took some risks, hit the ball nice. You know, it's all about the fifth set. I think I played very well in the fifth set.

Q. Do you have a friendship with both Kim and Justine?

XAVIER MALISSE: Yeah, we've known each other for so long. I think I'm closer a little bit to Kim because we were in the same Federation since I was almost 11. But, you know, I traveled with Justine for the Juniors and all that stuff. So, yeah, everybody gets along.

Q. There's a general sense that because they're now at the top, so competitive with each other, that it's more difficult for them to be close friends. Is that accurate?

XAVIER MALISSE: I don't think so. I think, of course, they both want to be No. 1, they're so close. Well, Kim is No. 1 now. Justine is right there. I think they want to win. They have a rivalry going, which is good. But I think at the end of the day, you know, they're still good friends. They still get along. They have a lot of respect for each other. I don't think there's any problem.

Q. What's it done for Belgian tennis, their success, your success? Has tennis really come up a lot in the last couple of years in popularity?

XAVIER MALISSE: For sure, I think. For sure, with Justine and Kim. I think they're the big reason that tennis is so big in Belgium right now. For us, it's tough. I think it's tough for us to be No. 1, No. 2. It's a different game for the guys, too. But it's good. We get more exposure because of them. Now everybody follows the matches. It's fun. You know, I think it's good. It's always been soccer, soccer. Now we have a second sport there. You know, got to give credit to Kim and Justine, what they're doing. I think we, the guys, try to do our best. See how it goes.

End of FastScripts….

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