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September 3, 2001

Xavier Malisse

NEW YORK CITY, M. ZABALETA/X. Malisse 6-4, 7-6, 7-5

THE MODERATOR: First question, please.

Q. Can you just talk about the last set and sort of what you were thinking.

XAVIER MALISSE: I wasn't really thinking anything. I was just trying to hang in there, try to hit my shots. But, you know, some of them just didn't go in. He played good, and I didn't feel that good on the court. And, I mean, I kept hanging in there and I tried, but it felt like I didn't have the energy. I was all tired, not from the match before, just in my head, too. I had a headache. And he played great. It was different. I mean, I hung in there, but at the end, you know, you keep hanging in there, hanging in there, every service game, he almost got breakpoint against me. You know, one time out of a set it will happen.

Q. What was he doing today?

XAVIER MALISSE: I mean, he didn't make any stupid mistakes. He hit good forehands. I thought he served unbelievably well, you know, very hard. Always going for the first serve, and a lot of them went in. I hit a couple returns in, and he would just, you know, hit his forehand. I think that's the best thing he did all day.

Q. He came into this tournament with a losing record. Is there any way to explain his run?

XAVIER MALISSE: No. I mean, he's got nothing to lose. He hasn't had the best year probably, and, you know, once you win a round and you win another one, he beats Grosjean, then he gets the confidence going. You know, he just keeps going on confidence. You know, right now he's playing well. It's a total -- totally different player than when the tournament started.

Q. He was a top junior. Can he be a top player, do you think?

XAVIER MALISSE: Yeah, I think so. I mean, it's different. I mean, he's starting to serve well but he's got to play almost every point. Of course if he keeps playing like this, yeah, he can. But you got to do it, you know, when -- week in, week out. And, you know, that's probably not what's happened this year. But he's had a great year before. He's been in the Top 30, so...

Q. What do you take away from this tournament?

XAVIER MALISSE: I learned a lot all the way from first Monday to this Monday, and, you know, it's been a good experience. If somebody told me I could have taken fourth round at the Open, I would probably take it. My ranking is moving up. I've had a great experience, you know. From a bad experience to an unbelievable experience. You know, he was just a better player today, so, you know, I got to accept it. But I'm walking out with my head high for the rest of the year.

End of FastScripts….

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