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August 10, 1998

Alex O'Brien


Q. (Inaudible.)

ALEX O'BRIEN: Well, I guess I am just -- I am happy that I did a lot of positive things out there on the court today and I made him beat me today, so I think that is a step in the positive direction. Our job is tough because really we are judged on whether we win or lose and especially by you guys and the public, but for me I felt like it was a good day just because I really put pressure on him and I made him beat me there at the end and he beat me. And that is probably why he is ranked 9 in the world and I am ranked, whatever I am. So -- but, you have got to give him credit. He took a good backhand down there at the end; hit it up the line and I played the right play and came in and it was-- I felt like it was a successful day for me even though I didn't come out on top. Obviously I am not saying that I am happy losing because and I don't think he is a better, you know, I don't look at him and say he is better than me. I am happy to lose to him.

Q. (Inaudible.)

ALEX O'BRIEN: It is not even like the fact that he is in the Top-10. It is kind of, like I said, I am my biggest enemy today and if I felt like today I really gave myself a chance to, I guess, play. And I didn't really defeat myself and when it got tight, I went for a shot or a second shot and I played the right play. I always didn't play the right play. I got double faulted sometimes, but I felt like I was making the right decisions and trying to forget about the bad plays and move on. I guess there was a battle won against myself which is nice. It is a nice feeling.

Q. Are you finding it differently now than when you played him (Inaudible.)

ALEX O'BRIEN: I think I am playing better now. But, kind of back to -- not to dwell on the point, but my mind has been a little shaky. I think that is the reason I am ranked -- because I felt like I played a pretty good match today. I feel like if I can consistently learn how to play tennis like that, that I will be back up there. Who knows. It is a crazy game we play.

Q. Are you saying that you are not necessarily playing the right shots when you say you are shaky or you are thinking that you are not good enough to beat the other guy?

ALEX O'BRIEN: It is kind of a combination of everything. I think it is mainly just being positive on the court and believing in yourself and having fun and looking at it as a battle out there and today I did. I looked at it as a battle and I stayed relaxed and focused and did my job and unfortunately I came out -- that is mainly when I say my mind is shaky, it is a combination of all of those things that you are saying.

Q. Is that the advantage that he had over you today?

ALEX O'BRIEN: Probably. I think that is why those guys are in the Top-10 because they consistently go out and perform. He came up with a great shot there at the end of the match, that backhand up the line and that is -- a few points here or there are the difference between the Top-10 guys. I think it is so close these days that those guys are very -- it is amazing -- I have lot of respect for guys who can go out there everyday and compete like that and keep their mind on the game and play hard because it is a job as well doing that.

Q. You have had some success here in the past. Did that help you out there today?

ALEX O'BRIEN: Yeah, it was great. First of all, I mean, Paul Flory gave me such a great opportunity. I shouldn't even be in this draw and he gave me a wildcard. I was really happy about that. Then kind of everything was just a bonus for me. I was just happy to be out there and I have played really well here in the past and I was kind of hoping maybe I could get a little something going. Came off a pretty good week last week, but I guess things always don't work out like you want it to, unfortunately.

Q. You and Corretja have played before. Have you had matches like this? Had you some long ones today?

ALEX O'BRIEN: It was a long one. Actually I think we played one time before. I am not sure, Shark probably knows, but it was indoor fast court. I think I beat him pretty easily - like 3 and 2. But it wasn't -- definitely wasn't his favorite surface.

Q. You talked about the ranking. Players talk about it. But you play a match like today and you play as well as you did and yet you come away pretty much with nothing that will show on the ranking. Do you go back to your hotel room and think: Oh, I have lost a great opportunity here; I have played so well that nobody knows it other than --

ALEX O'BRIEN: I am pretty good at feeling sorry for myself. I am very good at that. (laughter). Yeah, there is a tendency to probably do that and say, you know, I really worked hard and --

Q. You have had one of those losses too, the French Open he lost to Sampras in the US Open a couple of years ago in a match -- I wondered you played that hard and come away with --

ALEX O'BRIEN: Hopefully, like I was telling you before, if I can build on this and really set my goals to play matches like that, I think that I will be back up there, I really do. I don't know -- I can't -- I am no prognosticator and obviously I am not a mental giant because my career has been kind of like up and down and up and down, but I think that that is basically my job now is to every match I play, go out there and give it my 110% and compete hard and keep my mind clear. If I can do that, then, you know, maybe I won't be sitting there saying that last point if I could have hit that forehand, whatever, maybe I would be sitting here saying: Yeah, I beat Corretja, I think that is the difference. I just have to keep believing that because that is the only way. If you start feeling sorry for yourself saying: Oh, this sucks and, you know, my game sucks, and then you are done pretty much.

Q. Were you surprised that Paul gave you the wildcard?

ALEX O'BRIEN: Yeah, my parents and he have gotten to be pretty good friends over the years and it was just -- such a great nice opportunity, Super 9 event he has been a great -- he is a great guy. He has always done a lot of nice things for me over the years and I don't know if I was just -- I was just really happy.

Q. How did that come about?

ALEX O'BRIEN: I was actually playing Krajicek in the third round of the last week in Montreal or Toronto and right after I lost my match I came up the court and they were doing the draw here and I found out that I got a wildcard so I was getting ready to get on a plane at 6:30 the next morning and fly here and play qualifying, so....

Q. You say your mind is wandering. What do you think about? What are you thinking about?

ALEX O'BRIEN: Well, like the last shot that I missed in net and why didn't I do this then or thinking: Oh, I am up 5-4 serving for the match, I am about to win this match instead of just saying here is the next point, I am going to give what it -- I have this point and, you know, everyone says that it sounds stupid, but bottom line, when you play a while, that is how it works. You don't really think really, it just kind of happens. So my mind, I mean, it goes from like looking at the girl in the crowd to, oh, wondering what I am going to have for dinner tonight. It is all over the place.

Q. Have you ever worked with anybody like --

ALEX O'BRIEN: Yeah, my coach, Coach Jones, he has been helping me a lot. He has read every book and we have been going over that. That has been pretty helpful. He is trying to relate some of his experiences from playing and working on trying to play positive. Also Jim Grab and a doubles guy, he played also singles on the Tour; he has been helping me some; giving me some advice.

Q. Any books that you like the best?

ALEX O'BRIEN: I read like a couple parts of this innergame of tennis. And, I can't remember who wrote it, but I thought that was pretty good and I have been reading some of Jim Lehr's book. So, both those are pretty -- just interesting to read, kind of find out about those things.

End of FastScripts....

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