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March 11, 2005

Greg Rusedski


THE MODERATOR: Questions for Greg.

Q. How did you feel after losing the first set? That you were going to dig in and dig it out?

GREG RUSEDSKI: Yeah. I just felt I had to change things up a little bit. So I got a little bit more aggressive, started chipping and charging on his second serve. Started taking a few more risks. It's just getting used to the court. I haven't had the ideal preparation for this week. I was just pleased with the way I fought and got through that match. Also I have to give credit to Jeff. I thought he played very well for three sets. He went for his shots, he's got a big serve. Anything can happen. So just pleased to be through.

Q. How tired and jetlagged are you?

GREG RUSEDSKI: I'm a little bit jetlagged. I was hoping for a Saturday start. I put in a request a month ago. They said it looked good, but didn't work out for me. That's life and you've just got to deal with what happens. You know, I was pleased the way I got through that one, especially winning the second set and then the third. So no complaints.

Q. Did you feel sort of getting more awake as the match came on?

GREG RUSEDSKI: I think it was just getting used to the courts because all I had yesterday was about 45 minutes on the court. I just wanted a light loosener. It's strange because the ball goes through the air quick, but then when it hits the court it kind of checks and slows down. So it's just getting used to the conditions. I think I got enough practice on the conditions today for my next match tomorrow.

Q. Very thorough of you to go to three sets.

GREG RUSEDSKI: Yeah, I would have been more than pleased to get it done in two. But Jeff played well. It was a combination of two things. Last time I lost to him in Delray, so it was nice to get that match back.

Q. How many times have you played him?

GREG RUSEDSKI: Three occasions. I played ages ago. I can't remember the first match. But someone told me I was one up against him in Delray when I lost to him. I knew it was 1-1. Now 2-1 for me.

Q. What about his game gives you trouble?

GREG RUSEDSKI: Well, he's a dangerous player. I mean, I watched him play in a challenger when I was in Luxembourg at the end of year. He beat Novak quite convincingly, who is a very, very good player. He can be very flashy, you know, upset anybody on any given day the way he plays because he's is got a big first serve. If it's working -- for a set and a half, he didn't really give me too many second serves, he didn't miss too many shots. You know, he's a dangerous sort of player. He can have off days or he can be really hot. But he played well, so no complaints.

Q. I haven't seen you up in Canada for a couple years. When you go back, what kind of reception are you getting?

GREG RUSEDSKI: It's fine. I haven't had any problem whatsoever. I played the Masters series in Montreal, I think it was two years ago. Last year I didn't get into the tournament. Everything was fine. I was cheered for and everybody was very supportive and nice. So no complaints. I ended up losing to Roger Federer in the second round, so another easy draw. It was a good experience.

Q. Not like your first year back?

GREG RUSEDSKI: No. That's nearly 10 years ago now. It was a long time ago.

Q. Do you feel revitalized coming off your experience from the weekend? How refreshing is that?

GREG RUSEDSKI: I don't know if I feel revitalized at the moment.

Q. As far as youngsters looking up to you.

GREG RUSEDSKI: It was a great experience. I really enjoyed it. It was probably one of my best moments playing Davis Cup because it was helping the young generation come through. I was really impressed with Andrew Murray and David Sherwood, the way they rose to the challenge. Out of the three matches they had the chance to win, I thought that was the least likely. So it was a great surprise and a great effort when they went out there and believed in themselves and beat one of the teams that was ranked I think top five in the world. It was a fantastic result. I did a good job winning my two matches. But it's a team thing and it's nice to see the new generation coming in.

Q. Do you enjoy the role?

GREG RUSEDSKI: Yeah, I enjoy it. I enjoy helping the younger players, giving back to them. Looking forward to the future. When I give up this game in a few years, I can sit at Wimbledon and watch them do really well. Hopefully I can inspire them to continue to play like that. If they play as well as they did at the Davis Cup this weekend, they've got a bright future.

Q. You saw the best of the young crop. I've just been reading on the BBC website Miles Kasiri is being dropped from the LTA squad. That's the other side of the coin. What's your advice to him?

GREG RUSEDSKI: I mean, Alex was dropped before and he came back strong and responded really well to it. I think sometimes these are positive things because it's not a free lunch any more, as I like to say. You have to prove yourself. If you work hard and show the hundred percent commitment, you know, you deserve to be there and you'll never been throw out of the situation. David and Mark Petchey and all the people who are in charge, maybe they need to get tougher with the younger players. That's not necessarily a bad thing. You see the different aspects of other areas. If someone's not doing a hundred percent or doing the right things, then sometimes maybe it's better for them to do things elsewhere.

Q. Have you had many dealings with him?

GREG RUSEDSKI: Yeah, no, I like Miles. I think he's a nice kid. You go through stages where you get challenging situations. The decisions you make, you know, it either makes you stronger or weaker, a situation. So maybe it will give him that motivation to come back. You know, the LTA have opened their hands and their arms back to players who showed that they've gotten recommitted to what they want to do and are taking positive steps. So hopefully he takes it as a positive. At the time he's probably very disappointed. But, you know, he can go out there and maybe give him that extra motivation he needs.

Q. Did you ever go through a spell when you were a teenager trying to buck the trend, do your own thing, turn away from all the hard work?

GREG RUSEDSKI: Well, I never really had that luxury. When I was 19, I'd given myself a goal by the time I was 21, if I wasn't in the top hundred in the world, I was going to quit tennis and go to University and get my degree and find something else to do in my life. So by the time I was 19, I was already Top 50 in the world. I was extremely motivated, extremely hungry. There was never that sort of situation that arose with myself. So, you know, it's different for some people than others. I've never been through that stage as they have.

Q. At what point did you realize it wasn't sport any more but it was a job? Do you recall when you realized that?

GREG RUSEDSKI: Well, it's a nice job to have. It's better than most people's jobs. I think when things aren't going well, it becomes more of a job. But the thing is, like anything, if you fight and work hard towards something, you get a lot of satisfaction. That's what I've managed to do the last little while with my tennis, is I had to fight back from a lot of things. Now I'm getting the enjoyment of it. Today, I could have played better maybe. But I got through and I enjoyed that I won. It's a great a feeling when you do things well.

Q. Is it extra satisfying to be able to do it on your terms, without wildcards?

GREG RUSEDSKI: It would have been nice to have them, but I always seem to get the tough draws, no wildcards, and life makes it more interesting for me. But it's a challenge. Either stand up and you go for it or you let those things get you down. If they don't happen, don't worry bit, play good tennis.

Q. What does it say about you getting through all that adversity?

GREG RUSEDSKI: I don't know what it says about me. It just says I stick with things and I give a hundred percent. If it works out, great. But I'm never going to give up on what I'm doing. The day I'm going to give up is the day I'm going to retire from the sport. That's an easy one.

Q. What were you going to do a degree in?

GREG RUSEDSKI: I hadn't figured that quite out yet because all I knew predominantly was tennis growing up. I'd always imagined myself going into law or something interesting like that. But I don't know if I would have committed to the hours of studying and reading. I'm quite happy the tennis worked out instead.

Q. Probably a bit over lawyers now anyway.

GREG RUSEDSKI: I don't want to see too many lawyers any more (smiling).

Q. You are saying that Andy Murray seems to have the motivation and drive. Given the stage he's at at the moment, when you see what's happening to people like Donald Young, running before he can walk, what advice would you give to Andy?

GREG RUSEDSKI: Well, I think what we have to do, let's not put too much pressure on him, you know. In Britain, if we see any youngster who shows any bit of talent or wins a Grand Slam, he's the next Fred Perry who is going to win Wimbledon for us. Give him a little bit of time. Give him some grace. I mean, Tim didn't make it till he was 21 in the top hundred. I was 19 before I was Top 50, top hundred. So he deserves at least two, three years of grace, as long as he's continually improving and taking the steps forward and doing the right things. Let's not get on him too, too quickly, because he's got the talent, he's got the right sort of motivation out there. Just let him get through it properly. If he does those things, he'll get to the top hundred, if not higher. Then once you get to the top hundred, the goal is to get to the Top 50. I think he's a good enough player he can do that, but let's not put too much pressure on him. He's still only 17. It's his last year juniors. He wants to also kind of run as well. He wants to be top hundred and Top 50 already. But if he does it earlier, great. But let's not put too much pressure. He has to have goals specific where it might be a two- to three-year process to get there. It's a lot harder the way the system is now. There's no bonus points. It's harder to get into tour events. It's not as easy, per se, to get up there that quickly.

Q. Will it help his game isn't suited particularly to grass, therefore there's that fraught month where 60 million people tune into BBC and think tennis exists for that moment, he's likely to have early successes away from Britain?

GREG RUSEDSKI: Maybe. If you look at Lleyton Hewitt, he's been a Wimbledon Champion. David Nalbandian has been a finalist. The grass is getting a lot slower. He's not a natural volleyer, but he did volley pretty well in the Davis Cup. He served and volleyed very well. He can adapt. It's also a spirit of wanting to do well. That accounts for so much. Look what Bjorn Borg did from the baseline, Lendl did from the baseline. I wouldn't rule him out. Maybe in the early days, don't expect so so much. But in time it could be a possibility for him because just the desire itself can get you a long way. Marat Safin has been a quarterfinalist, Kuerten has been a quarterfinalist. These are all great players who are predominantly known for French Open, Australian Open, different surfaces. I think he can do well. It's just let's not put the pressure on too much. If he's doing the right things and has the right people behind him, he's got a bright future.

Q. You're originally from Canada. What do you make of this hockey strike?

GREG RUSEDSKI: I haven't seen hockey in a few years, to be honest with you. Only when I'm traveling.

Q. Did you play when you were younger?

GREG RUSEDSKI: I played a little bit. But I wasn't very very good, unfortunately. That's why I took up tennis. But, no, I think it's sad for any sport when you have a lockout and there's no sport in itself. Hopefully they'll get back to the ice hockey again.

End of FastScripts….

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