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August 15, 1996

Alex O'Brien


JOE LYNCH: Alex O'Brien into the quarterfinals, won his third straight match today, beating Chuck Adams in three sets. Will play Yevgeny Kafelnikov in the quarterfinals tomorrow. First question for Alex?

Q. First of all, comment on making it to the quarterfinals. You're a wildcard. I don't know if there were a lot of expectations, you had some success. Some thoughts on making it to the final eight?

ALEX O'BRIEN: A great feeling. Just trying to kind of stay with the attitude, taking it one match at a time, keep it going, because I feel like that's what's gotten me here. I've turned it around the last couple of weeks. I'm happy with the way I'm playing, pleased with the way I'm continuing, having fun playing as well.

Q. You only played eight matches coming into this week because you were qualifying (inaudible) take some time off?

ALEX O'BRIEN: I wish I took some time off. I needed to take a little time off, yeah. I just haven't been playing well lately. Recently I've kind of have gotten on a roll, gotten some confidence. This game is all about confidence, believing that you can win. I started to believe that.

Q. Have you had any contact with Murphy Jensen?

ALEX O'BRIEN: I knew somebody was going to ask me about Murphy Jensen. I played a match yesterday. Apparently I wasn't available for comment yesterday. I mean, I see him around the locker room. I haven't made contact with him. I haven't fought him yet.

Q. That killer instinct you've been missing. In the third set today, you kind of poured it on in the last three sets there.

ALEX O'BRIEN: I just realized how important it is to take advantage of when another guy gets down a little bit, because I realize when I get down, a lot of guys have been taking advantage of me. I've been down quite a bit lately. I realized if you jump on them, just keep pressing them and pressing them, just try to stay in there, eventually they just kind of fold a little bit. That's what happened I think there. He was a little tired, I knew he was a little tired. I was giving him the old Thomas Muster psych out job, bouncing around a little bit, trying to win every point I could.

Q. How long have you been thinking about that killer instinct? Is that something you learned from meeting with the psychologist you talked about, something you learned on your own that you needed to do?

ALEX O'BRIEN: I think you either come with it or you don't. I lost it for a while, but it's coming back a little bit. Hopefully I can keep it going.

Q. Tell us what you have to do against Yevgeny. He's the top seed. I think people are going to realize you're here now, it's the quarterfinals?

ALEX O'BRIEN: He's the man, Yevgeny. I think I just have to stick with playing my game. I've beaten him before, four years ago. So he'll probably be thinking about that match (laughter). I think I'm just going to try to take it to him and play aggressively. He's a great talent and it's a great opportunity for me. I have absolutely nothing to lose. He'll have all the pressure on him because he's expected -- this is an easy match for him. He's playing some chump in the quarterfinals, you know. I'm just going to go out there and see what I can do.

Q. Looking forward to getting the crowd (inaudible)?


Q. Does that pump you up?

ALEX O'BRIEN: Yeah, it does. It's fun to play in front of more people, when they get excited. Yeah, it's definitely. I don't know how big of a draw Yevgeny Kafelnikov is yet in America, but obviously people are starting to catch on to his name a little more. Yeah, anytime you play a match in front of a lot of people, you get a little more fired up, crowd gets into it. It will be fun. I'm looking forward to it for sure.

JOE LYNCH: Alex played Agassi in Cincinnati last week, went three sets. Decent crowd.


Q. What round was that?

JOE LYNCH: Third round match in Cincinnati.

ALEX O'BRIEN: I was hoping that he would smash his racquet in my match. Unfortunately Muster got the break.

Q. (Inaudible).

ALEX O'BRIEN: Chang, Chang.

Q. (Inaudible).

ALEX O'BRIEN: I think the difference between last year and this year is last year I won the first set and I was kind of like, "I don't belong here. I'm playing this match, I shouldn't be winning." I just kind of coasted. I was playing a good match, really on top of him. I think this year recently I'm starting to believe that I belong and that I can beat these guys. I've beaten some good players in the past couple weeks. I'm just going to try to keep it in perspective and try to take down the Russian tomorrow.

Q. When your expectations develop like this, do they develop according to rankings or titles (inaudible), according to what?

ALEX O'BRIEN: Probably all of the above. You beat the top player, that's good. You beat a player like Chuck Adams in a tournament like this, that's big. It's just confidence, it's just learning. I've gone through quite a learning process. Hopefully I can keep it going. I still have a small doubt in my mind and I'm still not feeling like I'm at the top of the heap by any means. I'm just trying to keep it pretty even keel right now.

Q. Part of your game you need to improve? (Inaudible)?

ALEX O'BRIEN: Yes. I think my mind I still need to improve. It always plays tricks on me. If I can just keep it steady and keep it, you know -- actually I was enjoying myself in the first set today of my match. I know it's hard to believe, but I was having a fun time. I was out there hitting balls. I was like, "This is kind of fun, hitting some winners." Then I tricked myself in the second set and started thinking about winning. It is hard. It's hard to keep your focus and to realize that it's a tennis match and that there will be another one, just try to have fun.

Q. What was it like with the Jensen brothers last night?

ALEX O'BRIEN: I've played them like seven times. It's crazy. Those guys are crazy. I think the Jensen brothers honestly are great for tennis. I think they're great ambassadors to tennis. You watch what they do. I mean, especially Luke, he played a three-hour singles match, lost the match, and then he goes over, he's high-fiving the crowd, signing like 10,000 autographs for little kids. He's really promoted the game well. I'm a doubles player, that's my brand name right now. It's great because he does promote doubles. You know, you see him on TV, he's always positive, he's doing a great job for the game. I really respect that. However, I don't care for their antics on the court. That's what you're going to have to deal with when you play them. I think you just have to play. That's what I did yesterday. I played, I didn't say a word, played a match. I mean, we came off the court and felt like we lost the match. There was so much energy. It's like you're exhausted. You're like, "Gosh." I was just going out trying to play a doubles match, see what I was going to do, try to win. You got all this hype and all this other stuff going on. Murphy wants to fight me. Felt like I was in WWF or something (laughter).

Q. Do you enjoy playing them? You say it's good for tennis.

ALEX O'BRIEN: No, no, I didn't have fun. Honestly, they're great for tennis. Look at the people that come out and watch them. They love it. They have so much fun, get fired up. You have to accept that when you go out to play them. They get a little upset if you get fired up and you happen to have two people cheering for you in the stands (laughter). I'm a pretty intense person. I know Jim's intense. Put two intense guys on the court together, with the Jensen brothers, it's just going to get crazy.

Q. Would you like to see more guys like them (laughter)?

ALEX O'BRIEN: I don't know. Two might be enough.

Q. Did he make it very clear to you exactly what he was upset with you about or were you expecting him to say that or was it --

ALEX O'BRIEN: He was upset because he didn't win the match. He served it out. The ball was on his racquet. I mean, I don't know what he was upset about. I didn't say a word the whole match. Luke and Jim were having the conversation. I went and sat down, chilling out, trying to relax a little bit. I don't know. I don't know what the situation is. We've played them so many times, though. This happens all the time. They've beaten us one time. We said, "Good match, you beat us, played a better match than us, congratulations." When we win it's like, "Gosh, you know, you're not supposed to win." "I'm sorry, I'm sorry I won."

JOE LYNCH: Anything else for Alex, who will be playing doubles shortly with Jim Courier? Thank you. We'll be back shortly with Mark Philippoussis.

End of FastScripts…

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