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August 30, 1997

Greg Rusedski

Flushing Meadows, New York

Q. Very impressive again. How do you feel about that?

GREG RUSEDSKI: I'm pleased with the way I played today. First set we both had a little bit of jitters there. We were trying to get used to the new stadium. We both served particularly well, so neither one of us had a chance to get anything going. But after I won the first set tiebreaker, started to make more solid returns, started to make him play more balls. I was just pleased with the way I played the last two sets.

Q. You had one at 141?

GREG RUSEDSKI: That wasn't bad. I was trying to get the new record. I'm pleased with that. I mean, if I play Mark Philippoussis in the second round, maybe there will be a new record.

Q. What is your impression of playing in that stadium? Does it feel vast?

GREG RUSEDSKI: It feels quite big, but it doesn't feel -- it doesn't feel like you're at a tennis court. Almost feels like you're at another sort of event when you walk into that stadium. It feels like a football match a little bit, the way the size of the stadium is and everything. But it worked out well. I can't complain.

Q. When did you find out you were actually going out there?

GREG RUSEDSKI: Just ten minutes before we walked on court, because Alex pulled out with, I think, a left thigh injury.

Q. What were your immediate thoughts?

GREG RUSEDSKI: I never played on stadium court at the US Open. I thought it would be good fun. I thought my opponent would be a little more nervous than me, so it worked out well.

Q. Do you get tired of people talking just about your serve? Obviously there has to be more to your game than just the serve?

GREG RUSEDSKI: Well, I don't mind. If people just talk about my serve, they're missing out on my returns and my ground shots, so I'll surprise them a few times maybe.

Q. But your groundstrokes have improved enormously?

GREG RUSEDSKI: They have improved a lot. I was a little bit disappointed with them in the first set today, but in the second and third set, they got a lot better, a lot more consistent. I didn't take advantage of certain balls. I should have. My footwork was a little poor in the beginning of the first set, but it's definitely improving.

Q. After losing every first round match here before, you're having a grand tour of the place, aren't you?

GREG RUSEDSKI: I am. I guess they should have built this new facility ages ago, maybe I would have done better (laughter).

Q. What is the difference, or is it overall confidence from the whole year?

GREG RUSEDSKI: I think it's just confidence from the year and more maturity on my part, because in my second round match, I was playing Marcos Ondruska. I got here at 9:45 in the morning and didn't walk on the court until 7 in the evening. In the past, that sort of situation would have been difficult for myself. Harder to get myself motivated and ready to go out there and play. But I think it's just more maturing as a player, just more confidence and just learning how to handle things better.

Q. You were kidding around, or at least I think you were, when you said next match you may see a 150 mile an hour serve.

GREG RUSEDSKI: It's possible. There's been, you know, 145 that's been out.

Q. That relates to my question. By, let's say, the year 2000, if you go out on a limb, what would you think would be the fastest serve by then?

GREG RUSEDSKI: The year 2000? Probably about 150 is probably the maximum you could get. But none of the players have really changed equipment. You know, everyone talks about the long bodies and the wide bodies, this and that. But none of the top players really use those racquets. Sampras has been using a racquet that was made nearly ten years ago. Philippoussis and myself, we just have regular, thin racquets. I think it's just the athletes are getting better, the timing of it. If you hit a 150 mile an hour serve, today I hit a few serves that were 136, my opponent put his racquet on them and made a great return. If you don't hit 150 down the T, the great players like Agassi and Sampras and Chang will make a good return.

Q. It's more than just speed?

GREG RUSEDSKI: You have to have the accuracy. If you don't have the accuracy, players are good enough that they can handle the speed today, so I don't really see there being a problem with the game, the fast servers and everything like that. You're going to have some matches which are going to be quick and you're not going to see so many rallies. But you're also going to have matches where you'll see a lot of good returns. Best tennis you usually see is when you have one person who is a serve and volleyer and one person who plays like a Chang or Agassi, are good returns. You get the contrasting styles.

Q. If you do play Philippoussis, what will we see?

GREG RUSEDSKI: A lot of aces probably (laughter). So you won't have the contrasting styles there. We are the two biggest servers on Tour at the moment. Whoever makes more returns and whoever comes up in the tiebreakers, usually we'll probably most likely be playing tiebreakers. It's going to come down to one or two points.

Q. Some people say Pete has the best serve in the game, not only because of good speed, but because of disguise and placement. Who would you say has the best serve that you've faced?

GREG RUSEDSKI: I think Ivanisevic has a tremendous serve, but he's left-handed, which gives him an advantage. But he's not as mentally strong as, say, a Pete Sampras, as intelligent with his serve. Sampras doesn't have the same power and ability as Ivanisevic has in his serve, but he has the more smart idea, more or less. He'll place a serve, spin it, kick it, very, very well. Sampras, by far, is the most intelligent server out there. I'm trying to learn stuff from Sampras in that respect as well, where I'm mixing it up. Fair enough, I have my 140s, but usually when I have that, it's when I was 40-Love up in a game, not 40-30. 40-15, usually when I had a three point lead for myself.

Q. When you say you're trying to learn stuff, are you watching films of him?

GREG RUSEDSKI: You just watch him play matches. I enjoy watching the tennis on the tele. You get to learn what people's strengths and weaknesses are. I mean, he's won ten major Championships for a reason. He must be doing something right out there.

Q. In your last match and today's match, your serve more than kept you in the opening set, but you got through there and then the tiebreak. Today those two big serves, 141, were both in that opening set. That opened the way for you for the rest of your game to come into play.

GREG RUSEDSKI: Exactly. I think it was both of us a little bit of nerves in the beginning. I think if I play a person like Philippoussis, I'm going to be more relaxed out there because he's going to be the one that's favored to win. It was the first time walking on stadium court as well, so that was another experience for me. I've never been in such a big arena for tennis yet.

Q. What happened and your results the Wimbledon, is that a big confidence booster to have that kind of experience at this stage of going into this next round?

GREG RUSEDSKI: Well, I think where I gained most of my confidence this year was February playing San Jose. I ended up beating Chang in straight sets, I beat Agassi in straight sets, then I was up a set on Sampras. I had my wrist injury where I had to sit out for two and a half months. I think from that point on I started to believe in myself more as a player. I think going into the grass court season, I was very confident as well. I mean, I only lost one match and it was to Ivanisevic, 20-18 in a third set tiebreaker from Wimbledon and I won the next week in Nottingham. To get to your first quarterfinals of a Grand Slam also gives you a lot of confidence. I mean, these are the tournaments where you make your mark as a player. It's great that you win other events, but you've got to prove yourself in the Slams. That's the most important thing. Hopefully I can do that this year.

Q. What was the injury?

GREG RUSEDSKI: I just had a wrist -- little bit of a tear in my tendon. But it was fine. It's absolutely fine now.

Q. Left?


Q. Apart from the size of the stadium and everything, were you a bit nervous you weren't sure you got the right guy after going to brunette from being bleached blond?

GREG RUSEDSKI: I had a word with him, "Are you sure you're my opponent today? I thought you had nice blond hair." He said, "No, no, there's not enough sun in Germany at the moment, so the dye is not working so well." I know Jens pretty well. He's a nice person. We get along well. We had a laugh about it before we walked onto stadium.

Q. You mentioned here the other day that Brian Teacher is into Yoga. Is he trying to interest you in Yoga?

GREG RUSEDSKI: I do some flexibility, I do some Yoga. I think any sort of stretching or Yoga exercises can help out. All the pounding you take on the court, it just helps open up your body a little bit. Especially when you're tall. When you're small, your body can handle more on the hard surfaces. Being a taller person like Brian, I think it helps me quite a bit, with my movement and flexibility.

Q. Does that have much to do with your rise through the rankings?

GREG RUSEDSKI: Well, I think it's helped a little bit. But I think it's a combination of my fitness trainer and Brian helping me out as well. It's just a combination of a lot of things coming together at the right time and just continuing to do them day in and day out.

Q. What is your relationship with Mark now, Greg? You said Jens is a good guy, what about Mark?

GREG RUSEDSKI: Mark is a very good person as well. I think he's a very good player, very talented. I think it will be a good match. When we get on the court, it will be very serious. Off the court, we get on all right.

Q. You guys chat on occasion?

GREG RUSEDSKI: We chat, have laughs. That's fine. Hopefully he'll leave the SCUDS at home.

End of FastScripts….

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