March 14, 1998
INDIAN WELLS, CALIFORNIA
MIKI SINGH: Greg is a 7-6, 6-1 winner today over Thomas Muster. He's advanced to his first career Mercedes Super 9 final. Another terrific serving day for Greg, winning 33 out of 36 first serve points, hitting 73% on the first serve, including a record 149 serve he hit at 5-All, 40-Love in the first set. First question for Greg.
Q. Greg, you can't say you're going to take it one more match at a time, because you've only got one more match?
GREG RUSEDSKI: I guess I can take it one more match at a time. I'm going to be looking forward to the finals, going to be my first Super 9 finals. Whoever I play, it's going to be a difficult match. Marcelo is playing extremely well, getting to the Australian Open finals. Gambill just beat Agassi. Both of them are very good players. If I can continue to serve the way I have been and be aggressive, then I have a good opportunity tomorrow.
Q. Thomas said he was supposed to win the rallies, and that's not exactly what happened in the second set.
GREG RUSEDSKI: No. I think I was disappointed in the first set. I wasn't making enough returns. I wasn't getting in the rallies. In the second set, I managed to lift my game a level. I got control of the match there. That was definitely the key in the second set.
Q. Would you like to hit one 150 to say you've done it?
GREG RUSEDSKI: I'm doing it more dramatic every day. 146, 149. Maybe 150 tomorrow.
Q. Do they have prizes for the record?
GREG RUSEDSKI: No, unfortunately not. But if you would like to give me one, that would be all right (Laughter). I don't worry about that. I'm more pleased with the victory today. If I would have hit 149 and lost the match, I would have been disappointed. Nice thing to have. With this dry air, it's possible to hit the serve pretty quick here.
Q. You said the other day you thought 150 was achievable. You almost achieved it today. Do you think it might go beyond that in these conditions?
GREG RUSEDSKI: It's possible, if it's dry and hot. It's possible to go beyond that, possibly. I think it would be difficult to return those.
Q. It was wet today, wasn't it?
GREG RUSEDSKI: It was wet, but it got dry. It wasn't a humid sort of hot. It was quite dry. The ball was flying pretty well.
Q. Would your estimate go beyond 149?
GREG RUSEDSKI: I guess I have to hit 150 before I can up it, I guess.
Q. Does it feel like a new record when you let go of those?
GREG RUSEDSKI: That one I actually had a look at when I hit it. That one felt really good. I hit it right in the middle of the racquet. It just came out quick. The one I hit 146 yesterday, didn't feel as good. I had a little bit after peek, little smile to myself.
Q. Your thoughts when you saw the 149?
GREG RUSEDSKI: I thought that's great, but let's get this match today.
Q. Were you serving downwind when you hit the 149?
GREG RUSEDSKI: Well, you know, in track and field, they have that wind gauge. I was looking for it. I couldn't quite see it on the court. There might have been a little bit of wind assistance there.
Q. Could you take a moment and just talk a little bit about your own technique, why you think you get such velocity? Is it in your torso?
GREG RUSEDSKI: I think it's just with the legs and the torso and the toss, just the timing with the racquet. The racquet I play with, I play with a very loose tension, which is usually between 46 pounds and 50 pounds. The ball shoots out pretty quick. I think that helps. I guess it's something I was pretty much born with, pretty natural. I was pretty fortunate. Agassi has always had a fabulous return of serve. There's no way I'm ever going to return like Agassi. I don't think there's going to be a chance he can serve like me.
Q. You said it was natural, you were born with it. Did anyone teach you?
GREG RUSEDSKI: I had a Romanian gentleman when I was growing up in Montreal teach me how to serve. He helped Nastase. This man by the name of George Patriche. He showed me the techniques, basics. Always been a good friend, very supportive. He showed me at the beginning how to hit a serve properly. Seems to have done all right.
Q. When you were working with Brian, did he help you at all?
GREG RUSEDSKI: I think Brian helped me technically a lot. He helped me on my ground shots and returns. I think just learning the game, the movement, stuff like that. Did a good job in that respect. We just worked on all aspects of the game.
Q. Do you think Thomas was uncomfortable physically?
GREG RUSEDSKI: No.
GREG RUSEDSKI: I don't think he really had a problem physically out there. I mean, he was down 3-1 against Medvedev last night. He came back and was hustling, no trouble whatsoever. I think when I served really well today, that might have put him off a little bit. He didn't get to play too much on my service game. One game when he had the breakpoint, the only game we got to deuce on. The other ones were either Love or to 15. I don't think he had that much time in there. I had a fabulous serving day today, 73%. I think in the first set I only lost a few points today.
Q. Three in the first set, four in the second.
GREG RUSEDSKI: Not a bad record.
Q. Mr. Muster rarely reveals his strategy. Earlier when he came in, he said maybe if he hit you in the nuts, you would start serving like a woman. But it obviously didn't work. Could you comment on his strategy?
GREG RUSEDSKI: Well, once I hit that let cord, I knew I had to run backwards. He didn't connect. I had my hands in front of me, so I caught it before it connected, shall we say (laughter).
Q. Is that your scariest moment?
GREG RUSEDSKI: No. I used to practice with Lendl when I was younger. Whenever you get a short ball let cord, you knew to stand out to the side, new they were coming up the middle. I knew what was going to happen. I knew it was coming straight at me. Really didn't surprise me or anything like that. That's an interesting question.
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