March 21, 1998
KEY BISCAYNE, FLORIDA
Q. Well done, nice and quick.
GREG RUSEDSKI: Yeah, I was pleased with the way I played today. I think the conditions were quite difficult with the wind. But I managed to serve reasonably well today. And I brought a lot of balls back and played my normal style, so it was satisfying. He is a tough, little player. He has had some good results. He took Sampras to -- he was up 4-2 in the fifth in Australia last year, so he is a good player and just managed to control it today.
Q. He had the first breakpoints of the match. But you felt once you got a sniff of a break, that you were going to be able to take control all right?
GREG RUSEDSKI: I knew I had my chances, because I was making a lot of returns in the beginning. He was hitting some very good ground shots. I knew I could take my chances, my opportunities. And I have been doing reasonably well against breakpoints this year.
Q. Obviously a lot of us couldn't be at Indian Wells, Greg, but sort of ten days on from Rotterdam or wherever we are, sort of turned out very well, has it, the outdoor season?
GREG RUSEDSKI: I think I have been consistent all year so far. I think from the beginning of the year I really haven't lost too many bad chances. Even the matches I have lost have been relatively close. So I feel like things are getting better. The outdoor season is going well. I think just -- my game is improving every day and getting better. I am not having the difficulty of transition of outdoors to indoors and so forth. I'm excited about -- looking forward to the clay this year, which in the past I haven't been that excited about.
Q. Can you remember a year where you made this transition outdoors as well as you have done --
GREG RUSEDSKI: I don't think so. I think that just the help with the work I have done with Tony and just working on my game and improving every day. I think his knowledge of the game keeps on helping me, keeps on motivating me. So I owe a lot of credit to him. If I can keep listening to him, keep learning, then I have a chance to get better and keep on improving, because he didn't do too badly with someone called Stefan. So it would be nice if I could do a few things that he accomplished.
Q. What are you doing this week, ringing him, sort of?
GREG RUSEDSKI: I ring him about once a day at least, sometimes twice. We chat on the phone every day. And he seems to be in. He is watching the matches whenever he can on the teli. Whenever the tennis comes on, he is there. We seem to do reasonably well on the telephone.
Q. Have you rung him yet today?
GREG RUSEDSKI: I haven't rung him yet. He probably knows the result already. But I will definitely give him a ring in the morning or even tonight again.
Q. Is it in some way beneficial to you of having your own space and the responsibilities of being on your own and not having everything done for you, stuff like that? Is that, perhaps, some weeks a very beneficial thing?
GREG RUSEDSKI: That is just a personal thing for a player. I have always been a little bit of an independent person in the way I approach things. I think sometimes it is good just to have a little bit of space. But for other players it might not be the best thing. Certain players, like an Andre Agassi, every week he is with Brad Gilbert, and seems to do the trick. Or Pete Sampras who is every week with Paul Annacone. I just think it depends on the player, really. It is a very personal thing.
Q. Who decides which weeks you are going to have Tony with you or not?
GREG RUSEDSKI: We just sit down and discuss it, and I say "Which weeks would you like to come to?" And he says "These." And, I usually say, "That is fine." And that is the way it goes.
Q. Just looking ahead a bit to the Davis Cup, Greg, obviously there has been a lot of controversy about yourself and Tim in the last, what, five, six weeks. When you are asked - I am sure you will be - to play doubles with Tim at the Davis Cup match, will you feel comfortable out there? Is it a situation --
GREG RUSEDSKI: I am not really worried about it. It is the captain's choice to pick who he wants for the doubles team and who he thinks is best. And I don't think there should be any problem. I think we are trying to do well for Britain and we are trying to get us back into the World Group. If that means we have to play doubles, then we play doubles.
Q. Did David say anything specific to you?
GREG RUSEDSKI: No, I don't know. Someone -- someone said The Times, they had this big article how we sat down and discussed everything. All we did was go to dinner and that was it, so...
Q. Just you and him?
GREG RUSEDSKI: No, myself and Steve, and my physical trainer and we just had a meal and had a little laugh; that was about it really.
Q. The other thing we have heard that you have been experimenting maybe with a new racket?
GREG RUSEDSKI: Yeah, I have been trying out a new racket. It seems to be going along quite well. The company seems to be doing their best efforts and we will just have to wait and see.
Q. Do you feel with it being that -- that the main sort of implements of your work, if you like, that changing a racket, it involves a lot of risks maybe psychological or psychological maybe even more than technical, perhaps?
GREG RUSEDSKI: I am not really concerned about that, no. I mean, if the racket works, then I am going to play with it. If it doesn't, it doesn't. But, it is coming along very nicely.
Q. How long do you think you will give it before you decide whether you are going to use it in a particular tournament?
GREG RUSEDSKI: Well, at the moment, I am just trying the racket out. Just going to see how it goes.
Q. Can you try it out sufficiently just in practice?
GREG RUSEDSKI: No, you have to try it out in tournaments, definitely.
Q. You haven't done so yet?
GREG RUSEDSKI: No, I haven't at the moment.
Q. With regard to the Davis Cup, is what you are saying that when you are representing your country, or whatever, you have got to put everything else aside and sort of all for one; one for all for that --
GREG RUSEDSKI: Just want to do your best for the country. And, I mean, myself and Tim playing, we are obviously the top two players in British right now. If it means we have to play doubles or whatever, that is fine, we just get on with the job; I think everything will be absolutely fine. And, we are going to have to perform well because Medvedev is starting to pick up his tennis and playing the tennis he used to. Last week he had a great week at Indian Wells. This week he has come off quite an impressive win against Brian MacPhie who is a big server. So it might come down to the doubles match like it did in Kiev, so it is very important for us to play well in all the matches.
Q. It did look in Kiev that even Tim actually had the makings of a pretty formidable team.
GREG RUSEDSKI: I haven't played doubles. I think I have played maybe doubles once after that, so I can't remember the last time I have played doubles. So, it should be fun to see. I think it was at New Haven was the last doubles match I played with David Wheaton.
Q. Have you played one this year?
GREG RUSEDSKI: No, I haven't played one this year. Just concentrating on my singles.
Q. Is that your choice or because it just -- there is --
GREG RUSEDSKI: It is for choice really because I really want to focus on my singles. I think that is the most important thing, just save your energy to try to go later on in the weeks; that is why I have chosen not to play any doubles.
Q. After Newcastle, basically sort of full steam ahead on the clay?
GREG RUSEDSKI: I am looking forward to that. I am going to have a week holiday off. Newcastle, get a week's preparation on the red clay; play Monte Carlo, Munich, Hamburg, and then Rome, and then a week off and then the French Open.
Q. Have you managed to do anything about linking up with someone?
GREG RUSEDSKI: Unfortunately I haven't been able to link up with anybody, so I am going to go to Hamburg instead.
Q. What do you think about the possibility of maybe this place going to clay?
GREG RUSEDSKI: I think it would be absolutely absurd actually. Because they have spent all this money on such a fabulous facility, you always get all the top players here. The Americans game style, per se, would be better on a hard court, so, why would you want to risk hurting your own players. So I don't understand that. I think just it should be kept the way it is. There is more than enough clay court tournaments during the year.
Q. Were you at the meeting Monday when it was discussed?
GREG RUSEDSKI: No, I was at the basketball matches Sunday.
Q. Do you know what the general view is of the players? Certainly Butch doesn't want to change.
GREG RUSEDSKI: No, I don't think he should. But, I mean, obviously the Spanish players and the claycourters would favor it because I think they want to even out the Super Nines with having an extra clay court event. That is probably what their thinking is for it. If you have spent all this money on a facility it is ludicrous to tear it up and put clay courts.
Q. A Super 9 on grass?
GREG RUSEDSKI: That would be nice. I would vote for that, but I am not sure a lot of other players would.
Q. You just talking about grass. When you talk with Tony, obviously a player now of your stature, you are trying to peak for big ones and stuff. Is sort of Wimbledon a part of your kind of overall game plan this year of peaking for that one?
GREG RUSEDSKI: Well, obviously, I'm going to try and peak for Wimbledon this year. That is why I am not going to be playing Nottingham this year. I am going to be playing at Queens. If I have a good run at Queens, then I won't be playing Nottingham, but they are holding me a wildcard just in case. So, yeah, I am trying to do my best there and that is like looking at the Grand Slams as the most important, so I want to do well at the French Open this year and I want to do really well at Wimbledon. So, those are the two events this summer and especially Wimbledon.
Q. Is it a hard decision to make to say, I am not going to go there --
GREG RUSEDSKI: No, the reason I did it was twofold because I had a fabulous week in Antwerp; came down to London and played Battersea; lost in the first round. That, to me, that was disappointing. I don't want to have that -- leave all my best tennis on the court when I hit Wimbledon. Like last year when I played Pioline, I was a little bit physically and mentally tired, so, going into Wimbledon I want to be as fresh and able as possible; not have a lapse like I did right after winning Antwerp and then have what happened to me at Battersea.
Q. Yesterday we spent a bit of time with the handsome eight of the late '60s early '70s, Roger Taylor and the boys, John Newcombe.
GREG RUSEDSKI: Never knew they were called the Handsome 8.
Q. You thought it was us, did you?
GREG RUSEDSKI: (Laughter).
Q. I just wondered if their sort of legacy to tennis is sort of acknowledged by the current players who sort of think well, you know,, but for what they did, we wouldn't have all this now?
GREG RUSEDSKI: Well, I think a lot of the players in the past, I mean, they had better wages than most people had when they were, than they were earning during their time, but they didn't have the sort of money we have nowadays. And, we have got to say many thanks to them and appreciation because of what they have done for the game, from bringing the sport to such a high standard of professional. I am -- they always competed more for the joy of it. They had to behave themselves properly or they didn't get invited back to the tournament. So, it was a different era and we owe a lot to them and all I can say is really thank you to them.
Q. Have you had any indication of when you are playing your next match?
GREG RUSEDSKI: I don't have a clue, but the sooner the better.
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