November 18, 1996
You have the best players here. If you want to win, you have to win at least two matches to get to the semis, so, first match is very important for me. So if I do well tomorrow.....
I am physically fit.
I like my hair long. Just the same like in Moscow. It is the same. You don't change nothing if you are winning, you stay the same.
The groups are okay. Okay for me. Any group is tough. Just difference between my group and the other group is the names. It is like, it look scary, the other group's names, but it is the same thing. I think it is the best eight players, so whichever group you are in, same story.
The court is slower and the balls are heavy, but that is okay. I have to play good to win. That is it. My chances are good. I am playing good tennis at the moment. So as far as tomorrow, it is important, the first match. Any group is tough. Just the other group has heavy, different names. A little bit scarier names, but it is the best eight players, so any group is.
Thomas is always tough. I am going to have to serve well. I have to play well from the back. He is not going to come in so much, so I am going to have to work a little bit.
First of all, I am not a big fan of playing lefties. I have more problems with lefties than righties, but it is very important the first match how you start and I have to start well tomorrow, so it gives me more confidence for the next matches.
I would like to win a Grand Slam. But, this is like a small Grand Slam. It is like the best eight players. It is like a gift - if you play goods all the year, then at the end of the year it is a quick tournament. It is really big, just eight players and there is big motivation.
I think it is better like this because you know you have to play three tough matches in the group. It doesn't matter first, second or third match. You have to be concentrate 100%. In the Grand Slam you can get qualifier you never heard about in your day; you don't know how he is playing. Then you can have some trouble. Here you know you are playing -- like me, I am playing Thomas. I know who is Thomas and if I don't play well, he is going to beat me. So, I have to play well to beat him.
If I lose one match, I still have the chance to qualify and that depends how other guys are playing.
It doesn't change anything. You concentrate match by match. And, I want to win every match. Only if I lose, in case, there is still a chance for me.
My goal is always to win a Grand Slam and I am going to try to do it. If not, I mean, it is not the end of the world, but it is always trying, always chance and I always -- some are close. Every year I am close. Maybe day it is going to happen.
This is my priority. If I get Grand Slam, then I think about other possibilities, but this is the first thing.
I think it was very good. I think the level was very tight and different between top 10 players is very small and the points and everything. I think the tennis was very good this year. A lot of success there and tournaments, a lot of people watching, so I think it is okay.
(regarding his game back home.) Football is No. 1 sport in Europe in every country. And, it is always tough to beat football. I am still up there.
It was my best year on the Tour. First couple of months, then I won a lot of tournaments, four tournaments and semifinals and finals, so.....
Everything is ready. Court is nice. Now we need to put some people in and to play some good tennis and everything is going to be fine.
If you play good and it is not a problem playing Boris in Germany. First of all, I played him before in Germany and second he is not in my group, so I don't have to worry before semi if I come there.
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