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June 26, 2000

Martin Lee


MODERATOR: Martin Lee.

Q. (Inaudible) but you eventually got back on top?

MARTIN LEE: At the start of the second set and the third set, I think I lost a bit of concentration, just lost my serve when probably I shouldn't have. I always thought that I was returning so well; I thought I could break nearly every time or have the chance to break. I just knew I'd get another chance and just kept at it.

Q. The tiebreak, couldn't have gone any sweeter for you.

MARTIN LEE: Yeah, especially after the last two years, had a match point and lost last two years. It was a relief to get 6-Love up in the tiebreak. Played a couple of silly points, nervous points, played a good point to win it.

Q. Does it add to the pressure on you, being given a wildcard, feeling you have to try and justify it?

MARTIN LEE: Yeah, probably a bit. You'd always like to get into the tournament on your own right. It puts a bit of pressure on you because you know everyone is going to be looking at the way you perform. You just try and put it out of your mind, try to get on with the job you've got to do.

Q. How does this rank in terms of wins for yourself?

MARTIN LEE: Yeah, it's a very good win. I think he's about 65 in the world. He's probably mainly a clay courter. I haven't played many matches recently. I've been injured five months, surgery on my groin. I think I'm definitely about to full fitness, just raring to go and keep playing.

Q. No problems with the groin at all?


Q. Do you feel this could be your year in terms of progression?

MARTIN LEE: Yeah. I thought I had a pretty good year last year. When I got injured, I think I was ranked about 240, had no points to defend for like six months. That's when I thought I could start going up the rankings. Then I didn't play at all for five months. I think I'm back playing as good as ever now. I'm working as hard as ever. Hopefully it's going to pay off.

Q. You won a match here in '97. Can you remember who that was against?


Q. How does this compare in terms of satisfaction?

MARTIN LEE: I think just as good. As I said, over the last two years I played well and lost. This year I played well and lost. It's very pleasing to me. I think I played el Aynaoui next. Can't wait for that to come along now. I think I have a good chance.

Q. You obviously did well at the junior level. Some of the players you played with and must have beaten quite a lot at the junior level have gone on further than you have, are getting near the top of the game. Have you assessed why it hasn't happened for you and why it might have happened for them?

MARTIN LEE: I think the main thing is belief. I think now I'm realizing that these players have got up there, like three or four years ago I was as good as them, if not better than them. Now I'm believing if they can do it, I can do it. In the last three weeks, you've seen Arvind Parmar do so well. I think it's given us all a big boost knowing that everyone's pushing forward. There's probably five or six of us now pushing forward at the same time. I think it's not going to be too long before we're all getting up there.

Q. Do you think it needed somebody else apart from Tim Henman or Greg Rusedski, to give somebody a boost from one of your little group?

MARTIN LEE: Maybe. I think the public and the press have been waiting -- before Tim, they were waiting for someone. Tim came along, then there's Greg. I think the last three or four years, it's maybe even got bigger because now they're waiting for someone else. Now, everyone's expecting more. I think it's helping us. We're trying really hard, trying to get up there into the Top 100 where Tim and Greg are.

Q. Are you still a big Millwall fan?

MARTIN LEE: Yeah. I try to go to games when I'm free. I think we just missed out in the playoffs.

Q. Went to both games?

MARTIN LEE: Yeah. Hopefully next year.

Q. I suppose you had five months off with injury, you spent a built of time at the Den.

MARTIN LEE: Especially when I was injured, hobbled along. Try and support my team. Very bored when I can't play tennis. I realise how much I miss the game when I was trying to fight and come back and play.

Q. Did you ever play much football? Did you ever have dreams of playing at the Den?

MARTIN LEE: Yeah. I probably still do now (laughter). I always loved football. I played a lot when I was young. Made a decision to play tennis when I was about 13 or 14.

Q. So did you play for the school?

MARTIN LEE: Yeah, I think I played for my county.

Q. Was that Sussex?

MARTIN LEE: Yes. Had to make a decision with tennis. Takes a lot out of your life. You have to start at a very early age if you want to become good.

Q. Why not Brighton?

MARTIN LEE: I was born in Dulwich. My dad and my granddad supported them all my life. I just followed on the trend.

Q. Is this the sort of result that vindicated the seeding policy here? 200 behind this guy. He's basically a clay court specialist.

MARTIN LEE: I can't really comment on it. It's not up to me. I just play the game, play the match as it comes along.

Q. You talked about belief. Have you sort of consciously changed your mental attitude since your injury? Have you sort of started a second career in a way?

MARTIN LEE: In a way, yes. Thought about it when I was injured. I had so much time. Thought what I needed to do, needed to improve. I think the main thing that I've got my mind a lot stronger mentally. I always think I've got the shots, got the fitness, there's nothing wrong with that. I think it's just in the mind. I think it showed a bit today that if you lose your serve, you've still got always another chance. Maybe sometime before it would have took me like three or four games to get back instead of one or two. Hopefully it's going to get down just to none. Lose my serve and I'm straight back in there for next game. That's what I'm working to do.

Q. Do you think it would help a sports psychologist or have you done it all on your own?

MARTIN LEE: I tried it for a bit. I didn't really like it. It made me think of just certain bits that I took out of it. I think that's helped a bit. Just trying to keep it going now.

Q. Have you played your next opponent before?

MARTIN LEE: No. I think Arvind Parmar played him in the first round of the Australian Open, lost in five sets. He played a good match there. I'm just -- my coach just watched a bit of it now. I'll have a talk to him tomorrow about it, have a good chance, go out and do my best.

Q. Who would be the sort of contemporary of yours in the juniors who has gone on to do the best?

MARTIN LEE: Probably Grosjean or Tommy Haas. They were my age. I played Grosjean a lot when I was 17, 18.

Q. When did you actually come back from injury?

MARTIN LEE: My first tournament was the last week of March.

Q. Where did you do it?

MARTIN LEE: It's been a bit dodgey over a couple of years. You would like get a twinge, stop for a week, then it would be all right. I went to India in November and that's when it finally tore, too much, knew I had to have the operation.

End of FastScripts…

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