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September 5, 2000

Thomas Johansson


MODERATOR: Questions for Thomas.

Q. I think it's 5 for 5 in tie break sets. You played your share of them so far in this tournament. Does that give you a sense of confidence? I mean tiebreakers are a high-pressure situations, and you've prevailed in every one you've played thus far. Does it give you a sense you could have it on the line and prevail?

THOMAS JOHANSSON: Of course. Especially this tournament, I played, I mean, really good tiebreakers in every match almost. I played a good tiebreak today, too. I was -- I think I was a little bit unlucky not to win that one. But against a guy like this, he serves so well so you have to put so many returns in as possible. But I mean he can hit ten serves that you cannot catch. I mean he serves that well. But, of course, when it goes to tiebreak, I feel very confident, just for the moment, yeah.

Q. Was there a sense coming into this tournament that, you know, things were going along for you so well last year, then you weren't able to play because of your illness, did that come into your mind when you entered the tournament this time, that, "I want to show myself in New York"? You did well in '98 here. Did that come into your mind?

THOMAS JOHANSSON: A little bit. I remember when I went to the hospital last year when I had to do this biopsy. But now I feel very good. I haven't played as well that year. But coming into this tournament I felt, I mean, I didn't play last year, so I was really happy to play this year. So I looked forward to The Open for a very long time, and now I'm in the quarters again. So hopefully I can take one more step this time.

Q. You say you haven't played well this year. I know it's been a disappointing summer in a lot of ways. Is there something in your game that you've connected with here that you could name?

THOMAS JOHANSSON: Well, I think I haven't been playing that well, I mean, in the matches. If you play bad on this level, you lose. I mean it doesn't really matter who you play. If you play the tournaments I played this year, if you play bad, you lose. I mean it's that simple. When you lose a lot of first rounds, it's really tough mentally because it's getting into your head. So I won a couple of first rounds, but I never reached the quarters or the third round in the tournament. So I've been struggling a lot this year. But as I said, I looked forward to The Open for a very long time. I didn't play last year, and I've been -- actually, this is my best Grand Slam year so far. So that's nice.

Q. Did you get the feeling that his serve was getting weaker?

THOMAS JOHANSSON: Well, the tactic before the match was to try as long rallies as possible from the baseline, so he got tired. And if you get tired, you don't serve that well. But I mean I think he served really well the whole match. I was lucky to break him twice in the third and in the fourth. So I mean he has maybe the biggest serve on the tour, one of the biggest serves I will say. So it's very tough to play him because you have to stay really focused in your own service game so he doesn't come in on your second serve, for example, because then he's really good. He covers a lot of the net, so... So my tactic before the match was to put a lot of first serves in so we could rally from the baseline.

Q. Any thoughts on your next opponent?

THOMAS JOHANSSON: Well, I'll play --.

Q. -- The winner of Martin and Moya.

THOMAS JOHANSSON: I've played both of them. I've never beat Todd, but I think I'm 2-1 up against Carlos. But they're both playing really well for the moment, so I mean it's going to be a tough match, whoever wins.

Q. If you compare the US Open you had in '98 in which you went in to play the quarterfinals, what in your game has improved that will make a difference this year?

THOMAS JOHANSSON: Well, I think I'm a little bit stronger this year physically. We've been practicing hard off the court because I haven't played so many matches, so I had a lot of time to exercise off the court. So we've been running a lot, and I feel really strong now. I could be out there for a long time. So if you have that feeling, you're pretty confident with your game too. So, but it's a big difference because last -- two years ago Krajicek retired, but then I had to beat Kafelnikov to go to the quarters. This year I haven't played a seeded guy so far. So I mean it's -- all the players are really tough to play. If you compare this year to two years ago, I had to beat the Top 10 guy to get here.

Q. Both Todd and Carlos have very good track records playing here. They've played some tremendous tennis at this tournament. How much will you have to raise your game from where you played today to beat them, presumably if they're playing, you know, their style of tennis?

THOMAS JOHANSSON: It's gonna be a completely different match. Today, in his serve, he was only serve and then the point was over. Against I think both Carlos and Todd, it's going to be more rallies from the baseline. I think I'm gonna have to struggle a lot more in my own serve maybe if I play Carlos or Todd. But other than that, it's just to play my own game, and hopefully I could serve a little bit better than I did today maybe. And then I have to stay with them, I mean with the rallies and stuff like that.

End of FastScripts….

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