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September 8, 1998

Thomas Johansson


Q. Clearly been a tremendous tournament for you, especially this week. Can you believe what's happening?

THOMAS JOHANSSON: No, actually not. But I've been playing pretty good lately. I mean, I played a good tournament in Cincinnati, and then I played a good tournament in Indianapolis, too. I knew that I was in good shape, but maybe not this good.

Q. Actually how far did you go in Cincinnati and Indianapolis?

THOMAS JOHANSSON: In Cincinnati, I went to the quarters. In Indy, the last of 16.

Q. Who beat you in Cincinnati?


Q. And in Indianapolis?


Q. Are you different player since you had that singles match --

THOMAS JOHANSSON: I think now I play a little bit more solid than I did before. I'm a lot stronger, I mean physically. I know that I can be out there for four or five hours. So I feel really well. I feel good.

Q. You were getting a little bit frustrated with yourself in the tiebreak. What did you say to yourself to keep your composure?

THOMAS JOHANSSON: I tried to calm down. But I had I think a pretty good match point at 5-4. I should have made that forehand. But playing against Kafelnikov is really tough because he's fighting all the way to the end. I mean, and then in the breaker, I had 5-2, and I didn't make one first serve on my two serves. But then I was lucky. I got one more and then one more.

Q. Why are you physically stronger? Is it because you work harder than before?

THOMAS JOHANSSON: I worked harder this year than I done before.

Q. Can you say why?

THOMAS JOHANSSON: My big weakness before was my physical strength. I mean, I was really weak. I think the guys knew if it goes to four or five sets, that I'm real tired. But I changed that for this year. So now I know that I can be out there for a couple of hours.

Q. After dropping the first set, he seemed to get frustrated after that, he hit the net with his racquet. What did you do? How did you turn it around?

THOMAS JOHANSSON: When he hits the racquet at the net, it's good for me, because then I know he's a little bit frustrated. But as I said before, he's a really tough player to play. He can play every shot. But in the second, I played really well, and third, too. I played really well up to 4-1 in the third. Then he started to play a lot better. It's a tough match.

Q. Did you do anything to vary your approach at all after that first set?

THOMAS JOHANSSON: I tried to stay with him longer. I thought I went for my shots a little bit too early in the first, and then I tried to stay with him from the baseline as hard as I could. And then, I mean, if you take a look at the court today, it was a lot of wind. But the wind was always at the same way, so you had the wind either behind you or --

Q. It was constant?


Q. It's well-known that the Swedish players stick together closely, particularly on tour. Even though there are two other Swedish players left in the draw, and they might be future opponents for you, did you get any tips or help from Magnus or Jonas before going on court against Kafelnikov?

THOMAS JOHANSSON: Not against Kafelnikov, because it's tough to get tips if you play against Kafelnikov. Because of what I said before, he can play every shot. But when I played Krajicek, I got a few tips from Larsson, because he has played him a couple of times. But we try to help each other as good as we can. I mean, we're very good friends, both on the court and off.

Q. Were the tips any good?

THOMAS JOHANSSON: The tips were very good.

Q. Aside from that, what is the key to the Swedes' ongoing success, generation after generation?

THOMAS JOHANSSON: Tough to say. But in Sweden, nowadays we have very good coaches, really good. I mean, guys who play before is coaching nowadays. I mean, he's coaching us. And I think our mentality is good for tennis, because we're pretty -- we don't get frustrated so easy, we stay pretty calm most of the time.

Q. Specifically, who are the coaches?

THOMAS JOHANSSON: My coach, Magnus Tideman, he has played before. Joakim Nystrom, Jans Simonsson, Stefan Simonsson. It's a lot of coaches in Calle Hage Skog.

Q. Did you model your game after Mats Wilander?

THOMAS JOHANSSON: I like his game a lot. He's always been my idol. I try to play like him.

Q. Which means to you, what, patient, looking for an opening?

THOMAS JOHANSSON: Yeah, that's right.

Q. How much time did you spend around Mats over the years, if any?

THOMAS JOHANSSON: I don't know Mats so well. I know him a little bit. I saw him in Stockholm. He was in Stockholm during the Swedish Open. We talked a little bit there. He's a very nice guy.

Q. Which of the guys are you closest to on the tour?

THOMAS JOHANSSON: I'm really good friends with both Larsson, Bjorkman, Kulti, Tillstrom, Norman.

Q. Are you among those Swedish players that get together for those hockey games in Stockholm?

THOMAS JOHANSSON: The guys don't want me on the hockey team.

Q. Why not?

THOMAS JOHANSSON: Because I'm really bad on the skates. But I'm going to practice harder this year so I can make the team.

Q. As a Swedish player, you are a little in the shadow, you haven't played in Davis Cup so far. Do you feel comfortable with that?

THOMAS JOHANSSON: Yeah, I feel comfortable. I mean, this time will be very fun to be on the team when we play Spain at home, because playing at home is something special.

Q. Has the squad been announced? Has he picked the team?

THOMAS JOHANSSON: No, not yet. He picks the team on Tuesday next week, I think.

Q. Has Axel talked to you about that?


Q. Do you like hard courts and carpet better than clay?

THOMAS JOHANSSON: Yeah, way better.

Q. Why?

THOMAS JOHANSSON: I don't know. I like quicker surfaces. Like this is not that quick, but the bounce is always the same. On clay, you play all the Spanish guys. I mean, it's really tough to play them.

Q. Because you have to produce so much of your own power?

THOMAS JOHANSSON: Yeah, yeah. I mean, it's tough to play them here, too, but especially on clay, it's most tough.

Q. In the next round, you play either Henman or Philippoussis. Do you have a preference?

THOMAS JOHANSSON: I've never played either of those two guys. But I think it's going to be a tough match. I don't know who's going to win that one. It's an open match. I mean, they're both very, very good players, so.

End of FastScripts….

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