September 2, 1998
UNITED STATES TENNIS ASSOCIATION, FLUSHING MEADOWS, NEW YORK
Q. Can you remember the last time you had a victory this big?
BERND KARBACHER: It is pretty long time ago that I beat a Top 5 guy. I -- actually I don't really know. 1996, maybe? 1997 definitely not. But --
Q. You have always played pretty well at the US Open. Did that help you psychologically?
BERND KARBACHER: Yes, of course, but it didn't really help me for this match. It helped me for the whole qualification already because once I won some very close matches -- one, I shouldn't have won in the last round of qualies, and I mean, I like the surface. I like the city and I am always looking forward to come here so that is like the emotion when you come to a tournament you like, then you definitely play better than if you go to a tournament you say, oh, I have to go there.
Q. At what point did you feel the match changed, and what happened?
BERND KARBACHER: I think very important was the game in the second set when he broke me right away. I think I was down 2-Love and then I broke him back to two-1. Then I started playing more aggressive and play some pretty good shots in this game. Then I started to think different. I said to myself: Okay, if you are scared like in the first set to hit the ball, then you get killed because you play short. He is coming in all the time. He doesn't -- then he doesn't miss if he has easy balls. If he has long rallies then he starts missing. So I think that was the game -- that was the game it was in.
Q. He has complained about an ankle injury. Did you have any sense that he was playing hurt towards the end?
BERND KARBACHER: I don't know. I really don't care actually when -- I didn't see that he couldn't move. So didn't see that. But I thought he missed a lot. If it has to do with the ankle, okay.
Q. Your medical story is probably well known -- we don't know in the US. Can you tell us the condition of your heart now and what you know about your future in tennis?
BERND KARBACHER: My heart, that is okay. That was okay already like at the -- in the middle of last year. But it took me a long time. I was out for four and a half months from February to July. It is very difficult because I didn't play tennis for two and a half, almost three months. That was the longest break I ever had. It was very difficult to come back and play on a level I -- I used to play. I expected for myself maybe too much. I thought I come back now and now, I start playing like nothing ever happened. That was a big mistake. I put too much -- I thought that I put too much pressure on myself to come back as soon as possible. Now I am completely fit.
Q. What was the diagnosis that the doctor made on your heart?
BERND KARBACHER: I think that I am not 100% sure if it is the right word in English, it is call myocarditis, I think. Maybe it is wrong. It is a heart muscle thing.
Q. How do you cure that problem?
BERND KARBACHER: You have to wait. You have to rest and wait 'til it gets better.
Q. That Top 5 game you beat in '96 or 1997, who was that?
BERND KARBACHER: I beat Sampras, I think in '96 he was two.
Q. Do you have any concerns about your health when you go out on the court?
BERND KARBACHER: No, not at all.
Q. That is completely out of your mind?
BERND KARBACHER: Yes, that was also a question because when you start playing again you always feel uncomfortable, then I have a lot of checks afterwards and then the doctor said now I am 100% okay to play. If you have that in mind then you have to stop because then you cannot play 100%. You play just 85% and then you don't win against anyone.
Q. When the doctor told you originally that you had a heart problem, how frightened were you? How alarmed?
BERND KARBACHER: I was kind of scared because there are some sport athletes in Germany and in Europe, they had pretty big problems with that, but the doctor was not -- he gave me a lot of confidence that it is going to be better. He said now we have to look -- we have to be careful. You make a break for four weeks then we check. He was not like, oh, it is so bad and -- he was very good in that. He gave me a lot of confidence. He said it is going to be all right. It is not so bad. It is very important that we found out about it. But he said, we are going to cure it. It is okay.
Q. Any other members of your family that have had heart problems?
BERND KARBACHER: No. Sounds like a medical check.
Q. Do you have to take medication?
BERND KARBACHER: No.
Q. Can you tell us exactly when you stopped playing, when you started again and when you hit --
BERND KARBACHER: I stopped after the week of Antwerp that was, I think, in February, middle of February last year. I started the first time I played was on grass in Halle, that is before like one week before Wimbledon.
Q. What sent you to the doctor in the first place or caused concern? Did you have any pain or discomfort?
BERND KARBACHER: Yeah, I felt pretty weak and pretty tired all the time and that was the only signal that I had something.
Q. You were once No. 22 in the world. Now this year you go to the challengers, remote cities, places that you never thought you would have to play again. What was the feeling like having to go back and play at these smaller tournaments?
BERND KARBACHER: It was not too much fun. I can tell you that. I started -- I mean, some challengers are really good and there are some cities which are pretty nice, but it is just -- you don't play -- you don't play for points. Even if you win two rounds against good players, it is not that you go there and you win three matches in a row, or three, and you are in the top 100 again, it is very difficult. There are so many guys between 100 and 160 which you can lose; especially on clay and then I found out for myself that it is much better to play big tournaments and play the qualification and I decided to do that and not play in challengers anymore.
Q. You did lose to some people you probably never heard of before?
BERND KARBACHER: Yeah, you are right.
Q. Is it depressing to have to come off the court like that?
BERND KARBACHER: It is depressing in a way. It is normal. There are so many good players out there. It is not that I expected to win every match. I went there and said okay you have to get matches. You have to play. And that is the best possibility to play and when you are 250 or 200 you have not the biggest choice and it is not like that I get wildcards everywhere. So I have to do it otherwise -- I said to myself even you play or you stop. So I decided to play.
End of FastScripts....