August 30, 2001
NEW YORK CITY
MODERATOR: Questions, please.
Q. There's a bunch of English journalists here. Why do you think they're here?
XAVIER MALISSE: Good question (laughter).
Q. Is Santoro the kind of guy that can drive you crazy?
XAVIER MALISSE: No, I've played him before and I like playing against him. I mean, he doesn't hit it that hard. He doesn't hit that many winners. But it's tough, though. You've got to always, you know, get low, hit slices. I knew it was going to be the biggest deal, how to handle that slice of his. But it was fun. I really liked playing against him. We've had a good match four months ago, and I think we had a good match today.
Q. Was there pressure on you after the first match, the problems with David?
XAVIER MALISSE: No, no. We talked. That's when players and coaches are there for, to sort it out. David helped me. We got through it. I took a day off on Tuesday and started practicing again on Wednesday with a clear head. Everything is fine.
Q. What was the gist of his message to you? What was he saying to you after that first match?
XAVIER MALISSE: Well, I mean, there wasn't much to say. I know how I acted and I know what I did. You know, I saw him Wednesday. He was fine. I mean, we talked about it. But he told me, "Today's a new day." I know I could do it because I did it for six months. We started off a new page. We had to forget about Monday. I had to learn from it, you know, just keep going. I was still in the tournament, so I had to think about today.
Q. It's going to be a strange situation. The stats show you never played Henman yet. In your corner, you have a guy that can provide you with more information than any statistics could ever do.
XAVIER MALISSE: I hope it will help me, how to play him. But, I mean, it still has to be played. I'm not going to really look at it as I'm playing Tim. I'm just going to go out and play my own game. Of course, I'm going to keep some things in mind, what David tells me, obviously. I still have to play my own game. It will be a good match. I have to go out there and I don't have to look who's on the other side.
Q. How do you think you will match up, your styles?
XAVIER MALISSE: We've got totally different games. I like to hit from the baseline. He likes to play serve and volley, attack to the net all the time. It will be interesting. I never played him before. In the beginning, it will be kind of sorting it out, you know, how it will go. Overall, I think it will be a good match.
Q. Last night Patrick Rafter played a Belgian. He's a very clever player, finesse-oriented player. Do you have to bring a certain attitude to the court to deal with players like Santoro and Rochus?
XAVIER MALISSE: Yeah, I mean, it was hard for Christophe because Rafter, he's playing good. But to play these guys, they get everything back. They're smaller. They don't have the big serve, but they're fast and they know what to do. You know, it's not always easy. You have to go out there and play your own game, attack, see what you can do. To play these guys, it's always a hard job. You can never take it easy or you'll be behind any second.
Q. Is there a danger of overhitting some of the balls because they look so fat and slow?
XAVIER MALISSE: Yeah. I mean, you have to be patient. You just can't whack it, just go for every point. For sure, you'll lose. You have to be patient and wait for the right point. If you just want to whack it after one or two balls, there's no way it's going.
Q. What happened to your finger (referring to bandage)?
XAVIER MALISSE: I just cut it. I was acting stupid. I just cut it. Didn't bother me. It was like two days ago.
Q. What did you do?
XAVIER MALISSE: I was jumping up and down. I don't know. I hit a table by accident. I mean, it's not a big cut, but it's better to cover it.
Q. Was it a reaction to your match?
XAVIER MALISSE: No, no, no. If I had a reaction to my match, I would have only two fingers left probably (smiling).
Q. You seem a very quiet kind of guy sitting here now. Are you, by nature, a fairly quiet kind of person?
XAVIER MALISSE: Yeah, I'm very relaxed off the court. I know what to do, but I'm always calm, I like to have fun, laugh, make jokes. I'm very relaxed. You'll barely see me mad next to the court. If I could bring that to the court, that's when everything will sort out good.
Q. Seems to be kind of in first rounds where you get a bit anxious or uptight.
XAVIER MALISSE: Yeah, because I know I can beat the guys. I get a little nervous. Today I just went out. I have nothing to lose. He's No. 20 in the world. I know by getting nervous and trying to do other things, you get a result like Monday. It was better just to go out, relax, play my game. If I lost, you know, it's not the end of the world.
Q. With David as your coach now, you're able to relocate back to Europe. What about Florida?
XAVIER MALISSE: I'll still be in Florida. I'll be a lot in Florida. I'll be there December, February, March probably. I'll still be in the States about six or seven months.
XAVIER MALISSE: Practice. It's a great place to practice. I still have all my friends there, too. It's always sunny. We don't get too much sun in Belgium. For the European Tour, when we get there, from the French on, we'll be in Europe.
Q. Have we Americanized you a little bit?
XAVIER MALISSE: I mean, I took over some habits, yeah. I've been living here for four, five years. But I'm still Belgian, there's no doubt about that. I took some habits. But it's half-half. I'll stay Belgian, though.
Q. Did David in any way suggest this couldn't be repeated? He was quoted back in England after the match on Monday that he took his (inaudible) off the court because he wasn't happy with what he was seeing. You make it sound like it passed by quite easily.
XAVIER MALISSE: If we keep talking about it and thinking about it... We talked about what I did wrong. I can't keep on like this. We talked about that. But I'm still in the tournament. I had to think about today. It's not easy. I mean, it's not easy for David, too, the way I behaved. But we talked about it's not possible, it's not the way life goes, you know. I should enjoy it. I think I came with that today. It goes a lot better. I have to learn from it, learn what David says, move on to the next thing.
Q. It's important for you to keep David?
XAVIER MALISSE: Yeah, very important. I mean, he's helped me tremendously. I was 80. I've jumped to 40 in almost two to three months. He's helped me basically to where I am right now.
Q. The partnership is up for review at the end of the US Open. What is your gut feeling? Would you like to continue with David?
XAVIER MALISSE: Yeah, definitely, a hundred percent. David is a great guy off the court. On the court, he's very smart about the game. Obviously, he knows a lot. He brought Tim to No. 4. Yeah, I would love to keep going with Dave.
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