January 9, 2006
THE MODERATOR: Questions for Chris.
Q. You said last week it was "just one of those days." I guess this was a lot better.
CHRIS GUCCIONE: Yeah, exactly. It can turn around that quick. I mean, last week I also said that I was practicing well, and obviously I showed that today. That's been pretty much how I've been playing. It was just a bit disappointing last week not to play as well as I did today.
Q. Can you compare the feeling now, the same result, to two years ago?
CHRIS GUCCIONE: A little bit more relaxed this year. I mean, two years ago I was probably ranked, I don't know, four or 500 or something. I'm ranked 150 this year. So, I mean, I'm only 50 spots out of the cut for the Aussie Open. I'm sort of getting to be around these guys a lot more, getting a few wins under my belt against them. So, I mean, still very happy to get the win, but I just want to consolidate a bit more this year.
Q. When you saw the draw, did you get some good feelings because of a couple years ago? Did it give you confidence?
CHRIS GUCCIONE: Yeah, obviously, I wasn't, I mean, couldn't say "happy" to see the draw, but it gave me a bit of confidence to know that I beat him a couple years ago. I mean, I remember he struggled with my serve two years ago; same case today. So, yeah, I mean, draws are draws. Chances of that happening aren't very good. But just very happy to get the win again.
Q. How much has your game improved in that time, do you think, especially from the back of the court?
CHRIS GUCCIONE: Look, I don't know how to measure it, but it's improved a lot, I think. I mean, today it was a three-setter but I was in a lot more rallies from the baseline. I remember two years ago, I mean, I was making the odd return and then he was just hitting winners after that. But obviously this year I'm ranked a few hundred spots higher and I've had two more years of experience out on the tour. So I've improved a lot, I think.
Q. Did you set yourself any rankings goals for this year, Top 100?
CHRIS GUCCIONE: I'd love to be Top 100, but we shall she what happens over the summer and then I'll assess it after the Aussie Open. Because, I mean, anything can happen. You could be Top 100 after that week. We'll see what happens after Aussie Open.
Q. What are your more immediate goals and expectations for your summer here and Aussie Open?
CHRIS GUCCIONE: Obviously, to win every match I play. I mean, can't have better goals than that. But I'd just like to play well in every match. If I can do that, then I feel I've got a good chance of getting through or at least being in there with a fighting chance.
Q. Just looking at your results, you've sort of been grinding away a lot in challengers and futures the past two years, but has there been a plan to grind away and improve the rest of your game and build it up?
CHRIS GUCCIONE: Well, when you're ranked 4 and 500, you haven't got many options. You can go to some tour events and play qualifying, but there's one week out of probably six or seven where you'll get into qualifying at 400. I mean, that's really the only way to go, play futures and a few of the weaker challengers out there until you get your ranking high enough to where you can play most of the bigger tournaments.
Q. Have you consciously thought you've got to improve the rest of your game to compete at this level, and grind away?
CHRIS GUCCIONE: I know I've got to improve. Obviously, my tennis and ground strokes have got to keep improving. I mean, that wasn't the reason why I was playing challengers and that. I was just playing because they were the tournaments I was getting into.
Q. You said last time it was sort of a bit of a runoff, I suppose; this time you want to build on it. Do you feel better prepared now to go on - not necessarily here, but wherever - to build on than you did a couple years ago?
CHRIS GUCCIONE: Yeah, definitely. I mean, last time I beat him and then I played main draw Aussie Open, and straight after that I was back into satellites and future events. Whereas this year, I'll be in some of the bigger challengers and playing a lot more ATP qualifying. So, I mean, a win like this this year is a lot better because I'll be playing with most of the top guys now. Yeah, I feel it's a lot better this year.
Q. Love-30 that last game, is there anything...
CHRIS GUCCIONE: (Laughing). After I broke him -- I was getting tight like 30-All. When I broke him, I was walking to the change, just nervous and had a bit of the shakes going. But, yeah, double-fault. And then second point, can't remember. But I remember the third point was an ace, then I made a volley, another couple of big serves. I was pretty happy to get through that. I was very nervous.
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