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January 23, 2006

Tommy Haas


THE MODERATOR: Questions in English, please, for Tommy.

Q. After the way things went in the second set, how did you manage to make things work out for you the way they did in the third and the fourth?

TOMMY HAAS: Yeah, well, I was still pretty frustrated after the first set. You know, in the third service game and the second service game I had a couple of breakpoints. When you play him, it's great to jump on him, I think, right on top and show him that you're there and in for a battle. I think even if you can get the first set, a little bit nice. At the beginning of the second set I had a couple game points here and there. He broke me. I was mentally not there where I should have been. It was probably more frustrated with myself than anything else at that certain time. You know, plus he played pretty solid. After the second set, basically I was just thinking about my game again, just trying to swing at it and give it a go. You know, he showed a couple of unforced errors, I won a couple of big points. Then I got the break, then I won the third. All of a sudden you feel like you're in the match, and I continued going like this. I thought towards 2-all in the fifth it was very open and, you know, then he basically just came up with some great shots to break me. I unfortunately hit one of the balls really close next to the line which I guess was out. You know, that cost me the early break. Then he just took another level and played some awesome tennis.

Q. At 40-Love, I think in the game to go to 5-2, you were sitting back on the baseline, had your head down, looking down with your hands on your hips. What were you thinking about?

TOMMY HAAS: Yeah, the ball that was so close to get the break. Really, I mean, it might have been out. My eyes are not perfect obviously, so it probably was out. That's why they called it. I just wish the referee would have said, "Listen, the ball was out," and not say, "From here I couldn't see it." That bothers me the most. That is their job, just to say the ball was out or it was good, one of the two, and not give me that answer. That frustrates me. So, you know, and then he basically just served really well the next game, couple aces. That probably was my expression that, you know, goes so quick then. You know, you fight your ass off. You almost out there for three hours against the best player in the world. You know, you love the moment, you enjoy it so much, you have a chance maybe to maybe win, things go through your head, and then it goes quickly.

Q. Did you ever think that you'd be back after what you went through a couple years ago in a situation like that again, playing that kind of tennis against the best player in the world?

TOMMY HAAS: Yeah, well, for me, I already made my comeback in 2004. I started basically from zero again, and I finished the year as No. 17 in the world. Nobody's ever done that before. So for me, that was really enough statement personally. You know, then I had a stupid accident last year again at Wimbledon that kind of frustrated me really much. Took me out for six weeks where I tore some ligaments in my ankle, before I couldn't even play Wimbledon. Then I had some other troubles, wasn't really motivated. I would say I'm playing some great tennis. It's tough to beat me, as I think I showed throughout the first two tournaments I played this year, losing twice to Roger. I think it's okay. Hopefully I can stay injury-free and have some great other results this year.

Q. What does this match tell you about yourself? What does it tell you about Roger, what he obviously had to do, dig deep?

TOMMY HAAS: Well, for me, I mean, I'm just trying to get better week by week. You know, you try to just test yourself against the best players out there. And that's what I did, you know, I think today. You play against the best player in the world, and you basically test yourself and see where you are. I'm gonna fly home saying to myself I can be proud of myself to see that I played some great tennis and pushed him as much as I could. That's all I could really do. It just shows you that he is the No. 1 player in the world. When it comes down to it, he really plays fantastic tennis. He moves unbelievably well. Everybody is, you know, talking about him being maybe the greatest ever. He still has to do a couple of things, I think, in my mind to be that, you know. If you ask Jim Courier, I mean, that guy has his tongue up his ass I think, you know, the whole time when you actually listen to him commentating or listen to him talk about Roger Federer. Sometimes makes me sick almost. I love Jim Courier, but it's unbelievable. Maybe in six years I'm going to shake Jim's hand and say, "Listen, you're right." Maybe this guy wins 15 Grand Slams. Who knows. This guy right now is pretty much the man to beat. If somebody can do it this week, great.

Q. Is the way you try to do it the only way, go at him hard, push him?

TOMMY HAAS: Yeah, I think everybody is really just going the same way. Everybody that's up against him is basically just saying, I got to play my best and hope for his maybe not-so-good day and see if you can push him to the limit and see what you can do. I think I pushed him as much as I could today. At 2-All I think he showed why he is where he is. You got to tip your hat and just say, "Unbelievable."

End of FastScripts….

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