September 2, 2002
NEW YORK CITY
MODERATOR: Questions for Tommy.
Q. In the last couple of years, you have found a way to compete very successfully against Pete Sampras. What has been the key for you?
TOMMY HAAS: I don't know. I mean, I've always wanted to beat him. I think he won the first four matches against me. I beat him once in World Team Cup the first time, which really didn't count for me. I beat him in Toronto a couple weeks ago, which was a great match. Before that, in the finals of Long Island, which was also a good match. That was last year. You know, it's nice.
Q. What are the keys for you?
TOMMY HAAS: I don't know. I think I'm going to have to be able to serve big and hold my serves, play pretty steady from the baseline, try to return well. You know, it all depends as well how he's going to serve.
Q. Pete's slice serve was on today against the left-hander. Are you going to handle that better?
TOMMY HAAS: I'm going to try, obviously. It's a different match-up. A slice serve is more effective against a left-hander. I don't know if he will do that as much against me. We'll see.
Q. How is your shoulder? Is this probably your best day so far?
TOMMY HAAS: Shoulder is hanging in actually quite well, which is great. So is my arm. Even though it was kind of cold, I think, to play in the circumstances, both kept really, really staying like new the whole time. They didn't fluff up as the other matches. I mean, overall I'm very happy that I won the match obviously. I wasn't quite happy all the time with how I played, especially in the second and the third. I kind of had some bad service games in there. All that matters is that you come out on top at the end, so that's nice.
Q. Can you smell a Grand Slam victory? Is it in your nostrils yet?
TOMMY HAAS: I don't know. I don't smell much right now. We have to see. Every match is tough. I think in order to win a Slam, you know, it starts now, you know, the next couple matches. I'm playing against maybe the greatest player ever tomorrow. You know, if you get through a match like that, maybe then you can ask me again.
Q. You've been told what time the match is going to go on?
TOMMY HAAS: Either third or night. Depends on Roddick.
Q. Do you ever think of yourself as an American in any way?
TOMMY HAAS: Actually, I adapt myself really good in every country I go to. If I'm in America, I try to be like an American. In Germany, I'm German. In Austria, I'm Austrian. I have no worries in any country I go. You know, in my heart deep down, obviously I'm German. I live in the States when I have some weeks off, which I like, because it's very quiet where I am. I can train there really hard. Most of the time I'm traveling year-round anyway. It's really tough to say.
Q. What is the best part of having a dual base, so to speak?
TOMMY HAAS: It's nice. I know the coaches of both countries. I think both countries have plus and minuses. I found the way, which way I like it. I can adapt to it and have a great way of living that way.
Q. After almost two full days of rain, how much nervous energy does a player have going out there tonight?
TOMMY HAAS: Well, it's definitely tough. It's not easy. I haven't had much success in the past when the rain came and I had delays. This is actually the first time, which is quite nice. Yesterday you hang around all day, you get to play a set, it rains, you're waiting, you go back to the hotel. Come out today, it rains the whole time, go out at 7 and play. It's not easy. You take a nap, you try to do something, you talk to your coach, you hang around with your girlfriend. It's tough because you always want to compete, you always want to be focused. You go out there and you have to compete right away. It's not easy.
Q. Are you feeling any of the effects of having played at Long Island?
TOMMY HAAS: Well, I mean, like I said, the injury really with my arm was bothering me a lot in Indianapolis where I got scared. I took three or four days off before I played my first match in Indianapolis. I didn't touch a racquet. I mean, in Long Island, I just said, "Look, let's go out there and see where my arm is at. Let's see how I'm going to be at The Open because I have to play it now." You're going to play three out of five sets here. It kind of went all right, didn't have too much playing. I enjoyed playing, and I needed matches because I didn't play that much in the summertime.
Q. How about the legs?
TOMMY HAAS: If you play matches, for me it's more of a fitness way for my legs. Other people might go running or do something on the bike for the legwork. I'd rather play three sets and compete. It's much more fun.
Q. Pete is known for his signature leaping overhead, but he also has an outstanding overhead. Are there certain players that really have the better overheads in tennis today?
TOMMY HAAS: He certainly has a good overhead. There are so many guys that have good overheads out there, especially the serve and volleyers might have a better overhead. You see it more often because they're at the net more often. Everybody can hit an overhead. I think Pete stands more for his first serve and his running forehand. You have to watch out for that more.
End of FastScriptsÃ¢â‚¬Â¦.