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August 30, 2002

Tommy Haas


THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. Were you unhappy about that?

TOMMY HAAS: I mean, usually you're not supposed to get communication anyway. I do look a lot into the box and I do search for a lot of eye contact. Sometimes it calms me down, sometimes it pumps me up, sometimes it pisses me off. So there's a lot of variations that happen once I look in the corner, depending on what the score is also, how I'm playing and stuff. Once in a while I'm just looking for help maybe and maybe I didn't feel like I got it today. You know, you're not supposed to get any help, obviously, anyway because there's no coaching allowed, which I know. It's just looking for a little magic.

Q. So there wasn't a real eye contact, a real focus, is that what you're saying?

TOMMY HAAS: No, there was a little bit of it. I try not to look over there too much today actually.

Q. Would you like that rule changed? What do you think of that rule, not being able to be coached during the match anyway?

TOMMY HAAS: Yeah, I mean, once -- before they said coaches are allowed during -- after the set for two or three minutes. They can come on the bench. They make a big deal out of it. If your coach is going to take his hat off, they think they're coaching already. Or maybe they yell into you one time, "Come on, get your first serve in," or something. I don't believe in my eyes that's really coaching. I think it's just really motivating your player. The way I look at it is the player's out there. If the coach says something to you that maybe you can even hear - sometimes you don't even remember what they say, sometimes you don't understand. If you happen to hear it, you have to do it on the court, and perform, doing it what he says. You know, in Davis Cup, you're allowed to coach. World Team Cup that I play, whatever. And I think it's -- once in a while I think it's okay if the coaches yell something out. I have no problem with that.

Q. Just one last question about it. Was it like a lack of help from them or instructions you weren't agreeing with from them?

TOMMY HAAS: As I was saying, the only thing that really bothered me was that I couldn't really hit my first serve in as well as I wanted to today. Every time I did serve well, my opponent really just hit a complete winner every time. I was just struggling with that a little bit. After being out there for almost two hours, you know, maybe just one advice would have been nice, even though I'm not supposed to get one. I just felt like maybe, "Hey..." There's a lot of people that are cheering me on. Maybe just saying one thing would be great. So that's why I was little bit upset.

Q. What has been your experience been like over all these years at the Academy?

TOMMY HAAS: What my experience has been like, it's like my second home basically now. I've trained there since age 13. And, you know, I grew up with a lot of great players that are playing on the tour today. Was very competitive, you know. Nick was a big help for me back then. A couple of other persons that really helped me out there. You know, it's fun. It's fun to train there.

Q. Andre really reamed Nick during the French Open when there was a rain delay and he felt he didn't get his support. Has Nick been important to you, did you feel disappointed today?

TOMMY HAAS: No, I don't really feel disappointed in Nick anyway. Nick is once in a while around by the big tournaments. He helps me a lot when I'm down at the Academy, we train a lot there. Otherwise, he reduced his travel schedule anyway. It was more of a thing for Red, who was with me pretty much every day of the year if I'm not on vacation or spending time with my parents. That was more directed to him.

Q. What's the status of your shirt?

TOMMY HAAS: Yeah, well, I think, you know, Nike was trying to get the approval from the tournament here that I can play with it. I guess so far I'm not allowed to play with it, which is quite disappointing. Like I said last time, I would love to play with it because if you watch me play, you know, you notice probably that I'm doing a lot of this stuff (pulling up his sleeves) with my sleeves. It kind of bothers me. The word's gone around in the locker room, I think a lot of players are actually for it. They all think it should be allowed. Maybe we can push it through. If I happen to stay here a little bit longer, maybe win the next round or two, who knows? I'd like to put it on anyway and see what they're going to do.

Q. Do you think if you wear a sleeveless shirt, it will destroy the customs of tennis?

TOMMY HAAS: The customs in tennis? Means what?

Q. Traditions. That's the reason they're saying you can't wear it.

TOMMY HAAS: Yeah, no, I don't think it will destroy that at all. Like I said before, times change and everything, you know? And I don't see why it would destroy anything. Look at the women's side, you know. They come out with great colors, great design stuff, you know, to make them look good. Why not the men's side? It's not like it's anything special. We just cut the sleeves off. Nothing great. If something happens great in men's tennis, maybe you start playing without a shirt. Who knows? Maybe some of the fans will like it. If some people want to show their body, I don't have a problem with it. I practice most of the times with my shirt off anyway if the sun is shining. Obviously, it's not proper. I know that myself. But trying to help the game a little bit or trying to make it a little bit exciting also for the fans especially, a tournament like this, the US Open where everything is a little bit more crazy anyway than other tournaments which makes it exciting. You know, eating in a restaurant last night, you know, six ladies came up to me telling me, you know, too bad I couldn't wear the sleeveless shirt. Maybe it's a good sign, I don't know.

Q. Maybe in 10, 15 years it won't be such a bad idea to have some shirtless guys out there? Might be interesting?

TOMMY HAAS: Yeah, I'm sure. I mean, maybe some guys a little bit hesitate of wearing shirtless or sleeveless shirt. Maybe they don't think they got their arms to show. I don't know. I think it's nice. Like I said, for me it's more of a performance-type thing because the sleeves bother me. So that's why I'm actually really interested in it. That's why Nike is really trying to help me and pushing me -- or trying to get me to wear it. That's all there is really to it.

Q. The state of your arm, your shoulder, are you optimistic, feel positive about it after two matches?

TOMMY HAAS: Today I have to say it felt great. I mean, no pain in my arm at all, which was very surprising. I felt good, even though I didn't serve as well as I wanted to. But it felt really good. Not one time I felt one type of thing in my elbow like I have in the last matches. Just very little in my shoulder. If it stays like this, I'm very happy.

End of FastScripts….

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