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August 16, 1996

Tommy Haas


GREG SHARKO: Tommy reaching his first ATP Tour quarterfinal this week. He will move from 390 to around about 235 on the ATP Tour rankings on Monday. Good week.

TOMMY HAAS: Thank you.

GREG SHARKO: First question for Tommy.

Q. Did you feel it was pretty competitive out there?

TOMMY HAAS: Yeah, very competitive. I was just trying to go out there and play my best tennis. In the beginning, of course, I was really nervous, but, you know, his serve is really big and it is really tough to break him. I couldn't really get a first point, like two up Love-15. That was the key that I needed to go Love-15, Love-30 once. He always came up with the big first points. I am really happy with this week; really glad that I made it to the quarters here. I didn't expect anything at all. It is really a nice experience to play against the No. 1 player in the world. I think I did pretty well out to there, so I am happy.

Q. You mentioned you were a little nervous. How long did it take you to get over that and get into the match?

TOMMY HAAS: Just first couple of games really when I got broken in the -- first time in the first set, then I really thought -- I mean, what am I doing; go out and play; have fun try your best.

Q. What does what you have done this week mean to you?

TOMMY HAAS: Means a lot. It makes me think that I am ready to compete really with the top players, you know, just go on and compete; play a lot of tournaments and try to just be up there soon. I think I have showed myself that I can compete with these big players.

Q. How far can you move up before the end of the year, do you think?

TOMMY HAAS: Depends on what tournaments I get in and what I play and if I can beat somebody else again, just win a couple of matches; get some points and then hopefully get into the top hundred soon.

Q. Are you trying to go to Toronto?

TOMMY HAAS: I am not sure yet if I am playing Toronto. Qualifying starts tomorrow. Kind of getting a little bit close, playing four matches here, so, tough matches too.

Q. What about the Open?

TOMMY HAAS: Yeah, I think Open qualies I will play - which starts next Wednesday or so.

Q. Outside of obviously increasing your confidence, have your matches this week taught you anything about the relative strengths and weaknesses of your overall game?

TOMMY HAAS: Yeah, I think after those four matches I think I can still improve a little bit at something. But, you know, like I said, Pete Sampras has a really big serve. I really didn't expect it to be that big at the beginning when I went out there on the court. It is not really just that fast, but it is a good placement, really good placement, and, you know, just a few things I have to work on. We will see.

Q. It is a lot different playing against him than watching it on TV?

TOMMY HAAS: It is different. It is better to play. (AUDIENCE LAUGHTER)

Q. You mentioned being a little nervous. Who did you turn to for counsel? Did you have conversations over the phone with Nick or --

TOMMY HAAS: Yeah, I talked to Nick Bollettieri, my coach, quite a few times, and he gave me few tips. He said that on big points he will go 100 down the center a lot and he aced me a lot of times down the center. I never really had breakpoint in the match, so it just shows you how good he served.

Q. You say you have learned a few things; you got to work on one or two things; strengthen your game. Which area will you particularly look at?

TOMMY HAAS: Not sure. Maybe still a little bit more physical, also get totally strength, so I can be in good shape out there as I can, maybe, and maybe the first serve, to get it up there.

Q. You mentioned you really didn't -- what were your expectations coming into this week?

TOMMY HAAS: Into this week?

Q. Yeah.

TOMMY HAAS: Just like I said, just play my best tennis; just compete; play against good players. I mean, when I came into the tournament I was thinking about maybe I can play Sampras in the quarters and all of a sudden it is like that, it is already over now, so, you know, that is -- my expectations were there and my dreams came true- I played Pete. So if I can go to the next tournament maybe I can play Becker in the semis, that is perfect (AUDIENCE LAUGHTER) We will see.

Q. Finally got one of these wildcards and the way -- you were able to take advantage of it?

TOMMY HAAS: Yeah, that is good, good to take advantage of those things, so you don't have to go through the qualifying which is sometimes really tough. You have to play three matches and it is -- you get tired after a long time, and so if you can get a wildcard right into the main, sometimes have pretty good draw, or play those big players and beat them and have the opportunity to play against the top 10 players, that is great.

Q. In his new book, which has just reached the Indianapolis, Nick Bollettieri writes he believes you have greater potential than Andre Agassi. That kind of accolade is obviously flattering. Does it put pressure on you that you would like at this stage?

TOMMY HAAS: No pressure for me at all. I am just playing tennis. I am glad that Nick is my coach, and, you know, if somebody says something like that who knows really a lot about the game, it is an honor for somebody to say something like this about me - have good opportunities to make it as a professional tennis player and, you know, he is just going to try to bring me to the top. Hopefully we can make it.

GREG SHARKO: Anything else for Tommy?

End of FastScripts...

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