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March 12, 1998

Tommy Haas


JOE LYNCH: First question for Tommy Haas, who should be moving to a new career-high ranking on Monday.

Q. The ranking aspect, do you watch that much at this stage of your career?

TOMMY HAAS: Once in a while, yeah, I look at it. It's not so important for me now. I try to play every tournament, try to get as far as I can, try to play my best. The ranking comes by itself.

Q. What have you set yourself as a ranking target, or have you, for this year?

TOMMY HAAS: This year my goal is actually to stay in the Top 50, try to stay healthy, play as many tournaments as I can. If I can do that, maybe my ranking can go up. Maybe my goal is to reach the Top 30 next, now that I made it to the top 40. Just take it step-by-step.

Q. Do you think about things as being the youngest player in the Top 50 or think about records and stats at all?

TOMMY HAAS: It's nice to be the youngest player in the Top 50. My main goal one day is to win a Grand Slam. I think I'd be much more happier to win a Grand Slam than be the youngest Top 50 player.

Q. Do you see that being very far off?

TOMMY HAAS: You never know. I'm 19 years old only, so I still have a lot of time ahead, I hope. I just try to play my best, maybe one day my dream can come true.

Q. Do you feel any sort of pressure or any expectations on the fact that you and Kiefer, the next generation of German tennis, following on from two huge names in the game?

TOMMY HAAS: I don't think there's any pressure. We are still both young, you know, the game has extended. You have to be -- you can have time now. Top players are all about 24, 25 years old. I think we still have time to reach our potential. We still have to learn a lot and get more experience. But, I mean, it's going to be very tough anyway to step into Becker's or Stich's footsteps. They won very many tournaments, basically everything there is.

Q. How do you feel about playing for Germany and having someone like Kiefer alongside you in the team?

TOMMY HAAS: Well, I think it's great. I think, you know, if Kiefer and I should play in Davis Cup, we're both very young. It's a great experience to play the first time for our country. Playing against South Africa, it's going to be a very tough match. You know, I'm looking forward to it. I'm very excited to play, if I play.

Q. On the fact that you're coming through. How important is it for you to have another young German player coming through at the same time that you're making the breakthrough in the game, to have Kiefer there alongside you? How important is that?

TOMMY HAAS: How important is that for me?

Q. Yes.

TOMMY HAAS: Not really important at all. It's good to have another player from the same country for the Davis Cup, for the team matches, World Team Cup as well. Basically what the other people do doesn't interest me that much, except myself. That's the most important thing. I try to stay healthy myself. Everybody else can have good weeks. Everybody else is a good player. Whatever they do, it doesn't interest me so much.

Q. Do you like all the attention that you've been getting?

TOMMY HAAS: It doesn't bother me, yeah. Obviously if you're successful in life, you get attention no matter what you do.

End of FastScripts....

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