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August 10, 1998

Tommy Haas


Q. What do you think made the difference?

TOMMY HAAS: I think winning the big points. He evened up in the second set. I came back. I went up 4-4, every point counts in the tiebreaker.

Q. (inaudible)

TOMMY HAAS: I think we both had pretty much the same game. He likes to hit his forehands and so do I, maybe my backhand is a little better than his, because I think I had more down-the-line winners with my backhand so, maybe that was the key of the match.

Q. (Inaudible.) I realize his ranking is a little down, but does it mean anymore to you to beat a guy who was so long in the Top-10?

TOMMY HAAS: Yeah, definitely. This is a special week for me. Obviously I watched a lot of his watches in '91, 1992 when he won the French Open and Australian Open, so I mean, he is a great, great player. So, you know, but I think he has played a long time on the Tour, a lot of tournaments, so he is getting a little bit older; he still likes to play. He still is around and I am glad I had the chance to play him and to beat him. It is very special to me.

Q. (Inaudible.)

TOMMY HAAS: I didn't play him in '91, 1992 so I cannot say too much if he was more physically strong back then. I think the game is progressing with more powerful players, but you have to ask him that question.

Q. How do you feel about your game on hard court -- (Inaudible.)

TOMMY HAAS: It is only the second tournament on hard courts. Last week I think I played pretty well. Beat Santoro in the second round. Had a good opportunity to win the first set against Sampras; didn't use it. So, now here, beating Jim Courier first round is good. I play against Albert Costa. I lost to him last year, so I try to do better this time. But I think next week I am going to Indianapolis, so still have a little bit of time to prepare for the US Open. Maybe get a little more physically stronger before the Open and I think I will have a chance to do pretty well there.

Q. You made a big jump from '96 to 1997 and it seems you seemed to have improved. You must be at an all-time confidence level high.

TOMMY HAAS: I am only trying to improve. I have been in the top 50 quite a long time now. So I am glad to be happy -- didn't fall down or, but I am still trying to improve my game, trying to come in more. I think I have to start doing that more in the matches even if that means I have to lose some matches to improve and to get smarter on the court. I am physically stronger and then I am still young. I just 20 years old, so, I guess I still have hopefully no injuries coming an a couple of more years ahead, so I am looking forward to this.

Q. Talk about your admiration of Boris Becker.

TOMMY HAAS: Boris Becker is Boris Becker. Not much that we have to say. In Germany, obviously, he is a legend in tennis and I have great relationship with him. He is helping me out a lot in Davis Cup, Word Team Cup. Other than that, we are also good friends, so we have a good understanding.

Q. (Inaudible.) Has that been hard for you to sort of --

TOMMY HAAS: Not really. I am just trying to go out and play good tennis. If that means I beat some good people, then they say: Here comes maybe a new one, that is not my fault. I have to live with that. I think it is good. I just hope that I can fulfill my dreams in the future of tennis. I like to play. And, as long as I enjoy the game and as long as I play well, I am a very happy person. Hopefully, sooner or later, I will be able to win the big tournament. That is my main goal.

Q. A lot of talk about this year about changing things in the game, making it more attractive to the fans, changing some of the rules. What do you think about all of that? Do you think the game sells itself without all these things?

TOMMY HAAS: I am sure that a few things we could do, but tennis is a single sport; not like a team sport like basketball or football where you can make it a big atmosphere, where we have big stadium with 100,000 people packed into them, where you can't see them - maybe eat a hamburger or smell it on the court. I am sure maybe during the changeovers play some music, whatever it might be. Even it is -- if it is like the coaching like in Davis Cup, I think it is a good idea. They shouldn't just do it after the first set to come in the changeover and whisper you a few things in the ear and then leave. I think that is stupid. I think sitting there the whole time during the match or not. Maybe make Davis Cup every two years may be more exciting, kind of a world-thing where everybody has to play, the best players in each country have to play; make it a big event. But other than that, I think the game of tennis is doing pretty well except not so much here in America. I think in Germany we have two new coming players, me and Kiefer, I think if we keep on going like this, it is good. Obviously we have a lot to prove because they were so used to Becker, Stich, and Graf - and they are always No. 1 in the world, so it is tough to do that again. But, in Europe, tennis is pretty popular, maybe in America there is some new young guns coming up make it more interesting a little bit, maybe some creative people likes the Jensens that can really play; maybe every weekend, maybe have some fun, it could be really exciting I am sure.

Q. Two-part question. You started playing at such an early age. Did you feel that you would be a tennis star some day? Also, the advantage of having a father who coached the sport.

TOMMY HAAS: My father actually never wanted me to be a tennis player. He was a tennis coach at that time but he always wanted me go to judo and try to do something else. But, I was interested in tennis and I was the one that picked up the racket and always wanted to go with him. Then I started beating his students when I was three years younger. Obviously then he coached me and when I was 7 I told him that I wanted to win a Grand Slam tournament like Boris Becker did and I think it was the right thing for me father to do, but to support that. I am very thankful to my family and what -- they went through a lot of sacrifices, but, you know, I am a happy person. My family, everything is good. As long as I play good tennis and I am healthy, that is all I really care about.

End of FastScripts....

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