August 25, 2005
NEW HAVEN, CONNECTICUT
Q. Is it tough when the crowd is so pro James Blake tonight?
TOMMY HAAS: To be honest, it's always I think a lot of fun or more nice when you go out there and you have a crowd even if they are pulling against you, I think it's great. I think the crowd really supported himself which is normal. I came out expecting that. I just think sometimes it's not right when it's an easy mistake from the opponent to scream or to yell, but, you know, I guess there's a few colleges kids out there that maybe have a few drinks in them so they don't really care, they just want to see him win. Overall it was fun. I think he played extremely well. Giving him the confidence in the second game in the second set when I had game point and I didn't win that game for him to go up a break, he started to play some good tennis then and I could never really use my chances. Especially after the last time I had a chance to break him back to go 4-0 in the third, just not making him play; that's the weak part of my game right now.
Q. What was the difference between him, I mean, breeze in the first set, what happened in the second did you do anything different or did you just --
TOMMY HAAS: No, I think I played really well the first set, almost no unforced errors, served well, used my chances, kind of got him off guard a little bit. Like I said in the second set he started to pick up his game after he got up a break played a little bit looser, it was solid tennis from that point on. With him playing extremely well also when it was tight using his first serve which was pretty good. And also his forehand some key points really finding it close to the lines. Like I said, a few points here and then the third to go back on serve in the third would have been really important but unfortunately I didn't make him play.
Q. He's an unseeded player, but the higher seeds in that part of the bracket have fallen away. Does this look like his bracket from the way you have seen him play and the way you see the bracket shaping out?
TOMMY HAAS: Yeah, I think it would be tough to beat him here this week. I think he's playing some really good tennis again. He's very motivated obviously trying to get his ranking back up after having injury. Kind of similar to what happened to me. He has got the crowd behind him which always helps. I think that's a big part sometimes for some people that can use that as advantage. I think he showed that he can use that tonight. And the way he played, like I said, pretty confident must be very motivated and I gave him a good shot at winning this title.
Q. There was that point where you guys went back and forth, you dove for a ball at the net. He came over helped you up. You had a big smile. Was that because it was just a fun point to play?
TOMMY HAAS: Yeah, I think overall it was a great point. I thought I won it a couple of times but he came back and made a great hustle and I thought I had the point at the end even when I dove. I didn't even -- I think I hit the top of the net and that kind of just pissed me off, I threw the racket over the net almost hit him, which was not nice. He came over and helped me to get up which was a nice thing for him to do. It was a good point but a very important point so for me it wasn't that much fun because I got a break down right away and that cost me the third set really.
Q. Were you surprised when you flung your racket there that it disappeared sort of?
TOMMY HAAS: Never seen that happen before. Not that I usually throw my racket that way, but next time I go on the court I will watch before if there's a hole if it could go through or not so we don't have to delay the game.
Q. How similar is your story to James? You talked to that. Do you feel like you are kind of going through what he's going through? He was out maybe a little longer than you were.
TOMMY HAAS: I think there's some close similarities. I mean, I don't know exactly how long he was out for but I think it was close to nine months, eight, nine. I was out for 15 months. My parents were in a really bad motorcycle accident which my dad could have almost passed away. His dad unfortunately did pass away. In one way, I think he knows how nice it is just to be able to be healthy and to go out there and appreciate playing this game; especially like I said playing also in front of a crowd like that, that's in the end really what you play for; why you practice, the hours and stuff. So I am in the same boat as him pretty much. I think anybody that hasn't really gone through something and was out for a long time and maybe even knowing that there's a chance you might not come back to play then I think you kind of have a good understanding of how nice it is just to be able to go back out there and play good tennis.
Q. Matches like this is why you want to come back, just the level that was played tonight does?
TOMMY HAAS: Definitely. Makes it more enjoyable if you win or even the most enjoyable thing is to win the tournament and come back and hold up the trophy. That's the main thing, then you really know that you put all the work back into it and it was worth it. In the end that's really why you come out here. I don't know how many people were out here tonight but hopefully they enjoyed the show. It was some good tennis. That's really what it's all about.
Q. You got to I think fourth in the world?
TOMMY HAAS: Two.
Q. How difficult when the injuries when you get that close, the injuries take their toll on you, do you just keep that as a motivating factor in trying to rehab; how close are you to really being 100%?
TOMMY HAAS: To be honest, for me it is a battle every other week almost, it seems like, you know, I was on the top of my game when I was two in the world and I was struggling with the shoulder already and then my parents had the accident and didn't play for six weeks the end of the year. Then I had shoulder surgery first time in 2002. Took me about 15 months, 16 months to get back on the Tour. You basically start from zero, you know, it's a tough thing. Now recently I was coming back to find my game a little bit on grass. Then I'd stepped on that stupid ball in the warm-up; takes me out another six weeks where I tore ligaments. These injuries are really are a pain in the neck. Some people just have a little bit more luck; some people don't. It's something you have to live with and just go through it, fight through it. And I think what I need right now is just matches trying to get far into a tournament again and get some confidence. That's really the main thing for me, and as long as that doesn't happen I don't think I am going to feel like I have a chance to get back into the top where I once was.
Q. Look ahead to the Open, do you have any feelings about your draw, good, bad, indifferent?
TOMMY HAAS: Obviously if you see somebody that's a contender for the title in the third round it's not going to be a great draw. First of all, you have to get there anyway. I am playing a qualifier first round which they play a couple matches before, must be feeling pretty good to qualify. And in the second it could come to a match with me and a friend which is tough because you never feel like playing a friend or a guy that you are going to see in two weeks after in Davis Cup. Third round could come to Roddick which he has to get there first two which Ginepri is in that first bracket. You have to take it as it is and try to fight every match, play your best, and try to win.
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