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October 19, 2004

Tommy Haas


THE MODERATOR: Questions for Tommy.

Q. It was a very close match at the beginning, then suddenly what happened to him? Did you play better?

TOMMY HAAS: Well, you're probably going to have to ask him that question. But, you know, it's always tough. We kind of practice with each other quite a lot at Bollettieri's, where we train. So always just trying to feel each other's game. I think the first beginning part of the match, I had a chance early on which I didn't use. Court plays quite fast when you serve well. I think we both served quite well in the beginning. I was able to break him at 5-4 to win the first set. I don't know, he called the trainer. I don't know if he was having some back problems a little bit. But definitely took him down the line mentally I think after he lost that first set. I was able to play some better tennis and use my chances well.

Q. After you were out so long with injury, how do you assess this year? How have you come back? Have you come back to your satisfaction, considering how long you had out of the game?

TOMMY HAAS: Well, I really just told myself, once I started back, that I'll look at everything by the end of the year. I have two more weeks to go after this tournament. Most likely I have a little bit of a break, then I can probably look back and, you know, be pretty proud of myself already. But hopefully there's still some tennis to play for me hopefully. I'll give it my best the next few weeks. But so far it's been, you know, beyond my expectations.

Q. Does this tournament have a special place for you, considering that you won before?

TOMMY HAAS: Well, that was in Stuttgart, which obviously for me as a German player, it's a little bit sad that it's not there any more. You know, I always enjoy a home crowd. I was actually just talking with my coach about that, that most of us German players actually have our best results and play our best tennis on maybe those kind of surfaces, you know, hard court or whatever, Taraflex, however you want to call these courts. We pretty much only have a few tournaments left on clay and one on grass in front of Wimbledon. So it's kind of frustrating because I won the title in Stuttgart, as well. You know, I played here two years ago first time in Madrid. Obviously, they improved this tournament a lot. I haven't been here last year. It's a very nice place. I think it's a great event. Tiriac always puts up a good show. I'm glad to be in the second round.

Q. Do you feel the high altitude here with the balls? It fits your game more than in Vienna. Was it much slower in Vienna than here?

TOMMY HAAS: Yeah, I don't know if it fits my game better. You know, I've always played some good tennis in Vienna. I won there three years ago, got to the finals there once before, even semis this year. I enjoy those courts, as well. You know, here it's my first match again, like I said, in a long time. I don't seem to mind the altitude. But there's still a lot of tennis to play.

Q. And the balls are the same?

TOMMY HAAS: The balls feel different every week. So you always have to adjust every week. They play with different balls. But they seem to be, you know, pretty soft. Like you said, there's altitude here, so the ball flies quicker through the air. If you serve well, you're going to get a lot of free points. You know, if you come into the net and play big, I think it's a pretty good game for that. But I think you can also play from the baseline and grind. So I think it suits everybody.

End of FastScripts….

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