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March 12, 2004

Tommy Haas


THE MODERATOR: Tommy improves his career record to 9-2 against Enqvist, and will take on Paradorn Srichaphan in the second round. Also Tommy's first match win of the season. Questions for Tommy.

Q. How important is it to get your first victory for the year? What does it mean to you?

TOMMY HAAS: Certainly it means a lot, to be quite honest. You know, it's nice to kind of get the monkey off the back, so it's not really something I look forward the next tournament, trying to get my first match in. I'm happy that's kind of taken care of. Now that it's taken care of, I look ahead in the future, worry about my next match.

Q. The last time you were here, one of your recent appearances, you went flying with the Blue Angels. I wonder what death-defying thing you're going to do this time?

TOMMY HAAS: I don't think I'm going to be able to fly with the Blue Angels this year. That was back in '98, a great experience, obviously. I wish I could do it again. Maybe I have a chance to do it again one of these years. Actually, it's funny, because I did the commercial shoot here last year for Pacific Life. I went flying on the center court a lot trying to get that dive the right way. That was probably as close as it came.

Q. Do you equate the balloon rides out here in the desert with that?

TOMMY HAAS: That's too slow, I think. Just gliding in the sky is not for me.

Q. Talk about the struggle you've had with the shoulder injury, trying to get back into top form.

TOMMY HAAS: Yeah, I mean, it's been a long struggle. It's been a long time. I'm still, you know, trying to get the shoulder back or even better than it's ever been. It felt really good today actually to play three tough sets. Serving for the first time again like over 120 miles an hour, it's a very exciting thing for me. But, you know, being out for so long, doing rehab for such a long time, kind of getting close back into the business I thought in May or June of 2003, then having to have another surgery, knowing that the whole year is basically done, it was a very ttough time, very frustrating. I'm just really glad to be back, trying to compete, trying to find my game again. Now there's other things I need to get better at, and that's match play, know how to feel again moving on the court when you play for something. Practice is a totally different thing than actually playing for a match. I'm happy the shoulder is back and that I'm back competing. For me it's like a second career, second start. Back when I had my last match in 2002 against Federer where I lost, that was kind of like my first career. Now I'm back starting all over. My ranking is basically -- didn't exist there for a while. Now I'm kind of getting back on it. Now it's kind of like a big challenge for myself to see if I can get back to where I once was.

Q. Are you just as eager this time around as you were the first time around?

TOMMY HAAS: Yeah, definitely.

Q. Is there something from today's match working especially well for you that gives you confidence for the rest of the tournament?

TOMMY HAAS: Yeah, like I said, I mean, I served a few aces. That was pretty confident. Getting some free points on my service games, for every player that's very important. If you don't have that, you always going to run behind, I think. So I thought that was a very positive thing I take out of it. Movement-wise I felt very good. Keeping the ball in play, trying to play the big points the right way, overall was pretty satisfying. But definitely I have to improve much more in order to get to where I once was.

End of FastScripts….

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