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May 12, 2002

Tommy Haas


THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. Double-faults came at the wrong time in that match.

TOMMY HAAS: Yeah, a few things came at the wrong time in the match, I suppose. You know, like I've mentioned this whole week, you know, you have to win the big points. And especially against somebody like Andre when he's playing like he did this whole week, and today in the finals. You know, if you have one or two chances, you know, you got to take advantage of it as much as you can. If you don't, you know, you see what happens. You know, he just basically punishes you left and right. So I'm a little disappointed about that. My serve didn't come as well as it needed to. But he tries to make you go for more on your serve since he, you know, returns the other ones like nobody else does. So all my compliments to him.

Q. Did you have problems with your left leg?

TOMMY HAAS: No. I felt a little bit, I mean, after the first set it got a little bit tight. You run a little bit more against him than against the other players. Couldn't push off as well as I wanted to on my serve. So just for cautionary, tried to loosen up a little bit. But wasn't a big problem.

Q. Presumably, the injury break didn't affect the result of the match in any way?


Q. Was there a point in the match where you thought you were going to get back into it?

TOMMY HAAS: I certainly was hoping the whole time, you know. I try to stay in there and fight and try my best the whole time. After the first set I was a little bit frustrated since I didn't use my chances that I had. In the second set, you know, I came back to break him to go back to 4-3. Then, you know, was up 30-love to go 4. Those are the kind of games you have to capitalize on and try to put some pressure on him as well. And, you know, he just came up with the goods and I didn't at the important time. And that's what happens.

Q. What is your feeling about playing in your country next week and for the French Open?

TOMMY HAAS: Yeah, well, I mean, Hamburg was always one of my favorite tournaments. I watched it when I was seven years old, live tennis. It's nice going back home there. It's one of, like I said, my favorite tournaments. The crowd supports me there always. So I'm feeling pretty good about it. Obviously, I had a long week and a tough week here. Hopefully I can rest a little tomorrow and be ready to play on Tuesday and give it my best there.

Q. And about the French Open?

TOMMY HAAS: Yeah, that's another step ahead. You know, first I look at next week, then there's World Team Cup. Obviously, preparation a little bit for the French. If I can continue the way I've been playing here and in the last few weeks, I'm looking forward to it. I'm getting a lot of matches in, feeling pretty good about myself.

Q. There was any reason why you were staying so much behind the baseline when you were returning? He was always anticipating you.

TOMMY HAAS: Yeah, he has a big kick serve. I thought every time I would stay in the baseline I would have to hit a slice and he would take advantage of that on the next ball. I was kind of trying to do the same thing as I did yesterday and try to hit big balls, try to get it deep. And I thought that play actually worked better than the other one. You know, he just wears you down, you know, just going left, right. And you have to almost hit every point so perfect in order to win it against him. And, you know, it's tough to do it for a long period of time. Then if you don't win the big points during that time, then you have not much of a chance to beat him.

Q. If this has been asked, excuse me, but what are the most difficult problems that Andre presents to you?

TOMMY HAAS: Well, just that he has pretty much an answer after every shot you play, you know. You try to hit it hard, he hits it even harder, better, closer to the lines. And, you know, even if I'm trying to hit my serves big, when they go in, you know, he just seems like it doesn't mean much to him. He's got such quick hands, such quick eyes, he sees it early. I think he almost forced me to maybe try to come in a little bit today. I'm a little bit upset I didn't do that more often, maybe to come in. Because from the baseline, I didn't have much of a chance really going left, right with him all day long. Couldn't convert to win those points.

Q. Did his returns cause you to double-fault so much?

TOMMY HAAS: Also, a little bit. But I started going for little bit too much. I lost a little bit of confidence. My first serve didn't come as well as I wanted to, then you go for more. He puts you right away always on defense. That's what he does so well, and that's where you start doubting yourself a little bit then after you're not winning a couple of points. He puts you like a little bit in the corner.

Q. Do you think that it's an example for the younger players that a player like Andre, who had his problems in his early days, maybe wasn't doing all that he should have been doing, has come through so strongly now, and at 32 he's still playing the way he is? Is that encouraging in a sense, to show players what is possible with hard work?

TOMMY HAAS: Yeah, I think it's, you know -- for anybody, you know, that has to do with sport, I think it's a great story, obviously. I've known Andre for a very long time. I had the chance to play with him at 13 at Bollettieri's. I've been following his career. And it's just amazing how he's come back the last, you know, three, four years. So dedicated and so fit, and really wanting to win every match he plays. And, you know, for me - for me, it's also something to look up to and to believe in and always keep trying harder and getting fitter. And, you know, I think it just shows that no matter how old you are, just as long as you're dedicated to it and work hard, you can pretty much do anything.

Q. Do you think anyone could have beaten Agassi, the way he was playing today?

TOMMY HAAS: I don't think there's many people out there today that could have beaten him. I mean, you never know. I mean, I think today the kind of game I was playing suits him as well. I think he kind of liked that. Like I said before, maybe I should have pressured him a little more, try to come in at least, even though it's not my strength. But if he plays like this, if he continues to play like this, I don't see many people having a chance to beat him.

Q. Your performance this week has taken you into the Top 5 of the Champions Race. Any comments on that?

TOMMY HAAS: No, I'm really happy. I mean, the way I played here this week was extremely good. I didn't expect this to happen. You know, reaching the final of another Masters Series is another step to look forward to for myself. You know, beat a lot of good players here this week. You know, being back in the Top 5 in the Champions Race, you know, is terrific. So I've been really, really happy and, you know, playing consistent tennis, which is great. So hopefully I can keep going like this.

Q. Before playing at Bollettieri's Academy, you started on clay?

TOMMY HAAS: Yeah. My dad taught me how to play, so was in Europe on clay, yeah.

Q. How big of a fear is it that Agassi's coming back to the finals here after 13 years? Can you imagine coming back 13 years from now?

TOMMY HAAS: Well, he was, what, 19 back then when he reached the finals? I mean, I don't know. I mean, when I was 19, my biggest success in that year was I reached the semis in Hamburg. So, you know, ask me, if I'm still playing at 32, if I'm going to Hamburg and maybe reach the semis there and see how I feel. But now I can't really answer the question. But it would be nice to see myself at age 32 still competing as hard and playing this well. That would be a great pleasure.

End of FastScripts….

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