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October 2, 1999

Tommy Haas


ITF: Questions for Tommy.

Q. Were you happy with the way you played? Was this match harder than the Agassi match or the first match?

TOMMY HAAS: Every match is hard. Obviously, of course I'm very happy with the way I played. Thomas Enqvist is a great player, been in the Top 10 a few years ago for a couple years. I've always had tough matches against him. Today was another one. Obviously to be in the finals here at home in Munich, Compaq Grand Slam Cup, it's great.

Q. Were you thinking about the money again when you were serving for the match?

TOMMY HAAS: No. You want to come here and you want to come as far as you can. Obviously, it's another tournament. You play in front of the home crowd. The farther you get, the better for me.

Q. Did the crowd help you? Was that a big factor today, more than last time?

TOMMY HAAS: Yeah, definitely. Even last time against Andre, it's nice if they can see Andre play, but they're always supporting me here in Germany. I like it.

Q. You've been closing out matches much better than you have in the past. Could you talk about that? Is that part of your improvement recently?

TOMMY HAAS: I can't really say why I'm improving. You always have to try to close out matches. Sometimes it happens the way you want; sometimes another guy can play good tennis and come back into the match, like in Stuttgart when I was serving at 5-4, 30-Love in the third set. Didn't happen to go my way. That's the game of tennis. You have to be relaxed. You have to figure out yourself how you want to play that game. With a little bit of luck and a little bit of good tennis, you can do it.

Q. If someone came up to you after you did the draw last year and said, "Guess what, Tommy, you're going to reach the final next year," what would you say to them?

TOMMY HAAS: I probably would just be laughing. I don't know what I would say. I would say, "Thanks for telling me that."

Q. Nick's best quality as a coach?

TOMMY HAAS: Nick's, I've known him for a long time, he's known me since I was a little boy. He's always believed in me. I think that's the key. He's a good motivator. I like him. We're good friends. Nice to have him around.

Q. Anything you'd like to change about it?

TOMMY HAAS: No, I don't want to change people. That's not for me to do. I think he's a happy person. As long as he's happy for himself, I think that's the most important thing for him.

Q. Could you give an assessment of your experience at Oktoberfest the other night?

TOMMY HAAS: Well, usually I don't drink beer. I had a few sips. That's enough for me. It's very strong. I like the atmosphere, people dancing on tables, you have good music. Went there with my family, my agent, my coaches. We had a good time. Got to see Andre and Boris there a little bit, talked about a few things. It was a good atmosphere. It was nice.

Q. Did you get up on the table yourself?

TOMMY HAAS: I didn't have enough alcohol in me to do that, I think.

Q. You're the third German to reach the final of this tournament. Really big shoes to step into there. Do you think at all of stepping into the shoes of Michael Stich and Boris?


Q. That this is your time now?

TOMMY HAAS: No. They're both not playing anymore. Obviously, they were great for German tennis. Both had great success. But, you know, now I'm trying to have success for myself. That's important. Obviously, it's nice, I think for German tennis that they have good two players with me and Nicolas Kiefer. We're having pretty good success throughout the year. I think it's good for German tennis. I don't think about Becker or Stich winning here before. I would like to win for me, not because they have done it.

Q. What about your chances for tomorrow? Do you have any thoughts or worries about tomorrow?

TOMMY HAAS: I mean, Greg Rusedski is a great player. He has a great serve. He's a left-handed player which makes it even more difficult. Medvedev is a very solid player, plays very flat. I'm sure you have seen them both play. Everybody that comes here is a good player.

(Wimbledon placard falls from ceiling.)

Q. Is that a sign that you're going to win in Wimbledon next year?

TOMMY HAAS: Who knows? You never know.

Q. What is the best piece of advice Boris has given you?

TOMMY HAAS: Boris was my idol when I was young, obviously. I watched him play Wimbledon when I was seven years old. Yeah, I mean, he was one of the reasons why I wanted to become a professional tennis player. Now he's not so much my idol anymore. He's a friend of mine. He helps me out if I need some tips for the way I play or if I have some questions to ask him, what tournament schedule, whatever it is, I feel like I can come to him, and he'll give me his best advice and help me out. That's a great feeling to have. Other than that, he's a team chef for the Davis Cup team. Hopefully he's going to stay there for a long time. We have a great few more years to come.

Q. You started the year at No. 28. Now you're No. 11. What part of your game has improved most? What are you doing now that you weren't doing a year ago?

TOMMY HAAS: I started the year at 34. What are the differences? Nothing much really. I was very tired at the end of the year last year when I stopped in the middle of November, took a good, three, four weeks off, started to practice again, had a good time with my family, started off the year really well. I switched racquets also. Maybe that was a new happy start for me, new feeling. Obviously, with reaching the finals in Auckland and semifinals in Australian Open gave me confidence. A few weeks after that, I won my first title in Memphis. That was like maybe a little bit too quick after start, too good to be true. A couple weeks later, I didn't get injured. Didn't do much. Had match points in Key Biscayne, where I lost the match. You have to try to stay consistent. I think I've been trying to do that. It's been working out pretty well. Still have a lot to learn, like I've said a lot of times. My game can improve, I think. Just have to wait and see what happens in the future.

Q. (Inaudible)?

TOMMY HAAS: I think coming in, hitting the volleys away, maybe even serve-and-volley, I actually did it one time, got past. Maybe those are things I have to work on. Even during the match, not just in practice. In the match is the time you need to do it. It's not so much in my game. I don't like it so much. But I can work on it.

Q. From what racquet did you switch? What do you like about it?

TOMMY HAAS: I switched from Head to Dunlop. I think it gives me a little more power. It's a very solid racquet, I like it. Otherwise I wouldn't have switched.

Q. Couple of words in German about this match.

TOMMY HAAS: Well, as I said, Thomas is an excellent player. I've always had great matches against him. It was important for me to win the first and second set. I kept the ball in the game, sliced, a lot of mixing it up. It was tight in the third, through to the tiebreaker. I led 4-2. I thought I might have it. Then I didn't close out the match. I missed an easy volley. Then his net cord ball. At the beginning of the fourth, I had a lot of breakpoints I could take advantage of, then he, too. 5-4 a good return, he made a couple of mistakes, that was it.

Q. How are you going to recuperate until tomorrow?

TOMMY HAAS: Massage, stretching, have some good food tonight, and hopefully be fit tomorrow.

Q. No Oktoberfest tonight?

TOMMY HAAS: No, unfortunately. Maybe tomorrow.

Q. What is the relevance of this Cup for you?

TOMMY HAAS: It's a different tournament. Once a year only, and you can only play for those who have qualified, have done well at the Grand Slam tournaments. That's what makes it special. It's like the ATP World Championships, only the best are going. Here, those who have played well at the Grand Slam tournaments play. It's a success to be in the final here.

Q. A final in Hannover would have some different relevance, although there's more money involved here?

TOMMY HAAS: We're not talking about money, as I said. Every time you play a tournament, you want to win, whenever it is. Of course, the ATP World Championships, you can be world champion. Of course, this is something great.

Q. Is there any favorite for the final that you prefer to play?

TOMMY HAAS: No. Both are very unpleasant to play. One is very flat, the other is a left-hander.

Q. One or two years ago at the US Open against Rios, you lost in five. You said that you were lacking power and fitness. Did you do something specifically in order to get there and stand these five-set matches?

TOMMY HAAS: Yeah, it has slightly improved. I had a lot of chances in the fifth, but I have to be a lot fitter.

Q. Mentally or physically?

TOMMY HAAS: The legs, the legs, yes.

End of FastScripts….

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