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April 19, 1999

Tommy Haas


Q. I have to apologize. I arrived as your match finished.

TOMMY HAAS: No problem.

Q. Basically are you happy when you get back on clay? Where does that stand in terms of the surfaces that you prefer or don't prefer?

TOMMY HAAS: I don't know if I prefer clay or hard. I like to play on any surface basically. If I'm feeling good about myself and if I know I'm playing well, it doesn't matter which surface I'm playing on. This is my first tournament on clay since I think Majorca last year, which is about seven months. I haven't played on it much. I tried to prepare last week in Florida. I got a little flu there. I was sick for about four days so I didn't have the greatest preparation. I didn't expect much about coming here. I just arrived on Saturday. It was raining all day. I didn't have a chance to practice. Yesterday was the first day. It's totally different when you come from Florida. The balls are heavy, different clay. I just tried to play my best. Obviously, Marat Safin didn't have his best day either. I'm glad to win.

Q. Were you sort of happy with the way you played?

TOMMY HAAS: Yeah, just keep on playing. Clay is obviously different. You have to be more patient, keep the ball going on clay. You have to wait for your chance. It's a different game.

Q. Obviously with his sort of game, you expect him to do better on fast surfaces, but he made his name on clay last year.

TOMMY HAAS: Roland Garros is different than here again. They have faster balls. Here it's more heavy. I think it favored me this time. Plus we also had a battle at Davis Cup, which is indoors. His strokes and serve is more effective. This was a little easier.

Q. What's your basic thinking about what you want to achieve this year, where you want to go in terms of rankings?

TOMMY HAAS: I haven't really thought about that. Just trying to play a couple clay court tournaments before the French. I'm going to really try to play my best tennis at the French Open this year. Last year I didn't do too well. Just try to play a few tournaments. I'm playing straight through till the French.

Q. Hamburg, Rome?

TOMMY HAAS: Yeah, Munich, Hamburg, Rome, World Team Cup, then the French. Hopefully by then I'm physically fit, find my timing on clay. I'll give it a real shot for the French Open.

End of FastScripts….

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