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January 20, 2005

Nathan Healey


THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. How was that?

NATHAN HEALEY: How was that? Great experience. Yeah, I mean, I learnt so much out there. Obviously disappointed. But, you know, there's just so many things I can learn from that match. I'll have a look at the tape later and, you know, study it. Yeah, it's good news.

Q. Did you feel there was a big gap between where you are and where he is?

NATHAN HEALEY: No. I mean, when I started to relax and settle down, I think it was midway through the third set. A little bit late but, you know, yeah, I mean, the first two sets, I was, you know, stiff as a board. So, yeah, once I started to relax and play my game, you know, I matched it with him, for sure. So that's only positive news.

Q. What were you nervous about? Stuffing up? Playing to the crowd?

NATHAN HEALEY: Oh, it's just I suppose I haven't had many matches recently. Like I was out with an injury in November for a month with tendinitis in my wrist. Yeah, and just lack of matches. And I suppose there was a little bit of self-doubt there. You know, so the more and more matches I can accumulate, you know, the better off I'm going to be.

Q. Melzer said before that he thought the wind had maybe forced you to the net. It was a bit hard to trade shots with him from the baseline, and the wind might have forced you to the net. Is that a fair summation in the first set, first couple sets?

NATHAN HEALEY: Yeah. I mean, well, there definitely was wind out there. It was swirling around. It's something I'm not used to. He was returning sensational. He's a great returner. You know, I just started to mix it up more in the third. You know, I mixed it up, coming in and staying back. I felt like he enjoyed me serve-volleying. You know, I really -- once I started to settle down, you know, I could match it with him at the back, you know, just play my game.

Q. At what sort of stage did you really feel like you belonged there or settled down? Was it when you broke the serve?

NATHAN HEALEY: Well, a little bit before that. I think I was -- yeah, it was like 3-2 in the third set.

Q. Something just finally clicked, did it?

NATHAN HEALEY: Yeah. Yeah, I just felt the tension just sort of ooze out of my body. I was just so grateful for that. I sat down at the change of ends and thought, "Oh, great, I'm finally here, finally about to start playing tennis."

Q. Is that third set a good sign for you going forward because you're concentrating on singles?

NATHAN HEALEY: Yeah, that's right. I mean, it's only been a year, you know, a year of full-on singles. And I moved from 1200 down to I think after this week now down into the 270s, 280s. So, I mean, that's some significant jumps there. You know, the more and more challenger tennis I can play, and tour events, quallies, the more and more I can play these guys week in and week out, I'm just going to grow and learn, you know, mature as a player.

Q. How is the sponsorship going? You had Nike shorts on, a Lotto shirt.

NATHAN HEALEY: They were all bought (laughter). Everything's bought. Yeah, the on-court stuff, I still don't have a sponsor. But, yeah, at this stage, just the Lonsdale for off-court. Yeah, it was all bought (smiling).

Q. Is that the biggest hometown crowd you've sort of experienced?

NATHAN HEALEY: It was great. It was great. I mean, when I got out there and they started singing the national anthem, you know, it almost brings tears to your eyes. Not the way you sort of want to start a match, but it was a good feeling. It gave me goosebumps and gets you going. It was amazing, actually. Great material. It was quite funny at the time. I had to put the towel over my head and sort of block some of it out, concentrate on what I had to do rather than enjoying the party.

Q. You had a few injuries over the last few years, that's right?

NATHAN HEALEY: When I started my career back in '98, I had patellar tendinitis in my left knee. That kind of forced me on to the doubles court. It just like snowballed into a doubles career. Late in 2003, I decided while I was young enough, you know, fit enough, I could give the singles a real shake-up. You know, so far so good.

Q. When you got the break at the end of the third, what were you thinking? It's a now-or-never kind of thing? You really upped the pace, did a couple of overheads.

NATHAN HEALEY: I just felt like I was able to choose my shots because I was relaxed. You know, my good tennis sort of started to ooze out of me. You know, just everything becomes so much clearer when you're relaxed, so...

Q. Without going too much into detail, what are you going to do with the prize money from here? Do you even know what you get?

NATHAN HEALEY: No, I don't actually (smiling). Well, I need it for traveling. So, yeah, I mean, the traveling expenses. Traveling with a coach and everything adds up very, very quickly. So, yeah, that will give me about a month (laughter). No, a couple of months there. Yeah, it's handy, put it that way.

Q. So we saw the stripping career on TV. That's not still on the cards?

NATHAN HEALEY: No. I think I failed at that one. Actually, I haven't seen it yet. I don't know. It wasn't my idea. But, yeah, I mean --

Q. Has anybody told you about it?

NATHAN HEALEY: Yeah, a couple of people now. I'll have to have a look at it. They said they wouldn't be too harsh on me and make me look like an idiot. So hopefully that's the case.

Q. Wasn't too bad.

NATHAN HEALEY: It wasn't too bad? Oh, good.

Q. Is it a full schedule for you singles-wise this year?

NATHAN HEALEY: Yeah, for sure. I'll be taking off probably a week after this finishes. So, you know, I just want matches, just matches, matches, matches. So I'm looking forward to it.

End of FastScripts….

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