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December 5, 1996

Jakob Hlasek


Q. I wanted to know, how disappointed are you going out this way, your last match this way?

JAKOB HLASEK: Well, I'm not disappointed at all. I think my eventual goal was that my last tennis would be the Doubles Masters with Forget. It was quite a disappointment. We couldn't go there; not because we weren't qualified, but because Guy was injured. I was really sad. Guy and I are very good friends. It was something to finish with a good friend, my career, would have been great. It was a little bit sad. But, this makes up for everything. To finish my career at such an important event, playing good matches, the people had a lot of fun, so that makes it up very nicely for that.

Q. I know a lot of people have asked you this question, but the greatest match that you think you ever played or the most memorable, can you say?

JAKOB HLASEK: I don't know. Not many people ask me. Actually, the question is, "What are you going to do now?" I would say probably the Masters, the whole tournament, in '88 when I beat Lendl, Mayotte and Agassi in the round robin matches; then lost to Becker in the semifinals. That highlighted, for me, very much my career because, you know, you make a goal in the beginning of the year to reach the Masters. It's not the work of only that week, but it's the work of 12 months. It's a different feeling. I think that tournament was really special. I cannot pick one match. One match that does stand out was the WTC finals in Dallas. I was way back, played five hours against Lendl, lost 7-6 in the fifth. Quality-wise, it was one of my best matches ever I played. Then, you know, for me, Davis Cup was always very important. I think the doubles, Davis Cup finals, in Fort Worth, against the Americans, that was something which I will never forget.

Q. It was also Edberg's last season. He said he will retire in London. Where are you staying?


Q. Where are you retiring? Edberg said he would stay in London. What is your hometown?

JAKOB HLASEK: Oh, my hometown. I'm in Switzerland. I'm living in Montreux. It's on the Lake of Geneva.

Q. What are you going to do now?

JAKOB HLASEK: That's the question. I really don't know. First of all, I think I need some distance from the tennis. I'm going to have some holidays. I'm going to spend my Christmas first time at home since a long time with my family, so that's very important. I'm going to take my share of holidays, as I said. Then we see really what comes up. But, you know, the last five, six years, I was always -- I always knew that one day the tennis will stop. So, the last five, six years I already started to, in a way, you know, look for myself into the future. I started to look for some things. There has been some things for the last two or three years. Maybe I will be going into these areas. But right now I don't want to talk about it too much.

Q. Do you think about this match? You must have known it could be your last. It was very emotional, something special?

JAKOB HLASEK: Well, as I mentioned, I was looking forward to this match. I knew Boris was in great shape. Considering this is how it went, I wasn't nervous at all. I wanted to have a lot of fun on the court. But, Boris was a bit too good. It was a bit less fun. Sometimes there wasn't really a rally. He served extremely well. It was almost no struggle at all. That's what I thought was a pity about this match. He was too good for me. There weren't any rallies on the court.

Q. Down nothing to five, did you lose the fun?

JAKOB HLASEK: No, really not. You know, I knew this tournament was going to be my last. It's today, tomorrow, the day after, my last match, so I didn't really worry about the score or how it comes about. I'm going to sleep okay tonight. I'm not going to think too much about what I did wrong today. It's over. As I mentioned, I think the last match of my career taking place in such an important tournament against somebody like Boris Becker, I think I deserved it. It's a good thing.

Q. This was the eighth match against Becker. Was it the strongest Becker you ever played?

JAKOB HLASEK: That's hard to say. But, I think Boris is very good right now. You could see in Hannover. I thought he was better than Sampras in Hannover. Right now I think he's in a super great shape. He's mentally extremely fresh due thanks to his injury. He would like to carry on the season, I could imagine. It's hard to say. Three years ago at the US Open, he was very good, too. He beat me in three straight sets, and it's always hard to compare matches with matches in the past.

Q. Guy Forget is a very good friend of yours. Did you see the Davis Cup final?

JAKOB HLASEK: I didn't see much. Unfortunately I didn't see much. I came here actually. Since I came a little bit late, since I was a substitute here, I needed to practice a lot, so I was practicing a lot Saturday and Sunday. It was during the times of the Davis Cup. I didn't see Guy play. I didn't see the doubles. I see a little bit of Cedric's match and a little of Arnaud's match at the end. I didn't see Guy at all.

Q. Now that you don't have an axe to grind with tennis anymore, how could the Grand Slam Cup improve and get the players, keep the players, et cetera?

JAKOB HLASEK: Well, I think the Grand Slam Cup, first of all, is a players championship almost. It's the players who come here, it's the best players from the Grand Slam tournaments. I think the date change will make this tournament even more important. I think next year everybody will play. I think, as I said before, I wish every week would be a tournament like that, not because I was successful, it's just so well organized. The people are really -- they know what they're doing here. I don't see anything, any major improvement that has to be done for this tournament. I think, you know, I would say the little problems solves itself with the date change. From that perspective, you will see how successful this tournament will be in the future. I think a tournament like that needs the tennis. As I always said, it has a big future and will always be an important date the next couple of years on the Tour.

Q. What happened with the Davis Cup team of Switzerland?

JAKOB HLASEK: Well, I know there's - I won't say problem - but in Switzerland, we are a small country. We always -- the players who succeeded were always a little bit accidents, I would say, because we had always great tennis players. Obviously Marc right now is the leader. There's a little hole after him. The next four or five players are ranked around 200. They're all young. So, maybe one of them or two of them can grow and be better. Obviously I leave a big hole. That was one of the decisions when I made to retire, that was one of the points were the most important, that I leave a big hole in the Davis Cup team. Davis Cup was always very important to me. I will always help the Davis Cup team. I will go with them to Lublijana next year, not tennis-wise but mentally-wise. You cannot produce champions. You cannot produce tennis players. Neither federation can do that. It's the players themselves. It's the parents who produces the players. You cannot build. Hopefully there will be an accident coming out soon (indicating).

Q. I was there for the '92 Davis Cup finals. The doubles were a tough match. All the problems with McEnroe's behavior. How close to winning were you to that Davis Cup?

JAKOB HLASEK: Very close.

Q. One game. One tiebreak.

JAKOB HLASEK: You know, I don't know. You play against -- you play the Davis Cup final, which is the most important tennis team event in the world. You play in the USA, you play against players like Sampras, Agassi, Courier; then you have McEnroe for doubles. I think it's a very good team. We were there. We were 1-All after the first day. We were two sets to love up with Marc after. We lost 7-6 in the third set. We were very close. I would have liked --

Q. 7-5.

JAKOB HLASEK: I would like to see what happened if we would have won that doubles. You know, Marc and I, we were just two players against four. That would have been, for me, something that I could not understand to even win. I don't know why, but it's so far, that team was so great, and we were very close. That's the only regret. You cannot say regret, but if that would have happened, I think I would have stopped the next day (laughter). It was like you could not do more than to win that Tie.

Q. Were you annoyed with McEnroe after that? Did you talk about that doubles match after that year?

JAKOB HLASEK: You know, John and I, at that stage, for years, we were very close. His behavior wasn't very good, as you mentioned it. We had some talks before as friends because, as you know, maybe his family reasons weren't very good at that time. We were very close. We talked about that. During the Tie, I think just too much pressure was on him. He behaved very badly towards me and towards the others. That's his story. It's a negative point in that stage with me about him. He has also good points. But I think it was not correct. I told him that very much. That's how it is.

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