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December 4, 1996

Jakob Hlasek


Q. We don't think you should retire if you're able to play like that.

JAKOB HLASEK: Well, you know, when I made the decision to retire, I knew I could play like that. My retirement is not because of my tennis, it's just because it's time for me. It's more personal and family-wise. I've been on the Tour a long time. I want to retire when also I'm still healthy and when I can still play good tennis. I don't want to stop if my ranking is very bad. I want to retire with a good feel being my career and about the tennis. That's why right now I can still play great tennis, as I did today, and that's much more important to me than maybe another one or two years on the Tour.

Q. Do you think you played so well because you were relaxed, you were smiling all the time?

JAKOB HLASEK: Well, you know, I didn't expect to play here. I was expected to be replacement. I always thought I will come here, but be a replacement, so I didn't practice too much the last three weeks. When I got here, I was in, so I started to practice really hard. I was feeling every day much better, my tennis game was getting better every day. But then in the match I was, you know, if you haven't practiced for too long, you're not so (clenching fists). I think it's difficult. At the beginning I was playing not very good. I said, "Okay, if it's your last match, don't be like that. At least have fun with it." That helped me. I started to be much more relaxed. I wasn't thinking too much about my tennis. I started to play much better. It was two ways. I tried to do it for my sake and also to play better tennis.

Q. What feeling is it to be on tennis retirement and to make more than $250,000?

JAKOB HLASEK: I'm not retired.

Q. Was it the fattest payday of your career?

JAKOB HLASEK: I don't know. I was here once and I made one first round match here. I think that was in -- help me -- '91. I beat Connors. I think the prize money was exactly the same.

Q. No, it was a bit less.

JAKOB HLASEK: Well, the colleagues are correcting me. Last time it was $300,000, even better. They seem to know better than I do.

Q. Jakob, are you going to show a similarly relaxed performance tomorrow, you have nothing to lose, and in the end, Boris Becker, wouldn't that be the nice end of a career?

JAKOB HLASEK: Well, no. I played better in the end than I did at the beginning, so I know I'm going to be confident tomorrow. I know I can play. I'm in good shape now. Playing Boris, of course, we haven't played each other for some time. Playing him in Munich in such an important tournament, of course that would be the icing on the cake. I'm not going to cry about it.

Q. Generally what about the relevance of this tournament? We have seen Krajicek and Agassi today. Many people are saying they came to cash in. They came to cash in, not really dig into the match.

JAKOB HLASEK: I can't tell you anything. I didn't see the two matches. I can only give you my point of view as far as the relevance of this tournament is concerned. I think it has a good future that has been proven from the first year and it's getting better and better. Questions are not asked anymore, less frequently. Although I'm on the council or the board of the ATP Tour, I still believe this tournament should exist in the future. Maybe this type of question is not going to be asked that frequently in the future once the tournament has changed its date. I think the way the players are treated here, and everybody really feels great, it's a sort of award for four Grand Slam tournaments, not in terms of money, but being among the best, the elite that has played well at four Grand Slam tournaments. This is something very special. I think the date change is very good for the tournament.

Q. Considering No. 1, No. 2, Sampras, Chang, many are not here. Many of those who are here are a disappointment for the crowd, aren't they?

JAKOB HLASEK: Well, look, this is your opinion. I think the crowd is excited about the matches, but I believe the date is a problem. You can't blame the players. The season is a very long one. If you saw Sampras playing Becker in Hannover, well, Sampras couldn't really recover and you would have to understand. Chang is one of the most diligent players. If he doesn't come here, he has to be injured. Don't always think in these terms. If he has to skip the tournament, it's because he really can't play; it's not that he wouldn't play. His body sometimes is not able simply at the end of the year to do such a tournament.

Q. What did you think about Cedric's level after a very emotional weekend?

JAKOB HLASEK: I think he was very good all through the match, very good service returns, and I had a lot of good luck in the third set. Maybe mentally I was a bit fresher than he was. The big points, I made. This maybe has been the difference today. In his play, he was very good, but maybe he was lacking a bit of mental freshness.

Q. (Inaudible)?

JAKOB HLASEK: I'd like to see his first service statistics in the first set. He served very well. I didn't have many opportunities to come into the net. Then my serve wasn't too good. Afterwards, I settled down, his service was less good and I could attack his second serve as I had hoped in the first set, but he was too good in the first set.

Q. Not too bad as a Christmas gift the prize money, $360,000?

JAKOB HLASEK: This is one thing, of course, it's a great Christmas gift. The most important gift is after ten years knowing that you spend Christmas with your family and your parents, my wife and parents, this is the major gift. But maybe I can give them a couple of gifts more now. That, of course, is something that really matters.

End of FastScripts….

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