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September 6, 1999

Andrei Medvedev

U.S. OPEN CHAMPIONSHIP, Flushing Meadows, New York

ANDREI MEDVEDEV: You have to give credit to Yevgeny. He played well. He's been playing well for the last two months, certainly better than me. I wasn't feeling quite 100%. Even if I did, I don't know the result would have been in my favor.

Q. What were you feeling when you say "not 100%"?

ANDREI MEDVEDEV: I didn't feel completely fit. Something must have happened about 5-All in the first set. I felt the same was I did against Hewitt.

Q. You mean sick?

ANDREI MEDVEDEV: I don't know sick, whatever you call it. I feel all right now. Just something. My fitness was not there. I don't know. Maybe I'm just not fit enough. I don't know. Maybe it's the result of the match before. Something hit me and I was not on the court anymore.

Q. Does your success at the French Open put more pressure on you than other Grand Slam tournaments, or does it tell you how much success you can have?

ANDREI MEDVEDEV: Pressure, no. Certainly not pressure. Sort of maybe somehow --.

Q. Is it an inspiration for you?

ANDREI MEDVEDEV: Yes. It's an inspiration for me. Somehow it was a relief, that now I know I can do it. It certainly gave me much more belief than before. Every Grand Slam that I play, except for maybe Wimbledon, I'm looking forward with a certain amount of confidence now. It's best-of-five sets, so you got to be fit, and my fitness was not there today.

Q. Are you going to do anything to become more fit?

ANDREI MEDVEDEV: Yeah, I'm going to rest a little (laughter). No, certainly not normal situation. I mean, I don't know what's wrong. I should find out as soon as I can and get ready for my next tournament, certainly for January for Australian Open. Something happened two matches in a row, so I must have done something wrong in my preparation. I'm going to look over and see what I could do better, learn a lesson.

Q. Do you personally feel that you could work harder?

ANDREI MEDVEDEV: I think I work just as hard as anybody you will name on the Tour, you will see on the Tour. I adjusted my workouts in April. Up till April, since I was born, I was putting a lot of hours on the practice courts and on the track. I'm not the one who escapes the work. Maybe lately I wasn't putting enough hours. But again, you know, this regime had worked out for me at the French Open, and I didn't see why should I change it. Honestly, I mean, I have no explanation for what happened today, other than give you the normal thing that I wasn't feeling fit.

Q. Possibly temperature or humidity?

ANDREI MEDVEDEV: No, no, no, nothing like that. It was something to do with me. I have no excuse; no complaints. It's not that I've eaten something and felt sick, it's just that I wasn't fit.

Q. It does reflect a little bit, you look back on your career, your career has had peaks and valleys. There are times when people talk about Medvedev as the next great player, then you disappear for a while. When you think about your career, where you've been, how high and how low you've been, do you find it disappointing, puzzling?

ANDREI MEDVEDEV: I've done a lot of things my way, and I'm proud of it, except for one thing that I've done in my private life, I don't regret anything. I don't regret any decision I've made. I don't regret any word that I've said. I don't regret anything that I've done, except for one thing in my private life that had nothing to do with tennis. Therefore, I responsible for all my ups-and-downs. I've had the team with me who had helped me to come up again. You know, I answer to everything what I've done and said. If somebody doesn't like me, that's their problem. I'm not going to bend for anybody. Analyzing my career, I've learned a lot of lessons for sure. Some of them were painful; some of them were expensive. I'm sure some of them, they coming more my way because I'm not an easy guy to deal with and I'm not, like I said, going to bend for anybody. If I have an opinion, I'm going to stand by it. Maybe life will give me some more lessons, but I know what the success is and I know what the failure is. I know what it is like to be on the top for a while. I know what it's like to be on the bottom for a while. I certainly don't enjoy to be on the bottom. Trying to come up again is not easy, but I'm doing things my way. I'm listening to smart people, trying to apply them into my routines of practices and preparations for the matches. You know, hopefully I can come up again.

Q. Speaking of fitness, it's September, guys have been playing for nine months, everybody has a little bit of pain somewhere. There are so many players out of this tournament. Is there something that needs to be addressed by the ATP Tour?

ANDREI MEDVEDEV: Absolutely. Absolutely. I would much rather see ATP Tour be broken into two parts. That's my personal opinion. I think it's necessary to have a break of, let's say, three weeks right in the middle of the season, then have another break like we have in the end of the year, which is December, middle of November till January. The season is just too hard. We changing balls, we changing surfaces. Guys are much fitter for sure, but there is no Supermen. Everybody gets injured. Everybody has some problems, even the most fittest players. That's something that ATP should look over. I think it's also more entertaining for the fans when everybody knows there will be a three-week break and then sort of everybody starts again. I can tell you, it's not going to happen while I'm playing because there is so much money involved. If you ask me, the tennis will go down this way because there is so much of it. The players become like robots. There is not enough emotions, there is not enough heart in the game. Maybe that's what will hurt tennis in the long run, and that's hurting tennis right now. It's not going to change for a while because money rules everything.

Q. When would you make that three-week break?


Q. After Wimbledon?

ANDREI MEDVEDEV: After Wimbledon? Before Wimbledon? After the French? Who cares? Anytime. Just make the goddamn break, that's all. I mean, we play on hard courts, then grass, then the hard courts, clay, grass, then hard courts, then clay, indoors. Come on. It's a lot of tournaments. I'm entered now for nine weeks, nine straight weeks until the end of the year, all the way up to Moscow. I'm going to play it because I know if I'm not going to play it, the guys who ranked close to me, they will pass me. I almost got no choice. I took my break three weeks here, not playing the US hard court season. I wish that everybody would do that. It's just so much tennis. It almost doesn't matter who wins a Super 9 now. You get players to win, they win huge tournaments, they don't get recognized for that.

Q. Under the new system next year --?

ANDREI MEDVEDEV: It's the worst decision ever made, if you ask me.

Q. Why?

ANDREI MEDVEDEV: Because it's not right. The guy who wins double is the No. 1 player in the world. In case of this year, Schuttler would be the No. 1 player of the year. He's not even in the main draw of the Australian Open. How do you justify that? They look at Schuttler as the No. 1 in the world, they look at him in the main draw. Unfortunately, he lost in the qualifying. How do you explain this to people? That's not right. How do you explain to people Pete Sampras' performance all the way up to Queen's? He wouldn't be in the Top 100. That's not right.

Q. After this second round, you seemed genuinely surprised with the relative ease that you got through, the straight sets. You came into the tournament perhaps with not a lot of confidence. Could you comment on that? Were you feeling low confidence coming into The Open?

ANDREI MEDVEDEV: I felt a little bit unprepared and uncertain about my abilities coming here. I got two first rounds, both in straight sets, both relatively easy matches. I didn't know how to explain it. Sometimes you work six hours a day, you come in, and you lose to a guy ranked 100. You don't know what hit you. On the other hand, I wasn't sure if I'm playing well, and I certainly know that I wasn't exactly ready for this tournament, and I get two easy first round matches. I play relatively good against Hewitt, I'm into the tournament. I really don't know how to explain it. It's a sport. How do you explain that I was in the final of Paris? It's sort of like you work, you hope that something comes at the right time, all the things come together for you, and you play good. I mean, that's for me. Maybe Agassi can plan it and Kafelnikov can plan it and Sampras can. For me, you know, just have to play and sort of hope that the results will come. The sooner they come, better for you.

Q. The crowd was very negative at the end of the match. Does that hurt your pride professionally or do you say, "They don't understand"?

ANDREI MEDVEDEV: No, I respect the crowd, especially here in New York because they are very enthusiastic about tennis, very electrifying when you play for them. Certainly, I was stuck with the decision to retire during the match or to keep playing. To retire, I don't know -- so many players already retired. I feel that I wouldn't die if I finished the match, even though if I cannot play right. Nothing's going to happen to my health. I thought it's more or less -- from the two bad things to do, it was the more honorable thing to finish the match and shake the hand after match point. On the other hand, of course I'm very disappointed that I couldn't play well because that's the city where I like to play well, that's the city where people like me, they support me. I'm disappointed to go out this way. I cannot blame them. They came to see good tennis. They didn't get what they paid for. Who is to blame? Me. On the other hand, hopefully they can also understand, I'm sure every one of them were not feeling great once in their life. They know what it is. Just happen on the day when I had to play today. Sorry for that. Hopefully next year I can give them a good show.

Q. It's interesting that you chose to complete your match, despite not feeling very good. Yesterday Fabrice Santoro quit his match two points from the end. Can you comment on that behavior?

ANDREI MEDVEDEV: It's strange. You get so frustrated when you not feeling good. You know that you are helpless. You know is not going to get better. You know the last thing you want to do right this moment is to be on that court. Your mind think about a thousand things. You think, "Should I quit? Should I continue? Should I complete my match? Do I try?" Some of them choose to quit. I quit a few matches. If Fabrice choose to quit two points before, maybe he was just about to snap. I cannot blame him for that.

Q. Could you clarify what was wrong a little bit?

ANDREI MEDVEDEV: I don't know. At about 5-All in the first set, I felt that my head started to spin exactly like it was against Hewitt. I was losing completely the power. I was losing the power of the ball. I mean, the arm speed reaction was not there. Doesn't matter what I was drinking, I couldn't get it back. It's unusual really. It didn't happen to me for no reason, especially two times in a row. I must look what I have been eating here and what I've been doing here. Maybe it also has something to do with my fitness. I don't know. I really cannot give you any excuse. All I can say is that Yevgeny played really well. Regardless whether I felt good or bad, I don't know if I would have won because he's in very good shape now.

Q. You were feeling fatigue and exhaustion?


Q. Weak?


Q. What effect did it have on you that throughout the week you've been the couple of the tournament with Anke Huber?

ANDREI MEDVEDEV: No, it has nothing to do with it.

Q. You said you're listening to good people. Who are you listening to?

ANDREI MEDVEDEV: I listen to Agassi - when was it - in April. I had a talk with him in the night club in Monte-Carlo. Ironically, we met in the final of the French Open. But he was the one who gave me confidence again that I can play tennis. I listen to him. I asked him what he was doing when he was ranked 140 in the world. He gave me honest advices. I really respect him. I never heard any of the, let's say, superstars in tennis talking so honestly to a guy who means nothing to him. You know, he gave me belief. I started working again and it worked. He suggested new ways of practicing and they worked for me.

Q. He actually gave you suggestions for practice?


Q. Can you share any of those?


Q. Predict the winner of the tournament.

ANDREI MEDVEDEV: It is impossible. Yevgeny played great, to be honest. He's been -- I've been practicing with him the whole week in Long Island and here. On the court, I had difficulties to beat him. If I would have won the games, they would be very close. When he wins the games, it would be very easy. He plays great. Of course, Agassi plays well. You know, they played so much matches already this summer season. I don't know if they might be losing the sharpness. I think what happened to Kuerten in the French Open, he won Monte-Carlo, he won Rome. He came into the French Open having so many matches, he lost the edge, lost the sharpness. I was there fresh. I didn't play anything before French Open. I was there to win; I was there to beat him, and I won. I don't know if that will affect those guys. Certainly, the two favorites right now is Yevgeny and Agassi. Also, you have to remember that on the top half, there is Rusedski, Martin, Kuerten. They all play good tennis. To predict a winner now in tennis is almost impossible.

Q. Rafter came in, played eight weeks in a row, won last year.

ANDREI MEDVEDEV: Everybody's different. Some guys can do it. If you remember, in the first round he was two sets to Love down and almost went out in three sets. Anything can happen. You can play 15 weeks in a row and still win. I just don't know how it would affect the player. But I know from my experience, when you win a lot of matches, you sort of lose - I don't know what is the right word - the appreciation of you being there and playing, trying to win. You sort of take some things for granted. I think with the experience of Kafelnikov and Agassi, that wouldn't help. But you never know.

Q. You expressed the other day genuine disgust in the USTA, the organization of this tournament, the new facility, the towels, the food. Coming in and playing under those circumstances, does that affect the way that you compete here?

ANDREI MEDVEDEV: You know, in '93 I made a suggestion, a few suggestions to the USTA. I got crushed in the press when I lost in the quarterfinal. I got completely destroyed by press. Even though until the quarterfinal, they loved me. Right after I lost, they wrote that I was the kid who is complaining about everything, who doesn't know any better coming from Ukraine and so on. I can tell you the honest things about the USTA if you write them down, if people listen to me. I mean, for the Grand Slam, one of the biggest countries in the world, this tournament is making so much money, has such a big budget, the locker rooms and everything in the locker rooms, except for the beer, for the free beer, everything is just horrible on the level of the United States Open Grand Slam tournament. It can be better, that's all I'm telling you. Of course we're coming here to play. We get what we get, and we come here not to have a nice seat in the locker room and big lockers and a lot of space and naked girls running through. We coming here to play. But it would be nice if there would just be some decent facilities for us. I don't think there is any. I think the locker room is very bad. It can be changed. It can be improved. The food has gotten much better. I have no complaints whatsoever about the food up there. Even if you compare the quality food from the other Grand Slams, it can be improved again. It's not bad, but it can be improved. I know that the USTA is making lots of money. They can take the suggestions and at least get the speed of the courts right. You practice on one court, you play on another court, speed-wise. They can resurface the courts at least. It's the Grand Slam. How many Grand Slams the United States have? Only one. It's the biggest one. Like I say, doesn't matter what I say. The players, including myself, we come here to play, we come here to compete. We don't care what we eat, where we sleep; we come here to win. There's a lot at stake. I'm not here to complain about this. Just it would be nice. You know what I'm saying? Let's say the example, number one, would be you come -- I come here by car because I'm staying in my apartment. I get the parking permission, Parking E. Just out of the curiosity, go to the Parking E and walk back to the stadium just for fun.

Q. With a bag?

ANDREI MEDVEDEV: With a bag, just for fun. Do it. Of course, they will have for me the perfect thing, "Why don't you get transportation?" On the other hand, we are here making the show. We are the players here to play. They should take care first about us and then about the rest of the people. I think, again, it's not happen as long as I'm playing.

Q. Is it hard to be a performer on a backlit stage?

ANDREI MEDVEDEV: No, no. You know it certainly doesn't affect the performance. Certainly does not. If it does, then the player must be completely weak mentally, if he really pays attention and gets distracted by it, by those uncomfortable little things. It certainly doesn't affect me. I just come here, I look at it and I'm laughing. I'm just saying, "Oh, my God. These guys can do it better for sure, but they don't." Who cares? We come here to play. Doesn't matter where we stay. I mean, we can stay in the motel, but we still be playing for the US Open crown. I just happen to be a spectator at the PGA tournament last year or two years ago in (inaudible). I saw the facilities that players got there. It's day and night. If they can do it there, they can do it also here, especially if they have the Grand Slam here every year. But I think four toilets is not enough for 256 players.

Q. PGA you have facilities vying to have it come there.

ANDREI MEDVEDEV: Please don't get me wrong. You can write what you want. I don't care, even if you kill me in the press. I really don't care. USTA should take a look at this. Director of the tournament should just walk through the locker room and see it on the first, second, third, fourth day at around 10 o'clock. Just ask him if he feels, if he had the locker and he wanted to approach his locker, he wanted to sit down and change his clothes, I wonder how much time it would take him.

Q. Have you ever discussed it amongst players?

ANDREI MEDVEDEV: Yes. Like I said, I can say whatever I want or I can point these points to the press, to the tournament director, to everybody. It's not going to happen if they don't want it. I'm sure that they know that their facilities can be improved. I think they just don't want to do it.

Q. It's common opinion amongst players?

ANDREI MEDVEDEV: Yeah. If you ask anybody. Bring me the player who is happy about the facilities and I'll talk to him.

End of FastScripts…

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