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August 28, 1998

Andrei Medvedev

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

Q. Andrei, what was your reaction when you saw the same opponent in the second draw?

ANDREI MEDVEDEV: I was happy to the fact that I was thinking I was already prepared to play Fleurian on Tuesday. I think that's when they made the draw. In my head I was already asking other guys, and, of course, my coach, how does he play, what I should do. I was getting ready. When I saw the new draw and I saw that I have to play him, I was just happy that I don't have to change my preparation. I think it's destined that it turned out for me.

Q. In some respects, this year has not been great for you, the French Open was not a success for you. Now you're doing quite well. Can you remember the last time you were playing as well as you were these last three weeks?

ANDREI MEDVEDEV: On the practice courts this year. I have been playing good tennis in practice. It was hard for me to transfer the same kind of game on the court. Last week was a great confidence booster for me. I hope I can continue the same way. I have to -- I haven't done anything great. I haven't beat one player in the six matches who was ranked higher than me. I mean, it's something that I have to face in the next round. My tennis is getting better, much better. I'm happy with the way I played, but I think there is a long way I can improve. I'm positive I'm seeing that our work is paying off. It's nice when you get rewarded for the work you do.

Q. Do you think it's good for you, good for your character, that you've had to try to fight back from this?


Q. Is it good for your character to not have it so good, to have to fight back from adversity, sort of?

ANDREI MEDVEDEV: Well, I would, of course, rather not face the situation. The other way, if you look at this the other way, I think every player in their career, not just tennis players, but everybody, they have to face the situation of being in a downside. Unfortunately, mine was a bit too long. In the beginning of this year, we had to start from zero. I mean, it's a long and painful process, but I see that some of our work pays off. It just gives me more to work towards. Once again, I'd rather not face that. The other way, it's nice now, because winning in Long Island was like winning for the first time. It was something that I felt that I achieved from zero, from really nothing. The work that we were doing was paying off.

Q. Were you happy with the way you played today?

ANDREI MEDVEDEV: Yeah, I'm very happy that I managed to stay focused. I had a chance to close him in the third set with 6-Love. I mean, it was a good experience for me. I knew that it would be tough for me to concentrate on the first round of the tournament, especially after you win the week before. I mean, it's just a different atmosphere, different court, much higher stakes. I was happy with the way I played. I thought I played probably the best match in the last two weeks.

Q. Andrei, you know in the past one of the things you have had to do was to learn to play better inside the service line. Today 20 net approaches and 17 points on it. This is good, no?

ANDREI MEDVEDEV: That's what me and my coach were working on during the whole year. In the beginning of the year, I didn't have the physique to play this kind of game. You have to be pretty fit to stay on the baseline, be very quick with your feet to manage to get to the right position for these kinds of shots. This is a natural game for me. This is the way I played when I was successful. I certainly feel good being able to play this way again. I think there are many more things we can put into my game, such as serve and volley, attack after the return. We're on the right way, playing and winning matches like today will help me, so.

Q. What was your reaction when they remade the draw and you saw you played the same guy? Has this been asked? Yes? Take it back.

ANDREI MEDVEDEV: We started before you came. (laughter).

Q. Andrei, you're 21 now.

ANDREI MEDVEDEV: Yeah, a few more days.

Q. You seem more mature than you were two or three years ago. That's not a commentary on your intelligence, but you seem more even-tempered, less antic, you seem like a more mature player. Do you think so?

ANDREI MEDVEDEV: I think I'm much more focused on what I have to do, and that's playing tennis. I realized, especially during this year, that without putting your mind into tennis, 99.9 percent of your mind into tennis, I don't think you can be successful. I had to stay away from many things that I did the last couple of years. I had much less fun off the court. I had much more fun on the court. I know what I have to do. I know what I'm here for. I think this would be the biggest difference if you look at me three years ago and now.

Q. Are you talking about sometimes the comments about food or love affairs or all the other things that seem to involve young players?

ANDREI MEDVEDEV: Yeah, before I didn't know how to handle them. Now I take it much more easier than before. Things such as misquoting me or making bad comments about myself, they don't disturb me anymore, don't distract me anymore. Once again, I know what I'm here for. I'm not here to fight the press or make comments about the food or to entertain people off the court. I'm here to play tennis and to win. If I don't think I can win here, I'm not going to be here. I'm here to do my best. If it takes not to talk to press, I will not come here. If it takes not to make any comments about food, I will not make them. My personality didn't change. Once in a while, you can hear.

Q. How did you come to the realization that you need to, as you put it, focus more on the on-court stuff?

ANDREI MEDVEDEV: As I said, at the beginning of the year we started from zero, not in good shape, rusty, my shots were not clear. It was not how I wanted to feel. Tennis is my life. I mean, without tennis I'm nobody. I'm a person, but tennis is my whole life. This is what I'm living for. When I don't feel good playing tennis, I basically don't want to live. I was trying to put my best effort to get my form back, to get my tennis back. I felt that all the other things I was doing the years before, they were distracting me; they were not helping me at all. I had to put all my mind into tennis. I had to cut many things that I'd done before just so I can concentrate more on tennis. The whole day I'm thinking about tennis. There's some parts I think of life and family, but most of the time I spend is tennis. Maybe that's why I'm a little bit more serious. Once again, my personality didn't change. Once I'm around my friends and family, I am --

Q. Are you crediting Bob for this, or did you do this on your own?

ANDREI MEDVEDEV: Yes, very much. Well, I think everybody knows that Bob likes to win. He likes to give his best effort that his player wins. I felt that -- I feel like we are the team. He wants me to do well. In a way, I'm responsible not to let the whole team down because at the end, I'm the guy who goes on the court and makes the shots. I know that off the court, we make together our best effort so I don't miss the shots when I go on the court. When I play, I feel that I'm letting someone else down. It's a much more -- I'm much more motivated not to do that, you know, much better to play well and do well during the match. I think Bob is one of the main reasons that my whole attitude on the court has changed.

Q. Can you mention some of the things that you have cut out that you used to do years ago that you're no longer involved in?

ANDREI MEDVEDEV: Well, I used to talk to too many people off the court. I used to give a lot of energy away while I was talking to people. I always felt like I have to say hello to everybody, talk to them, be nice to everybody, whatever. This all takes energy. I realized that most of the people, they only talk to you because you're winning. When you're not winning, nobody wants to talk to you basically, only your real friends. You realize which people are important in your life, which are not important. There are not too many people who are important. The other things, I would say they're too private to tell the press. It's a sacrifice, but I don't feel bad about this because I have so much more fun on the tennis court that I don't really care about off the court.

Q. Do you agree with Yevgeny pulling out?

ANDREI MEDVEDEV: Well, I'm not the one to judge him. Obviously he did what he felt comfortable to do. I would say I wouldn't do it.

Q. Really, Andrei, didn't he pull out because he was unable to hit the ball, he had a rib injury?

ANDREI MEDVEDEV: I think he was hitting the ball fine. He has played so many matches during last year and this year, there is no way that he was hitting the ball bad. He had his own reasons. I haven't talked to him. It would be, I think, unfair for me to make any comment about it. All I can say is that I think I wouldn't do it if I was in his position, unless I was injured. I'm sure he had his own reasons. I cannot really make any comments about that.

Q. You said you've come here to do your best, play your best. What is your best capable of doing here? Are you capable of winning this?

ANDREI MEDVEDEV: I don't know about that. I don't know. I've never reached the final of Grand Slams. In fact, I only had one semifinal, it was on clay of the French Open. I think I play reasonably well to go far in the tournament. How far, I don't know. I may lose the next match. As long as I know that I did my best, I think I'll be quite happy and keep working until I prove my results. If I'm capable of winning? I think so, otherwise you wouldn't see me here. How big are my chances? I don't know.

Q. Clay is a surface for you? You go out in the first round of the French Open. How did you feel after that loss?

ANDREI MEDVEDEV: I felt bad. I didn't really blame anybody but myself. Ulihrach is the guy I lost to in the second round. He played well. I felt that I could have beat him, but my game wasn't there. I tried my best and felt absolutely exhausted after the match, couldn't do anything. I knew that I gave physically everything I had and I came up short. I was upset about that. I knew that my game was not there. I knew that my mind maybe was not there, I was not ready to win. On the practice courts, I did everything I could in practice, practice hard. I cannot blame the preparation or anything like that. It's just that my form was not good enough to win.

Q. When you look at the ranking sheet, you see Andrei Medvedev 38. How does that affect you?

ANDREI MEDVEDEV: It feels strange in the first week when I dropped down. It's somewhere where I wouldn't like to stay very long. I would like to move up. It's a part of the penalty that I have to accept. Once again, I'm here to do my best. If my best is ranked 36, then I know that I give everything that I had, every single drop of sweat and blood, I can be happy with that. I know I have the capabilities to go further and I hope I can stay healthy and reach the goals that we've set with my coach. If I'm not, as long as I give my best, I'll be fine. I don't know what my best will be in the rankings.

Q. Andrei, what are the goals that you have set with Bob? The other thing I wanted to ask you, when and how did Bob come into your career?

ANDREI MEDVEDEV: I think it's a little too personal to answer that question.

Q. About how you and Bob got together?

ANDREI MEDVEDEV: Yeah. I mean, the coach is not a job; it's the relationship that you build. It's like a wife, girlfriend, your best friend, that kind of emotion is involved. I think it would be not right to talk how we end up working together. I mean, our goals are to make me a better tennis player, to make me more aggressive, to make me fitter and stronger mentally, that I finally can realize my potentials, enrich my potentials.

Q. How about a specific ranking before this year is over?

ANDREI MEDVEDEV: Well, we didn't set this goal, to be honest with you. As we started the year, I tell you, the way I was playing was disappointing. To set a realistic goal by the end of the year, I played bad and was ranked 15 in the world because I had some points. To set the goal ranking-wise was really not right. What we could say is we had to put a good base, solid base, hopefully not to drop in the rankings very low, to take everything result-wise this year as a bonus and hopefully to do much better next year, to make a serious points and move in the rankings. I mean, if my ranking would be in the Top 20 by the end of the year, I personally will be happy. If my ranking will be Top 10 by the end of the year, I'll be extremely happy. If it will be more than that, it would be just amazing. I'm happy and not happy with the position that I have now. As long as I'm staying healthy and working the way I've been working, the way I played today, I think everything will be fine.

Q. Fairly healthy now?

ANDREI MEDVEDEV: Yeah. I don't have any complaints about my health.

Q. When did you start with Bob?

ANDREI MEDVEDEV: 1st of January.

Q. Of this year?


Q. How is the food this year?

ANDREI MEDVEDEV: The food is good.

End of FastScripts…

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