September 10, 1998
U.S. OPEN CHAMPIONSHIP, Flushing Meadows, New York
MODERATOR: Questions for Max.
Q. An incredible match. Can you talk about your feelings and how it went for you?
MAX MIRNYI: Well, it was great to be part of that match. Unfortunately, you never want to go down in a match like that. Just try to settle and take some positive thoughts out of the match like that. I'm sure there's a lot I can learn from, take it to the next tournament and try to learn from some of the mistakes that I made today, stick to some good, positive things that I was doing very well today.
Q. What do you think was the difference today? Obviously incredibly close.
MAX MIRNYI: Like you said, score-wise, it was very close. I've had several opportunities to finish the match. I thought that maybe if I made a little bit of a penetrating return on one of the match points, it would have been a lot tougher for him to pass me. I just thought that I made him play. This was my choice today. He dealt with that very well and passed me when he needed it. Credit to him. I thought if I'd returned a little bit better, maybe I would have won the match.
Q. Obviously he lobbed you on some very key points. How difficult is that moment when you know it's going to drop in?
MAX MIRNYI: It's just like being passed, in general. If the passing shot is coming down the line, or if it's coming over your head, it's something that at the end of the day you're losing the point. It seemed like most of his lobs came in one of the match point opportunities I had. It's not the easiest shot to come up with. I wasn't really thinking of that option, so I was just trying to get in close and look for anything that would be coming by me. He did that well, not only once, but twice. Therefore, he won the match.
Q. He's been a particularly strong player in fifth sets. Do you think there are many players who wouldn't have overcome the kind of pressure you put on him today?
MAX MIRNYI: Well, I definitely know so that it's a lot tougher to be in the position where he was tonight, to be coming up with passing shot after passing shot, you know, being deep in the fifth set. It's not something that I'm going to change my game or anything. I give the credit to him that he was able to do that today. I thought that if I maybe had a little bit more, you know, spice to some of my returns at the end, it would have been tough for him to make that lob. What if? We could be saying that. But he did what he needed to do. I came up a little bit short. The outcome is as it is.
Q. You were cramping a little bit earlier, yes?
MAX MIRNYI: No. I wasn't cramping. It was getting deep. I wanted to stay fresh, give a little bit sort of life to my legs. I felt they were getting a little heavier. I managed to kind of tell myself to keep it up and use my legs on my serve. Is a little bit passive on the return with my legs. I tried to stretch it out to get it to move a little bit.
Q. Having seen him up close under pressure, responding as he did, do you think he's ready to win a Slam?
MAX MIRNYI: He's been so close this year at the French. He still has a long way to go here in New York. Still another four matches that he needs to come through in. I don't necessarily think tonight's match is going to help him to do so. Even though he won, sure, there are positive emotions. The fact that we're out there for I think over four hours doesn't help you stay fresh throughout the fortnight. Even though he's fit and tough, you know, it could maybe take its toll on him.
Q. He reacted as if he had won a huge tournament at the end.
MAX MIRNYI: It's just such a relief to come through a match like that. I guess it's normal emotions. It's sort of like a marathon match that could have gone either way. To finally come through, I think he did the right thing. It's not something you plan to do.
Q. Did he say anything to you at the net?
MAX MIRNYI: He just, you know, said, "Bad luck, sorry." He feels that he could have been in the same situation if I had won one of those points. He's a good gentleman on the court, sportsman. I respect what he's done so far. I'm sure he could do better.
Q. Being so close to a win like this, how long do you think it will take you to sort of get past thinking about the what if's?
MAX MIRNYI: Generally they're easy coming over things like that. Like I said, it will take me maybe a day or so just physically to recover from that. I'll think it over, think some of the elements I could improve on. Matches like that make me stronger because this far, it makes me believe that I could go farther. It's just a matter of coming out there another day on the practice court trying to improve things that didn't go the right way. Hopefully, you'll get another opportunity, the same score, he could do better next time.
Q. You're going to Sydney?
MAX MIRNYI: I am.
Q. Where do you go from here tomorrow, next day?
MAX MIRNYI: I'm still here playing doubles and mixed doubles. I'm looking forward to spending some more time in New York hopefully. After that, I'll be flying to Sydney from LA.
End of FastScripts....