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March 11, 1999

Carlos Moya


GREG SHARKO: Carlos is now two match wins away from becoming the 15th No. 1 on the ATP Tour rankings. He'll play Karol Kucera in the quarterfinals. This is his first Newsweek Champions Cup quarterfinal.

Q. Carlos, is it hard to not think of something like that?

CARLOS MOYA: Sure. It's always coming to my mind, you know, even if I don't want to. But I think I would be happy if every day would happen the same, that I have this feeling if I win two matches, I'm No. 1. That means that I am really close. I try to go away from that, but it's difficult. When I get to the court, I'm a bit nervous, you know. I think everybody felt that, and everybody saw that, at the beginning, I was not playing my best. But afterwards I start to play better and better. Hopefully, tomorrow I'm going to play a good match.

Q. A slow start to the match, how much of that was maybe focus, and how much was the conditions? It was rather cold.

CARLOS MOYA: Yeah, it was to focus. It doesn't work with me. I have to relax. Also was a bit cold, as you said. The environment, I almost feel, was not great. There was not many people out there. But then I start to warm up, start to play better and better. My forehand work really well today. I put a lot of pressure on him. I move him very well. I knew he doesn't like to move, so this is what I try to do today. I think it work out.

Q. You'd never played him before, had you?

CARLOS MOYA: No. I just saw him. I mean, I practice with him like five minutes because we were playing points. Then our partners, they left. I played with him like ten points maybe. That's all what I saw him, you know. I think he was an advantage because he knows me, but I didn't know him.

Q. When was it that you hit with him?

CARLOS MOYA: A few days ago, before the tournament began.

Q. So when you're playing someone that you haven't played before, do you have a specific strategy, or do you kind of wait to see how things go?

CARLOS MOYA: If I don't know the opponent, means that I'm supposed to be better than him. I just try to play my game. If it works out, usually I have to win. This is what I did today. I just play my game. I think not many times I was as focused as I was today. I know what's on the game, you know. I have to be really focused this week.

Q. How do you like the playing conditions in general here, the balls, the courts?

CARLOS MOYA: I think it's a bit quicker than I thought. Maybe the air, I don't know, what happen out there. It's pretty quick. Not as quick as US Open. Then I play semifinal, I play good tournament. Every time I feel more comfortable on hard courts. This is what I was working since I was 16, 17 years old, you know, to be good player on any kind of surface. I think I have already improved, but I can improve much more.

Q. What separates you from the other Spanish players, do you think?

CARLOS MOYA: What's the difference, you mean?

Q. Yes.


Q. In general, personality, or game.

CARLOS MOYA: In the game, you should say that. I don't like to talk about that. Maybe I'm a little bit more aggressive than the others. But they are more, you know, mentally stronger than me, I think. Out of the court, I don't know, maybe -- I don't know. I don't know what's the difference, you know. They are nice. I think every person is a different one. You cannot have an average. We are just different.

Q. When you saw Alex get to No. 2, did that motivate you, that you thought you could move up and possibly be No. 1, as well?

CARLOS MOYA: Yeah, sure. That means that he did it. I can do it, too. I beat him a few times last year. Maybe if I have beat him in Hannover, maybe right now I would be No. 1. He was No. 2. My highest was No. 4. I get motivation from that, you know, to be the best Spanish player, and to be No. 1 in the world. The world works like that, you know. You have to get new motivation when you reach a goal. I already reach a few goals that I put when I was younger. No. 1 would be the next one.

Q. Do you agree that you are the kind of player who plays better when the occasion is big and when the stakes are important? You've been doing well in Slams.

CARLOS MOYA: So far I did pretty well in the important moments, you know, in the big events. I won one Grand Slam, runner up in another one, semifinal, when I was playing awful. In Masters, I got there. I didn't win any match indoors. There I got to the final, and I was really close to win the whole tournament. This maybe the biggest one. Even if the tournament is not as big as the others, this one is the biggest challenge, you know. I don't know how I'm going to be able to -- if I'm going to play well tomorrow or not. But it's going to help me that I already play some important matches before, and I have a little more experience than before. I have to be careful with the opponent also and not play by myself. Also the opponent is playing, they are good players. I just want to play my best and enjoy on the court.

Q. You could get the No. 1 ranking and still lose the tournament. Would that be a letdown?

CARLOS MOYA: If I get to the final, once I'm there, I'm going to try to win it, you know. I would rather be No. 1 and winning the tournament than losing, but would be great if I just get to the final.

Q. As more of the top players get into the Top 10, the rivalry increases more, gets a little bit more heated, or do you find that you all find as much time together?

CARLOS MOYA: I didn't understand.

Q. So many Spanish players are getting into the Top 10, does the rivalry between you heat up a little bit or is there a competitiveness between you?

CARLOS MOYA: Well, we have to see that is big difference on the court and off the court. We've been always good friends, so why to damage this friendship, you know, just because one is better than the other. We are doing our best. One is doing better than another one. The ranking work like that. It's tough. It's tough to beat a friend of your, or to be better than him. Sometimes they are better than me, so it works like that. One day it's me, tomorrow it's going to be Alex, day after Alberto Costa and Mantilla. That's good, because this rivalry helps to get the extra motivation, as I said before. I think it's much better than worse.

End of FastScripts....

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