August 30, 2005
NEW YORK CITY
THE MODERATOR: First question, please.
Q. Did you have a thought-out strategy before you came into this match?
GILLES MULLER: Well, strategy? I mean, I know -- I'm a lefty, and I know he has sometimes problems to hit backhands when you go to the net, when you force him to the backhand. That was kind of my strategy before the match. But, I mean, first of all I was trying to hit some returns in the court and then I would see after.
Q. How does it feel to have beaten Andy Roddick, night match, Ashe Stadium, before a huge crowd?
GILLES MULLER: For sure is different to beat him here than to beat him somewhere else. I mean, it's great to be out there at Arthur Ashe Stadium, night session. I really enjoyed it. That was also my goal when I went into the court. I told myself, "Don't be nervous, it's a big chance to play there. The whole world is watching." I took advantage of that every second I was out there. It was so much fun for me.
Q. You weren't nervous at all?
GILLES MULLER: No, I mean, when I got in, I was not that nervous. I mean, it was different nervous. It's not like nervous to be scared, but it was like nervous to see this. It was like the first time I see something like this, in a big stadium like this. The people were so noisy, sometimes were so loud. When we started the tiebreak in the third set, I mean, it was so nice. It was very nice moment for me.
Q. Did you play better tonight than you did in Los Angeles or can you think your play in Los Angeles was even better?
GILLES MULLER: I don't think -- I don't think I played better. I mean, I was playing good, but is different. I mean, every match is different. I was serving good today. I was hitting a lot of aces, and then, I think every time I had a chance, I took advantage of that. Okay, I had some breakpoints in the second set. I didn't make one. But in the tiebreak, I always was in front. I was leading from the beginning on. I was never losing a tiebreak, even one point. I took some risk, and everything went well for me. That's it.
Q. You play your doubles partner Robby Ginepri next. How do you feel about that?
GILLES MULLER: It's kind of funny. Tomorrow I'm going to play with him, and Thursday I'm going to play against him. I mean, it's like this. It happened already sometimes that you play sometimes your doubles partner. It's not anything different than another match. I mean, tomorrow we going to play together, and then on Thursday we cannot be friends on the court, but then after we can go and drink one beer together.
Q. Great players have talked about when they're playing the best they've played, the ball looks visibly bigger to them. How big did that ball look when you knew you were going to win the match?
GILLES MULLER: Well, I mean, of course it's much easier to play when you're winning. I mean, it was -- like I said, I took some risk. Maybe I was also sometimes lucky. In the tiebreak in the last set, I hit some balls like to the line, with the frame to the line on one return. I think I'm also lucky. That's why the ball is bigger this moment. The ball is coming to you, you just hit. Everything is going well.
Q. You're No. 68 in the rankings. Have there been a player from Luxembourg ranked higher than that?
GILLES MULLER: No. The best one before was 200 or something. That was like 20 years or something.
Q. Does that make you at age 22 the greatest player in Luxembourg history?
GILLES MULLER: In tennis?
GILLES MULLER: Yes.
Q. Before you, was Anne Kremer the best?
GILLES MULLER: Anne Kremer and then also there was Claudine Schaul. She was playing last year. She had some problems now. She dropped a little bit in the ranking, but she's still playing. She lost in last round quallies here. She won a tour event I think last year, Davenport in final. Now she went back to 160. But she's playing better now. So I think she's going to come back also.
Q. Where do you train?
GILLES MULLER: I trained in Barcelona, but I stopped two weeks ago to train there. I was in Cincinnati. I spoke with my coach. He was a coach in the academy. I was in the Sanchez Casal Academy in Barcelona. It was too much for me last year. I was traveled like 32 weeks to tournaments. I was 15, 16 weeks in Spain. I wanted to change that. I wanted to go more at home. I just bought an apartment now with my girlfriend. I want to stay more at home. I decided to stop in Spain. For the moment now here I'm alone. I was alone last week in New Haven. I'm here I'm alone without coach. I'm going to make a decision about that after the US Open.
Q. Your junior years were spent training in Spain, as well?
GILLES MULLER: No. In the Juniors, I was practicing in Paris in France. Then I went to Spain in 2003, I think.
Q. American Express has a multi-million dollar ad campaign based around Roddick. How do you feel about derailing that?
GILLES MULLER: To be honest, I mean, you see these guys now -- I mean, I see these guys different maybe than other people. I mean, Roddick, for sure, he's like a big star for everybody here in the States. But, I mean, for me, I'm going to the locker room, I see him there, I say hello to him and that's it. For me, it's just another player. Of course, he's one of the best players in the world. But he's a human being as everyone. I'm not looking different at him than to other players.
Q. Speaking of advertising, in America this summer there's been a huge campaign for the US Open Series, all these different nicknames. In Los Angeles, you said your nickname would be "The Crazy One."
GILLES MULLER: Yeah, but today was okay. Today I wasn't crazy. Today everything went well. Even in the beginning when I was 5-2 down, I didn't lose the concentration, I stayed calm, and I stayed focused. I think I improved a lot on these things. I mean, maybe now I cannot say I'm the crazy one any more. I'm the calm one.
Q. What is your crazy side?
GILLES MULLER: Before I was like -- I don't know if I wanted too much or I didn't really know what I want. Sometimes I played matches and it was not going well in the first set, I lost in the first set, I got so upset, I lost focus and everything, I lost the match because of this. Some days it went well. Some days there was the second Muller who was there and who calmed me down. Today was the same. Today I stayed calm the whole match. I feel much better if I stay calm like this. I have to work on that. I think if I can play a whole year like this, to be calm every match and to fight every match till the end, I can win more matches than I did until now.
Q. Do you think you can convince your dad to come over for Thursday's match?
GILLES MULLER: No, I don't want him to come. He's too nervous. I would love if he's coming, for sure. But he's already a little bit older. He's like 57 now (laughter). It's not that old, but, I mean, he's always -- when I play at home, he's coming to watch, and he's smoking too much. I prefer him to stay at home and do it relax in front of the TV. He's getting too nervous. I don't want him to get crazy when I'm playing. I'm happy if he's happy when I'm winning. I know that he's there for me at all time. I don't want him to get sick because of me.
Q. You beat Nadal at Wimbledon. You beat Roddick at the US Open. Last year you beat Agassi. What is it about you that you can beat these guys on big arenas?
GILLES MULLER: I think it has something to do with what I just said. If I'm calm, I feel like can I really play with these guys. Like today, I was not feeling that he was No. 4 in the world and I was No. 70 in the world. I felt even in the second set, I was really the better player. I had so many breakpoints. I mean, I could have won that set maybe 6-3 or 6-2. I think, like I said, if I can stay calm like this, yeah, I think my ranking will improve a lot, if I play every week like this. Of course, you cannot play every week unbelievable tennis. If you stay focused every week, you fight every week, you're going to win some more matches. That's making you improve in the ranking. Then finally you are there where these guys are.
Q. Is that the best match you ever played?
GILLES MULLER: No, no, I don't think so. I don't think I felt like I was playing unbelievable. I was playing good. But the most important thing was that I stayed focused and calm the whole match. Even when I was down 5-2 in the tiebreakers, I played really good. I took some risks and it went for me. Maybe on Thursday is the same and is going against me. But still, I mean, you still have to do all the time the same thing, just stay focused, it's going to come from itself.
Q. Did you play better against Nadal than you did tonight?
GILLES MULLER: I don't know. I really don't know. I mean, it was kind of the same. I served well. Also there on the breakpoints I played good points, good shots. It's always like this. I mean, the best players are the ones who play the best tennis in the most important moments. You cannot really say if I play better or if I didn't play better. The two matches, every time I had a chance, I play good tennis, I play good shots. That was the most important thing.
Q. How did you find his serve? Difficult to read?
GILLES MULLER: I mean, it's coming very fast sometimes. Difficult to read? No. I mean, in the tiebreakers, in the last one, I mean, I just chose one side. I said, I'm going for this side. Every time it went well. But I felt like in the beginning, in the beginning of the first set it was really tough because I never played him before so I was not used to this speed of serve. But then after I felt like I was really good returning good. I broke him back in the first one, then I had five or six breakpoints in the second one. In the third one, I started to make a lot of mistakes on the return. But in the first two sets, I really felt like, okay, it's coming very fast, but is not unbelievable to return. I mean, you can do it if you want to.
Q. If you can handle Andy Roddick's serve, does he become a vulnerable player?
GILLES MULLER: No. I think today he had some problems with his backhand. I saw when I was playing a little bit slower, he took the forehand, he's hitting so hard. I think if he's playing better with his backhand today, is going to be very tough for me. I think also I have to say that I think he didn't play his best match. But that's not my problem. I played the things I have to play against him. I felt like he was having a lot of trouble with his backhand today. I took advantage of that. I mean, that's how it works.
Q. Ginepri beat him a few weeks ago in Indianapolis. Did he give you advice how to play him?
GILLES MULLER: No, never. I know Robby well, but we didn't talk about the matches. I'm not going to go in there and ask him how I have to play. I think also Roddick is his friend. I don't want to put him in a bad situation.
Q. What happened last week?
GILLES MULLER: That was the crazy Muller. I was playing okay. I lost like the focus sometimes. Then you get the break in the third set. I was 3-0 down. I was playing good. But after he serve, you lose 6-4. That's how it goes. If you don't stay focused, it's very easy to lose against guys everywhere. I mean, even guys who are 200 or 400, you can lose against these guys if you don't play focused.
End of FastScriptsÃ¢â‚¬Â¦.