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March 24, 1998

Petr Korda


MIKI SINGH: First question for Petr Korda.

Q. What do you think went wrong today?

PETR KORDA: Just didn't play well. Tim was very sharp today. Today I wanted to win really badly. Just couldn't find my rhythm in this wind.

Q. Does that put more pressure on you, knowing what you have to do to become No. 1?

PETR KORDA: No, no. I just wanted to win the match today. I just wanted to win the match because I've been struggling. I didn't play well yesterday. I was very lucky to win the match. I just wanted to win, you know, the match. But just I was off my timing a lot during this week.

Q. Do you feel the wind was a big factor for you this week, during your game?

PETR KORDA: I had a problem, to be honest. I have to admit that. But, you know, it's the same for both opponent. I felt, you know, Tim was playing really without pressure today, just in important points he was more aggressive than I was.

Q. Petr, there was a point where you broke his serve in the second set to get back to 3-All. It seemed that the match was going in your favor, that it was starting to turn, Henman was starting to miss, you were getting pumped up. Am I right about that and what happened?

PETR KORDA: I had to pump myself. I've been struggling with my baseline game. Probably didn't hit so many miss-hits like I hit today in a week, maybe month maybe. I just was trying, you know, really to put my mind over the bad period, starting to hit some balls back to the court. I mean, I didn't went for anything. I was just trying, you know, to hit the middle of the court, not even the lines. Maybe if I would be too aggressive, it's too late right now.

Q. Petr, there's been a couple of tournaments now that Sampras has gone out early, and you've had a chance to overtake them in the rankings and be the No. 1 player in the world. Is there any feeling in your mind that maybe it's not meant to be for you?

PETR KORDA: No. Like I said too many times, I think it's ideal for the press for me to be No. 1. But, you know, I want something which I would not trade for anything else, I won the Grand Slam. If it's coming to be No. 1, you know, I have to work hard for it. I'm going to accept it. But in the moment, you know, I'm not playing well. You know, I have something under my belt which is going to be the rest of my life more important than No. 1 spot in the world.

Q. Are you afraid that the one Grand Slam you have might make you complacent or are you just as hungry to get a second one?

PETR KORDA: I'm hungry. If I'm not going to be hungry, I said too many times, I be gone from the game. You know, I don't think so you going to see so many hungry guys like I am, in my age. Nobody would put the penny on me. 30, you know, is a time for retirement. I'm still in the locker room with the young guns. I'm enjoying the game, even I'm not playing well, but I'm still enjoying. I still feel there is room in my game to improve. I'm working on it. Hopefully I will have a time for two, three weeks to get back on the track to prepare because after Australian Open, I was struggling with my back, and I was really limited with the practice. Maybe as the result of the way I'm playing in the moment, because I didn't really put hard work together. Hopefully I will have now. If we going to talk the No. 1, I still feel I have a shot to be No. 1. I'm not defending too many points until, I don't know, maybe Washington. Anything can happen. But let's decide on the court, not in the media room.

Q. In Australia, you did say, although it's not a goal of yours to be No. 1, even for like one week --

PETR KORDA: I would love that. I would love that. I would love that. I'm not taking this out of my life. I would say it would be a nice achievement, it would be fantastic. Nobody, even myself, two years ago were dreaming about it. Right now I'm in a position, I have a chance to make it. In the other hand, you have Marcelo, which he's playing well in the moment. You have Greg Rusedski. He's a long shot also. It's like open race. I think what it's going to count, who is going to be No. 1 in the world, after Hannover. That's I think what it's count for the game of tennis.

Q. You've been in the finals of the French once. What do you think the chances are of Pete Sampras to win that?

PETR KORDA: You have to ask him. I don't know.

Q. What's your opinion?

PETR KORDA: I'm not having my opinion. He's my opponent.

Q. You're not saying anything about it?

PETR KORDA: What can I say? I'm not his coach. I living, you know, on the other side of the border. I'm his opponent. Any guy who enter the tournament, if it's 32 draw, 64 or 128, everyone have a chance to win the tournament. Depends how you prepare, how fit you are, whatever. We will see how we will prepare everyone for this tournament.

Q. Can I ask you then, according to you, what are his weak points on the clay?

PETR KORDA: My weak points?

Q. His weak points on the clay.

PETR KORDA: Why should I tell you what's his weak points? I need to use them when I'm going to play him.

Q. It's interesting for my readers.

PETR KORDA: I know. But I never open up my books about the players. It's very thick, but it's just for me (laughter).

Q. What is going to be your preparation between now and the French Open, Petr?

PETR KORDA: I need to get away from tennis in the moment. That's definitely. I feel I need to put the energy to my body, which I'm missing. If I'm going to be honest, I don't know in the moment. I know I will play a tournament in Monte-Carlo. Then I will play tournament in Prague, which is my first visit in Prague after, I don't know, seven, eight years, nine years, to play home. Rome, Dusseldorf and Paris. Hopefully I'm going to have to do some work to prepare myself for this trip. I will do the work back in Bradenton.

Q. What is your feeling about the upcoming claycourt season, about coming back to play on clay? Do you feel that it requires a lot of patience? Do you feel at this stage of your career, it's a surface that you feel eager to play on?

PETR KORDA: I don't have any problems, long as it's not raining. Once it's raining and it's bad weather, I'm very afraid about my groins. That's probably the worst scenario could happen to me on the clay. If it's nice weather, whatever, I don't have any problem. I grew up on clay. Even I had everybody told me my game is not for the clay, I think I done good results on clay. Longest I'm going to stay very positive about my groins. I'm not going to have any problems with it. I don't have any problems to play. I really enjoy because it's great for the body. I like to slide.

Q. Must feel very positive, talking about the game, but generally speaking for 30 years you have the best ranking in your tennis career, and people you played ten years ago, they don't play anymore, like Boris Becker, so many other players, who are in your age or a little bit younger. I think that proves that you enjoy tennis more and more.

PETR KORDA: My clock is running quite fast, you know. It's like five minutes. It depends on me how long they going to be. If I'm going to be still hungry and the way I'm motivated in the moment, I can be here for the long time. But my life is a little bit changing in the moment. We expecting the baby in July. I've been without the family after the Australia for five weeks. I don't think so I can live with it. This is going to be one of the difficult question I'm going to have to face in the future. But the joy I have, even if I'm not playing well, whatever, I think people, they can see the way I'm pumping myself on the court, the way I'm acting, whatever I'm doing on the court, that's the way I am. If I can express the little bit of it, I'll be happy.

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