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September 1, 1996

Stefan Edberg


Q. Stefan, how many last match are you going to play in a Grand Slam?

STEFAN EDBERG: I don't know. Nobody knows. It was a good one today. You know, I felt pretty good about my game. I'm through to the next round, so I'm pretty happy the way it's been going this first week here.

Q. Are you doing the Jimmy Connors run?

STEFAN EDBERG: I don't know. It's still such a long way to go. I have a tough match coming up next. The way I'm playing, you know, I definitely have a chance of moving forward here into the tournament. You know, every day is different. A good thing is that I played three matches here, hasn't been any long matches. Physically, mentally I feel good about my game. I'm looking forward to the rest of it.

Q. In a match you played well like today, have you ever missed four backhand volleys in the same game?

STEFAN EDBERG: I don't know what happened. You know, I let go a little bit. I stopped instead of moving into the ball. I hit some lousy volleys. That can happen. The very good thing, I got my timing back. There was only a bit of the match where he had a little bit of a chance, in the second set, got a break. Luckily I got the break back, played a good tiebreak. After that, it was pretty easy.

Q. You've never been a very emotional player. Considering the situation you were in, do you find emotions or thoughts or any of that kind of stuff are going through your mind while you're playing your matches more than ever before in your career?

STEFAN EDBERG: I think there's been more emotion in the last couple of years. I think I showed that in '92, that was a great year. At the moment I'm feeling good about my game, and I feel excited being out there. When you're playing good tennis, such a great feeling. I think in order to come up with some good tennis, I need to be fired up, I need to be excited out there, I need to feel the tension and be part of it. It's important.

Q. How much does that have to do with Tony being back with you, this is how it always was? Is that part of it?

STEFAN EDBERG: It helps. That's why I choose to go back and work with Tony a little bit. It worked out well during Queen's and Wimbledon. Since it's my last year, it's nice having him around, too, at the same time as a friend. There's many aspects that he can help me. He's pointing out a few things. It's working out very well. I think playing the Grand Slams, it's always good if you can have somebody there to help you, because there's other things off court, too.

Q. Are the other players treating you any differently? Notice anything in their attitude? Do they say anything to you?

STEFAN EDBERG: I think a lot of the players come up and say, "Well done, well played," probably a little more than usual. Not that I think about it that much.

Q. How does the crowd support affect the way you play?

STEFAN EDBERG: The crowd has been great so far, been on my side.

Q. Does it ever strike you, does the nostalgia ever hit you on the court that this is the last time here, you go through this, certainly not regret, but do you reflect at all while you play?

STEFAN EDBERG: Not really, because it's still pretty much the same thing being out there. Maybe somewhere in the back of your mind, but you're still out there to do your work. If you have too many thoughts in your mind, you're not going to be able to play good tennis. You really need to be focused on what you're doing, how you're playing. I really don't think about those things when I'm out there.

Q. How about right after the match, it seemed like you gave it a little bit more of an extended wave, fist in the air?

STEFAN EDBERG: Thank you for being there and supporting me. I have to give something back, too.

Q. Is Tony Pickard with Korda as well?

STEFAN EDBERG: No, he stopped working with Petr some time ago. He's just working with me.

Q. Do you appreciate it more than before, since you know it's going to end?

STEFAN EDBERG: I think I definitely do. I know it's my last year. I appreciate being here over the last couple of years. I think, you know, winning here back to back has made a big difference coming to here. I really enjoy coming. It's the last hardcourt of the season. Usually it's nice coming here. I feel out on the center court. It's just a nice court to play on because I've been out there for many matches. I love being there.

Q. What's the biggest single difference between being there now and the last time you won?

STEFAN EDBERG: Well, it's a little bit different. I mean, last time around when I won, I was playing some great tennis. I feel I'm playing some really good tennis as of now, too. I'm just going to give everything that I have here and see how far that can take me. I'm not sure myself. You know, I think if I keep producing the tennis and feel as good as I've felt, it sure can take me a little bit further. It's going to be really difficult to win it, because everybody keeps asking, "Do you feel you have a chance?" I feel I have a little chance, because so many things can happen. Each round is to wait for.

Q. How much do you think has to do with the fact this is your last year they give you always center court?

STEFAN EDBERG: Hopefully they will. It definitely helps. If you get used to playing on a court, it is the best court playing because it's a lot more room out there, instead of playing on these tiny courts. Definitely it's different. That's the court that I like the most. Hopefully they'll keep me there.

Q. As you keep playing so well, does that give you any second thoughts at all or does it make you more firm in your decision because you're retiring at such a high level in your game?

STEFAN EDBERG: I mean, that was the intention, to go away on a high note. The anticipation of playing the last year. I know that I can't keep going forever, it's just not physically and mentally possible. I want to finish playing good tennis. It's so much nicer to do it that way.

Q. Does it surprise you a little bit that Paul is also 30 and yet he just got his career-high ranking a few months ago, and you're about ready to go off into the sunset, so to speak?

STEFAN EDBERG: Peaked a little bit too late, I would say. I think for most of the players, you're playing your best tennis between 22 and 28. You have some exceptions like Paul, I think Thomas Muster is another one that is really peaking towards the end. For me, I've been there for so many years, you can only give it so much. Once you've been at the top of the game, being 1, it's the only way to go.

Q. Did you expect the third set to go by as quickly as it did?

STEFAN EDBERG: You can never know. As I got the break early, it has happened before playing against Paul. It went quick, which was good.

Q. Which of the youngest Swedes do you think has the most promise?

STEFAN EDBERG: Of the guys that I've seen, I think Thomas Johansson has a lot of potential. There's still things he needs to work on. Probably one of the youngest. Tillstrom is another one with potential. He's been around for some time now. That will be one of the players to look out for.

Q. Enqvist?

STEFAN EDBERG: Enqvist, he's made it. He's been to the Top 10. I don't consider him young any longer, because he's been there three years. He still can improve his game definitely.

Q. Do you remember your first main draw match in the US Open?

STEFAN EDBERG: The first one?

Q. Do you remember who it was?

STEFAN EDBERG: Oh, yes, I do remember that one.

Q. Krickstein?

STEFAN EDBERG: Krickstein in '83. It was quite an amazing match.

Q. Grandstand?

STEFAN EDBERG: Court 7. It was packed. It was 7-6 in the fifth set. Amazingly enough, they called me for about 20 foot faults in that match. It was a tough one. He had a good year that year because I think he beat Gerulaitis, went into the fourth round.

Q. You give as your reason for retiring, dropping out of the Top 10. That's a fine attitude to retire at the top. Are there any practical reasons other than emotional why you feel now is the time?

STEFAN EDBERG: I think we're all different the way we think. I've had a bad time for a year and a half where I didn't produce any tennis. I want to keep playing if I feel I can win another Grand Slam. I think it would be very difficult next year. At the same time I want to be in the Top 10 because that's where I feel that I belong. If I don't, doesn't make sense for me to play, therefore I made a decision to sort of play the last year and hopefully have a good last year. At the moment, it's been good for the last four, five months. Just the first part of the year was tough.

Q. The fact that it is the last year, has that helped you to play well?

STEFAN EDBERG: I think it's helped me in the end, once I get going, once I started playing matches and winning matches. I lost a lot of close matches at the beginning of the year which didn't help at all. Since that, I'm pretty relaxed out there, don't feel that I have that much pressure. Then it's a little different feeling playing.

Q. Can you give a reason why Sweden is always producing good men tennis player and no women?

STEFAN EDBERG: I wish I could tell you. It's like why don't good players come out of England. If I knew, I would tell them. It would be nice. I don't know why.

Q. How important to you is your final ranking at the end of the year?

STEFAN EDBERG: The higher it is, the lower, whatever you call it, the better it is. The way it's going, I have a chance of hopefully getting into the top 15. That wouldn't be so bad. Probably around 20 at the moment. Still room to improve since I don't have any points to defend at all towards the end of the year. A lot of things, it's possible.

Q. One of major things for retiring is that you're out of the top. In case of winning here, could be at the end of the year in the Top 10. Does that change your mind?

STEFAN EDBERG: No, no, it doesn't really change my mind. Everybody's trying to change my mind, but I don't think it will work. I'll be fooling myself, I'll be fooling other people, too. I feel it wouldn't be right to do it that way. Okay, I may have a fantastic end towards the end here; so much better, I think. I'll be so much more happy retiring. It's tough being out there, no question about it. Takes a lot of work.

Q. Stefan, is there any chance of you not being playing doubles at all? You won the Australian Open at the beginning of the year.

STEFAN EDBERG: There is zero chance of me playing doubles in the next couple of years.

Q. With your reason for quitting now, do you understand reasons why players like Pat Cash play qualifiers for tournaments like this?

STEFAN EDBERG: In his case, what should I say, if I was in his clothes, I probably wouldn't play at all. He wants to be there. Nobody's going to stop him. If he really loves being out there, I think he should. But I wouldn't.

Q. Stefan, you're the only junior champion who also won the men's. How do you explain that?

STEFAN EDBERG: It's a very difficult translation, being a junior and going into the pros game. 17, 18, you're winning every match. Suddenly you're going to start losing matches. That's the hardest part. At the same time it's such a big difference. It's so much work that has to be done. It really is a big translation.

End of FastScripts....

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