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March 25, 1996

Stefan Edberg


JOE LYNCH: Stefan Edberg is into the fourth round. Will take on the winner of MaliVai Washington and Arnaud Boetsch. His first three-match winning streak of this year, has one six of his last eight. That's all the statistics I have for the moment. About 766, 767 on the career wins list.

Q. First time since Washington last year, you won three matches in a tournament?

STEFAN EDBERG: I think it is. Well, I won in Hong Kong, but that was an exhibition so that doesn't really count. It does make a big difference when you get a streak of matches that you do play. I was a lot sharper today than the other two singles matches because it takes a few matches to sharpen up. I'll be in good shape for the next round here.

Q. Stefan, was the match easier than you thought today? Because you played him twice before?

STEFAN EDBERG: Yes. It went pretty easy, especially in the second set. After I got the break, he fell apart a little bit. I knew that I had to play my game and attack him, especially on his backhand. I did that pretty well. But the good thing about today was that I played good serve and volley; made very few mistakes, and that's the way that I'd like to play.

Q. In the volleys today, compared with the last round, different as chalk to cheese?

STEFAN EDBERG: Yes, it is. Today I hit the winners like I normally do when I'm serving well. It's very little that makes the difference. I mean, like I played today, this is the way I've been playing in practice. I've been a little tight in my matches this year. I've been feeling better now in the last few weeks here.

Q. The speed wasn't bad today, looking at the figures?

STEFAN EDBERG: I served --

Q. Higher than normal?

STEFAN EDBERG: Yeah, pretty high percentage of first serves, I felt. The speed was up where it should be or where it has to be because you need to be sort of 110 plus in order to make the guys really think on their returns.

Q. How are you enjoying, Stefan, your farewell Tour?

STEFAN EDBERG: Well, tenniswise, it could have been a lot better - I have to tell you that. Had a little bit of a rough time with my matches this year. Had some tough draws as well, otherwise, it's been quite positive and I think if the tennis gets better, everything is going to be so much better because that really is the key issue, to produce good tennis out there. That's really what I want to do in the last year. But from press, from the crowd, from everybody around, it's been very, very positive, I feel.

Q. If you continue to play well, do you think there's any way you're going to change your mind?

STEFAN EDBERG: No, I don't think so, because once I say something, I usually mean it. I feel it's great when you're playing well, but it's so much harder when you're not playing well. I made a decision within myself, and I think I would stick with that. Whether I play well or not, it will be my last year because I feel you can only give so much. It's just very tough out there.

Q. Going to the end of the year, many people will ask you.


Q. You know it's always like that.

STEFAN EDBERG: I don't think I will change my mind. I say that to 99 percent.

Q. Do you think when you get to Wimbledon - which has obviously got a big significance for you - that you might even sort of allow yourself a bit of emotion there?

STEFAN EDBERG: Yeah, I think so. That is going to be very special, playing at Wimbledon for the last time. Growing up, watching it on television; Borg playing that first time, such a special place, has been to me. I'm sure that will be more emotional than a lot of other tournaments; that's, for sure.

Q. It will be your 14th Wimbledon?

STEFAN EDBERG: Yeah, probably right.

Q. Stefan, they announced this morning that the ATP Doubles Championship will be held in Hartford, Connecticut.


Q. How would you, if you were a marketing executive, sell doubles to the American public?

STEFAN EDBERG: It's very hard without the big names, that is the truth. That's been the problem on the Tour for the last five, six, seven years where you really need to have the big guys, the Sampras's, the Agassi's playing doubles to really get the interest there. It can be sold to one extent, I think. They can make a little bit of a success if you get people to come there and enjoy doubles; enjoy things around it. It's very hard to make it sort of a very, very successful tournament. We've seen, because the doubles has been moving around from city to city, it was quite good down in South Africa, I felt. It's a tough sell.

Q. Are you going to play the doubles in the French?

STEFAN EDBERG: Yes, I will play with Petr, definitely.

Q. And if you win by any chance, try for the double Grand Slam?

STEFAN EDBERG: Oh, yes, I would definitely do that. You can't miss an opportunity like that. It's hard enough to win one in doubles because it happens so quickly in doubles. We were lucky to win down there. We played well. If we can play well at the French, we definitely have a chance there.

Q. Stefan, you seem, until up until about a year ago, you were holding your own, pretty much, in the top 20; the decline sort of team seems to have accelerated a bit. What do you put that down to?

STEFAN EDBERG: I think it's been more of a mental thing; plus I've had some sort of small injuries for a long period of time where I had problems with my shoulder during the whole summer last year. I've had problems with the wrist for five months. I think that's part of the thing, but also I've worked so hard for many, many years. Once you feel yourself slip, sometimes it can be a very, very quick slide down the ranking. That's been the case for me, unfortunately. I really try to stay up there, but you've got to produce results because it will show quickly on the rankings.

Q. Don't you find it getting easier to accept a loss than it was before?

STEFAN EDBERG: Yeah, it has been, and that's a problem, too. With losses, you learn in the game how to lose because it's part of the game, and you need to learn something. You shouldn't really accept it. Sometimes I have accepted it, and that's not really good, it really isn't.

Q. Does doubles help your singles, do you think?

STEFAN EDBERG: Yes, it does. It's always been the case where I sharpen up my serve and volley playing doubles. At the same time, it can get too much, if you go forward in both events.

Q. Previous years when you didn't play doubles, you played well singles?

STEFAN EDBERG: Now your singles go down, one would think you would save yourself for singles and not doubles.

STEFAN EDBERG: I need to play the matches like anybody else. You can be as fit as you want to, not playing matches. Once you play matches, it's a different ball game. If you can get matches in doubles, it's going to help out there playing singles as well. At this stage it's important for me to play both.

Q. It was a turning point on your double attitude that final you played at US Open, the day before you played Wilander in the semi-final?

STEFAN EDBERG: Yes, definitely. It really hurt my singles when I had some bad scheduling at Wimbledon and the US Open. It was ridiculous. I said, "I've had enough." It was a decision which I wouldn't have made unless it did happen.

Q. Do you still enjoy playing? After so many years, how has your attitude towards tennis changed?

STEFAN EDBERG: I still love tennis, otherwise I wouldn't be playing. It's great once you're playing well. There's really nothing much better than playing tennis. At the same time with the standards I've set for myself, playing some of the matches in the last year or so has been very aggravating and very hard, playing some really bad matches. That hurts.

JOE LYNCH: Anything else for Stefan? Thank you.


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