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March 12, 1996

Stefan Edberg


JOE LYNCH: Stefan Edberg, semifinalist here last year coming off a quarterfinal at Scottsdale, wins today in a row match of first rounds of the Aussie Open. His five-setter with Jiri Novak and a little bit easier today. First question for Stefan.

Q. What is the full name, Stefan, of your Foundation, the one you have established?

STEFAN EDBERG: Stefan Edberg Foundation for Young Swedish Tennis Players. It is a long one, so Stefan Edberg Foundation will be just fine. But it is run through the Federation and they are looking after the kids in the program, and so it just got started. And I am supporting it financially to start with; hope to devote some time to it once this year is over.

Q. Now that you have made the decision that this is going to be your last year, how do you feel about it? Is it a sense of relief like school is almost over?

STEFAN EDBERG: In a way, it is a little bit of a funny feeling. I know it is a limited time. I have made a decision and I will stick by it, but I am trying to enjoy it the best way that I can, but obviously, you need to play some good matches too and it has been kind of rough the first two months of the year here. It is just the last couple of weeks, I have sort of felt that I have picked up some speed, and, you know, I played a little bit better, so that is important too, that you produce good tennis.

Q. You got a little bit of a standing ovation after that?

STEFAN EDBERG: Yeah, they have been really nice since I come here. I guess people have seen me play here throughout the years. This is a nice place to play. It really is.

Q. Did you look at the draw at all? It looked like pretty difficult road that you got?

STEFAN EDBERG: Yeah. Every tournament that I play in I am playing top seeds or somebody that is tough, that has been the case since I have been unseeded. It is a tough one playing Michael Chang. He is a guy that you have to beat. He is not going to give away any shots. We have had a lot of great matches in the past. There were sometimes since I did beat him. But, you know, if I can produce the tennis, that I did today, I have a chance.

Q. When you are not playing do you ever watch -- become a spectator and watch tennis?

STEFAN EDBERG: Well, as of now I think being on the Tour, you watch a lot of tennis through waiting around in the lockerrooms. Once you are at home, I really don't watch that much tennis because it is nice, I feel, to get away and not look. Obviously if there is a Wimbledon final, something like that coming up, I do try to tune into it to watch a little bit because that you don't want to miss, but apart from that I watch very little tennis, but that may change down the road. Who knows.

Q. Do you have a preference to watching the men's or the women's game?

STEFAN EDBERG: I do prefer to watch the men's game.

Q. Why is that?

STEFAN EDBERG: Well, I don't want to get into that, but I do prefer it.

Q. You just feel the caliber of tennis is better?

STEFAN EDBERG: I don't know. I just prefer it.

JOE LYNCH: More familiar with the people.


Q. Thirteen years without controversy don't want to start any now.

Q. Can you talk a little bit about the French Open. How do you think players like yourself, maybe the ones at the top right now, Becker, Agassi, Sampras, how do you think they can get that strangle hold that has been dominated --

STEFAN EDBERG: Last one missing for them, obviously, I think Agassi would -- the game he has stands the best chance of winning the French. He has been there in the finals quite a few times and he really hasn't got it yet, but he has got the best chance. Sampras, you know, he has a little chance too. He would need to be hot for two weeks and that is pretty difficult on the clay. You know, Becker I think it would be harder for him than for the other two guys, but nothing is impossible and as long as you believe it, that you believe that you can win it, you have a chance.

Q. Looking back at 89, was that a hot two weeks for you?

STEFAN EDBERG: Oh, yes, it was definitely because that is the best that I have ever played at the French Open. I have played some really good weeks on clay, but stringing together two weeks in a row, that is much more difficult than winning a one week tournament, which I have done a few times. I have won on the clay, but, you know, I really had one good chance 89. I have been in a few quarterfinals, but only one big chance that I had.

Q. Do you think it has gotten tough at all recently? We have had Bruguera and Muster win the last three years?

STEFAN EDBERG: That has always been tough to win any of the Slams whether it is today, ten years ago, you are always going to have some players that specialize and do well on the clay, like Bruguera, Muster, that has been around for some time, and before you had Borg, Vilas, lots of those guys, so it has always been hard to win.

Q. If you were going to give advice to Becker, Sampras who have all-around serve and volley games like yourself on how to succeed on the clay in Paris, what would it be?

STEFAN EDBERG: You got to stick to the game that you have. You can't really -- for Sampras, he needs to play serve and volley quite a bit, and the same with Becker, Agassi needs to play his game. It is no point, you know, changing your game for that surface because you got to use what you have got. That is really important. It takes a lot of patience and it takes some luck too, because you are going to face some uphill battles throughout the two weeks.

Q. Did you have good weather during your time in 89?

STEFAN EDBERG: No, I don't think.

Q. The draw --

STEFAN EDBERG: Not really. I think the weather was sort of -- there were some days where it was a little heavy. It was a mixture that two weeks, I believe, but I had the right weather for the right day. That is what it is about.

Q. So the opponent you played today you would probably not want to meet him in Paris come --

STEFAN EDBERG: He is a good player, Novak, I think he is coming from Mexico so I knew he would struggle today with the timing, but he is a guy that really can become a good player if he does work hard, and he is a good clay court player already. That is probably his best surface.

Q. Given the fact the results you have had recently haven't been up to your usual standards. Does a win like this one today give you, perhaps, a little bit more satisfaction than --

STEFAN EDBERG: Yeah, today was great because I did play well today. Okay, the guy didn't play well today, I have to admit that, but I did play well because I made very few mistakes, which is always been my biggest benefit and I was maneuvering the ball very well around the court and missing very few approach shots, apart from one that I missed completely, but apart from that it was a good day to be out there and these days you really enjoy playing and I did today.

JOE LYNCH: Anything else for Stefan? Okay, thank you.

End of FastScripts........

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