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August 31, 1995

Stefan Edberg


Q. Have you ever played on 16 before, Stefan?

STEFAN EDBERG: Probably, I have at some point. It was a long time since I played on an outside court. It is a pretty good court to play on. Quite a good atmosphere. People are pretty close and I didn't feel too bad. It was quite nice. For a change, I mean, at least the place is full. That is what you want sometimes, to play better on an a court like that, when it is full, than playing in a half empty stadium.

Q. Do you think the tournament committee is going to make you earn your way back into the stadium now?

STEFAN EDBERG: I could play another outside match that would be fine. Play Andre on court 16.

Q. What does that mean? Is there extra significance or importance if Agassi wins tonight, as he is expected to, play Andre here, you know?

STEFAN EDBERG: I think for me it is a great challenge, playing the best player in the world and playing here at the Open, where the atmosphere can be really good, and so playing here on the Center Court, I mean, I am really looking forward to it because I really have nothing to lose. I can go out there and play relaxed and just go for it and see how far it will take me.

Q. How different is it to play him here on Center Court than playin that final match in Washington?

STEFAN EDBERG: Always a different atmosphere when you play in a Grand Slam. I am not sure how he is going to be on the Center Court, because we both won a lot of matches out there and we both feel comfortable playing on that court.

Q. Can you look at that match like an opportunity to make up a little bit for the season?

STEFAN EDBERG: Sure. It is an opportunity, and it is great playing on the Center Court, playing against the best player of the world right now, and I know it is going to make me play my absolutely best tennis to have a chance to beat him. And he is in the position where I have been in for many years, where maybe he is supposed to win that match. But hopefully I will be a good challenge to him.

Q. What has happened to your tennis from being the best player in the world, which was not very long ago? Do you see something -- notice something that you yourself don't do as well as you did?

STEFAN EDBERG: Well, obviously not win as many matches. I think I have lost a little bit of the consistency. It is really in the last year I feel sort of, from last summer, that that match hasn't been very good at all, and it is really the first time in my life I faced sort of like a downhill slide because everything has been great so far and it's a little hard to adjust to it. But there is always a way back. It is not great being in that position, but there is room to move up again. I am not playing that badly. It is just -- some matches this year where I haven't played very well and I had some bad losses. Once you start losing matches, other people think they have a chance and you lose a bit of confidence. So it is a little bit of a tough position to find yourself in, but it is not the end of the world.

Q. Stefan, a few years ago Becker was out on 16, I remember him saying something about it felt smaller, because the court itself obviously is the same, but the surroundings made it feel smaller. Do you have to adjust? Do you feel different and do you have to adjust to that?

STEFAN EDBERG: It is different playing on an outside court because there is not that much room playing, I mean, everything appears to be different. Everything is tighter, everything is smaller, so it is quite a big difference playing on an outside court than to what it is playing on the stadium. Obviously for the top players, it is more difficult playing on outside court than on a big court than for the other players who are used to playing out there, a lot more difficult coming on the center court.

Q. Does it take, I mean, like today, obviously you weren't bothered much in the first set, but did it take a minute to settle in?

STEFAN EDBERG: No, I was ready to play out there. Like I said, it is a pretty good court to play on. It is nothing wrong there. Just go out there and do the job, but that is what I had in mind today.

Q. What was in the little packet that you put in your yellow water?

STEFAN EDBERG: Sports drink.

Q. In your mind, are you the 20th best player in the world or whatever the ranking says you are; in your mind, are you? 19? (LAUGHTER). I was going to say 18.

STEFAN EDBERG: With the rankings, okay, it is a fair system. The ranking tells the story, but it tells the story of the last twelve months, if I am playing my best tennis, I don't think I am No. 19 in the world. I think I am better than that, and do you agree or --

Q. I agree.

STEFAN EDBERG: Thanks. But I think so. I still am playing at my best. I still can challenge the best ones. That is all I need to know.

Q. Do you feel like your serve is right where you want it to be here, fairly --

STEFAN EDBERG: I have been serving well so far in the two matches that I have played here, and that is always a key because I have had shoulder problems all summer. So this is really, in the last two weeks, that I have been fully fit. So it makes a difference, yes.

Q. I wasn't in Washington, but you should have played pretty well, you lost 7-5 in the third to Agassi. What happened losing to Stolle?

STEFAN EDBERG: What happened?

Q. What happened in losing --.

STEFAN EDBERG: Well, Washington, okay, that was a final. But it was a very, very hot day playing in 120 degrees on the court. It becomes a different battle. It is a match of survival, grinding it out. I have had some touch matches going in there. He came out -- it was a very, very close match which either of us could have won, but he came up with the shots at the end and...

Q. Talking about Stolle's match.

STEFAN EDBERG: When did I play that one? That was not a good match. In Cincinnati, you mean? That was awful.

Q. 1 and 3.

STEFAN EDBERG: Went back to Europe after that to do something.

Q. What happens when you -- you mentioned that you don't have the consistency or you haven't had the consistency. What is the key to that? Where have you lost that?

STEFAN EDBERG: I must have lost it on the way, but I mean, I am not going to be top five for the rest of my life. I have had a long spell where I have been at the top of the game and, you know, now I face -- there is probably some reasons for this, but it is tough to point out. That is where it went wrong and this is the match where something else went wrong. It is a little bit of a natural thing too because you can't just keep going, and going forever. Sometimes you got to -- you are going to run into trouble and that is what I have done, but it is always a way out of it too.

Q. Would a win against Agassi --

STEFAN EDBERG: That would help, definitely.

Q. -- It is a little bit rejuvenating to play in a Grand Slam as well, even though you are having like the shoulder thing at Wimbledon all that...

STEFAN EDBERG: Yeah, those are the greatest moments playing in the Slams and it is great for your fitness too because you are playing three out of five sets, so if you can come through a Grand Slam; making it to the very end of the tournament, that is going to help you for the next couple of months, so it is a great opportunity to show that you can still play tennis and to get back into shape as well.

Q. Speaking from your own experience, is it tougher for Agassi this time around as a top seed as opposed to maybe what he went through last year?

STEFAN EDBERG: A little bit tougher, obviously, but I mean, he should be feeling pretty good about himself. He has played great all summer; hasn't lost a match since Wimbledon, but on the other hand, he knows he is -- there is going to be a day where he is going to lose a match. It is just a matter of time - whether it is going to happen here or next week or in the next month, but at the same time, he will feel a little bit of the pressure too, that is for sure.

Q. When you are out there on court 16 and he wins the third you seem to gather yourself up; you start very fast in the fourth and in Washington every time we you were down and out against Agassi, you seemed to dig from somewhere and find more. Does that come naturally at this point or is that something that you have to work at still?

STEFAN EDBERG: No, something that you have to work out. It takes time and that is what it is all about, digging out, because there are going to be times like today -- it is not very hot, but it is warm. I felt good for a couple of -- suddenly you find yourself a little bit sluggish and you lose concentration for a couple of minutes. That is what happened. I lost the third set, but it didn't really bother me too much. As long as you get on with it in the beginning of the fourth set and you take charge again, you are okay and it was actually good that I played four sets today because I got to spend some time out there and I needed to work. That is probably going to be good going into the next match.

Q. At the beginning of the season you played doubles because you needed some tennis. Now you are playing doubles here. Is it because of Davis Cup?

STEFAN EDBERG: Both. It is because of Davis Cup and it is because I feel that I needed to play some matches and I had a tough draw yesterday and played a tough match so I really wanted to play here. It is not normal, but under the circumstances...

Q. The fact that you are considering doubles means you are not considering playing singles or what?

STEFAN EDBERG: No, the thing is that we have a big problem with Apell. He has had a shoulder problem for some time and we are not sure whether he will be fit for Davis Cup or not so our --

Q. Have you given any thought that you are almost in the same position, if not the same position that Agassi was in last year, unseeded 20th or 19th in the world?

STEFAN EDBERG: It is a little bit similar, yes. So it makes you believe there is always a way back. It still is and I am still pretty young, and still pretty healthy and it is just a matter of, you know, motivation and leading the team.

Q. What do you think when you are waiting for that match to start, there are so many people, they are trying to get in --

STEFAN EDBERG: I didn't think that much because I came here pretty late today. The two matches before went like this. (snapping fingers). Didn't have too much time.

Q. You saw all those people craming in?

STEFAN EDBERG: That is expected because normally I don't play on an outside court. It is a chance for people to see somebody that is normally playing on the show court, so they are going to be there - see what is going on.

End of FastScripts...

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