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November 14, 1994

Stefan Edberg


Q. Obviously you had a bad week in terms of, you know, getting sick and good luck to get in, bad luck to not play. Where do you stand now going in?

STEFAN EDBERG: Well I'm healthy, that's the main thing. And, you know, I played a lot of tennis in the last couple of weeks and haven't really played that well; been struggling a little bit. Little bit sad that I couldn't play last week because it would have helped me tremendously. Now I'm there and have a chance like anybody else to do well.

Q. You're in, probably, the worst group you could have asked for, aren't you?

STEFAN EDBERG: Yeah. If you look at the groups, I think it's quite a big difference when you look at it; you've got the serve and volley group, the big hitters, and you've got the baseline group. So there is a difference. But on the other hand, the one -- the two players that can come through tomorrow has probably come through some tough matches and can benefit towards them.

Q. So, obviously, you have to look at it, you're in with a chance, right?

STEFAN EDBERG: Certainly. I'm here and I certainly have a chance. And if I can produce my best tennis, it gives me an opportunity.

Q. What about that infection business, what was it? Did Sampras go to --

STEFAN EDBERG: I'm sort of wondering whether he did or not, but it's probably not the same thing that he had, you know. I had a fever for 24 hours, and I was pretty much knocked for 48 hours. But I'm recovering quite well here. And I didn't play anything for three days, and I started everything yesterday, and hopefully by the time I'm starting Wednesday I'll be feeling pretty much ready to go.

Q. Obviously we've all gone over the same ground before, but this has not been your very best year in tennis; no grand slam finals -- we know there is a chance to make it up at the Davis Cup, but generally speaking, in terms of, you know, the last ten years, where does this one kind of relate?

STEFAN EDBERG: Well, obviously it's not a good one; only semifinal at the Australian Open, I have some victories though at some tournaments but it's been a big disappointment; especially in the Grand Slams where I haven't really performed at all, I don't think. Sometimes you have to face facts that, you know, you may have a bad year at one stage, but I really haven't had too many bad years in my career and -- considered to a lot of other players, it's not a disaster year. I'm still number eight in the world, still in the top ten but, you know, would have wished to have some better results. But I can make it up a little bit. But by doing well here, I still have a chance to win here, I still have a chance to win the Davis Cup, so it could still be a good end towards the end. But, you know, it's going to be next year.

Q. You are talking about an extremelyly high standard. I mean, just because you didn't the get the Grand Slam final, you know, it's not the end of the world. But given that you didn't play with such a high standard and you're the first one to say that, you know, it's the game is getting tougher, I mean, do you, somewhere in the back of your mind, see a time you're not going to be playing?

STEFAN EDBERG: There's going to be a time when I will stop. There's going to be a time when everybody stops. You know, it's hard to say when it's going to be because it all depends on myself; how I can keep myself motivated; how can I stay out of injuries, and how I'm going to perform over the next couple of years. So at the moment, I take one year at a time. I'm just going to take it as IT comes because I'm sure I'm going to feel when it's time to stop.

Q. You'll know it?

STEFAN EDBERG: Yeah, yeah, it will come to me.

Q. Well, thinking about next year, it's not very long until next year starts; it's the first five minutes of January?

STEFAN EDBERG: Yeah, I have -- I mean, I always like starting in Austrailia because it's usually the beginning of the year. You can leave the year behind you; whether it's been a good one. You know, it's sort of a safety box. If it's a bad one, it's behind you, you can start a new one. So, you know, I'm looking quite good for next year, I think.

Q. Rosset said in Paris, well I don't know about Australia because we like to ski in Switzerland. And I mean, you're not exactly immune; you know what the winter is, you know, in Sweden, and the Swedes seem to like it down there?

STEFAN EDBERG: Oh yeah, I think it's a great time of year because you spend like November, December -- it's very dark in Europe, the weather isn't particularly good. It's sort of a wakeup call when you get down to the sun and I really do enjoy that.

Q. Could I ask you one side question just about doubles? You've played doubles, you know, championship level, but obviously when you're a top ten single player, that doesn't exist anymore. I mean doubles, do you have any theories about that?

STEFAN EDBERG: Well, I think it's very hard to compete well both in singles and also doubles. I could do it when I was younger, when I was a good doubles player and a good singles player at the same time. But for me, I've reached my goals in doubles and I know that I can't play doubles every week in the year. I did play doubles. It was more to help my singles game. But when I did play doubles, I enjoyed it because it's a nice way of playing tennis because the pressure is not really there on me and I could enjoy myself. So I do like playing doubles.

Q. What do you think about -- I mean, just guys that play doubles, I mean not that they're any less tennis players, but that's a different kind of breed, isn't it? I mean, what would a top ten guy like yourself -- what do you think when you see guys playing doubles.

STEFAN EDBERG: Well, now, there's certain aspects how they are a little bit on the doubles Tour and there's a singles Tour. It's a great opportunity for a lot of guys to go around the world to do something they love doing and still making quite a bit of money. So it's very possible.

Q. You don't think they're overpaid?

STEFAN EDBERG: Well, I don't want to make too much comments.

Q. Comment about the groups?

STEFAN EDBERG: Yeah, I think everybody has to agree that there is actually a difference in the group this year; more than it's been in quite some time. But that's the way it comes out, you know, because one and four and five and eight and one -- or you're in one group and the other is going the other direction. It's just the way it has come up this year. When you look at it, you've got the seven volleyers, the big hitters in one group and more of the baseliners in the other group.

Q. (Inaudible.)

STEFAN EDBERG: Well, it's -- I always find it when you're playing indoors it's always easy to play against the baseliners because at least you get to play; and that's my opinion.

Q. ( Inaudible.)


Q. Goran said yesterday this surface is a little bit slower than in previous years.

STEFAN EDBERG: It could be. I think this surface isn't a big difference. I think the balls are playing quite slow, at least when we've been practicing. It may be a little bit different when we play in matches when we change balls, and maybe it's going to not be popular, but it's quite a good place, I think.

Q. (Inaudible.)

STEFAN EDBERG: Yeah, yeah, yeah, I definitely think so, yeah.

Q. (Inaudible.)

STEFAN EDBERG: Well, we can always argue back and forth. He has always qualified under the current system and he's done what he's able to do, and he's done it very well; there's no doubt about that. But there's always a question mark when you have all the 14 tournaments in one surface. There's going to be cases like this and I don't know what to say. I mean, he qualified so you just congratulate him in that, but there's a question mark, I think.

Q. But there's a possibility then you can play -- (Inaudible.)

STEFAN EDBERG: Yeah. I mean, that's the ideal thing to have -- it's like having your ranking where you need to have, but you can never find a perfect system. You know, you have to play under the current system. If you see opportunities and, you know, everybody has a chance to go and check it but --

Q. (Inaudible.)

STEFAN EDBERG: I don't know. I mean, I don't know what to change.

Q. What's going on with all of the tricks and everything?

STEFAN EDBERG: Yeah, one of them.

Q. You and the Federation fight to ask the abandoned players (inaudible).

STEFAN EDBERG: You would certainly know him. He works for Magnus Larsson. It's always good when you go to a country where you haven't been before, to get a little bit of feedback to what you can expect because it's not like your traveling in Europe. It's a little different than -- and I think it's -- they've definitely been preparing the best way they can.

Q. You don't have any other tricks besides Goran -- (Inaudible.)

STEFAN EDBERG: No, I'm sorry. There's a few others I don't want to talk about.

Q. I mean, it's still -- you know, everybody seems to be excited among you guys in the Davis Cup; maybe more so than a lot of other countries would be.

STEFAN EDBERG: Yeah. I think Sweden -- Davis Cup is something incredible big in Sweden because it gets really into the Swedish homes and, you know, they take the -- for the Davis Cup, and I think Russia, they first coming in the Davis and I -- Davis Cup final, there's been a touch there of interest. There's going to be a big interest in both countries during this Davis Cup finals. And I think Davis Cup, perhaps in Russia and Sweden, is more important than it would be in many other countries.

Q. Would it save your year if you win the Davis Cup?

STEFAN EDBERG: Well, it would make up quite a bit.

Q. So you're talking doesn't -- (Inaudible.)

STEFAN EDBERG: No, -- yeah, I mean if we can play with that team, it's the best team they put out.

Q. I think that will be the best way.

STEFAN EDBERG: That's the best team they put out.

Q. (Inaudible.)

STEFAN EDBERG: No, I'm going to play a little bit less next year. I think I need to because it's been a little bit too much tennis this year and I think I have to be more careful. I'm not overplaying because I think it's more important for me to be prepared when I go to a tournament; to be motivated, to be hungry, you know, I have to give myself a couple of breaks in the year next year. And as the schedule is for me next year, there's going to be a couple of breaks. But you can never be sure it's going to happen because injuries can bring a lot of problems, and I have to be more careful.

Q. Are you going to play much lighter tournaments as you did this year or --

STEFAN EDBERG: No -- I don't know. I haven't been in too many claycourt tournaments. I've left it out. And I feel better. I'd like to play, you know, as to -- a wild card in some of the tournaments. Let's see how I feel and how I go. So, let's look at the first two or three months of next year, that's where I'm planning ahead right now. Once I get a little bit closer to the claycourt season, I will start thinking about that.

Q. (Inaudible.)

STEFAN EDBERG: No, I feel a lot better. I was out for a couple of days and I get sick very seldom, but once it happens, it strikes me.

Q. So are you in shape for this tournament?

STEFAN EDBERG: Yes, I would say so. I don't have any injuries. I've played quite a bit of tennis this fall and so I'm ready for this tournament.

Q. Did you take your family from Sweden?


Q. (Inaudible.)

STEFAN EDBERG: Well, I still keep my residence in London for now. Once you stop playing tennis, then you just hope to talk to one another what you want to do. There's been manyu opportunities.

Q. ( Inaudible.)

STEFAN EDBERG: Yeah, you can always say that. French Open, it's always been a dream, but that's fading away a little bit. I still believe that I can win another Grand Slam, you know, if everything goes right. But it didn't go well in playing the best. But I'm playing. I'm playing the best tennis, so that keeps me going.

Q. (Inaudible.)

STEFAN EDBERG: I think my best chance is in Austrailia and the U.S. Open. That's what I feel.

Q. (Inaudible.)

STEFAN EDBERG: I think the chances are better in Austrailia.

Q. (Inaudible.)

STEFAN EDBERG: Yeah, but I'm not sure how tight they're going to be because it's ridiculous how -- (Inaudible.)

Q. Is it too late to qualify for this tournament?

STEFAN EDBERG: For me it's never been a problem before. This year it's been a problem.

Q. What problems?

STEFAN EDBERG: Kind of a little bit frustrating because you can't plan your schedule, and I had to play an extra scheduled tournament last June to make sure I had the chance, because normally it would have been better to have that week off. But, you know, it's my own fault because I played very well in the beginning and I played well in the summer, but since the middle of summer and August I haven't been able to collect a point. So I could have been in the Masters, you know, up to the summer, but I didn't and it's been a little bit frustrating.

Q. Was there a bit of feeling like nerves that you never felt before?

STEFAN EDBERG: No, I wouldn't say so. It feels good to qualify for Frankfurt because that's where I still believe I belong, you know, to be there and it would have been a little bit sad to have missed it this year. And the way I looked at it at the end, you know, I know I was very close the last week and I was going to go and play in Antwerp. I had the extra because I was number eight. If I didn't keep playing well in Antwerp, there was a good chance I was going to qualify. But, you know, it fell apart so..

Q. In theory, it's national attention. You've been playing indoors against the big hitters and --

STEFAN EDBERG: Yeah. I mean, my chance is always going to be there. I can't perform well, but I think I have a chance to win here. It's important that to keep succeeding in tournaments and it's always going to be in the record books. I think it's a different game number eight than number five. To me it's quite important, and especially at the end of the year where you see you can measure yourself how you have performed because normally most places the rankings tells the truth, especially by the end of the year, who's performed the best. It is important.

Q. There is a chance that the tournament will move to another city or other another continent; Asia is a big one, and they're trying to have it. Do you prefer to have it -- you've played in New York. Would you like to play it in Asia or do you have a preference?

STEFAN EDBERG: Well, I have a preference; being in Europe, obviously, I think even if I'm a European, it makes more sense to play here because most of the tournaments like Stockholm and Paris are all in Europe, so the players are going to be here anyway. So I would like to see it be here. You know, we've had it in New York before and that was quite good; not as good as it's been here.

Q. Sampras drank a liter of yellow stuff yesterday in the first set. Is that -- (Inaudible.)

STEFAN EDBERG: It varies from person-to-person; sometimes you need more.

Q. (Inaudible.)

STEFAN EDBERG: No, I had antibiotics.

Q. Who was the biggest surprise this year?

STEFAN EDBERG: Biggest surprise?

Any help?

Q. Sampras getting injured?

Q. What about Andre getting a rise?

STEFAN EDBERG: Yeah, it's quite a healthy one for tennis. No, it's -- it's hard to tell.

Q. (Inaudible.)

STEFAN EDBERG: That surprises everyone. I mean, like Agassi, that's a surprise and Berasategui, that's a surprise. Nothing surprises me any longer.

Q. (Inaudible.) -- you are able to play your game but the game has changed?

STEFAN EDBERG: Yeah, the game has changed. I mean, I changed a little bit myself. You adapt to what's happening around you. I've been lucky that I've been pretty healthy, stayed out of injuries and I've worked harder; a lot of discipline. So that's why I was at the top for a long time. I think I still have the motivation during all the years. It's not getting easier, that's for sure. There's always young guys coming up wanting to take your place. But at the same time it's challenging.

Q. Looking at '95, if there was one change in men's tennis that you would like to see changed, what would it be?

STEFAN EDBERG: You're talking about what?

Q. Men's tennis.

STEFAN EDBERG: Rules or --

Q. Rules or any aspect of the play you'd like to see changed.

STEFAN EDBERG: No. What I would like to see is to get the players more involved in off-the-court activities, trying to bring the kids back to watch the tennis matches and --

Q. In what way?

STEFAN EDBERG: Maybe the players taking some of their time at the tournament at the beginning of the week, maybe spend some time with some kids and bring a lot of kids around for the tennis because those are the ones that are going to come and watch maybe in the future. And that's one of the changes which is going to be very important.

Q. (Inaudible.)

STEFAN EDBERG: There's a lot of money in tennis. There's a lot of money in a lot of other sports as well. What has surprised me is prize money kept going up year after year after year, but I think we've reached a stage of tennis where some of the interest has begun to fade a little bit. And, you know, if we can keep the money that it is today, I think we can consider ourselves quite lucky.

Q. What about no doping at the Open?

STEFAN EDBERG: Well -- in the U.S. Open you mean? Talking about the U.S. Open?

Q. Yeah.

STEFAN EDBERG: I mean, you can't have it every week but maybe that's one of the weeks where you should have one because that's maybe one of the very important tournaments of the year. So I'm all for that. You have to understand, we can be asking too much for us to have dopings held every week. That would be a little bit too much. I mean, on average I think players get tested three, four or five times a year, which perhaps is not enough. But we do get tested, so that has progressed in the last couple of years.

Q. (Inaudible.)


Q. Yeah.

STEFAN EDBERG: Winning tournaments is always great, I think. Whether it's a small one or a big one, I think those moments are the ones that you want to be -- or you want to keep playing for.

Q. (Inaudible.)

STEFAN EDBERG: The worst? The worse was probably losing to Henrik at the French Open. That was absolutely the worst by far.

Q. Do you think there is still some chance of play in the future?

STEFAN EDBERG: I can still play well on the claycourt, and I can still have a good week on the clay. It's more difficult to have two good weeks on the clay, and that's what you need in order to win the French Open. I know it's pretty difficult to reach my goal now.

Q. You are still dreaming -- (Inaudible.)

STEFAN EDBERG: You always have dreams, but not all the dreams are going to come true. But I would be happy if I could win another Grand Slam. You know, I would be happy whichever it is. That's a little bit of a dream, and I think that's realistic.

Q. (Inaudible.)

STEFAN EDBERG: I don't know. I think my best chances today is in the Australian and perhaps at the Open.

Q. We've been talking about clay. What do you think about the performance of the Spanish this year?

STEFAN EDBERG: The Spanish have been dominating the clay for most of the season, and they have now so young players coming forward on the clay. But I think you should start building some other surfaces now in spring because all you can find is clay.

Q. Stefan, if you'd like to change one rule in 1995, which one would you change?

STEFAN EDBERG: You're talking about rules and changes in tennis?

Q. Yeah, tennis. The ranking system or -- I don't know balls, surface, whatever.

STEFAN EDBERG: No. I said it before, I don't want to repeat. I think the important thing is to try to get young people to come and watch tennis. Tennis players should take a little bit of their time in tournaments to maybe have some clinic for some of the young players and get a lot of kids; maybe to get them free tickets and let them come to the tennis and watch and; maybe, you know, have a hit with me or Sampras. That's one way of, you know, changing something.

Q. But about rules?

STEFAN EDBERG: I know there's been some changes. There's been some changes this year, and I don't know what to change next year.

Q. Stefan, going back in what you just said, do you think that's realistic? Who's going to get the players to -- (Inaudible.)

STEFAN EDBERG: Well, I think we in tennis need to do something because we have a little bit of an image problem with the tennis. And I think we need to give something back and change a few things. You know, we all can agree that you can take a couple of times a year each top player to do something. You know, it's like having a clinic with 15, 20, 30 kids, you know, spend an hour on a Monday, Tuesday, something like that. That would be something positive, I think.

Q. Would you be a leader of something like this. I know you were involved with a charity earlier on and --

STEFAN EDBERG: Yeah. I mean, I think we're going to see things like that happening soon. I mean, at least it's under discussion, and things like that -- I think it's going to be very important because it's the young players, young people you want to get into tennis, because if they -- you know, if they're going to have a good time when they're young, there's a good chance to come back when they're 20, 25 and maybe bring their kids back to come and watch tennis. It's something helpful.

Q. (inaudible)?

My standards over the past ten years obviously haven't been great. But I did qualify there once which is possible. I have a chance to win here. So, you know, you have to play some tough courts too sometimes and it happened to me.

Q. (Inaudible.)

STEFAN EDBERG: He's got a very, very tough serve, and that makes it really difficult because, you know, he's always returning quite well. Not all the time, but, you know, all he needs to do is serve well for a set and break you once and you're in trouble.

Q. Your career next year, is it going to be the end?. Are those guys too fast for you?

STEFAN EDBERG: Well, the most important thing for me is keeping myself motivated, keeping myself in shape. And if I can do that, I can play with the guys still and probably for next year and possibly the next year.

Q. You enjoy it?

STEFAN EDBERG: Yeah, I still enjoy playing.

Q. What is the goal for you?

STEFAN EDBERG: Well, I still would like to win another Grand Slam tournament if that's possible, and I still love competing and winning. Whether it's Wimbledon or Stockholm or some other smaller tournament, it's still a great feeling.

Q. But you don't like to speak with the journalists very often?

STEFAN EDBERG: I don't really mind too much. I've always been really low key. I think you have to speak to journalists, of course. Not too much, not too little. You try to keep them happy.

Q. What did you think about the tennis and the whole thing around the tennis today and --

STEFAN EDBERG: Well, there's a lot more activities around tennis today because people are demanding more for the ticket prices. There is sometimes less that want to go and watch tennis for an hour or two hours. They want to be able to maybe purchase some sponsor time, going to a fan festival, get some other value for their tickets. So it's changing a little bit.

Q. Do you think that a lot of money is not good for tennis?

STEFAN EDBERG: Well, I think a lot of money creates a lot of interest and creates a lot of competition, so I do think a lot of money is always good for the sport.

Q. What is your opinion about -- (Inaudible.)

STEFAN EDBERG: If you look at them, obviously my group is the tougher group and everybody has to agree on that. You've got the servers and volleyers in my group and you've got more of the baseliners in the other group. So there's a difference.

Q. What was the best tournament this year for you?

STEFAN EDBERG: Well, I think I played some of my best tennis in the beginning of the year; one in Doha, one in Stuttgart and in the summertime, that was the best part of the year for me.

Q. And the Davis Cup?

STEFAN EDBERG: And the Davis Cup is not over yet, but I had some help from my teammates as well. But that would be a nice end of the year if we could win in Davis Cup.

End of FastScripts....

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