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August 30, 1994

Stefan Edberg


STEFAN EDBERG: I didn't think you were so shy here in New York.

Q. How do you feel, Stefan?

STEFAN EDBERG: I feel quite good. I had a win today, so I'm happy and things have been going a lot better this summer, and I've been playing some good tennis. I still feel that I'm hitting the ball well, so everything is good, good.

Q. Do you feel that things are wide open here?

STEFAN EDBERG: Well, it is not exactly wide open -- well, it had opened up a little bit, but I still have my part of the draw left and there is a chance for a lot of the players.

Q. Stefan, when you see what happened to Becker and Ivanisevic yesterday, is that something you pay attention to or do you try not to think about it?

STEFAN EDBERG: I think everybody pays attention when two of the biggest names go out in the first round. I knew that Ivanisevic went out, and I didn't know Boris went out, I saw that this morning. It is a little surprising, but at least Becker had a tough draw, I thought, playing Reneberg. It is not easy either, so, it happens.

Q. Can you say anything about the status of the men's game right now?

STEFAN EDBERG: Well, you got to be sure out there, you've got to be ready to go out and can't really underestimate anybody because anybody can have a good day and the level of most of the players has gone up in the past few years. And you really have to work for every round, and as long as I'm playing well, I feel comfortable. For once the guys are starting to-- a little bit everybody has a chance.

Q. Stefan, when you beat Courier, when you look back, that day, is that the best day?

STEFAN EDBERG: That was probably one of the best days -- probably the best I've ever played; playing U.S. Open final for the first time and playing out of your mind, you know, it's really hard to beat where you don't make a mistake.

Q. Do you think back on that tournament, just -- the two tournaments that match and all the comebacks; what is it about this place that happened to bring out the very best in you?

STEFAN EDBERG: Well, it has for a couple of years. There have been some bad years.

Q. Yes, I know.

STEFAN EDBERG: It's funny because I didn't have very much success here to begin with and the year before I won it in '90. I came here winning four tournaments before going in and I went out in the first round. So, I always thought this is really going to be a good place for me any time. But suddenly in '91, I got through it the first half of the week and then I played some of the best tennis that I've done in my life. I played a great second week. I don't think I dropped a set, and that was a great feeling. And then, on the other hand, you think about '92, which was just incredible. When you think about it because that's the most amazing the way it went in the second, with a rain delay, five setters, coming back. It's the pressure. I look back at the Open because they were totally different, both of them.

Q. Is there any hole now -- I mean, is there anything that you -- is there one more -- how do you -- is there some hole in your career -- is there anything that you wanted to?

STEFAN EDBERG: Yes, I still want to win tournaments. That's a lot to do because that's what I play for, is winning, and that feeling when you win a tournament, and obviously I feel that I still have another Grand Slam in me, it's still possible to win that. So that's really one of the reasons I keep playing and there probably are many other reasons, that I still enjoy it. And there's nothing as great as playing tennis when you're out there, you do the things you want to do. You're playing well, you're winning, it is a great feeling.

Q. Considering your laid-back personality, are you stunned that the New York and the U.S. Open was the one Grand Slam that actually brought out the best in you?

STEFAN EDBERG: Yeah, in a way because I showed a lot of emotions winning here, especially in '92. And it brought out some good in me, I think. So, it -- after all, it has been a good place. And in the beginning, I didn't particularly like playing here because of the circumstances. But I think since they took the planes away going over here, I think that changed quite a bit for me. And I think coming back here year after year, you know what to expect. You just have to learn and concentrate on playing and just have in mind there's going to be distractions and that's what I did when I won it. And I did something else on Long Island -- I stayed on Long Island the first time I won. I tried to change a few things and it worked well.

Q. Do you ever come in here and take a walk around the grounds and try to recapture that feeling?

STEFAN EDBERG: Well, you come here once a year for the Open. It's always a pleasure to come back to a place where you've done well and especially the stamina. Once you walk on that Center Court you're always going to have those memories, the good ones, and that happens even -- like walking on Wimbledon Center Court, it is a special place. I do think back when I do come back here because if you won a Slam, you're never going to forget that.

Q. Do you find the men's game getting younger? Is it harder to maintain competitiveness at a young age?

STEFAN EDBERG: Well, there's a lot of young guys out there, but I think maybe players used to peek a little bit later than what they probably do now, but I still maintain -- when you're 24, 25, 26, that's the best time of your career, that's where you reach your peek, maybe 24 to 28. Sometimes 23 to 27. But now you have the experience, the physical fitness.

Q. What is the feeling among the top players about how vulnerable Sampras might be right now with his ankle?

STEFAN EDBERG: Well, he's going to be a little bit vulnerable, that is for sure, because he hasn't played any competitive tennis since Davis Cup, and what you lose not playing for many weeks is the consistency. And he is still hitting the ball very well because I hit with him the other day. He's still playing very, very good tennis. There's always a question mark coming off five weeks coming to a Slam playing, best of five sets. He's going to have a late start playing on Wednesday. There's going to be a lot of matches crammed into a short period of time, and that may be tough for him and he probably knows that too, but he's still a good enough player to do well.

Q. Stefan, when you were at Lipton I remember how you were talking about you were aware of your age, of being in your prime and obviously, you know, how you felt, you know, you may be coming to the end of that; how do you feel about that now?

STEFAN EDBERG: I feel quite good. I think I'm physically pretty much as fit as I've ever been. And what changes when you get older is recovery time and that you can't take away. It's just part of life, but I think you can keep yourself very physically fit for quite some time and I think Lendl is a perfect example where he really has kept himself very, very fit. Even if the last couple of years he's been a little up and down, but he still plays competitive tennis. At least 30 and older than that and I'm in a position-- if I'm in a position to stay healthy and fit for more years to come, if I have the determination to go out and work because it's almost like you have to work a little harder each year.

Q. How about mentally?

STEFAN EDBERG: That's the toughest thing to keep going and doing the things that you need to do. At the same time, you have to be a little bit aware so you don't play too many tournaments, sometimes take too much time off to go work on different things, because you're not going to be as hungry when you're 17, 18.

Q. Boris was saying last night with what they've done to the court and the ball-- it's difficult to play serve and volley here now. You didn't appear to have any problem?

STEFAN EDBERG: No, but a three-point game would do -- yes, it's never easy on the slow hardcourt, but I think that's really what you need.

Q. Is it slower this year?

STEFAN EDBERG: I don't know, I wasn't here very long last year, but -- well, the court is a little bit slow, I agree with that, but I quite like playing on slow hardcourt because it gives you a chance to play back and you can play serve and volley if you're good enough, there's no doubt about that. So I think the court played very nicely this year. I'd rather have them a little bit slower than quicker.

Q. Stefan, in other sports athletes play into their 30s and 40s and are in their prime still. What does it say about tennis that you're in your late 20s and --

STEFAN EDBERG: I'm still okay. The other people asking me the questions maybe because I've been at the top and I've dropped maybe a couple places in the rankings, but I'm still out there. It's just nature. Tennis is a game where most of the work is done with your legs. Once your legs go, you're finished in this game; doesn't matter how well you hit his ball, it's all legs. Moving around the court, reacting, recovering, because when you think about tennis, you don't play once a week, not twice a week. So you don't have time to recover. You need to play more or less every day and that's the biggest problem when you get old is recovery time. And that's what makes it difficult to play for a long period of time. Plus you compete during the year a lot, they're very long seasons.

End of FastScripts...

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