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August 30, 1999

Richard Krajicek


USTA: Questions for Richard.

Q. You just wiped out an 18-year-old hard court winner, kid who won the US 18-year-old hard courts.

RICHARD KRAJICEK: I'm hoping I'm still able to beat these kind of players. He's a lot younger, and he still has a lot to learn. I think in the second set, he got a little bit used to the speed. I think he just needs more matches against players who hit a little bit harder and faster. Maybe he's got a chance to become better. I think he has to improve his serve, especially second serve. Yeah, maybe run even fast. He's already pretty fast, but to see a guy like Chang who was really very fast; that's very important if you're not too tall.

Q. You walked out of Lipton and a lot of people thought that this is your year: Knees are fixed; you look stable around the net. It hasn't really come together the way perhaps you thought it would this year. Why not?

RICHARD KRAJICEK: Actually, almost on the contrary. Starting to fall apart a little bit instead of really coming together. Yeah, I don't know what happened. Yeah, I wish I knew because I've been really trying to turn it around. In the beginning, I didn't play such a great clay court season. I could accept that. I don't have to play good on every surface. I've done well on clay before, but I could accept that. Then somehow it went wrong on grass also, just a few -- not a great preparation. I won only two matches coming into Wimbledon, then a little bit bad and also unfortunate match I played in the third round. Then suddenly you play after Key Biscayne two Grand Slams and I didn't get past the third round. From really a very promising, I actually started the year pretty good, I have to say, maybe promising for a good success in the Slam, I suddenly have to fight to make something good of my year. After Wimbledon, I start to practice, start to get ready for the hard court season, feeling good. I played a pretty good match, considering I didn't play for a long time in Montreal. A little bit unfortunate to lose there in a very tight match. Yeah, it just like a domino effect. You cannot stop it. You have to stop it with a couple of wins. I thought I did a little bit in Cincinnati. I played okay. Felt pretty good for two matches. I started okay against Pete. I had a little bit of chance to break him in the first set; didn't do that. Again, my confidence just is not -- hasn't been easy since Key Biscayne.

Q. Physically you're okay. Emotionally, are you okay?

RICHARD KRAJICEK: I feel okay, but definitely I'm struggling with my game. In practice, I'm playing pretty okay. Somehow, yeah, there must be something wrong. I think it's not winning matches which has made life a little bit tough for me the last couple of months. Couple of close matches I lost which make it even tougher, because you feel that maybe if you would have won that match, again, you would have gotten over that little speed bump, however you want to call it, then it would be okay again.

Q. Is it one thing that keeps repeating itself? Lack of service returning, not being able to stay at the baseline?

RICHARD KRAJICEK: Of course, my service return is not my strongest point, so I never will win a lot there. But what I've found is that I'm struggling to really maintain my service rhythm, very good my service games. Like today I put in three double-faults to get broken. This guy is not good enough, in a way, to beat me, so I break him back straightaway and I win. But against other guys, if you're not playing well, at least that's been always the key for me, just hold serve, go into a tiebreak, somehow you'll make a couple of points and be better the next set. Yeah, that's what I've somehow put in always like a sloppy service game. Had it against Sampras as well. Put in a couple double-faults in Cincinnati against Ulihrach. And today, like I said, the guy was not good enough to cash in on those mistakes. But I think that's the most important, that my service games have to become more solid, that I just win, I don't know, 19 out of 20. Then I think my return game will come along with that, because in practice, it's pretty good. I always felt that my serve and my service games have been the key to my engine. When that's going, the rest of my game is coming along also.

Q. What would you rate your performance today out of 10? Did it help your confidence?

RICHARD KRAJICEK: I had some good moments. I don't know. Overall, I think I guess a 6, just good enough, nothing spectacular. I had some good moments. Struggling with my forehand lately. I missed a couple. But I'd say in the end I got a good rhythm. That was a big plus for today. First serve percentage could have been a little bit better, but you also have to remember it was very windy, so it wasn't that easy to play. So I guess a 6, just enough to win.

Q. Did King do anything at all to bother you?

RICHARD KRAJICEK: I'd have to say from Love-0 the second set when I had the breakpoint, I came in on a reasonable shot, because he hasn't really hit too many shots until then. Then he came up with a good backhand pass. Actually, from that moment, his backhand was very dangerous, I thought. He was hitting it well, taking it pretty quick. Then after he broke me at 3-All to go 4-3, I decided to go more to his forehand. I think that was, yeah, a big difference between his forehand and backhand. I think in the beginning, I was hitting too much to his backhand. I think for those six, seven games, his backhand was pretty dangerous, but the rest of his game is not that dangerous. I see potential. He likes to run, so I think he's a guy who likes to work. If you like to work, you can go a long way.

End of FastScripts….

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