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August 13, 1999

Richard Krajicek


RICHARD KRAJICEK: He played a pretty good game. I don't worry about that game; he was probably going to serve it out anyway. I wasn't preparing to it -- just happens, I think would have hurt more, a game like that if it would be like 5-4 and I was serving for the set. I just basically lost the match end of the first set and also beginning of the second when I was 40-15, I had 3 up. Last game was nice, you see that Pete hitting out and-- (inaudible).

Q. Could you sense he was a little tense in the beginning of the match?

RICHARD KRAJICEK: Maybe. But I think the conditions were pretty difficult. Difficult wind blowing down. I was struggling with it also. He was also hitting some doublefaults and missing a couple of shots. I don't know if he was nervous, but I think also the conditions had something to do with it. That is why it was important for whoever to get the first break or win the first set is going to feel much more confident in the second and see what happens. 3-All, breakpoint, hit a very good volley, and 4-All break point, I just missed a return which I hit pretty good. Then he played a pretty good game to break me at 5-4. Then only thing I could do was stay with him and obviously I didn't do that. I dropped my serve straight-a-way. (inaudible).

Q. Do you feel mostly that his level went up in the second set?

RICHARD KRAJICEK: He start to play better, but I think my level was down a little bit. I mean, three doublefaults is not very good. If I still hold onto my serve and at least make him work for it, but I think after he broke me to go 2-Love then he got more confident.

Q. You talked yesterday about the mental edge that you thought you might have gotten winning all those matches in a row. Did you feel any of that at all today?

RICHARD KRAJICEK: It was very close in the beginning. He had a breakpoint straight-a-way in the first game; didn't make it. Then I had a couple of breakpoints, I was very close. He missed a couple of shots, both of us, but I don't know if it had anything to do what I said before with mental edge. I think it was just difficult conditions out there. I mean, if I would have broke him and maybe win the first set, of course, it is a different story. It was very close and would have been nice of course to win that first set, but then after that, yeah, set and a break up, he feels very confident; then he start playing well. I don't know how he felt out there. But I think, yeah, we were pretty equal in the beginning and just whoever was going to take his chances and also seeing how he has been playing last couple of weeks, of course, winning a lot and I haven't won too much, I think it just happened who was most confident at the moment.

Q. Anyway you can tell in his game specifically, any particular shot or anything, when he starts feeling confident that he does differently?

RICHARD KRAJICEK: I thought that he got better in the second set, his first serve percentage went up and he started hitting more backhand passing shots. His backhand return is always very good, but I think backhand passing shots can sometimes go off a little bit. He started to make them in the second set a lot. Then he started feeling comfortable on the court.

Q. When you had that breakpoint up 4-4, did you just feel like you missed a big opportunity --

RICHARD KRAJICEK: At the moment, yeah, I felt like a big opportunity in a way, but I didn't think it was going to be my last chance, but obviously it was my last chance. If I would have known that, I would have felt a little worse about that. Then I thought, okay, hold serve, go for the next game. So I tried to break him then, but he broke me and then basically end of story.

Q. Where do you see your game in general?

RICHARD KRAJICEK: My first two rounds I was very happy with the way I was playing. Today I had a couple of moments was okay, but I don't know what happened to my return today. But I was so late all the time, both sides, my backhand return is not so good, but my forehand return is. I was struggling with the speed out there. Besides that, my game is okay. I had some more doublefaults than I would like. Also it was pretty windy, so take that into consideration. But at least something last couple of weeks or couple of months really was nothing much positive about my game. I was missing a lot and not playing too good, but progressing well and hoping the Open is going to be -- I can start a little bit at the level that I had here and maybe play better in the matches to come.

Q. How hard was that -- (inaudible)

RICHARD KRAJICEK: Pretty difficult. After Key Biscayne I was struggling with my game; didn't win too much. I always had the feeling that I would turn it around on grass and didn't really do that in the two tournaments before Wimbledon. But still I felt -- I stayed positive and I thought that if I didn't worry about it, it will come, I will play good, and then, yeah, I lose to guys not very known; not ranked too high. He played a pretty good match, but I missed a couple of chances. That was pretty tough because I could really save all those couple of bad months that I played before with one tournament like for me as a feeling. Then after I lost that, it was painful to lose to a player like that who was ranked that high and in such a big tournament as Wimbledon and also so early in the tournament. I was trying to save my first half of the -- I was going to have four weeks off so I felt if I play good here, with a good feeling I will take four weeks off. I wasn't too happy of course. It didn't take me too long to really get over it, but left a bad aftertaste though.

Q. If Pete and Andre end up playing, as a player do you watch that match if you can or are you interested in that?

RICHARD KRAJICEK: No, I never watch matches, especially in tournaments where I lost. I didn't watch one shot at Wimbledon this year after I lost. I don't care. When I am in the tournament I sometimes watch. Or tournaments didn't play, then I will watch it. I don't know, I just try to forget the tournament completely.

Q. Did you read about it? Of course, you know what happened?

RICHARD KRAJICEK: I heard he played unbelievable in the finals at Wimbledon and that is about it.

Q. Steffi Graf is retiring. She announced it today. Any comment on that?

RICHARD KRAJICEK: Yeah, it is a shame in a way, she was I think very important for the women's game. Also automatically for the men's game because tennis is tennis, a man or woman. In a way it affected after announcing basically she wasn't coming back to Wimbledon and to the French, but I think it is one of the greatest players ever in tennis and even the greatest player. She won so many Grand Slams and she was always such a good athlete and good sports woman on the court, really conducted herself well and a good example for everybody. So it is a shame. In a way I respect her and I think it is also a good feeling that she had so many injury troubles and I think it would not have been nice if she would have stopped and not winning so much, but yeah, she won the French and finals of Wimbledon, so I think with a good feeling she stopped now. I think she has achieved everything she wanted and she can go on to do whatever she wants. I think that is good if you feel your time is there, doesn't matter if you are 28, 35, or 40, she felt it was now. I think it was a good choice.

Q. A few years ago you gave an opinion on women's tennis and Steffi was the only one you were respecting?

RICHARD KRAJICEK: I haven't said too much about women lately. I always respected Steffi and a couple of players, but I think Steffi, like I said, she has been a good example for everybody, man or woman, and she has been an ambassador for tennis. She has been a good sportswoman throughout her career and I always respected that.

Q. Will people realize more sort of what she was able to do in her career once people try to start doing some of the things that she did?

RICHARD KRAJICEK: No, I think people realize now with so many Grand Slams and dominating so much, so many years it was really -- yeah, I think people do realize it. I mean, once in a while you have somebody dominate for one year or two years, Hingis was dominating for a while. Monica still, with that terrible incident, was dominating. She has been really dominating 6-7 years, 360 weeks she was No. 1 or something. It is unbelievable. So it is going to be very difficult to equal what she has done or even come close. But, yeah, you never know. In ten years, 20 years when I am not even around anymore, I don't know maybe somebody gets up and starts beating what she has achieved, but she certainly achieved a lot. I think it is pretty amazing.

Q. Can you talk about Pete's serve today? A couple of times where he hit 130. How difficult --

RICHARD KRAJICEK: It is difficult. First set wasn't too difficult because he wasn't hitting so many in. But, yeah, it is always difficult. I always also serve pretty big so I know it is a good weapon to have, gives you confidence. Especially when they start going in, they are very difficult. He can of course hit one or two in a game, I don't know about that, But at one stage he was hitting three out of four first serves in the court. Then it is tough because then you don't really have a shot. If he gets the second serve, he is already 30-Love up so he goes for that even more. He's got also a big second serve. Yeah, it is difficult playing against a guy who is confident with his serve. First set, he didn't serve that good; had a couple of chances but once he got going I didn't really come close anymore.

Q. Can you make the argument he is the best player ever in the world?

RICHARD KRAJICEK: I think on every surface except clay. I think that -- I don't know. It is difficult to say. He is a very good player. I think what makes him so great is that he is mentally unbelievably strong. Tennis-wise I think Andre, a couple of guys, who are probably close to how he plays, but Andre sometimes after a year, year and a half playing good, he has problems. He plays a little bit less. Six years No. 1 says it all with Pete. He hasn't been very successful on clay, but still won a Super 9 semifinal of the French, not like he is terrible on clay. I think he is a very, very good player, but I think mentally maybe one of the toughest ever because, yeah, he won the Slams and finished No. 1 six years in a row. I think that you have to be mentally tough for that. Tenniswise I think he is very good -- of course one of best, but I am not going to say three, four classes better than a guy like Andre or something, because or even Rafter, Kafelnikov, those guys are really, really great players also. But he just maintains -- his mental level always is high.

Q. Can never get in his head even though you have beaten four of the last five times?

RICHARD KRAJICEK: I felt like I got a little in his head, but apparently I didn't.

End of FastScripts….

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