August 21, 1998
NEW HAVEN, CONNECTICUT
MIKI SINGH: One of the best matches of the summer, Richard Krajicek advances to the
semifinals against Karol Kucera tomorrow, 18-16 in the third set tiebreak which is the
longest on the Tour this year.
Q. Richard, while you are playing a match like that, are you able to enjoy it at all or
are you just too intense?
RICHARD KRAJICEK: Well the moments when you are very intense and then when it goes
wrong, then you enjoy it actually. At 5-All when I hit a terrible volley, then I had to
laugh about myself how tight I was. Those are the moments you enjoy, but you basically --
you only enjoy it in a way when you are -- when you lose a point and that is maybe why you
win the next one because you are a little bit more relaxed, but it is difficult to truly
enjoy it. Sometimes you know what is going on and you have to laugh a little bit about
yourself how you are reacting to pressure.
Q. Ever save as many matchpoints as that?
RICHARD KRAJICEK: 8?
RICHARD KRAJICEK: I don't know. While in juniors I have, but it doesn't count. No, I am
not sure. I don't think so. Maybe. But I have been once Love-40 down triple matchpoint,
but I don't know if I have been down 8 matchpoints total.
Q. Why was that last set so close?
RICHARD KRAJICEK: Well, I think we don't give each other an inch in a way. In the
second set when I get one break, I mean, I think Tim was a little bit not happy with
himself and maybe, yeah, wasn't as concentrated as he would be normally if he would lose a
break in the third set, then he would have been much more concentrated; maybe would have
even gotten back into the match. Yeah, it is not always, but a lot of times the third set
is the closest one because you just don't let your emotions get in the way too much
because you know that is your last chance, if you miss your chances in that set, the match
Q. During the tiebreak I think it made it 16-15. One of your returns was on the line.
Did you know that that was in? That was on the line or did you think you didn't -- seemed
like they had a problem with the scoreboard?
RICHARD KRAJICEK: No, in the tiebreaker.
RICHARD KRAJICEK: I don't know. I always had the feeling that I knew what was going on
there. No, it was never a doubt, I thought.
Q. How tiring was that match?
RICHARD KRAJICEK: Physically I don't know. I have to see how I feel tomorrow. But
mentally it is pretty tough because, yeah, a couple of months that you get a little bit
discouraged like I mean, you fight the whole way. Then at 5-All in the break, I missed an
easy volley. Then you give him the serve for the match and then another time I hit a
doublefault to give him matchpoint and those are tough moments. You have to regroup
quickly because the next point you have to win again or else the match is over. So those
are -- yeah, that is mentally pretty tough and physically it is pretty tough, but not
unbelievable because it is only three sets and it is only -- it is not so hot. If this was
during the day, 100 degrees 88% or 90% humidity, you can carry me off the court.
Q. Do you enjoy going through something like that in that final game?
RICHARD KRAJICEK: It is pretty interesting. I mean, when you lose you are a little bit
down of course, but it is fun. It gives you a lot of excitement. It is nice to see that
the people also enjoy it. I lost once 15-13 in the tiebreak. I know how it is to lose in
such a long tiebreaker, and, yeah, it is fun in a way because you both see -- you both
feel the same pressure. I mean, when we were ahead, we played less in the breaker -- both
he hit a doublefault and maybe less of a second serve or something, and yeah, we --
afterwards you can analyze it and it makes tennis fun, I think, sometimes.
Q. You feel you played well? Looked like a very good match. How was the quality of
match in your mind?
RICHARD KRAJICEK: First set I wasn't -- in the beginning wasn't happy with my
volleying. I mean, I was struggling with my volleys first two matches also. Especially
against Mal I thought I missed a lot of high volleys and now I started the match off also,
not timing them well, but as the match went on I really got my rhythm on my volleys, and
yeah, I think we both played very good. Tim served very well, and it was just good tennis.
He is a good player and I am very happy to beat him. It is the third time we played and
first two times I lost very close and again it was very close, so I am happy I finally won
one because it can be -- become a frustration if you lose every time to the same guy in
the same way.
Q. When you are in that situation -- you have lost to Tim twice before and to come down
to the wire in the third set tiebreaker, does previous matches come into your mind at all
or you just have to block it out?
RICHARD KRAJICEK: You have to not think about it. And, sometimes you think a little bit
about it, but you don't let it influence you. But, yeah, you try maybe a little bit more
intense maybe that makes it more tight than I would normally be and maybe some shots I
wouldn't have missed, I don't know, but, yeah, it is always good to be ahead against
somebody that you have beaten him more times and beaten him last couple of times because
actually -- it happened a little bit today at a couple of points. I am glad I got over it
now, I hope.
Q. Is that the longest tiebreak you have ever played?
RICHARD KRAJICEK: Yeah.
Q. Who did you lose to at the 15-13 tiebreak?
RICHARD KRAJICEK: To Wally Masur on grass. 26 points with serve; then I dropped one
point on my serve and tiebreak was finished.
Q. You said you lost to Henman twice before in close matches. Did you do anything
differently today than you did in those two matches to help you win?
RICHARD KRAJICEK: No, the only thing different was that we have played on neutral
ground. Playing with all the English people in the stands two times I lost to him was in
Britain, so, it was nice that only 5-6 people are shouting his name instead of the whole
stadium the whole time.
Q. You seemed like you had been handling your serve a little bit differently lately the
last year. Been changing the speeds, more slice, more topspin sometimes. Is that something
that you have been working lately on?
RICHARD KRAJICEK: Yeah, I think it is important to mix your speed up as much as
possible and direction, keep your opponents guessing. Today in the tiebreaker when it
really gets important, then I still go back to my old habit that I try to go for the big
one the whole time, the fast one the rest of the match. I was happy with the way I mixed
it up. It was difficult for him to guess forehand body, kick, hard, slice, or whatever.
That is also very important for a serve. I mean, you can serve only so many big serves and
then the guy is going to get on to it. He is going to pick and get it back twice as fast.
I think the strength of a serve is the amount of times that you can change it and keep
your opponent guessing.
Q. Does it help you come back from Love-40 in that 8th game in the final set? You
seemed to be very fired up when you saved that game. I thought you served better after
that. Is that something which you need to do more often sometimes to get fired up and get
RICHARD KRAJICEK: Yeah, you always have to find a good balance. Of course you shouldn't
be too dull on the court, but if you are too fired up then it can go it can backfire on
you. But, yeah, somehow I got a little bit more intense. I felt my chances, the game
before I had 15-30 even at breakpoint and, yeah, I thought I had a couple of chances to do
more and then suddenly he wins. I am Love-40 and the match is slipping out of my hands. I
get back into the match and I really have the feeling: Okay, I am still in it, let's go
now. I had a breakpoint the next game, unfortunately, I couldn't make it, but yeah,
somehow I start to feel the intensity of the match more and I start to feel it was just
getting more important. I mean, one or two mistakes it was basically -- could have been
the end of the match so had to be very concentrated.
Q. Is this a big confidence builder or are you just happy to get through a match like
RICHARD KRAJICEK: No, it is a very big match for me, I think. Next week I don't play.
So I don't have to worry about if I am going to be tight for the Open and I am just going
to go full speed and it works in two ways, I think, for my next match with Tim. I think it
is very good that I have beaten him and also, yeah, that I have won such a close match for
my other matches. I hope it is going -- I think it is going to help me.
Q. What are you going to do to prepare for next match?
RICHARD KRAJICEK: Yeah, just sleep and some RS, maybe before -- room service, and in
the morning ride the bike a little bit, loosen up, and I am going to hit at 11:30, so I
think I play 1:30 in the afternoon, have a nice lunch, and just try to -- relaxing as much
as possible, do a little bit of exercise in the morning to get the body going again and
just, you know, try to be ready to play. I can enjoy the win tonight, but tomorrow I have
to think about tomorrow's match.
Q. How is your knee?
RICHARD KRAJICEK: It is okay. Put some glue in it and it keeps it together (laughter).
It is okay. Yeah.
Q. Speak about playing Kucera. Different type player?
RICHARD KRAJICEK: Completely different. I mean, he is baseliner, and he has got
double-handed backhand. He doesn't have such a big serve, but I think he has got better
passing shots, better returns also than Tim. So, different match and I think I am going
got more opportunities to maybe to break him, but he has got a better return so he is
probably going to have more chances to break me also.
Q. Going to go to the net more tomorrow?
RICHARD KRAJICEK: Yeah, I mean, I was -- on my own serve I was going to the net today,
but for sure I am going to attack his serve, especially second serve I think is pretty
weak, and even though he has got good passing shots I think it is important to keep the
rallies short. I think the more the rally is going, he gets in a groove and better his
passing shots get. I have to try to rush him a little bit and just make him feel that he
has to come up with a good pass all the time.
End of FastScripts