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April 24, 1998

Richard Krajicek


Q. That was a roller-coaster, Richard, that match, up-and-down?

RICHARD KRAJICEK: Yeah. It was very interesting, looking backwards, looking back on it. It was unpredictable, the way it went in the first set. I'm struggling against him, difficult game, hard for me to find my rhythm. Today in the end, I got myself out of it in the second set. Last couple of times, I didn't. He's a tough player for me to play. I was happy that at the right moments I came up with some good shots, especially some good serves, which didn't go so well. End of the second set, first two games of the third, I served well when it was important, turned the match around.

Q. Took control of the breaker there completely?

RICHARD KRAJICEK: Yeah. I hit good shots. I started very aggressive, came in on his serve first points right away. Won that point. That maybe also discouraged him a little bit mentally. I just kept on going. That was important. I just didn't wait for his mistakes. I could do -- he started playing a little worse. In the breaker, it was important to keep on.

Q. Was it particularly pleasing to come back after the first set, which you played yourself back into, then played one game that was pretty horrible, lost the set?

RICHARD KRAJICEK: Two games actually. I mean, I was 2-Love down, then I came back 2-All. At 3-2, I was 40-Love up. Lost that game. 5-4, same thing happened. It was annoying. First game of the second, I mean, I miss a shot, start doing crazy things again. I was happy I could break him straightaway there, happy I won the match. It was good to win eventually.

Q. Was it easier to cut out the din of the diners this year than before? Friday seems to be the noisiest day of the week, I don't know why.

RICHARD KRAJICEK: I think everybody is happy that they don't have to go back to work the next day. They just celebrated with a loud lunch, long and loud lunch (laughter). It was okay. It's just the same kind of noise. Once there was a group of laughing a little bit. That's the worst, somebody thinks he's funny and he tells stories so loud. I don't know, they want you to hear it on the court. There's people on the phone, think they have to shout to the other person, instead of only talk in the phone. Those kind of persons you hear. In general, it was okay today. It was the same level of noise, then it's bearable.

Q. Richard, you've now become a father since we last saw you. Does that have any sort of effect on how you approach your tennis? Is it putting it into more perspective? Any change?

RICHARD KRAJICEK: Not really, I think. I think becoming a father, of course, is a long process already before. You make the decision that you want to have kids. She gets pregnant; it takes nine months. I think over the last 12, 18 months, you know, about last 12 months, I think I just change my attitude then. Didn't happen now when the baby is born. I think it's been a process that started 12 months ago. But, yeah, last 12 months, I've changed my attitude towards tennis. Maybe just a little bit more chilled out. I'm not playing tennis 24 hours a day no more. I think that's the big difference. When I'm on the court, practicing, when I'm working out physically, playing a match, everything is tennis. When I'm off the court, maybe, yeah, I'm just a little bit thinking of other things, not only of tennis. I think it comes a little bit with being older also, looking at life a little bit different. But on the court, I'm still the same. If I lose, it is still the worst thing that can happen to me that day. When I'm not on the court anymore, I don't practice or play a match, then I can enjoy, yeah, my family now. I think that's the process of the last 12 to 18 months.

Q. You played quite aggressively today. Was it just because of the opponent you were playing or is that the way you intend to play through the clay court season?

RICHARD KRAJICEK: It is my plan to play like that, to try to attack. I think especially against Petr, sometimes you have to be a little bit more aggressive. He can hit shots that a lot of guys don't normally hit. I mean, normally I like to slice my backhand a little bit more. But I had to hit it today, because even if I slice it pretty low, somehow he gets under the ball, hits it in the other corner, you don't even get near it. I was playing a little more aggressive than normal. I tried to serve and volley. Try to attack the guy's second serve. Also because I think it's good, but also to put some doubt in their head of their own game. Just put a little more pressure on them in general that they maybe have to do a little bit more with the ball.

Q. How aware were you, if at all, that he had to win to stay in line to get No. 1 this week?

RICHARD KRAJICEK: Well, I knew it before the match. Yeah, I heard he wasn't the loosest guy in Key Biscayne when he played. I thought it might be a little bit of an advantage. You know, it was a close match. Maybe if he would have played a normal match, maybe he would have won it. Maybe he got a little tight, I don't know, in the second set. I knew it before the match. During, I didn't think too much about it.

Q. Richard, where do you stand on the question of umpires on the court?

RICHARD KRAJICEK: Coaching on the court (laughter)?

Q. Yes.

RICHARD KRAJICEK: I don't want to talk about umpires on the court (laughter).

Q. Excuse me, coaches.

RICHARD KRAJICEK: I don't think it's a good idea personally. If you ask me in Davis Cup, I think it's a good idea. But I think for the tennis tour, I don't think it's a good idea. Especially with the microphones, I think that's really weird. Playing in Munich next week, I don't know if I'm forced to have my coach on the bench. Won't be sitting next to me, no. I think it won't add anything to the game, won't add anything to my game. During a match, sometimes for me personally, I don't think it's that good. Sometimes I'm not happy. The last thing I want to hear is what maybe I'm doing wrong or something. In general, I don't think it's going to help the game. It's too much. Let's not make a show of it too much. If you can be allowed to coach sometimes from the sidelines, I think that should be more possible. But to sit really on the bench and to really have a mic that everybody can enjoy what you're saying, no, not my kind of -- Maybe people will love it, but I don't think it's a good idea.

Q. Has the microphone aspect of it been approved?

RICHARD KRAJICEK: I don't know. I thought it was.

Q. I don't think there's mics yet.


Q. Between sets, they're coming down onto the court.

RICHARD KRAJICEK: I thought they were just sitting there all the time.

Q. No. At the end of each set. You get a minute to talk to your coach.

NICOLA ARZANI: Two minutes.

RICHARD KRAJICEK: If they would just allow you to receive information while you're playing or something like that, I don't know.

Q. In general, how are you feeling about the way you're playing? I know you've had a break. This week, you've been happy with the way you've been playing?

RICHARD KRAJICEK: I've had my moments. First round, I didn't play that well, I thought, but I won. I mean, I played okay, but I just didn't feel very comfortable on the court yet. And then yesterday was already better. Today, you know, it's difficult to say. I think Petr is a tough opponent for me. I never feel that great against him on the court. Yeah, I had a few good moments. I had a very good tiebreaker. I hung in there. I think that's already a good sign. If I can win a match like that, being down, I think I can say that I'm in the good shape, physically, mentally, ready to play these kind of tournaments.

Q. Do you have to have a different attitude coming into the clay court season, a different mental approach to it, Richard?

RICHARD KRAJICEK: A little bit. I mean, a couple years ago, I tried to adjust maybe too much, tried to become a baseliner suddenly when I came to the clay. The only thing is you have to accept a few things. You have to accept that you won't be able to push off as well when you're at the net, so you can get passed sometimes, maybe shots you would get back on hard court. Also sometimes you have to hit maybe one extra shot; sometimes you have to hit two volleys before you win the point. Nothing to do with your tennis game; it's just clay is always going to be, in general, hitting one or two more balls back than indoors or hard court. That's the attitude change. Now I try to play my own game and not change that too much. I used to do that for a while. I just looked back at how I made the semifinals in the French by serve and volleying all the time. Last year Rafter also made the semifinals by serve and volley. I don't try to adjust my game too much. It's just a mental thing that I have to accept that some things happen different on clay than they do on hard court.

Q. Did you actually watch the Sampras match yesterday at all?

RICHARD KRAJICEK: Had no time. It was too quick.

Q. I wonder if a result like that surprises you or not?

RICHARD KRAJICEK: No. Actually, I'm the worst predictor ever. I've never predicted one match. These last two Sampras matches, I predicted well. I thought he was going to beat Agassi. Agassi gives him speed. I thought he was going to lose against Santoro, not that easy. Santoro runs everything down, not going to give him many pace. Pete can play unbelievable. He's No. 1 in the world. On clay, you know, he plays a little bit different kind of tennis. I mean, last year the French, first two rounds, he kicked everybody. You cannot keep on hitting flat set after set, not coming in. I think Santoro came more to the net than he did. I think if he doesn't come to the net, then I think he's never going to win the French Open. That's my opinion. It's very difficult to hit somebody off the court on clay from the back hitting so flat.

Q. A lot of folks think for an attacking player on clay to hit the approach shot. How differently do you think you have to hit your approach shots on clay compared to a hard court? What changes?

RICHARD KRAJICEK: On hard, you can come in on any kind of garbage almost. The physical presence, gets through a little bit. Because you have unbelievable footing, you can push off. You can basically get every shot almost. On clay, you have to watch out that it doesn't come -- bounce up too high, that it's not too short, if it's high. You can hit a little bit higher the approach, doesn't have to be deep. If it has to be lower, it has to be short. You have to be careful, a little more in the body, not too much angle. The ball is going to stop, in general. They're going to have more time to look and hit the shot. But that's the advantage of playing on clay, I think, and the clay courters, these guys play baseline rallies. Suddenly they have to hit passing shots. A ball this high off the net, you have to hit a passing shot. That's a little bit of advantage you have over playing an attacking game on play. Yeah, you have to think more. You have to wait maybe one or two more shots before you come in.

Q. More selective?

RICHARD KRAJICEK: Yeah, more selective.

Q. Do you still have your place in Monte-Carlo?

RICHARD KRAJICEK: Yeah, another three months, then I go back to Holland.

Q. Your place, it worked out the way you wanted it to?

RICHARD KRAJICEK: Yeah. It's unbelievable. Takes almost two years to build a house. It's getting there. No doors in it yet.

Q. Take two minutes for your daughter to destroy it?

RICHARD KRAJICEK: Yeah. When they come with the marker going through the whole room.

Q. You'll be a full-time Dutch resident in three months?

RICHARD KRAJICEK: Yeah, going back to Holland.

End of FastScripts....

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