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March 21, 1996

Aaron Krickstein


Q. The injury timeout, did that bother you at all?

AARON KRICKSTEIN: No, not really. I am prepared for that. Obviously his leg was bothering him somewhat, so he felt it was necessary to get one, but it didn't affect my game. I think he actually played a little better after, himself.

Q. Is this the roughest stretch you have been through in your career?

AARON KRICKSTEIN: Yeah, for sure. I don't think I have lost more than three in a row before, as far as, you know, matches lost, but, you know, mentally it has been really hard for me the last 12, 16 months, the Tour itself, with all the travelling and everything that goes with it, I think, you know, finally it was taking its toll last year; seemed like after Australia I was injured -- my ankle, and I played a couple of months with it, and I took a couple of months off. When I came back, I wasn't playing that good through the summer, and by the fall, mentally, I wasn't there at all. So, you know, the whole year was pretty much washed away after such a good start, so it was a little frustrating and, you know, if you are not 100% there, physically and mentally or whatever, it is hard to win these days. And it has been a problem for me over the last eight months or so.

Q. Has marriage given you a little bit of a new perspective on life?

AARON KRICKSTEIN: People ask that question. I don't think it really had anything to do with, you know, my results or how I feel. I mean, I am only 28, but sometimes I don't feel 28, obviously. I guess it is not really the years. It seems like it is more the mileage. I have been out there thirteen years, but before that another solid eight or nine working on my game, so 22 years is a long time. Not to say someone else hasn't done that, but obviously my body hasn't held up as well as I would have liked through the course of twelve years on the Tour.

Q. Has retirement crossed your mind?

AARON KRICKSTEIN: I mean, when you are ranked 200 you are not in any tournaments, so, you know, for me, you either have to put full effort into it and go 100%. From what I have been in the rankings, you know, I am not looking to be ranked 50 or 80. I could possibly do that, but if that is, you know, that is not what I want to do. If I am going to play I am going to go for the top or really not play at all. So I will have to make some decision and see.

Q. What is the game plan from here on then?

AARON KRICKSTEIN: I don't know for sure, tell you the truth. Just play it by ear, tell you the truth. Haven't really made any decisions and just have to think about it and take it from there.

Q. Where do you go next?

AARON KRICKSTEIN: Supposed to play Detroit next week. It is a challenger. It is not a Tour event. But my whole body has been hurting quite a bit just in this match. I mean, when you are not winning, you play one match a week, and it is kind of a catch 22, you need matches to get confidence and then you got to win them too, so if that is not happening it is tough to get one or the other. So, but, you know, I will play a few more events in the next few weeks. We will see what happens.

Q. Would you be bothered emotionally by having to go back and play challengers at this stage in your career?

AARON KRICKSTEIN: Well, yeah, I am not going to do that. Obviously, like I said, you know, it is more the years that have taken its toll. I probably could grind it out another few years, but I am not looking to be ranked, you know, 75 or 80. So not really sure what is going to happen.

Q. On the positive side, what I always noticed about you is always your fight. Today you could have thrown it away. I know you weren't in your best form. The game five in the second set must have been very frustrating to you. You could return a lot of the second serves that he had on that. To your credit you won the next 4 games in the set up until the injury. Your first serves percentage went in. Does that say to you, you still have a lot of fight in you?

AARON KRICKSTEIN: Well, yeah, obviously I think I am. That has been one of my fortes over the years. By the same token, I think over the last year due to the fact a lot of the injuries really for the first time got me down last year, and I think that is what hurt me over the last twelve months for me to be on top and when I have my success I have been really intense and focused and mentally there and fighting hard all the time, and, you know, if that is not there for me in my game, then it is hard for me to win. So, you know, I have to figure out where I am going to go from here.

Q. Second time you have said had you weren't all mentally there. Are you thinking of other things on the court?

AARON KRICKSTEIN: Maybe there comes a time when you lose your competitive desire, you know, as an athlete. I am not really sure. You have been around so long. I achieved a lot of good things in tennis; never achieved some things I would have liked to. But, you know, for me, yeah, a lot of times over the last few five, six matches, my concentration hasn't totally been there. And the way the game is today there is too many guys out there, so....

Q. What other things creep into your head when you are out on the court?

AARON KRICKSTEIN: I mean, it is just concentration. You know, you are just not really sure. Used to never be like that. I am not sure why. Just been playing so much, not really sure.

Q. You spent time with Gavin Hopper; that was like the signal that -- really going to get to tune his body the best I could possibly at 26 or 27, whatever you were at the -- was that part of the disappointment that you worked so hard to get in the best possible shape and you can't --

AARON KRICKSTEIN: It is frustrating; especially last year. It seems like everything, since Australia last year, I was playing probably one of the best in my career and then I really felt I was playing well enough to possibly win that match and in the semis and get to the finals there and, you know, you get hurt in the first and third games, like that, and not be able to even compete and finish the match, that was pretty disheartening, to say the least. Seems like I haven't quite recovered from that and few injuries that subsequently followed the next three, four months. So it has been pretty much a downer since then.

Q. Travel is also hurting you?

AARON KRICKSTEIN: Yeah, I mean, I have to say, a lot of times, a full schedule, thirteen years, definitely takes its toll and I don't think it really matters if you are 28 or 35 or whatever age, doesn't really factor into it. It is how you feel. Basically a lot of times my body doesn't feel too good. It breaks down real easily, and try to work it on it. Got in pretty good shape, like I said, just kind of crumbled last year at the Australian. It has been a struggle to get back ever since.

Q. What were your injuries say right after Australia?

AARON KRICKSTEIN: I had bad ankle problems and tendon there -- I played like three or four tournaments with it. I kind of did some damage; had to take like 6-7 weeks off, and cortisone shot and Novocaine and didn't play there for after here and it was bad here and I lost and then playing again until about the French really, and --

Q. This is in your right?


Q. This is tendinitis?

AARON KRICKSTEIN: I don't know what they called it. It was a tendon part of my ankle that was, I guess, you could call it something like tendinitis that was really giving me problems and it wouldn't go away with anti-inflammatory or anything like that. Something to do with my bone structure in there. It was rub -- tendon was rubbing against the bone, I guess.

Q. Ever thought, even casually, about what you would do when you left tennis and started on a second career?

AARON KRICKSTEIN: Tell you the truth, not really. I have always tried to focus on the thing at hand, my tennis. And when I felt I was going to stop playing and worry about afterward, not really sure. Obviously could stay in tennis in some form. I still like the game and maybe I will down the line, but I don't know when I do stop, I will probably take a break from it for a while. I don't know how long, and kind of weigh my options.

Q. Do you have the temperament to be a coach?

AARON KRICKSTEIN: I don't know. Definitely -- the travel has got to me, so I am really not into travelling a lot; that is for sure. We will see what I get interested in.

Q. In another way, could you be more motivated now than ever before? We have had discussion many times over your career, twice in your career people wrote you off. They thought you would be another Arias when you were going back to, what, 1985 then you came back and 1989 you kind of showed a lot of people and again one of your best matches even though it was a loss when you lost to Jimmy Connors on his 40th birthday; came back again; made the Davis Cup 1989, 90 -- my point is whenever people seem to write you off, you seem to come with your best results. Does that make you more motivated again?

AARON KRICKSTEIN: It has in the past. I think a lot of the major news I had was when I was 17 in -- was just 17 so obviously I still felt I was young and could come back. Another major one was in 87. I was only 20. Things were going good there for me again. '92 fall -- in '91 down to 45 and was back to 12; semis of L.A., and when I broke my foot there and other than the Australian, it has been a tough road back; never really had the results after that injury to the end of '92 - I think it was August or September of '92 - when I broke it. Was out the reminder of that year and beginning of '93, like I said, you have to be there 100% on days and if you are not emotionally, physically, and mentally, it is tough to win nowadays. You have to decide to get with it and give it one more run or not play. Because it is tough to --

Q. Do you have a timetable on -- are you going to say six months I am going to give tennis six more months?

AARON KRICKSTEIN: Not really. I am not going to do the Edberg thing playing one more year. I don't know. I mean, probably never use the word "retire" since most people say that; then they come back anyway, but like I said, I will weigh my options and I think the main thing for me is I have to decide when I get on the court if I am going to be focused and give it 100% and have to plan the practices and hard work, all that, it has been hard for me to do that over the last six, eight months. It was never like that before for me; none of that stuff crept into my mind or bothered me before. The travel last year was the first year that things like that were affecting me.

Q. Any other injury besides your ankle last year that bothered you?

AARON KRICKSTEIN: I had a few minor strains and problems, nagging things that I seem to have had for 22 years, but nothing, I mean, no fractures.

Q. In terms of being mentally focused as you are known for being prepared mentally for your opponent, going into today's match did you feel you should have known a little more about your opponent?

AARON KRICKSTEIN: No. I knew about him. I knew how he played. I practiced with him before. Like I said, I haven't played too many matches. Only my fourth time this year, you know, and when you are only playing one match a week and playing sporadically, it is tough to get match toughness and match confidence when you are not winning. You need that. You ask even the top players, you have to be playing tournaments and winning some matches and that has been the major problem.

Q. Do you ever remember not having tennis in your life?

AARON KRICKSTEIN: Not really. I mean, it started when I was six and a half. And been playing ever since, so that is quite a long, long career.

Q. Does the idea of not playing scare you or is it more you want to see what it is like?

AARON KRICKSTEIN: Not really. It is no fun losing, that is for sure, and any athlete would tell you that losing definitely sucks. And for me, if I am not putting in the effort that I used to put in beforehand, preparation, the hard work, and being all there mentally, then I wouldn't play. For me, that is what I remember about myself as being someone who tried hard every point and was well prepared to play. And if I am not going to have that, then it is going to be tough for me to win and I won't play.

Q. All the streaks started with Stoltenberg when you come back from two sets -- the ones you normally win in the fifth and didn't win --

AARON KRICKSTEIN: That was a tough match. I was a little tired from -- as far as that match from the five sets beforehand. I am getting a little older. I can't seem to produce. I get a little tired, seems like more in the five setters than I used to. He played a pretty good first set; kind of surprised me playing well in the beginning. Yeah, it seemed like after that, I probably shouldn't have played the rest of the year. I mean, I played 6 more events, and -- but, you know, did I really want to play all 6? I can't really say yes to all that, whether I was mentally ready to go, but --

Q. You are committed to Coral Springs. They are advertising your name that you are going to be there.

AARON KRICKSTEIN: Yeah, supposed to be there and hopefully I will be there.

Q. Looking back at your career, you said there were some disappointments that you -- things you didn't achieve. What is it you felt you could have achieved, possibly, that was a big disappointment to you?

AARON KRICKSTEIN: Obviously growing up, I was a top junior. I won almost every junior event last 45 matches. So I had pretty high goals turning pro and had a big first year and things were going good and had a broken foot and kind of end of my first year, year and a half and obviously a grand slam, would have liked to have won. I was somewhat close a few times; felt I was playing well and I think more so actually last year at the Australian where it was my best chance. I thought I was playing really well there and had a decent chance to give it a go if I wouldn't have gotten hurt, but, you know, those are obviously goals of mine when I was younger, and thought I'd win some more tournaments than I did, but then again, I didn't think I would have as many fractures as I did or have as many long layoffs as I did either. So it was a little frustrating at times.

Q. Do you take a lot of pride in the fact that that record that you had winning in Tel Aviv being the youngest to ever win an ATP might hold off for many years to come?

AARON KRICKSTEIN: Yeah, it is a nice record to have, maybe it you be broken one day; maybe it won't be. At the time it was a great starting point for me. Obviously, first tournament as a pro to win. Gave me a lot of confidence for the rest of my career and, yeah, it is nice to -- always nice to have records like that.

End of FastScripts....

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