August 23, 1998
NEW HAVEN, CONNECTICUT
MIKI SINGH: Karol Kucera is our 1998 Pilot Pen Singles Champion. It is his fourth title
fourth career ATP Tour title and second of this year. And first in the US. Next week he
will be playing in Boston and then onto the US Open. First question for Karol.
Q. You played a very clever game to beat him. But is it distracting to play against
somebody like Goran who gets up to so many antics?
KAROL KUCERA: Yeah, it is always very tough, he was serving very well, I would say
today and it was very tough to return. For me also he played some good tennis from the
baseline as well today, so it was tough to run also in such humid weather today.
Q. You seem to get under his skin in that third set, your style of play and that --
and, well, maybe the chair umpire a little bit kind of got him just enough upset that he
made enough errors for you.
KAROL KUCERA: Of course that was a little bit luck for me. It could be other side, so I
got the early break in the third set, but it was an advantage for me, of course. He got a
little bit angry and I could break him second time as well.
Q. Your game is very patient. Is Goran almost a perfect opponent because he is not very
patient or he loses his patience?
KAROL KUCERA: I don't think so. Everybody has got other personality and the way Goran
is playing, that is his personality and the way I am playing, I am a little bit quiet
person as well.
Q. What do you think you did well today to turn the match around as far as your game is
KAROL KUCERA: I was feeling that in the end of the second set Goran was winning also
from the baseline, the rallies and I made a couple of mistakes, so I was -- from that
point I was trying to play the rallies a little bit more aggressive, so was winning the
rallies after the third set and -- but there was the point with the umpire and I could
break him easier.
Q. When something like that happens, and a player -- your opponent is doing that, how
do you react to something like that? How do you keep your focus?
KAROL KUCERA: I try to be concentrated in my game and --
Q. Is it difficult?
KAROL KUCERA: Sometimes it is difficult, but it depends on the -- I don't know --
Q. What does this win do for you personally?
KAROL KUCERA: I am very happy. The way I played today it was very good and I mean, the
whole week and I hope I am going to play like this in the US Open as well so I can beat
some new guys as well.
Q. Moving into the Top-10 with this victory as well was that a goal of yours as well?
KAROL KUCERA: Of course I was No. 9 already a couple weeks ago and I wanted to come
back so I am very proud.
Q. How do you think you served today?
KAROL KUCERA: I was serving pretty well also second serve was good lines and good speed
so I was happy with the serve as well.
Q. Last game second set you were serving at five-6 at 30-All you hit kind of a nervous
forehand, do you remember that? Were you feeling a lot of pressure at that point?
KAROL KUCERA: No, I don't remember. I remember the last point of the set was pretty
long rally and I said earlier that I was playing a little bit more defensive at that
point. Also a couple of games before, a little bit more defensive and he could win more
points from the baseline then.
Q. But you weren't -- so you weren't sort of feeling nervous at that point?
KAROL KUCERA: No.
Q. You are the best returner in the game in year statistically on the ATP Tour. What
skills do you have that allow you to do that?
KAROL KUCERA: I am trying to bring every serve back, you know, and sometimes maybe or I
would say Goran was returning also very good today when he wanted. Maybe the guys don't
want to return every serve like me or I don't know, because they are serving so well and
they are more confident in their service games, so they don't care too much about, you
know, if somebody hit 120 miles an hour; then it doesn't go there or something, you know,
but I am trying to bring it back.
Q. Are you saying -- you are saying it is effort. It is wanting to do it?
KAROL KUCERA: Maybe. It is one of the points, I would say.
Q. Goran basically said that the US Open is pretty much up for grabs. What is your
assessment for that at this point?
KAROL KUCERA: There are a few guys can win of course. US Open also some underdogs and
-- but it is tough to say who is going to win the tournament.
Q. Where would you put yourself in that? Are you one of those underdogs?
KAROL KUCERA: Maybe. I don't know. I hope so.
Q. What are you going to do to celebrate this victory?
KAROL KUCERA: I don't know yet. I have to get my coach to the cinema probably because
he is saying always that his eyes are burning in the cinema, so he cannot go there, but
hopefully he goes.
Q. Does it make a difference in your approach in a match like today the opponent knew
you are playing and what his personality might be like or do you just stick with what your
KAROL KUCERA: Yeah, I think everybody is different. We are similar with Miloslav, the
type of the game, I would say, and he can understand my game a little bit more than some
Q. Does that help that you have played him before?
KAROL KUCERA: If I played him before?
Q. Has it helped that you have played him before?
KAROL KUCERA: You mean Miloslav?
KAROL KUCERA: Yeah, of course. The other question I was answering on Miloslav. I didn't
understand probably. Of course it helps. I knew how to play against him already and I was
trying the tactic also during the match.
Q. Going in to play Goran today did you just stick with what has worked for you or did
you try to work against him, you know, maybe doing something that you knew would unnerve
KAROL KUCERA: No, I didn't want to unnerve him or something. But I was trying to play
my tactic and to stick with the tactic and to be concentrate.
Q. Were you nervous at all last night, the night before your first US Finals?
KAROL KUCERA: No, I was very nervous during Krajicek's match. That was tough for me to
stay mentally there. Today was better.
Q. Was it difficult for you having the crowd supporting him all the time? Did that
affect your concentration?
KAROL KUCERA: Not really. No, I think that was his disadvantage I would say. Get
beginning of the second set he was a break up and he was doing a little show there and I
think I took advantage from this.
Q. Marcelo Rios said he likes it best when all the crowd are against him. Do you have
any of that feeling in you?
KAROL KUCERA: No, not really.
Q. What did you do last night?
KAROL KUCERA: Not that much. I was in Japanese restaurant, had some sushi and we were
watching a little bit television and then I had was sleeping. It is easy to sleep here
because the time difference between Europe and here, it is minus six hours for us here so,
we have like it is easy for me to sleep because 10 o'clock is like 4, you know already in
the morning there.
Q. The awards ceremony, it was your big moment to win your first US title, your moment
in the sun. He did a few things that may have taken a little bit away from your moment.
Did you notice that and how did you --
KAROL KUCERA: That he was sitting --
Q. Doing whatever he was doing out there.
KAROL KUCERA: It was nice, I would say. It was nice.
Q. It didn't bother you that this was your time and --
KAROL KUCERA: No.
Q. People might have been paying more attention to the antics as opposed to --
KAROL KUCERA: I think that people like it. Goran is -- that is his personality and the
people are talking about this and it is nice.
Q. How has Miloslav helped your game?
KAROL KUCERA: He gave me a lot of advice how to play, how to run, how to beat, I would
say, these guys, the tactics and beat all those top guys so --
Q. How long have you been with him?
KAROL KUCERA: One and a half years.
Q. You game has really taken off since he has been your coach?
KAROL KUCERA: Yeah.
Q. What did you guys talk about coming into this match today?
KAROL KUCERA: Nothing much. He said the tactic I knew already, so I was listening and
that is it.
Q. When you go back to Slovakia, do people recognize you -- here you can walk around
people don't really, really know you. But --
KAROL KUCERA: Yeah, more than here. They recognize me more.
End of FastScripts