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August 22, 1998

Karol Kucera


MIKI SINGH: Karol Kucera has reached his first US final, third final of the year. Tomorrow he will play Goran Ivanisevic whom he beat two out of three times last year. First question.

Q. Can you explain how you rallied in the tiebreaker?

KAROL KUCERA: How did I come back from 3-6? It was pretty fast. I think I hit one good first serve and then I won the next also, with the serve, I would say. It was a close call against Krajicek, then I hit a good return. So then it is 6-All, then it is everything open again.

Q. How did you see that ball -- Krajicek's --

KAROL KUCERA: Yeah, but I think was like close out, I would say, but everybody in the locker room said it was good. So it was pretty fast, the serve, so I don't know.

Q. Do you think the return was one of the keys of the match today?

KAROL KUCERA: Yeah, of course. The first set I didn't have a reason to know how to return his serve. After the second set I think I got a little bit more returns back and I could break him two times.

Q. Seemed to be a very cunning match, strategy of moving your opponents about, but not giving them a lot of pace and then counterpunching hard. How much of that is naturally your game and how much of that has come from Mecir?

KAROL KUCERA: He is giving me a lot of advices not to rush too much and to play a little bit easier, a little bit more relaxed and it is sometimes difficult on the court, especially so important match like today. I am trying to do that on the court what he is telling me.

Q. When did you start working with him?

KAROL KUCERA: It is one and a half year already now.

Q. How are you going to prepare for your match tomorrow?

KAROL KUCERA: Like usual, I am going to hit maybe a couple today, like 30 minutes and then before the match as well. Nothing special.

Q. Did you sense that Krajicek may have been a little bit worn out still from last night or at this point is everyone pretty tired?

KAROL KUCERA: Yeah, it could be, yeah. Especially maybe after first set, or also a couple of rallies in the first, maybe he was not moving well, but there weren't so many rallies, so -- or there wasn't too many chances in the first set to break each other. It is tough to say.

Q. Before the tournament everyone was talking about Sampras and Rafter coming to the finals, instead -- no one was talking about you really. Are you surprised that you have played this well this week to get to the final?

KAROL KUCERA: I knew I can play well. I knew I beat goods guys on the hard courts, so I am happy that I played here also.

Q. Are you surprised a little bit?

KAROL KUCERA: I am happy. I am not surprised.

MIKI SINGH: First hard court event since Lipton since coming off the clay.

Q. You had the big serving righty today; tomorrow you get the big serving lefty. What is your mindset going up against Goran's serve?

KAROL KUCERA: Yeah, I played him a couple of times already. I did well. I think I don't know if I lost -- I don't know.

MIKI SINGH: 2 to 1.

KAROL KUCERA: 2 to 1, yeah. So if I can bring the rhythm back like today then I think I have good chance.

Q. Do you set yourself targets year by year or every six months to try to reach?

KAROL KUCERA: No. One tournament to another.

Q. Do you have an opinion as to where you might be able to climb to?

KAROL KUCERA: I am not sure. I try to develop my game always and find something new, what can I improve. I try to prepare for each tournament as good as I can in order to play so good like today, it is not easy every time.

Q. You talked about trying to play relaxed. Is that hardest when you are serving your 5-4 and you are trying to put the match away at that point, is that when it is really hard to relax?

KAROL KUCERA: Yeah, that is right. Especially today. I was a little nervous in the second set because I am not used to win all my service games and I knew I have to today because if I would lose the serve like in the second set and Krajicek is coming back mentally especially, so I was trying to win all my service games. As I said I am not used to and I was a little bit nervous in the end.

Q. What do you try to tell yourself when you are nervous?

KAROL KUCERA: You have to be positive and I wasn't when I was 5-3 up, but after I said: Come on, break him, so, it was important.

Q. How will the nerves be tomorrow?

KAROL KUCERA: I don't know. We will see. I don't know.

Q. Does the fact that you have already won on hard court help your confidence?

KAROL KUCERA: Of course, helped me a lot. As I said, I beat a couple of good guys already, gives me a lot of confidence.

MIKI SINGH: He won the Sydney event in January on hard courts.

Q. Was that a breakthrough for you, that win?

KAROL KUCERA: This event you mean?

Q. The one in Sydney.

KAROL KUCERA: Yeah, beginning of the year I would say it was a big breakthrough for me or -- already the end of the last year I played pretty good tournaments. The first big result I had, I would say was in Stuttgart when I got to the final and I beat Rios and Bruguera, from the Top-10. I think from that point I am playing pretty good.

End of FastScripts….

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