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August 30, 2005

Gustavo Kuerten


THE MODERATOR: Questions in English.

Q. Paul Goldstein said he felt you were really trying for it on the serves, maybe that you haven't felt confident being able to cover the court as much. Is that accurate?

GUSTAVO KUERTEN: Yes. And I think especially why the match was taking longer and longer, I try to use a lot my serve. It fortunately work well today. I think the second set I dropped so many breakpoints that I start to play too defensive, so I had to run more. That's not normally the way I play. I try to take more risk and go for my shots. So even losing the second set, I think I start to be more aggressive. Since the beginning of the third, it start to work well. That's normally the way I like to play. I know I have a good serve and I take advantage of my game serves. When the guy is serving, I have to try to keep pressing him and going for my shots. I think today was tough for me. It's a long time I haven't play a match long like this. But, anyway, I was able to go out with a win, so that's probably going to increase a lot my confidence.

Q. This is your first match on hard court since last year here at the US Open?

GUSTAVO KUERTEN: (Nodding head.)

Q. How comfortable were you out there today?

GUSTAVO KUERTEN: I think at the beginning I was very comfortable by probably the practice I had in the last days. As far as I just told before, you know, I lost, I don't know, in the second set probably 10 breakpoints, something like this, then finally dropped the set. Mentally it's difficult to get yourself going, being more relaxed. But I try to have this mentality, you know, to going for the shots knowing I wouldn't have the best rhythm in my game. But that's the way I should play, so that's what I try from the beginning to the end.

Q. Are you still having trouble with your hip?

GUSTAVO KUERTEN: No, I have a lot of lackness of power and lackness of playing, too. I think I'm getting better and better, but still a way from my top level. But this I'm going to get. I think right now it's only playing match like this and believing more in myself, knowing that I'm able to play for long hours in tough match as I did today. That's going to be now -- it's going to be the only way I can get myself back to the best form. I'm looking forward for this.

Q. Do you regard this as a big step in the right direction?

GUSTAVO KUERTEN: Yes, I think so. For me, every moment is a different situation. Maybe in 2000, '99, I could come here and win a match, would be just one match for me, not a good result. But right now it's important because I'm able to play another match. Like she said, it's one year that I'm not playing in a hard court, especially best-of-five sets. I could go out there, around extreme situation, too, by the warm weather, to being able to hanging in there and fight. That's the way I'm looking right now, you know. It's probably much more important than win a Grand Slam match in my best years.

Q. On your toughest days when you were injured, did you have doubts that you would ever return to the top level? How did you deal with that?

GUSTAVO KUERTEN: Well, I think it's a very, very tricky game. You know, in your mind you're always thinking forward and backwards all the time by one day to the other. Depends how you feel in that special moment. But I think right now it's great that my coach is helping a lot myself in this special term. He's very patient. He's been with Cañas when he got injured twice, too, and pass over this same situation. For me I feel that he's helped me a lot, especially in these days. Like you said, you go to the court for practice one more day, and you're not feeling your best. You know, you have a lot of things to work out and a long way to go. But he's like feeling what I need to do in certain circumstances and working a lot with my mental approach, too. Because any way I have to think forward and believe that I going to be a hundred percent again. Right now, it's the best way I can approach. Discuss with him, I think it makes me feel relaxed and makes me believe more and more.

Q. What was it like on your toughest days when your prospects seemed not so great?

GUSTAVO KUERTEN: I think the game bring a lot of passion for myself, too. So that's the way I thinking in this tough time, that I really want to be back playing the best way I can. I love to play and compete in the best level. That's going to fire me up until I have no more power left.

Q. What is it like for you and the rest of the men's players playing behind someone as dominant as Roger?

GUSTAVO KUERTEN: For me, it's been not so much problem because I'm not playing so many tournaments. I'm not playing against him. I feel I'm not competing against him because I'm still competing against myself for these last two, three years. So I couldn't answer very well this question. As I see, he's -- not only him now, I think Nadal, too, they both in a step over all the other players around.

Q. Can Roger actually be considered as great as he is, not having won the French?

GUSTAVO KUERTEN: I think it's one tournament. He's been successful in many other places, even in clay surface. He has already enough title and results to be called a great champion. I think he still have a lot of things to go.

Q. That was quite a shirt you had on today.

GUSTAVO KUERTEN: Did you like?

Q. What's the story?

GUSTAVO KUERTEN: It's basically -- well, I have no contracts, so I try to find different shirts. These basically in the flame of the libert states (sic), the design they did in the shirt with the Brazilian color to make everybody happy.

Q. Where did you get it?

GUSTAVO KUERTEN: In Brazil. I have a friend that is making for myself. Every tournament I'm using a different shirt.

Q. What about the hair band?

GUSTAVO KUERTEN: My hair was falling over my eye, so was bother me a little bit so I need to find. That was the only thing I had there to cover.

Q. Did it help?


Q. Considering the results you've had recently, you're not exactly known as a hard court player, were you expecting to get the result you did today? Was it a bit of a shock or surprising?

GUSTAVO KUERTEN: To tell you the truth, I didn't know too much what to expect. I think I really wasn't sure that I could be out there for that long and playing in this way for so many hours. But I think that's the confidence that only the match can give me. That's probably the thing I think I feel right now more that I -- that I appreciate more around everything in the game, you know. It's just the way I was there for so long, and still playing a good tennis for almost all of the match.

End of FastScripts….

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