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May 2, 2005

Gustavo Kuerten


THE MODERATOR: Questions in English, please.

Q. Guga, obviously, you're still coming back after your injury. I just wondered what you thought of Henman's performance against you on clay, particularly today.

GUSTAVO KUERTEN: No, I think he, as far as I let him play more comfortable, he played very solid, you know. He didn't miss too much. He always has a bunch of different plays that he use all the time. For me, was even difficult, you know, because you never know what to expect and he was make me run a lot by the way he is playing. I think he's, yeah, from few years already he's been playing well on clay. Today, he was much more consistent than me. I was playing sometimes good enough to play the same level, but I drop. Especially in the important points, I drop too much. I think he did quite a good job to maintain his level from the beginning to the end in a good way of play.

Q. How do you rate your condition right now, percentage-wise?

GUSTAVO KUERTEN: I would say maybe my physical condition, it's still too low. In the second set I always still feeling tired. Probably around 50%, you know, of my physical condition. But the way I'm playing, sometimes I can play in a good level, but it's too much ups and downs. So I guess in one way it's a good sign for me, you know, seems that I have a lot of things to improve that can help my game, especially in this part. There is most of the power and then the resistance.

Q. You don't feel any pain anymore after the operation? Are you optimistic for your coming back?

GUSTAVO KUERTEN: Yes, I feel better than I was before by far, and then probably I feel I think better than when I finish my first surgery, too. So this is good signs for me. Every week I'm working, I can -- I'm sure that I improve something else. That's also gonna be crucial for maintain my motivation. I think the idea now, it's like today, I go out on the court and I try to play the same way I played, you know, four or five years ago. If I can play - I don't know - two or three games and then I get tired or whatever happens, it's good for me even if it's next week I can play four and then, you know, keep going like this; sooner or later I can find my game. But I'm not gonna try to hold and then try to win one or two match just trying to play smart or something like this. I prefer now to try more and really play the way I like it, you know - spend a lot of energy in the court and even knowing that the result maybe can become against me.

Q. What do you think of Nadal's chances for this season and in Paris?

GUSTAVO KUERTEN: I think he's the favorite.

Q. Why?

GUSTAVO KUERTEN: Because he is winning every tournament he plays (laughing). He's beating everybody. For me, him and maybe Coria. Gaudio, I don't know how he can play there. But for me, the great favorite's gonna be Nadal.

Q. How much time do you give to yourself in order to recover 100%?

GUSTAVO KUERTEN: I think all this year long I hope to -- I think my goal is all for the next year, and hopefully I can think about only tennis and forget everything else around and just be focused on my game for the next year. This year, for me, it's difficult. I feel tired and then I'm not sure if I can run for one hour, two hours, three hours on the court. So, you know, as far as I don't get through this stage, I always gonna have too much gap against my opponents. So I can give me -- can get myself time. I never been rushing things too much. So I looking forward to of course the end of this year, get myself in a different condition than now, and seeing, just look at the future.

Q. Your distractions were only physic because of the preparation, but also other? I mean, private life, girlfriends or whatever?

GUSTAVO KUERTEN: (Laughing). I hope not, no. No, just physically. But then at some stage you get yourself with in the court other problems, you know. You think about your leg, and then after you think about the public and this and that. So you don't get your right rhythm to just playing, playing, and being 100% focused. I think for me it's much more difficult right now to be concentrate on the court than it was before.

Q. What are you doing off the court to improve your fitness? Other than tennis, what other things are you doing?

GUSTAVO KUERTEN: Yes, I'm doing already, but I'm going to keep working a lot on out of the court, in gym, you know, on weights. Right now I think I am able to try hard in the court and having this -- it's like speeds, you know, going back and forth one, two, three times, and more and more as much as I can. Then just spending hours in the court and doing gym. Last three years, I wasn't able to work more than one and a half hour in the court straight. It was difficult for me. It's like it's been so long that I have to find all my rhythm again, and especially believe that I can be back again playing in such a flavor.

Q. When you say that today is more difficult, it is because you are already a celebrity, or because you have made a lot of money, you don't have the same kind of motivation, or what do you think is really the most difficult thing?

GUSTAVO KUERTEN: For me, the only thing that bothers me right now is the weakness I have in my leg right now. You know, all the time that I was going down little by little in the last two, three years. So I fell down in a lot of different ways, and I have to recover this, you know, as fast as I can. So this is the only thing that bothers me. I still like to play a lot. Otherwise, I would be home; I would not be here. So for me it's very pleasure to be around and trying to play tennis. It's probably because a lot of myself, I like it probably. If I wouldn't like it, I wouldn't do it just for -- I been here, enjoy this life. For me, the competition is nice. I think I have chance to be back playing in a great way, and that's the way I facing the game right now.

Q. Given what you're saying about your fitness, would you say you've got no chance of doing anything at the French Open?

GUSTAVO KUERTEN: I think it's gonna be tough for me doing something, also winning couple of match, you know. I don't see myself with any chance to go farther than quarters, semifinal, something like this. But as far as I can be there and playing more and more matches, that's gonna be very valuable for myself mentally and then my personal motivation, too. So I try to get myself as best as I can for that tournament. That's the idea since I came back. But it's not gonna be enough for sure to be at the same level as the other guys.

End of FastScripts….

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