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June 23, 2003

Gustavo Kuerten


MODERATOR: Good evening, Ladies and Gentlemen. Gustavo Kuerten. First question, please.

Q. People don't look at you as a grass court specialist. As years go on, do you think you have more chance of winning the competition because there are less players that are adept at playing on grass court or do you find it just as hard as it's always been?

GUSTAVO KUERTEN: Well, for me, the last years it's been more and more difficult because I never played. So was impossible for me to really, you know, win because I have no chance; I wasn't here. So I think every time I come to a tournament like this, you know, being in Top 10 for many years, then I got to the No. 1 of the world and everything, so you always get confidence in yourself for Grand Slams. Doesn't matter the surface. I'm sure, you know, it's obvious that I feel much more comfortable in French Open, let's say. But I think every good player has great expectations about the Grand Slams. I always come here with some hopes, you know. Even when I lost the first rounds, I knew I could get some breaks and play longer. And today, yeah, played quarterfinal, still thinking, you know, "If I go a good week, maybe I can get through and maybe do the same."

Q. There's been a lot of talk that the surfaces are getting slower and the balls heavier. Do you notice that?

GUSTAVO KUERTEN: Probably I'm not the right guy to tell you because I haven't been here for the last years to really compare what's changing. But talking about grass, you know, it's never going to be slow. We saw like today, the guy serving very well against Lleyton, you know, playing the right game, beat the champion from the last year. So I don't think we going to get to a level that's going to be slow. The biggest weapon here is the return, so I think that's still the key for the grass.

Q. Were you surprised at Lleyton's defeat?

GUSTAVO KUERTEN: Everybody I think is surprised, but the same way it gives a little idea what's Wimbledon about. You know, it's open up for big surprise and for who are inspired that day and playing well. So it brings a little extra like motivation or extra surprise feeling for who come to watch, you know, the crowd, even in the TV.

Q. There's talk about the ATP, the problems they're having with the redistribution of the money. What is your position on that?

GUSTAVO KUERTEN: I didn't understand.

Q. The papers today are full of the dispute between the ATP and the Grand Slam organizers about the redistribution of the money from the Grand Slams, saying there may be a position where the top players may boycott the Grand Slams. Do you see that situation arising? How strong is the feeling amongst the players?

GUSTAVO KUERTEN: I think the players are not really well satisfied with everything that's happening, the way the players should be really treated as the main star of the event, you know. So I'm sure would be a good time for have this conversation straight, you know, the players and the ITF, who run the tournaments, the directors - maybe not really the ATP, but just the real player voice to see what the players feel like, what they really wanted to reach or want to grow into the game. Then, you know, open conversation to see what's better for everybody as far as the tennis, you know, go forward. That's the most important thing that we need right now.

Q. It would be very sad if players boycotted tournaments such as Wimbledon and the US Open, the French Open, wouldn't it?

GUSTAVO KUERTEN: Yes, I'm sure it would be sadness, great impact. It would be a catastrophe. Maybe it's the worst thing you can think about in the situation, that you have to decide to not play. For sure, all the players are just going to do this if it's going to be for a really big reason, one great thing for the future of the tennis.

Q. Grass court and hard court players don't find it so difficult to play on clay. Why is it that clay court players are so reluctant to come and play on grass? We see clay court players withdrawing from Wimbledon. Why is that?

GUSTAVO KUERTEN: I don't know. I think maybe it's tough to adapt our game, you know, to the grass easily. Maybe don't have as much time to have a good preparation as we need, just finishing the French Open, whoever wins the French Open, wants to get a little rest, and he really can't if he wants to practice for the grass. He has to play just two days after winning. So sometimes it's a little rush for the clay court guys. And also by the way the grass is, you know, faster, it takes a little longer for us to get into our game. I think we really need to get one or two wins into the tournament to feel a little bit better and maybe have some chances.

End of FastScripts….

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