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March 16, 2003

Gustavo Kuerten


MODERATOR: Questions for Guga.

Q. How difficult was it to get yourself up to play a second time so quickly?

GUSTAVO KUERTEN: Yeah, I mean, it was, you know, just very unusual, very tough as well. Really the best thing for me right now is I should like, you know, just forget this final. The tournament just had a taste as -- I don't know how to say, you know, like if I have win the tournament. You know, I did everything so perfectly. You know, I played really well. It's like still this flavor for me to enjoy. Just was a little unlucky yesterday. I took a lot of hours here, waiting, get back, playing this morning a really early match. I just think I got for myself the best that I could. You know, winning the first match, it was really tough and intense. Then, for sure, I couldn't keep the level for the next one. I really try to think like that, you know, thinking that I had a great week. Until my limit conditions, too, I did everything perfectly. Just at some stage I had to really, you know, a big opponent and a tough schedule to arrange that I couldn't deal with.

Q. Do you think your form is now rapidly getting back to 2001, that you can get steadily better again this year?

GUSTAVO KUERTEN: Yeah, that's the way I'm looking forward. Compared with any other year, I never had so much success and wins until this part of the year. So it's been great. I mean, this week especially, like I said on the court, it's been my greatest moment since I was back. That's the idea, you know, to push forward and to stick on my mind, just not thinking about the final, just try to forget and put the idea that I really put myself back into the tour, into the best guys. From now on, probably I'll just raise my confidence very high again.

Q. Were you tired going onto the court against Lleyton physically or was it more mental that you couldn't get your game, and he was just too good?

GUSTAVO KUERTEN: Well, probably at the beginning I was more not mentally tired, but mentally, you know, not the best way prepared for play. You know, I had a lot of emotions already spend in the morning, all the expectations to play, losing one set, winning on the third, a pretty close one. I had a lot of energy put on my first match. Then got onto the court was like, you know, you feel like you're not the best way prepared, especially playing a final against him, you know, the guy who is winning more than everybody else the last two years. So was a tough situation for me to hang in. As the match went, first games, little bit tired here and there, and then more and more on I start to get more and more tired in both ways.

Q. How hard is it to hit a winner against him?

GUSTAVO KUERTEN: I think you have to play three or four shots, three or four good shots. But, like you said, I cannot have any idea from today's match. I think it was very unusual than any other one I could have against him, you know, in other situation.

Q. Forget about the rankings, who do you think a better player is, Lleyton or Andre?

GUSTAVO KUERTEN: They both pretty much different way of playing. I'd say you got to be very good to beat both of them, you know. It's just like kind of guys that they don't lose almost no match for guys below 20 or Top 10 players in the world. I don't know. Just too much difference from the age, from the way of playing to compare guys like them. I think probably, you know, Lleyton, if he maintains the level like this, he will be one of the guys to really compare with Andre and Pete, you know, going for the records around the wins and the tournaments and the Grand Slams and everything, just the way he's been dealing with these results last couple of years.

Q. Which one gives you the most trouble?

GUSTAVO KUERTEN: Both (smiling). When you play guys like them, it's like you're expecting a lot of resisting, pretty tough challenges. But in the same way, it's like good to play them. You're facing the best guys. Especially in men's finals, semifinals like this. Well, Agassi some days I had lost like today, you know, easy matches, playing with my full strength, like today against Hewitt. I don't think you could give any difference from one to the other, especially on this moment that they both play a really great tennis.

Q. By the time Lleyton hangs up his tennis shoes and retires, if you had to say a number of majors that he would win, what number would you pick?

GUSTAVO KUERTEN: Depends which age he puts his shoes. Maybe next year he say, "I don't want to play anymore," then I'm in big trouble (smiling).

Q. Let's say he has a long career.

GUSTAVO KUERTEN: One thing is he probably will be a big contender in all of slams. He can play well in all around surface. If he keeps like this, I sure he will get probably around seven to eight maybe. I think he has a good chance. But you never know if the guy will have these shoes ready to finish or he will go longer. I think he really will be successful for many other occasion in the slams.

Q. Are you trying to get yourself ready for Roland Garros now? Do you think you can peak at the right time for that?

GUSTAVO KUERTEN: It's not the right idea right now. Just try to keep my momentum going. Going to Miami now probably with different approach than I was coming for this tournament. Well, I have to adapt myself at this new situation now, you know. I become a better, you know, player, like I feel I'm playing better. I got myself with a high confidence, so I got to try to use this more and more often on the court. By the time of French Open, of course, prepare myself well. But until there, I think I have a lot of miles to run and to worry about it in many tournaments.

End of FastScripts….

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