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March 13, 2003

Gustavo Kuerten


MODERATOR: Guga advances to the quarterfinals, will take on James Blake for the first time. Questions for Guga.

Q. Did you not get enough exercise out there today? You were practicing after the match.

GUSTAVO KUERTEN: No, it was just to release my body a little bit. I was pretty nervous at the end. You know, for me was very excited. I saw like a big opportunity to get to the quarters, so just to get a little bit out of this tightness and this tense that I was in the end of the match, try to hit the ball a little harder. No pressure if I miss it, no problem (smiling).

Q. That's the second match in a row then, two second-set tiebreakers. Against Federer, you also had a second-set tiebreaker.


Q. Does it make you feel more confident for the next time?

GUSTAVO KUERTEN: Well, I think especially the second set today was important for me, you know, the way I fight back at 4-2, got the break back, get myself into the set again. The way the tiebreak went, you know, I was 4-2 up with a kind of lead. Serve well. The guy just return with slice, get into the point. After that, I missed that point and was pretty close the breaker. So I just hanging in there. I think was probably the best part of the game. We both running a lot and playing very solid from the baseline. Like I said before, was kind of feelings I wasn't living as a routine anymore, you know, that is to play these big matches, important points, and get through if I win. So that's where it counts. Like yesterday and today, it's small parts of the game that makes the difference. It's just at the end it comes so much happiness, you know, energy from everywhere. So everything seems so good if I win, but it can be so much different with one or two points. So that's huge when you break through and win a matches like this close. I think it's pretty much important, let's say special for my situation right now.

Q. You're 1-1 with Roddick, 1-1 with Hewitt, and you haven't played Blake before. Do you feel confident now you have as good a chance as anybody to win this tournament?

GUSTAVO KUERTEN: Well, I think, yeah, I see myself, you know, with good chances, I can say. But same way as I was telling before, I'm not as used anymore to play especially like Lleyton and Andy. They are playing much more often these big match, that is quarters, semifinal or final in this kind of tournaments. For me the last time I play Masters Series semifinal was more than a year ago, maybe one and a half year ago. So from now on I think will be a different stage that I have to adapt myself again. Tomorrow will be a tough one, play against the crowd maybe the first time. Everybody was with me all these match. But for sure tomorrow I playing against James. He's from here, so it's going to be lot of people cheering for him. I got to be prepared for all that. I think, like I said, I going to the next level from now on. Hopefully I can respond well.

Q. I know you never played Blake before. What do you think of him? I'm sure you've seen him play a lot of times.

GUSTAVO KUERTEN: Yeah, I think he's surprising, you know, everybody, himself. Like he said many times I saw in the interviews and all this, he had many problems when he was young and all this. I'm sure being able to play in the game and be as successful as he is right now, it's just so great. He should be so proud, too. He's been enjoying this a lot. He's a kind of guy that, you know, he's pretty much established. You know, he knows what he's having, what's all around. He knows how to appreciate it everything. So I think with all this together, it will be a great match for him as for me. He will have the chance to play a semis on a big event in his country, just beating Chela, Moya back to back, and now against me. I'm sure he will give everything to beat me tomorrow. So I got to be, you know, waiting for all these specific points, try to play my game, enjoy the situation, too. It's a big match for both of us. Night match, too. It will be different feeling, more excitement around. Hopefully I can even playing the game, but enjoying that time on the court as well.

Q. Are you surprised how many qualifiers have made it this far into the tournament?

GUSTAVO KUERTEN: Yes. I think is not very usual, you know. But especially this part of the year I would say guys -- everybody not in their best rhythm as they would like. As far as you play two rounds as qualifier, you beat guys below a hundred in the world, all the qualifiers, 60, 70, 80. So two good wins already. You get to the tournament with nothing to lose. You play against the best players that sometimes are not playing their best, and you're coming in with a few straight wins. It happens few times. But for sure was little bit surprise just the way so many good do, get at least to the third or maybe fourth round.

Q. Marat today said he was ill, didn't feel well. There's been other players that haven't felt well. Are you doing anything to prevent what's going around?

GUSTAVO KUERTEN: Not really. Well, you always try to maintain yourself safe. You eat, don't take too much risk in the food, trying different stuffs. I don't like different foods, too. I like to eat pasta or these simple meals. So I think so far luckily I didn't had any kind of problem. You know, the guys I played, too, they seems to have not really any problem. Maybe all together the heat condition with body a little bit down, the defenses are not so high, so you eat something badly or just the tiredness can make you feel not so well. But, well, you try to drink a lot, you know, to have a good recover, see, just expecting that your body really respond well.

End of FastScripts….

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