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September 5, 2003

Younes El Aynaoui


THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. Lot of sets?

YOUNES EL AYNAOUI: Yes, I think I missed a little bit of physical today, you know. Was a little bit tired, you know, little inflammation in my knee. You know, he played well, too. I tried, I gave everything, you know. I was feeling some cramps coming. But I think I have to congratulate him because, you know, he played well. He didn't went down. I was a break up in the fourth. So I'm little bit sad that I couldn't kept my serve. But I wasn't serving that good, you know. When you tired, your level of play is going down. So that's what happened.

Q. In the course of your career, have you ever experienced such difficult circumstances, as we had to contend with, with all the rain in the last five days?

YOUNES EL AYNAOUI: No. That's the first time in a Grand Slam, you know, where is best-of-five. I can't believe David's gonna have to play tomorrow. I mean, even if I would pull this one out in five sets, I don't think tomorrow I would be able to perform.

Q. 31 years old, you're still a very young man. In tennis, 10 years can make a difference. He's 21. You're 31. Do you think he had a bit more in the tank just because of his age?

YOUNES EL AYNAOUI: For sure. He definitely recovers faster than I do. If tomorrow he's gonna be able to play a high level of tennis, that's definitely a plus. Because I personally think tomorrow I'll be even more tired.

Q. Having said that, what do you think of Andre's chances, who's a decade older?

YOUNES EL AYNAOUI: Yeah, fortunately for Andre, he played his quarterfinal a bit earlier than everybody, so he had time to relax, you know. Taylor Dent pulled out in the middle of the match. Today, he had also three sets. I think physically, he's still pretty strong. So it starts to pay. When you're playing four sets, five sets. He hasn't played a five-set match in the whole tournament. I think he must be pretty fresh. Ferrero, of course, he's 21 or 22, so he's definitely gonna be ready tomorrow, I think.

Q. At 15-love, the second point of the 11th game when you were serving for the first set, how did that affect you?

YOUNES EL AYNAOUI: You know, against Moya, I had a couple of these, you know, I can't call them "lucky" balls, but fortunate balls that drop on the line. Today, it was on his side, you know. For sure, 6-5, I made the break. This is the first set. It means a lot. I couldn't keep my serve after that volley. I had it and I let it pass. It bounce in. It played in my mind, you know, for at least an hour after the point, you know. I lost the set. The tiebreak was very poor. And then the second set I was still thinking on that first set. But I tried to forget about it at the beginning of the third, you know, even if I was a break down. I came back. I tried to forget these points. But these are fortunate points. Today, they were for him.

Q. Did your knee start to act up during the match?

YOUNES EL AYNAOUI: No, it's before. I had it since a couple of months now. So, of course, when I play a lot of tennis, you know - like I played eight sets in two days, so it's a lot - it's getting worse.

Q. Do you feel the officials are very glad that you stopped by during the rain to help them promote? What motivated you to do that?

YOUNES EL AYNAOUI: I just love, you know, to try to do things that make people happy. Unfortunately, I'm not in touch enough, I think, in Morocco, in my own country, to do that. So everywhere I stop by, if I have a chance to give a hand, I know these people since a few years now. Was raining the whole day, so I thought it was a good thing to go out there and sign a few autograph and make the people, you know, be aware that the foundation does a lot of things.

Q. The public loves you when you play. So think you might move from Spain to train in US. Is that a possibility?

YOUNES EL AYNAOUI: No, it's true now, even in Spain, they like when I play. So for sure here I've been getting a great support, you know, in a Grand Slam tournament where there are so many players. See that people are coming especially to watch you, it's -- I think I'm very fortunate. I like to thank them, even if I lost today. When I walked out of the court, I thanked everybody for coming. I'm feeling much better than, you know, getting upset and just walk out. The people, they like my performance today. Even if I didn't win, they still supporting me. So that's nice.

Q. Have you played this guy before or was the first time?

YOUNES EL AYNAOUI: No, I played him in March in Miami. In the beginning of the year he wasn't playing that good and I beat him. So now, he had a good summer run. You know, he's playing a little bit better than the beginning of the year. But I was leading 1-love before that. So 1-all now.

Q. What do you think has improved in his game?

YOUNES EL AYNAOUI: Oh, I think physically he's faster, you know. He's strong. He doesn't -- when you look at him, you don't think, you know, he can handle that long games. But the serve is all right, too. It's tough to find a hole in his game because he's pretty, you know, complete - good backhand, good forehand, moves well. So that's what make him strong.

Q. He's starting to become consistent now?

YOUNES EL AYNAOUI: Yes, yes. In the beginning of the year, after his Wimbledon final, he was struggling a little bit. He hasn't won many matches. But as we all know, confidence is everything. Now, he's pretty confident, you know. Beating Roger yesterday, which was one of the favorites, gave him an extra boost, I think.

Q. You must have been disappointed to have lost such a great match. How soon after the end of the match did you think, "Yes! I get to go home earlier"?

YOUNES EL AYNAOUI: Sorry, I didn't get the end?

Q. How soon after the match did you start to think about returning home to see your new baby?

YOUNES EL AYNAOUI: Oh, I was thinking about this before the match already. You know, every day now, when I've been playing, you know, every time, even if I lose, I'm gonna fly home, you know. So I'm gonna try to fly tonight, if I can catch the flight. Of course, I wish I could stay here a bit longer, you know, to the tournament. But I lost, so I'm not completely sad, you know. I'm looking forward, you know, to arriving home and meeting the new baby and my wife and the other kids.

Q. You're excited right now?

YOUNES EL AYNAOUI: Yes, yes, yes. I mean, even before the match, I knew was gonna be a tough one. I knew against Novak, I almost went out, you know. Beating Moya, the first time I beat him. So was a lot of excitement, you know, since two weeks already. Last week I beat Kuerten also for the first time, the semifinal. So it's a lot of excitement. Now I have time to think about the family.

Q. These wins, you're happy to raise your goals. You're not making the Masters this year. But would that be a goal for next year?

YOUNES EL AYNAOUI: Yes. I think the players definitely take me as a tough opponent. I'm trying to make myself tough every time I'm playing a match. In the future, it would be the same. Now the indoor season is coming. For me, the Davis Cup first. I'm gonna try to stay tough.

Q. You think you can still make the Masters this year?

YOUNES EL AYNAOUI: Oh, honestly, I think it's gonna be difficult. The Grand Slams are the tournament that give a lot of points. Of course, there are two Masters Series to come still. So there is big points there, too. And I'm hoping, of course, but it's gonna be difficult.

Q. You will be playing Davis Cup with Arazi?

YOUNES EL AYNAOUI: Yes, Davis Cup. Next week, or two weeks almost, we playing against England to try to go, to move up in the World Group.

Q. What made you throw the racquet to the public? Second question is, did you notice you hit someone in the head?


Q. Yeah.

YOUNES EL AYNAOUI: Oh, he got hurt or...?

Q. Not really hurt, but...


Q. He was happy to get the racquet.

YOUNES EL AYNAOUI: I'm not sure. On the head? No. I thought, you know, I got those racquets. They were not really the weight I liked it. And now, I'm not gonna play any more tennis here in New York. So just thank the fan, I wanted to throw the racquets in the crowd. But it got somebody on the head. I'm a bit sorry.

Q. Do you get a similar reception everywhere you play? You really just sort of hijack some of these crowds. Do you get this in Europe?

YOUNES EL AYNAOUI: No, here in New York, it's a bit special. We have a big Moroccan community, as you saw. They were here, cheering, making a lot of noise. It's not like this in every tournament. In Doha, in Qatar, first tournament of the year, I get big crowd. Also, with me in Dubai, Casablanca, of course. But to get that support in a Grand Slam, that was the first time, the first time, and it felt good.

End of FastScripts….

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