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January 21, 2003

Wayne Ferreira


MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. You said on court, "It can't get any better than this for me." You never know, it could, couldn't it?

WAYNE FERREIRA: Up until this stage, definitely, it cannot. I mean, I played a great match today. I was behind early in the first, most of the second, and fought really hard and played pretty good tennis. I'm really happy. It definitely can get better, but I'm until now, it's great.

Q. The point at 2-1, the first set tiebreaker where you chased down what looked like to be two or three winners, hit the lob, how big was that in the context of the match?

WAYNE FERREIRA: Well, I mean, those points are always mentally great things to win. I don't think that was probably the point of the whole tiebreaker. I think just winning that first set was very, very important - mentally especially. You know, first set can be key to a lot of matches. I think maybe this one -- obviously, the second set was tough, but I think it was definitely mentally on my side very important to win that first set.

Q. What's been the most difficult thing for you when you played him all the times in the past?


Q. Sorry, I'm looking ahead.

WAYNE FERREIRA: You're talking about Andre?

Q. Yes.

WAYNE FERREIRA: I don't know. It's weird. I just haven't really played that well. Most of the time I've played him, it's been in situations like this where he's ended up winning the tournaments and playing great tennis. You know, this week, he's basically steamrolled through everyone and is playing great tennis. He's got an interesting game. It's tough to get any rhythm. You end up running a lot. I do feel that I have improved my backhand considerably. I'm taking it a lot earlier. I'm more aggressive on it. I'm missing a lot less. That's always been a very, very big factor against him, is that he's absolutely dominated me on the backhand side and given me no opportunities to hit any forehands. If I can hit my backhand like I did today, move like I did, be able to stay in the point from the backhand side, things might be a lot different.

Q. If I remember well, two years ago you were near quitting the game. You seemed completely disgusted by the game. What changed?

WAYNE FERREIRA: A lot of things. I had a lot of problems off the court. It's very difficult. Tennis is a very, very mental game. To have problems outside that have nothing to do with tennis, have that on your mind, and obviously not playing very good tennis, it makes it very difficult. I've sorted out those problems. I've dealt with them pretty well. Things are a lot better. Obviously, I've adapted to the fact of having a son and being away from him, and doing what I'm doing. I've looked at the fact that, you know, tennis is a short career, and I have a long life after that, that I should give my best while I can. I think probably the most important factor of the whole thing is that my son has changed my attitude towards the game of tennis. Before, it was more of a life-and-death situation, and there was nothing worse than losing a tennis match. Now there's a lot of things worse than losing a tennis match. It's not as important, and it's more just a fun and enjoyment factor now.

Q. I believe you said now your endurance is much better. Do you think it's the fact that you're calmer on court, not losing energy?

WAYNE FERREIRA: I'm sure it's a huge factor. I feel really great. I'm having a lot of fun with my tennis. I've put in very little practice over the last four months, very little training. I'm playing tennis when I'm back home with the college guys that I coach. I have a different perspective. I teach them instead of working for myself. I just have a lot of fun. I enjoy what I'm doing right now. I enjoy playing tennis. It's fun for me to play against young kids. It's fun for me to last longer than them endurance-wise, mentally. It's just a whole different perspective to the game which personally I wish I could have realized and felt a lot longer. Five or six years ago, I think things would have been a lot different.

Q. You said the other day you obviously are more mature, obviously are playing more with your head than you used to. Is this something which has come from the last two years or is this something that was always there but you never quite brought out?

WAYNE FERREIRA: I don't know. I mean, maybe just the enjoyment factor of the tennis, not being so serious, has made it that way. I can't say what it is. I really enjoy it. It's always been something that I've tried so hard over the years. When I was younger, I went to sports psychologists, I read these books, I listened to these tapes, I listened to this person and did that and this. None of it ever really seemed to work. I haven't done anything in the last two years, and all of a sudden it's changed. It's a difficult thing. I wish I knew what it was. You know what? I'm just grateful that I have it now. I'm trying to use it and get the most out of it while I can.

Q. Can you teach that to younger players?

WAYNE FERREIRA: Nobody could teach it to me. You know, it's something that I think I just worked out for myself. I think it's a very difficult side of tennis. You know, the mental side is very, very important.

Q. Was there one moment tonight when you thought, "I've got him"?

WAYNE FERREIRA: I think the first game he played in the third set, that pretty much showed me that the wind had gone out of his sails and he was pretty much done. Mentally and physically, he was done, throwing in the towel a bit. That was a great feeling to see that. I worked so hard to win that second set. It really paid off. It was very important.

Q. For those of us who don't know the background, how close did you come to getting out of the game?

WAYNE FERREIRA: Pretty close actually, yeah. Very close. I mean, I hadn't gone around looking for another job or anything like that. I think what I would have done maybe was taken off maybe half a year and then reevaluated then. I sat and thought about it. I did decide that I was going to give it one more year, because I didn't want to give up the game the way it was going. I didn't want to have any regrets. I didn't want to feel bad about it. I said I was going to give myself one more really good year and try the best that I can. If it didn't work, I was still ranked 50, wherever it was, then I'd pack it in. I had a great year. I won Stuttgart. I ended up 13 in the ranking at the end of the year. It just made me realize that I could keep going. So I carried on.

Q. Are you able to have your son with you at some stage during the year?

WAYNE FERREIRA: I am able. I just don't want it at all. They were here with me in Adelaide the first of the year. It's just too difficult. It's too hard on them. It's too hard on me. I don't have the time. I don't want to practice and I don't want to be at the courts when they're with me. I have to be professional. I have to do what I came here to do. My wife doesn't want to be here. She's done her time at the courts. She's done with that. I think it's better. The situation is great the way it is. My wife is back at school. My son is at school. I'm playing my tennis. I get back home as often as I can to see them as much as I can.

Q. Where is home now for you?

WAYNE FERREIRA: I'm living in Berkeley, in northern California.

Q. With Agassi and Sampras playing the US Open final, now you and he in the semis here, Younes, does that say something about the guys over 30 or does it say something about the guys in their 20s?

WAYNE FERREIRA: Well, I think out of the three of us, Younes is the only one really that's sort of playing better tennis now than he did when he was younger. Andre has been dominant pretty much his whole career. I've been Top 50 my whole career. From his aspect, I think it's different. I personally believe I have so much more endurance, and obviously the mental side, too. I feel maybe a little bit slower on the court, but I am still naturally fit, naturally quick. Looking at it right now, maybe I wish I'd started a little bit later and worked on that aspect. It's hard to say. I actually feel like today I played one of my better matches in my career. I mean, maybe I can even get better from here.

Q. When you made the semifinals here in 1992, what was your attitude to the game then? Were you someone who was driven to be Top 5? Were you still working out how good you would be?

WAYNE FERREIRA: I was still working out. Back then, it was just a wonderful experience to be around here. I never thought about losing, never thought about chasing points, chasing rankings, beating guys. I was just having so much fun being here and playing in this environment. I think after that, that tournament, it made me realize that I could be. I guess it was a stepping stone to helping me a lot. But during that week, I really didn't believe I could get to the semifinals. I was just playing, having fun. I had a lot of friends that were here. We were going out, just enjoying ourselves. It was a pretty weird two weeks. It was probably the weirdest two weeks I've had in my whole tennis career, and I played great tennis. It did make me realize that I could compete against everybody.

Q. What you said basically to enjoy it is the key of success?

WAYNE FERREIRA: For me it is. It hasn't been all that easy. My personality doesn't allow me to do that a lot of time. I'm the type of person that does hate to lose. I'm a bit of perfectionist in certain ways. The mental side definitely gets a hold of me way too often. But when I do have fun, like in Stuttgart when I played and won Stuttgart a couple of years ago, I was in a trance the whole week. I was a wonderful experience, and I tried really hard to get it again, and never got it again. It's a difficult thing.

Q. With the great sporting rivalry with Australia and South Africa, what kind of treatment do you get from Australian crowds?

WAYNE FERREIRA: As far as traveling through the world and that, probably the best really. We have a great tradition with the sport that we do against each other. I think the Australians love their tennis. They support me a lot. Even though there's a rivalry, I think it's a good rivalry in the cricket and the rugby. They appreciate my tennis. I feel this is the closest I can get to South Africa for me.

End of FastScripts….

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