September 5, 2003
NEW YORK CITY
THE MODERATOR: First question, please.
Q. I guess the obligatory, any thoughts about playing the legend tomorrow, Mr. Agassi?
JUAN CARLOS FERRERO: Yeah, I have a lot of battles with him. I play last time in Shanghai. Was a great match. Of course tomorrow is gonna be a big match for me. First time in semifinals, you know. Against Agassi. If I win tomorrow, maybe I'm gonna be No. 1. So it's gonna be exciting match for me.
Q. Do you feel a little bit as if you've been forgotten at these championships? You were scheduled on Arthur Ashe just once and never got to play there.
JUAN CARLOS FERRERO: I know that the American guys has to play before in Arthur Ashe as me, you know. But I think is strange to be in the semifinals and I never play on Arthur Ashe, and I'm No. 3 in the world. I think this is not normal. But I don't want to have problems with the organization, you know. But of course it's not very good.
Q. In your career you've played just one match there.
JUAN CARLOS FERRERO: Two match.
Q. Safin and what was the other one?
JUAN CARLOS FERRERO: Rusedski. The first time I came here, you know, the first match in the US Open, I play it.
Q. So you've lost twice there?
JUAN CARLOS FERRERO: Yes.
Q. You've never won there. Do you anticipate a big difference from playing on Louis Armstrong court to Arthur?
JUAN CARLOS FERRERO: I don't know. This year, I don't know. It's different because it's pretty big center court, you know. I will tell you tomorrow if I feel the difference. But I hope not.
Q. How strong do you feel?
JUAN CARLOS FERRERO: I feel strong. You know, physically, I'm good. I'm a little bit tired, of course. Is normal. But mentally, I mean, in tennis, I think I am playing a great tennis, you know, hard court. Mentally, I am, you know, when the difficult moments come, I'm very focus and be positive and try to get up.
Q. How important do you think those two aces were on the set points? They were huge points for you.
JUAN CARLOS FERRERO: Of course, was very important to do these two aces. Was the set. You know, when you lose two sets to one, mentally it's tough to try again, and you have to win two more sets against Hewitt, that he fight all the points, you know. I think was very important to win that game and also the set.
Q. Did you sense that he was hurting? He came in and obviously had a hip problem.
JUAN CARLOS FERRERO: You know, I think he had the problem, but I didn't feel so much because he was running the same. You know, after the trainer come to the court at 5-4, he was starting to play so good. Love-30, running a lot. I was with troubles in that game. So I think maybe he feel it, but he was running exactly the same as...
Q. You said after you won Roland Garros how important it was for you to win a hard court title, come to the US Open and prove that you could do well here. Now you're very close. Just talk about how important this title is to you, especially winning it.
JUAN CARLOS FERRERO: Always is important to win a Grand Slam. Doesn't matter if it's clay or hard court. But, you know, I got the clay court Slam, you know, and I want to get the hard court Slam, Grand Slam. I'm pretty close right now, but I have in front of me very good players, and I will have to play very, very great tennis because there is two guys, American guys here, and I think they are very motivated to play here in their house.
Q. Your name, Juan Carlos Ferrero, sounds like a name that would be associated with royalty. You don't have any royal blood, do you?
JUAN CARLOS FERRERO: Oh, of course I have (laughter). Not with real, but...
Q. Somebody mentioned before that you hardly played on the big stage. Given your ranking, you should have been playing more on Arthur Ashe. Clearly, American television is going to be rooting for Andre Agassi. Is this motivation for you? Is this the kind of thing you use for your mental part of the game?
JUAN CARLOS FERRERO: Yes. I want to show to everybody that I am No. 3 in the world and I could be No. 1. I think if I am No. 3, maybe I have to play more matches in center court. Maybe yes. But, you know, it's...
Q. You've had some tremendous moments in your career: Davis Cup in Spain, obviously Roland Garros this year. Would this compare, winning the US Open, or does nothing compare to, say, Roland Garros or that Davis Cup win?
JUAN CARLOS FERRERO: It's different, you know. With Spain, it's different. You not play with yourself, you know, we play for Spain, and we won it for Spain. If you win the French Open or US Open, you win for yourself. It's very important as well.
Q. So this would compare with winning at Roland Garros, even though that was your first major?
JUAN CARLOS FERRERO: Yeah.
Q. You're one of the few guys out there that has a winning record against Agassi. How do you think your game matches up against his?
JUAN CARLOS FERRERO: I think I play aggressive tennis as him. So tomorrow is gonna be a tough match, because we play so hard doing a lot of winners, you know. But the key, I think, I have to do no mistakes on the base of the line, you know, and I have to serve good. Because if not, he return very well all the time, and I didn't serve so good. I think you don't have too many chances to win.
Q. How do you feel about qualifying for Tennis Masters Cup?
JUAN CARLOS FERRERO: You know, I thought that I was in when I won the French Open, because is difficult to be out from the Houston if you win a Grand Slam. So, you know, today I think it's officially that I am in, so I am really happy for that as well.
Q. Would you hope that tomorrow is very sunny, very hot, so it's easier to beat Agassi?
JUAN CARLOS FERRERO: I don't know. I don't know how he feels. But I think he was two days in the hotel when I was here until 10:30 in the night. So I think he is little bit less tired as me - than me. But hot, tomorrow is, I don't know, is gonna be like 78, like today. So I think I have more chances if is so hot, yes.
Q. What have you been doing in New York, anything away from the courts?
JUAN CARLOS FERRERO: Yeah, yeah, I went to the 5th and Madison, to do shopping with my girlfriend. I tried to go to the Empire State, but I couldn't.
Q. Why couldn't you?
JUAN CARLOS FERRERO: I didn't have time, finally. I went to Chinatown, you know. I went someplace.
Q. You last played Andre a year ago. It was on hard courts. You were able to defeat him. In your mind, is that ancient history, or can you still draw on some confidence, knowing you were victorious in your last meeting?
JUAN CARLOS FERRERO: Yeah, I did well in Shanghai. I hope to do well here. Because that means that I won the match. I know I was very close, 7-6 in the third. But if I win tomorrow, will be the same, will be close, you know. Because you never win Agassi so easy 'cause, you know, his game is always the same, you know. Try to do so run to the other player, you know. So in my mind, tomorrow is gonna be a tough match for sure.
Q. Just as a follow-up, he has 10 years on you. You are playing back-to-back, which is something you don't ordinarily do. Any thoughts on the fact that you're a 23-year-old man and he's a 33-year-old man, that maybe that might play to your advantage?
JUAN CARLOS FERRERO: I know that he has a lot of experience in that kind of matches. He's 33 and he played a lot of semifinals and finals here. He won here, so I think he has a chance to win. But, you know, I'm playing a good tennis. I'm not thinking anything more.
Q. You said that the people here don't know you. They know the Americans, they don't know you as well. If there was one thing you wanted the American public to know about you, what would that be?
JUAN CARLOS FERRERO: I don't know. I am the same kind of player of the American guys.
Q. You're just as good?
JUAN CARLOS FERRERO: Yeah.
End of FastScriptsâ€¦.