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June 7, 2005

Jamie Delgado


THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. Pretty pleased with that, I'm sure? Pretty impressive victory for you.

JAMIE DELGADO: Yeah, very pleased. I thought I played, you know, a good, solid match. Came in at the right times. I thought my balance of attacking and coming to the net was perfect today. So, yeah.

Q. Did you think he might struggle footwork-wise from the outset? He's a big lad. Grass, obviously, it's a tricky surface to get your balance on. Were you trying to move him around?

JAMIE DELGADO: Yeah, I mean, I heard that he might be -- yeah, struggle from that point of view. But then I heard he won Junior Wimbledon last year, so I didn't really know what to make of it too much. But, yeah, I tried to rush him a bit and make him move. Bit of slicing. I thought he struggled a bit with that a little bit.

Q. Court slow?

JAMIE DELGADO: I think so, yeah. The balls are heavy. And to come in, I think you need, you know, a pretty big serve or a pretty good approach shot to feel confident. Yeah, I mean, I thought the ball was sitting there a little bit, yeah.

Q. Could you just sort of rewind a bit and take us through the playoff saga and how that actually all worked out in the end?

JAMIE DELGADO: For the... (laughing)?

Q. For the right to be here.

JAMIE DELGADO: Well, Thursday night, got a call from Petch about 6ish, something like that. And from what I understood, there was four of us and there was one wildcard available, but he couldn't decide on who was gonna get it. So he gave us the opportunity to play it out on the Friday. Then myself and Arv were still in the doubles, so we had to play that at Surbiton. I think they arranged the order of play so we could play the first semifinal, if you like, of the playoff, which I beat Bogo in. Then it started raining, then we were still in the doubles. You know, the time started running out because I think they needed to know here by 8, 9 o'clock who the wildcard was. So we were running out of time to play. So then in the changing rooms at Surbiton, it was me, Arvind, Petch. And, you know, after sort of 10, 15 minutes deciding whether we were going to play indoors or a couple of tiebreaks or a set, we just thought, "Just spin the coin."

Q. Spin the coin?

JAMIE DELGADO: Yeah, because we still had doubles to play at that stage. I think they only had the court for a certain amount of time.

Q. Did you call it, or did he call it?

JAMIE DELGADO: Arv called heads. Petch just flipped it. It went on the middle of the ground. We were both like...

Q. Arvind had already beaten somebody else?

JAMIE DELGADO: Arv beat Hilton in the morning, yeah. I beat Bogdanovic. And we were due to play, yeah. And that was it.

Q. So a spin of a coin?

JAMIE DELGADO: Yeah, so I was happy with that, yeah. There was a bit of tension in the room when the spin went up, but...

Q. And is this now your biggest payday of the year?

JAMIE DELGADO: Yeah, would be, yeah. Yep.

Q. It's been your best result up to now?

JAMIE DELGADO: I've been playing challengers. I've made a few semifinals. I've played in the challengers, I've been quite solid in those. You know, I've played some good stuff at times this year.

Q. You've got an interesting assortment of gear. Is it all just stuff you've accumulated over the years?

JAMIE DELGADO: Yeah, no, I've just got, yeah, just whatever. What, my clothes I'm wearing, you mean?

Q. Racquets.

JAMIE DELGADO: Yeah, yeah, racquets, yeah. Yonex have been very good to me. Still have given me, you know, lots of stuff. But clothes, no (smiling).

Q. Is there still the kind of excitement and love and enjoyment of the sport that you've had over the years? You still have that buzz about going out there and playing?

JAMIE DELGADO: I do, yeah. I mean, I still, you know, obviously haven't got loads of years left, but I still have, you know, some goals that I want to get to and think I can get to. You know, that drives me. Yeah, I mean, I love playing, so... And, you know, like another chance tomorrow against Gasquet, you know. I look forward to those sort of matches.

Q. Have you played Gasquet before?


Q. What do you make of him?

JAMIE DELGADO: From what I've seen on -- you know, I've seen him most of the time on TV, to be honest. But he looks pretty good to me, on clay. I mean, I saw him -- the only match I saw him play was when he beat Federer, I think, and he played pretty well there, I thought (smiling). But I haven't seen him much to be honest.

Q. You said you've got some goals. The obvious question is, what are those goals?

JAMIE DELGADO: Well, so far my highest ranking has been 118. I want to get better than that and, you know, get in the Top 100. I think things will -- I think when you get there, things can change. I can, you know -- I've seen other older players still achieve a lot, and I don't see why that can't be me.

Q. It's sort of many, many years since you were the Orange Bowl winner, the "next big thing." Now there's sort of Andy Murrays and Bogos around. Do you play with far less pressure, or did you ever feel that pressure on you?

JAMIE DELGADO: What do you mean? Do I now?

Q. Yes.

JAMIE DELGADO: I mean, obviously, it's noticeable that the attention is on other players, which is understandable, and they're doing well. Yeah, but I think from my point of view, you get a bit older and I think you take the -- you possibly relax a bit more and just play, you know.

Q. Have you been close to packing it in, doing something else?

JAMIE DELGADO: I mean, I've had my moments where you think, you know, you're a bit down and stuff. But I don't think I can ever say I really thought about stopping, you know, totally. I mean, I've been -- had my tough moments, that's for sure. But, you know, I think maybe sometimes, you know, when you've just lost a match or something, you think, "Oh, I've had enough." But when you sort of calm down after a day or something, I haven't had that thought over a period of time.

Q. Have you got any specific plans, though, anything in mind when you do eventually call it a day, any particular ambitions? Will you go to coaching?

JAMIE DELGADO: I don't really know, to be honest. I don't know, I mean, what I want to do, you know (laughing). I mean, I love tennis. I mean, the chances are I'll probably do something with that. But as regards to how much traveling and all that sort of stuff, I don't know.

Q. What are some of the more salubrious places in the world you've been to in recent months? You were in --

JAMIE DELGADO: I never heard that word before (smiling). That's why I got a nice shaved head, I was ducking and ducking, ducking the bullets.

Q. That wasn't that long back.

JAMIE DELGADO: No, that was, what, a month ago?

Q. What are your memories of that?

JAMIE DELGADO: Well, I woke up in the morning, on the Friday morning, and went to the club. It was like a bit of panic there. The referee said, Look - he sort of got a few players together, and I was one of them - he said, I don't know if you've heard, but the prison's been -- the local prison or whatever's been -- they're all over the place. To be honest, the night before I had a bad night's sleep. I heard lots of shooting, but I didn't know then what was happening. Then it sort of made sense. Then stayed at the club the whole day. We were just getting news. You could hear it, you know, just down the road. Yeah, to be honest, it was pretty scary at times.

Q. Were you guarded as such?

JAMIE DELGADO: Yeah. But, I mean, yeah, there were people all around the club, but from what I understood we were in the new part of the town and it was mostly happening in the old part of town, which was - I don't know - a mile away or whatever it was. There were, I mean, but I would like more (laughing).

Q. How did you get out eventually?

JAMIE DELGADO: British Embassy in Tashkent. I think the LTA were in constant contact with them. In the end we were about five hours away from there. They sent a couple of big cars that came to pick us up and drove us out the next morning.

Q. So you went back to listen to more shooting?

JAMIE DELGADO: Yeah, we slept at the club. We slept on the sofa at the club. And, you know, all of us, with our phones, sort of, you know, speaking to people back home of what was happening. No, I mean, on the Friday night, sort of 10 or 11 o'clock, I remember I was pretty nervous. You know, we heard the things were spreading and, you know, I was thinking, "Well, why can't it spread a bit more and they can just turn up at this club?" I think people were shooting aimlessly, from what we understood. So we were pretty happy to get out of there. I think it was safer to leave the next morning. The people were -- the British Embassy people arrived at like one in the morning, and they said, We think it's safer to leave at 10 - I think it was 9 or 10 o'clock in the morning, in daylight. We got the sort of route out of the town that they felt was safe, so that's what they did.

Q. It was Jonny Marray, you, Arv?

JAMIE DELGADO: Yep, Trottman, Bloomfield. Chinky (phonetic spelling) wasn't there. Dave Sherwood was there. Dan Kiernan. Yeah, so then there was a couple of other foreign players who were there as well. I don't know what they would have done. I mean, the British Embassy were excellent for us. So they came in our cars. But if we hadn't sorted it out, I don't know what they would have done.

Q. You and Trotters, I suppose, were sort of the senior people among the British contingent. Were you the calming voice?

JAMIE DELGADO: I mean, I'm older than him. But because he was obviously the LTA coach, he was more in contact with what was going on. But I don't know about that, no (laughing). I think we were making people more nervous.

Q. Were you able to make contact with your relatives quite quickly? Presumably, it would have been very worrying for them.

JAMIE DELGADO: I actually was the only -- my phone, there was a problem with my phone those couple days. Everyone else's phone was working. I was sort of sending text to brothers and stuff. But my parents were the only ones that hadn't heard from me. So when we got to Tashkent and we were having dinner at the Sheraton, one of the cooks came in and said, One of your parents is, you know, is panicking, hasn't heard from you yet. I was like, "That's mine, you know," I hadn't spoken to them. So I gave them a call from there because my phone was working when I got there. But, yeah, they were obviously panicking.

Q. Presumably, that's the most bizarre trip? Nothing else has compared to that?

JAMIE DELGADO: No, I mean, it's a rough place as it is. But when that starts happening, it's like, "What am I doing here?"

Q. That kind of experience doesn't put you off wanting to keep going to the kind of places where you have to go to...

JAMIE DELGADO: Yeah, no, it does, to be honest (laughing). I mean, I'd love to do well in tennis. I don't want to sacrifice my life, yeah, literally, you know.

Q. What was the name of the town again?


Q. I imagine it's an inspiration to get away from those sort of places and go to Monte-Carlo and Miami, isn't it?

JAMIE DELGADO: Yeah, obviously, you see the tournaments going on in all these nice places. Yeah, you obviously want to be there. But, I mean, you know, when you're in that place, obviously you're thinking more you just want to stay alive rather than play Monte-Carlo (laughing).

Q. Did you suddenly find God while you were there?

JAMIE DELGADO: No, no (smiling).

Q. Where have you been between there and now?

JAMIE DELGADO: I have been home. Well, the day I got back, I actually went to Tenerife for a few days.

Q. To chill out?

JAMIE DELGADO: Yeah, and then I came back and have been here since that.

Q. Playing the circuit here?

JAMIE DELGADO: Yeah, I played Surbiton last week and played at Oxford the week before to get some practice on the grass.

Q. You playing next week?

JAMIE DELGADO: I'm playing the Wimbledon playoff tomorrow as well. Tomorrow afternoon, I think. I think I'm going to be first match on here, apparently, and then go over there.

Q. Right. Where are they going to play that?

JAMIE DELGADO: At Raynes Park.

Q. Same as last year?


Q. Who do you play tomorrow?

JAMIE DELGADO: I play Matthew Smith.

Q. Do you agree with that system?

JAMIE DELGADO: Yeah, I think it's fair to, you know, have some rules that people know what the rankings they've got to get to. You know, from my point of view, I've still got an opportunity to get in. So, you know, obviously, I think it would be better if there wasn't two tournaments going on at the same time. But that's the way it goes, yeah.

Q. You've got to win two matches to get in?

JAMIE DELGADO: At the playoff thing?

Q. Yeah.

JAMIE DELGADO: No, more, I think.

Q. More?

JAMIE DELGADO: Yeah. I think I'm in the last 16 at the minute, and I've possibly got to win it, I think. I think there's only one -- maybe only one spot available.

Q. Or two wildcards left. Is there just one from...

JAMIE DELGADO: There's definitely a winner, and then maybe they'll give one to someone else.

Q. Unless they change the rules like they did last year halfway through.

JAMIE DELGADO: (Laughing).

Q. Take your lucky two-headed coin.

JAMIE DELGADO: Yeah, spin that one as well, yeah.

Q. So if you win tomorrow, will you play again here?

JAMIE DELGADO: I'm playing tomorrow first match on, I think.

Q. Right. And you play in the Wimbledon playoff. When is that?

JAMIE DELGADO: That will be tomorrow. They might put me on last match on there or something.

Q. If you win those two...

JAMIE DELGADO: Both of them?

Q. Yeah. Then you play again...

JAMIE DELGADO: Next day with the same thing.

Q. So you've got a lot of tennis in the next few days?

JAMIE DELGADO: Well, yeah. Hopefully. If there is, it will be going well.

Q. How do you feel physically?

JAMIE DELGADO: I feel good to be honest, yeah.

Q. Monfils comes in with this huge reputation. Did you have any doubts as you came into it? Obviously, not the way you played.

JAMIE DELGADO: I'm aware that everyone thinks he -- I mean, he already is a good player, and everyone thinks he's going to be even better. But, you know, I still didn't think I couldn't win, you know. Yeah, he's obviously done well and he probably will do very well, but I didn't fear him in any way, no.

End of FastScripts….

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