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September 6, 1998

Alex Corretja

U.S. OPEN CHAMPIONSHIP, Flushing Meadows, New York

Q. Are you satisfied? Obviously you're satisfied with your play, moving into the fourth round. How do you assess your chances the rest of the way?

ALEX CORRETJA: Well, I'm satisfied because I think I played a little better than the other days. Byron was playing good tennis. He was forcing me too much. He was putting a lot of pressure to me. It was complicated after I lost the second set, he was just hitting really hard. At that point, I just got a great reaction. I start to play really good tennis. I think the third set was my best set during this tournament.

Q. How do you feel physically after those rounds, pretty tough rounds, three tough rounds?

ALEX CORRETJA: I feel perfect. I think I'm really good prepared physically and mentally to keep this level. We have a day off every time we play, so for me it's not a problem. French Open was different. I was playing like five days in a row because of the rain. However, here, it was once. But now I feel perfect. I have a day off tomorrow. I don't feel any pains of something because I was having a good preparation. As I said in Indianapolis, I played five days in a row, tough matches, and I recover myself pretty good. So now here with one day in between, it's perfect.

Q. Do you think it's going to be tougher against Carlos on this surface than at the French?

ALEX CORRETJA: Well, I hope it's going to be easier. Because at the French for me it was really bad. If it's tougher, it's going to be 6-2, 6-1, 6-2. I think he has some advantage in front of me on hard courts. I think on clay, I should be playing better, especially on that final, I didn't do it. But on hard courts, he has I think a better serve. He has easier returns than me. But at the same time, I think I'm really consistent. I think I have my chances.

Q. Do you think that the physical -- he has played also very tough matches? Will it be a key of the match?

ALEX CORRETJA: No, I don't think so. He's going to recover, for sure. He has a day off tomorrow, as well. For sure, it's always tough to play two matches in a row, five sets. At the same time, you get really confident when you won the kind of matches like these. You need a little bit of luck on these matches, but if then you pass through, you feel really satisfied.

Q. Is there anything specific you need to bottle up from that third set tonight to carry over to that match?

ALEX CORRETJA: I try to remember what I did. I was just stepping on the court much more than the two first sets and the other days. The other days, I was not moving really well. Today I think I played better tennis. I was more aggressive, and my backhand was working better. I was serving I think a little bit better. So against Carlos, I think I will have to play really consistent, try to come into the net sometimes, just don't let him attack my game the whole time.

Q. If you were to play the same kind of match against Carlos that you played tonight, how will it turn out for you?

ALEX CORRETJA: You never know. It's so difficult to know that. Maybe I would have won because I think I played good tennis tonight. Byron was playing really well. He was forcing me too much. But you never know. It's a different kind of tennis. We'll have to see on Tuesday how it goes.

Q. Will the familiarity help, the fact that he knows your game, you know his game?

ALEX CORRETJA: Sometimes it's tough to play against a friend. But I think I have to forget it, try to play better than I did at the French. Or at least if I don't play better, just to try to forget that I have a friend in front of me. Then just try to go for another round if I win. If not, just go home. I think I will have to be more serious on the court than at that time. At that time I was kind of more relaxed. It was tough for me to play against him. I think it will be a great experience for me that time.

Q. Will it be different because it's a fourth round as opposed to a final of a Grand Slam?

ALEX CORRETJA: It's always a little bit different. I mean, I think all the matches are tough. Especially on that time, it was the final. If it would be the final here again, I think I will play the same way, just consistently, and serious. At that time I was not really focused on the match. I was more thinking about many other things.

Q. Do you think Carlos is mentally stronger after his success in Paris, as he proved against Chang?

ALEX CORRETJA: I don't know, you never know. Maybe if he would have lost, you would say he was not prepared to win here, he didn't make a good preparation, he was one point away to lose. You never know. Maybe after he won Chang, he realized that he can make a comeback after two sets to love down. But tennis, it's always really close. From one point you can go home first day or second day. If not, you can maybe go farther. For sure he has to feel stronger, if you're a French Open champion, it's because you did a great job.

Q. What happened with Byron at the end of the match?

ALEX CORRETJA: He was confused. He was just asking me if I had something against him. I said, "Why?" He said, "You didn't say thank you." I said I told him thank you. I always say thank you. If you win or if I lose, I say thank you to the opponent. Maybe it was too crowded and he couldn't hear something. Maybe he was like tense or something. I spoke with his coach, and I told him just tell him to apologize because I told him thank you for sure. I always say thank you, even if I win or if I lose, so. But nothing happens.

Q. Mentally, only mentally, do you think it's good to have tough matches at the beginning of a Grand Slam to keep focused?

ALEX CORRETJA: It's funny because when you play tough matches, they say, "Do you think you're going to be prepared because you played a lot of tough matches?" You never know. You see Kuerten, in Roland Garros, he was playing five sets every time, and he won. Then sometimes the guys just win straight sets the whole time, they get into the second week, and they lost. I mean, here nobody's going to tell you that you're going to win if you win in straight sets the first day or if you win in five. You see Rafter the first day, he was struggling a lot, he was close to lose. Now he's playing again his best tennis. I think every player has his own way to go. And it's difficult. But the thing is, we are here, we are in fourth round already. I think it's great.

End of FastScripts…

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