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August 6, 2002

Gustavo Kuerten


THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. Was it just a case of Henman just was too much for you today?

GUSTAVO KUERTEN: Yeah, I think he's playing very well. I am still not playing as good enough. First round especially for me was tough to play in a good level. I am not playing so many matches as him. He was with more clear, the shots and played well the big points, some really great shots. It was tough for me to play against him today.

Q. How did you feel physically?

GUSTAVO KUERTEN: Yeah, I am still not my best, but yeah, I could compete. I tried to play as good as I could in the court, but I think I am feeling maybe 70, 80%, but still some gap to get to my best form.

Q. Was there a point where you felt like -- did you feel like he was controlling that whole match or did you ever feel like you were playing even with him?

GUSTAVO KUERTEN: At the beginning the match was pretty close, I think. Then after he broke me of course he start to play even more aggressive and I had to, you know, step a little bit back and tried to get myself into the match again. But then he just broke me in the first game, second set too, so it was tough for me. I was all the time behind. I had to play -- take risk at the same time and I could not miss, so I just -- I didn't play as good as him. I think he played a little better than me.

Q. You have played him three years in a row here. How has his game progressed?

GUSTAVO KUERTEN: I couldn't tell. I think it's very different situation than the other years.

Q. Because of first round or because of you?

GUSTAVO KUERTEN: Yeah, everything that's evolved, I am not playing as much as before. I am not playing as well as before, and first round match, so it is very, very different than the other two matches we played here.

Q. Can you talk about since having the injury and your ranking has dropped, how competitive and how deep is the Tour right now? How difficult is it to move up and progress?

GUSTAVO KUERTEN: I could say you have to be in your best, like 100% to really win matches from the first round to the final. But I think, especially at this Masters Series tournaments when you are not seeded it's pretty tough. You have to beat all the time maybe Top-10 guys or other great players, so it's difficult to breakthrough, but it's like -- it's the way it, is if you want to get to the top you have to beat the guys who are there to get them spots.

Q. Now that this is over do you worry more about the wins and losses or do you just worry about how you feel after the matches?

GUSTAVO KUERTEN: Yeah, I am still concerned much more about my health than about my results. But I just -- I practiced really well here. I didn't play bad. I played a good match. For me it was okay. Playing him was tough, but I played some good points. So I just looking forward to get my best shape again. That's the only thing still in my mind, so the results are not really matter what is happened about my wins or my ranking, how it is going to be. The only thing that's going to help me successful for me or not is going to be if I will be playing again the same level or not. So I will just have to keep trying and see if I can really make this happen and, you know, it would be a great moment for me again.

Q. Do you feel very disappointed because last year you beat him easily in the semifinals and this year you lost in the first round. How does it influence your confidence before you go to the US Open?

GUSTAVO KUERTEN: Not much. I am not very frustrated because I didn't play so much this year, especially he's playing better than me, so that's what happened today. He was playing better. I tried to keep my level high. At the end I played really well, but I couldn't maintain my best level from the beginning to the end.

Q. Did you notice the difference in this room compared to last year, how this room looks compared to last year?


Q. What do you think?

GUSTAVO KUERTEN: My picture there.

Q. How do you feel about this?

GUSTAVO KUERTEN: I feel it should be a little more shaved and the haircut better. It's nice to win tournament like this. For me, like I said, two days ago it's, if I don't -- if I am not going to be back ever to win tournaments like these or to be Top-10 I would be satisfied just because I really enjoyed every moment I was successful so far.

Q. Are you going from here to Indianapolis?

GUSTAVO KUERTEN: No, I go from here to Florianopolis, my city back home.

Q. Why more players don't take your approach towards enjoying the game and loving to be around the people and signing the autographs? I understand there's a lot of time pressures but hockey players, sign autographs, baseball players sometimes do and sometimes don't. Don't you think that deters from the pro tennis Tour, the perception the public has for tennis players?

GUSTAVO KUERTEN: Tennis is tough to compare with other sports, especially like these team sports, when five guys don't want to sign you send the other 10 guys and it looks like everybody is signing. It's not -- so here like everyday you have to be in a good mood to sign sometimes not to don't sign, but sometimes people understand or don't understand to the situation. So I think the competition it's bringing very -- a lot of stress to the game. The players are very competitive. They want to get more and more and more, but it's like the reality right now it's week-to-week like last week they played in Montreal and then sometimes you ask the guy, you know, after the final come here yesterday and then he smile again and practice again and do everything all over. So it has to be natural from the player, I think, otherwise you will be one day like this, other day different, and the crowd is going to see not very from -- really from the player. So the character of the player, I am sure when Agassi not signing for someone, the people understand sometimes too it's like he has a good feeling with the crowd, they know, as far as he has the chance he had sign too, I saw him many times pictures, like here and there and other players too. So you just sometimes you catch the player in a time that's not very nice, so it can happen that you are frustrated with the image you had on the TV or whatever you had about your idol or anything. But just about maybe everything is happening in the player's head, it's not easy to handle all these pressure and all this competition.

End of FastScripts….

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