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May 8, 2001

Gustavo Kuerten

THE MODERATOR: First question, please.

Q. What was the problem today? Was it your game? Was it your opponent's game? Why did you struggle more than you usually do?

GUSTAVO KUERTEN: I think he play very well. First round always tough when you play someone who is already good winning like him, come from the qualis, and hitting the ball and serving especially in the important points pretty solid. Was difficult for me. I think if I had to win the first set as I should in 5-4, things could be much different than it was. But I don't know, I fight back. Was, you know, I wanted to win this match as it -- any how, you know, just find a way to win. So I think was nice for me just to do it at the end and playing better and better each game, you know. After the, you know, two sets and then I start to play my -- feel myself better, good condition, and finish the match in a good way.

Q. What do you think about Norman's and Agassi's and Sampras' elimination?

GUSTAVO KUERTEN: I think big surprise for sure. Many big names are out. For me, you know, it's not very important because I don't play them in this round. Maybe in the semis, I don't know, if I get there, or quarters. But then it's anyone I play is the same. So I think for the tournament maybe is not so nice to lose, you know, important names for in these early rounds, but it's the way it's been most of the tournaments. Many other players playing well, and pretty open match like myself today, just able to survive at the end. It can go each way around, and there's no really favorite in this tournament.

Q. Cafu and Aldair were here to watch you today and you had dinner with them last night. You have a tendency to follow their play and they like to follow your play.

GUSTAVO KUERTEN: Yes, I think it's nice. It's like -- I like to watch them, they like to watch me, and my match was pretty similar as Roman match, I think, very levels and exciting. At the end, me and them got the result they wanted.

Q. How do you follow them?

GUSTAVO KUERTEN: Yes, I see by television sometimes. Sometimes they play for the national team, so I can watch, and I just follow maybe by Internet. It's the easy way I can get the results.

Q. How do you explain your popularity in Italy?

GUSTAVO KUERTEN: I think it's couple things. Maybe because the way I am, too, you know, very like enthusiastic and special, and I like to scream, play and, you know, many things like that. Similar to the Italians, too. And also they -- I think they like Brazilians pretty much as I see in the soccer as well. And I had three years I came here, I had all the time good results. So that's make myself feel good. Then I can, you know, give a good time for them, too.

Q. How do you explain the fact that the Brazilian football players who were your idols have now become less popular than yourself in Brazil?

GUSTAVO KUERTEN: Fortuna. I don't know, it's something that I don't really, you know, looking forward too much. I think is the consequence about my career, my great results. And everything, I got it as a Brazilian. So it's -- now it's for sure the biggest time for me ever as a person, as a professional. So I'm living great moments, great feelings, and it's nice to enjoy this, you know. I think it's not gonna be forever, so I try to enjoy as more as I can.

Q. Are you participating in any voluntary initiatives if you win Rome?


Q. Yes.

GUSTAVO KUERTEN: No, I think doesn't matter if I win or no, I always try, especially now, to help other peoples, too. So I think in this situation I start now to build my foundation back in Brazil. It's working pretty fine. I think as far as we start to put all the things together, and then start to work with some when we can find a way not to go easily. And I don't really think my results from now is gonna really care too much. I think I have already good condition to, you know, build a nice thing and try to help. I don't know how many people, but the one I help, try to help the right way.

Q. Now that you're a professional tennis player, how much of it is still fun and how much of it is work?

GUSTAVO KUERTEN: I think I always had playing with pleasure, no? But of course sometimes you not that motivate or sometimes you don't want to practice too much. But most of the time I like to play. I like the way, you know, like these tournaments are. I come here and enjoy. I don't go too much to the city or this, I like to stay quiet. But when I'm here, I try to enjoy it. Center Court, good match like today, nice atmosphere, so I think so far I've been having much more good times than, you know, worries and care about only my job or something that is only professional.

Q. Is it better to win suffering for your victory, or is it better to have an easy victory?

GUSTAVO KUERTEN: Depend. Both ways. I think it's nice to win like this, you know, fighting. And having some trouble is scary sometimes. But also when you play unbelievable and win 6-2, 6-2, it's nice as well. So I think that this win feeling, it's very special for us, make us feel better than someone, make us feel, you know, more satisfied with our self. So it's really something that we need maybe all the time to be sure that we are in good feelings on these to be prepared to win a tournament like this.

End of FastScripts....

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