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April 21, 2001

Gustavo Kuerten

THE MODERATOR: First question for Guga, please.

Q. How good do you think this kid can be? Do you think he can become how good?

GUSTAVO KUERTEN: No. 1, I think. It's true.

Q. After you stop or before?

GUSTAVO KUERTEN: Before. (Laughing.)

Q. Be careful!

GUSTAVO KUERTEN: I was careful today. Otherwise, no chance.

Q. Did he surprise you today?

GUSTAVO KUERTEN: No, I think --.

Q. He played a very good first set.

GUSTAVO KUERTEN: I think I surprise myself the way I played much better than the other games. But I knew I had to play that way to beat him, no? He had beaten Squillari, Blanco, Martin, great clay court players. So I knew what to expect in the match, and I think it was good for me. Otherwise, I didn't find a way to win.

Q. You think the second set is one of the best maybe clay court sets you've played this year?

GUSTAVO KUERTEN: Yeah, I think all match I played pretty good. The beginning, he didn't give me too much opportunities. But as far as I got, the first one, I break him and I win the first set. Then I could even play better, more relaxed let's say, and, you know, I was going for every shot and everything was going so clean for me - thinking and playing and everything. So was -- I know what you want to happen to you, like a semifinal today, final tomorrow. You really expect that these feelings happen. But sometimes it's tough to bring them on to the court.

Q. His first four drop shots were four winning points. How did he surprise you so much?

GUSTAVO KUERTEN: Yeah, I knew he was playing, and he's a good, talented player. He likes to go deep. But sometimes, you know, you cannot get to the ball even if you know what's coming. And the good thing is when I needed the points to win, even when he played drop shot, I won the points. So that's when you see -- I saw what to expect and I knew he has these -- this ability for his game. So the crucial points, I knew it would come drop shots. I was going for them sometimes, and I think didn't matter I had lost the first couple. But when I really needed to win the point, I was ready to.

Q. Do you feel you have kind of an edge on him because you are a big star of South American tennis? He shows you respect, or no?

GUSTAVO KUERTEN: Well, I think I could be someone who inspired him a little bit or someone who gave him more confidence, you know, or someone who looking forward to do the same. But as far as we go to the court, I think, you know, he start and you could see that you forget everything about respect and all this, and you try to do your job playing well. And I think he played kind of tough matches and already won one tournament. So he knew, he's ready for these challenges. I think today I really surprised him the way I was playing so good, so close to the perfection of my game.

Q. What is the difference between the Kuerten who was 19 years old and the actual Coria in your opinion? Is there an actual comparison?

GUSTAVO KUERTEN: Yeah, like this week, I could say I've been living same feelings. I've been enjoying a lot here this week. I try just after we lost Davis Cup, lost the set for us, I tried to come here and tried to enjoy more, as I was doing the last tournaments, try to smile or laugh even when the guy playing well. And it did help me to win a couple of matches, even, you know, when I was losing like yesterday or the other day against Haas. Like today, when, you know, things aren't going easy, it's even more interesting, more fun to play like this. So I say I try to every week enjoy as much as I was before. Sometimes it's not so easy. You have a lot of things to deal, you have a lot of pressure sometimes. The expectations are too high, even yourself putting too much pressure. So sometimes you really don't get as much fun as you wanted. But as far as I can do this, you know, and come back and feeling young again, I can play my best I think. That's the idea I gonna keep for the next two months.

Q. What is the difference between Coria, who is 19 years old, and you when you were 19?

GUSTAVO KUERTEN: I think he's couple steps in front of me when I was 19. He had -- he has one tournament already. He's playing more matches and winning more matches than I was before. But, you know, I just had this breakthrough in French Open, so maybe it is or is not going to happen to him so early. But for sure, the way he starts, his career, he's like half or one year in front of me when I was going to the top.

Q. Before the match between Grosjean and Arazi, what did you think, who was going to win?


Q. The first one.

GUSTAVO KUERTEN: The first? I thought in the beginning I thought Grosjean had more chance because Hicham played a tough match yesterday, maybe he could be a little bit more tired. And the way he start breaking already first game, I still was practicing, but I thought maybe could be fast and Grosjean was winning. But when I got back and after the -- I think that point Grosjean tried to play over the -- like this, and he miss it, Arazi start to build his game better and finish the first set. So I couldn't even see too much from the game. But the way it turn around, the first set, I think was enough Grosjean to miss a little confidence and lose the match.

Q. Grosjean beat you three times before. Are you happy he's out of the tournament?

GUSTAVO KUERTEN: Well, I think for me could be a little bit better not because of this, but he's French, too. For sure he would have more support from the crowd. And I have a better record with Hicham than Sebastien, so it's little bit better. But things that you cannot count on, you know, on a day like tomorrow. Either way, if I have to play him, I was happy the same way just to be to the final again in this tournament and my first tournament, first tournament on clay, and the third final. So for me, I could not expect anything better.

End of FastScripts....

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