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April 20, 2001

Gustavo Kuerten

THE MODERATOR: First question, please.

Q. Are you satisfied with your stats, Guga?

GUSTAVO KUERTEN: Yes. I won. (Smiling.)

Q. So third match in the third day you have to play. How do you rate your level at the moment?

GUSTAVO KUERTEN: I think today, you know, I couldn't take too much because the condition was not so easy - cold, windy. And sun and shadow also was tough to play very well today. But I think at the same time I'm not playing like unbelievable. I'm able to come back when I'm not playing that well, so that's good things about that. Not playing my great things, I still able to winning important match. That's great. And from now on, I think I can play even better because I like to play big matches in semifinals, and final hopefully.

Q. Is it a special pressure to play a young, promising South American player?

GUSTAVO KUERTEN: Yeah, it's gonna be nice. I think a very fun and interesting match. I think he's gonna be around for many years from now, the way he came so quick and just showed this - Federer and these guys. For me is gonna be great challenge, you know, trying to come back and do another final here and play against him. I'm happy to play him because I'm sure he's gonna be a Top 10 player in the future, so it's good for me and for him, just for both. One of us will be in the final.

Q. Why is he going to be so good, do you think? Why do you think he's going to be so good? You've seen a lot of good clay court players. What makes you think he will be so good?

GUSTAVO KUERTEN: He's not only good on clay, he can play different courts. He was No. 1 in Juniors. In first year already Top 30 or 40. So good skills, relaxed guy. He has a lot of good things to work on in himself to win match.

Q. Do you feel a special respect from the other young South American players? Do they show you some respect for what you did or...?

GUSTAVO KUERTEN: Yeah, I think not only me but Rios, too, at the beginning showed the way and the ropes for us to arrive. I think after him and then me, we start to see a big change. Many guys -- I forgot Lapentti, too. Lapentti also arrive together with me. And now we have plenty of guys. If not one, is the other one who is semifinal, final last week. (Inaudible.) We are going to have another one in the final. I see a great future for South America. I did some good things, as Rios, and many of these guys are gonna do the same or more or little less. But we have great five or ten years of good players for sure.

Q. Do you think that the structures to develop players are in place in South America now to do it on a regular basis? Like they did in Spain or...?

GUSTAVO KUERTEN: I didn't understand.

Q. Structures. Like usually in France or Spain you have federations that create coaching programs and put money into it, and money is a problem in South America. I thought there were more structures now to create good players.

GUSTAVO KUERTEN: Yeah, we don't have too much support as the other federations around the world, I'd say. But we have great talents - great adventure, I should say. Argentina, they like the challenge a lot. So they are the one that is pushing hard at this time. And the other countries has one or two players that can come together. And as the situation is, they see how much different for all of us than the other guys, European or Americans. So I think we are doing quite a good job of playing the same level against these guys and knowing that we have a lot - two or three months that's better for us playing on clay. And then eight months, let's say, we got to play in different surface and having less chance, but still everybody able to stay in the top level.

Q. How close to your top do you feel you are at the moment? How much do you feel you can still improve on the clay court season between now and the French?

GUSTAVO KUERTEN: I think I still a lot of more to go. This week especially I've been playing well many times, but still, you know, not to play as well as I would like to maybe in the important match let's say. But also in the French Open, last year when I won I didn't have -- it's impossible to have whole match playing perfectly. So I'm having a lot of good experience already coming back my match from today, staying with my -- fighting with my head all the time and staying in the match. So that's the kind of things I would have to deal with in the same way in the French Open, and I'm sure I can. Technically I can improve much more along this month and a half. But other guys gonna improve, too. We're going to have best level, but same kind of fight.

Q. Sorry if you got asked this question earlier in the week, I'm just curious. In the past you used Davis Cup successes and victories to help lift your game. Obviously you had a disappointment against the Australians. Is that hurting your attitude or your game a little bit, the troubles you had?

GUSTAVO KUERTEN: Like I said yesterday, I think was a big frustration for us that we lost. We start the tie with 1-0 lead, and then they change the other way around. We lost five or six tiebreaks in the last two matches. So was, you know, very -- like we want to win one set, got there and lost. (Inaudible.) But at the same time, we playing against the best guy now five or six years. We not that great team when we play away, especially. We don't have too much chance against the best team, so I think in a row we doing a great job just surviving in the best leagues -- in the World Group, playing with the best teams. We really, I think, breaking all the records for Brazil just staying there for five or six years, playing semifinals, quarterfinals.

Q. It didn't take you down mentally?

GUSTAVO KUERTEN: Yeah, like I said, this is the way I thinking, you know, after losing. I cannot just come here, "Yeah, I lost the match, I should have won." For sure I would have lost the first match here. So that's the way I think. Maybe last match here I put a little bit over pressure on myself. I should have played more relax as I play here. And now I cannot change anything, so I try to see what good things I've been doing in the past.

End of FastScripts....

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