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April 19, 2001

Gustavo Kuerten

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. What is your reaction to the fact that seven out of the eight top seeds are out and you survived?

GUSTAVO KUERTEN: I don't know. Is the way, I think, has been the week, very high competition. Maybe the first tournament on clay, too, so not everybody are used to this surface. Me, I think I play more match than maybe everybody around here, so I had at least this thing that I could use for something.

Q. Six out of the seven. I said seven out of eight, I'm sorry. Do you think that it's bad for Monte-Carlo to be now in front of Barcelona? Would it have been better like before on the calendar, that you had two weeks on clay then people were coming to Monte-Carlo more well-prepared for a bigger tournament on clay? Is it a wrong decision?

GUSTAVO KUERTEN: I think all the clay season are very, very -- there's no space. If you put Monte-Carlo on week after, then it's impossible to play four tournaments in a row: Monte-Carlo, Hamburg, Rome and French Open. (Inaudible). So we should have at least three or four months to play all these tournaments, then you could have all the guys well-prepared, like maybe two seasons like they do hardcourt in the States, the tournaments at the beginning, then two more tournaments and a Grand Slam at the end. All the three and a Grand Slam together, it's, I think, too much things to have in only two months of the year.

Q. You should have won that first set. How frustrated were you losing it after having so many chances, and how did you recuperate to come back strong in the second and third?

GUSTAVO KUERTEN: I think I start playing great, and then middle of the first set I had problems with my contact lens. I couldn't see too much. So I got a lot of -- very worried about this, and I couldn't go for my shots. And it was, you know, I didn't think about the game. I had to watch for this, too. I tried to go to the toilet, but it all came back the same way. So it was not only playing against him, this thing was bothering me too. And as far as I lose the first set, I just took it off and tried to, you know, to get used to without it. So for me was like starting again. I had to build all my game plan and my shots since the -- like it was starting the game. But I think when I finish the third set, I was playing at the same level I was in the beginning, so at least this was very satisfied for me.

Q. How long have you been playing with contact lenses? When did you start doing that? What is exactly your size on right and left? How much are you missing from each eye?

GUSTAVO KUERTEN: I have -- I've been playing almost eight months already, many times. Maybe was first or second time I had some problem. And I have like one, one and a half in the eyes, and I have, too, astigmatisms and myopia together in both eyes. So from far away, I have some problems to see. During the day is not so -- I didn't lose so much. Like today I could take out and play without. But when is light or is bright, indoors, let's say, then I really need for watch the ball. If I play during the night, I cannot see without.

Q. Was the wind a factor that was hurting your contacts, the wind?

GUSTAVO KUERTEN: I think when I was playing it wasn't that windy as now. But could be, you know, sometimes the wind or the dirt of the clay and I am taking the ball all the time, and sometimes like I dry myself. So anything could have been happen. But just try to clean and wash during my break and try to put it in again. But I don't know, maybe she (the contact lens) wasn't happy with me, she was on a strike, didn't want to work.

Q. There is a feeling that there are too many tournaments to play for top players. Especially when you are older than 25, nobody plays more than for the four Slams and maybe six Masters events or seven. They try not to play the nine. What is your feeling about that? Would you like to have less big, big tournaments and which ones should be?

GUSTAVO KUERTEN: I think if I would have to choose, we could play like ten or twelve big tournaments, but then not as much smaller, you know, all the list. Like we play 15 tournaments during the year and that's it, then you can place better position. Not all, everything together the same time, and then you wait for a while and put everything together at the end. And I think for me, the problem is that I have to go away all the time. And sometimes if you live here in Europe or in the States you -- sometimes they don't want to come here because they can play in America for three, four months or six months in the year. And then the same as the European guys, they don't go there sometimes because they can play here for six months. For me, if I don't go somewhere, I don't play tennis. I have to go away all the time. So it makes more tired for than the other guys, I think.

Q. A final in Monte-Carlo could be a good opportunity for you to forget the frustration of Davis Cup, no?

GUSTAVO KUERTEN: Yes, I think you don't feel frustrated or successful all the time, so we used to this. At the same time, we, of course, you know, had good expectation but we lost for maybe the best team in this stage, you know. The Australian really can play on all surface against everybody. So it wasn't too bad. We had a lot of good things about Davis Cup in last years. I think we have our team to stay five or six years in the first division. For us, it's already a good result, and I'm looking forward now to really keep my motivation in this tournament. Sometimes, like I said, you lose one match this week and then the next you can win a tournament, or you can win one tournament and then the next week you lose first round. So we used to this situation, the high and down in our career. I think we have to manage that pretty well.

Q. You lost that very important match against Hewitt in Davis Cup. Can I ask you on a little bit of a different note, what do you think of Hewitt as a player and also as a human being if you know him personally a little bit?

GUSTAVO KUERTEN: No, I think is no doubt he's a good player. He's been two years already in the top players, and he's still pretty young. So I think -- I think for sure he's very talented and is gonna be around for many years. And person, I don't know him too good. Australia's too far from Brazil for us to live together. But at least on the court he shows a lot of passion in the game, a lot of motivation and, you know, like emotions. I think it's one guy that really feels a lot of pleasure playing.

End of FastScripts....

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