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March 24, 2001

Gustavo Kuerten


THE MODERATOR: First question, please.

Q. You obviously had a nice run here last year. How comfortable are you at this point in your career playing on hardcourts?

GUSTAVO KUERTEN: I had many good wins last year and a couple of match last week. So pretty confidence to come out here and play. I know I can win or lose these games, but I think I have a chance to play the same level as everyone.

Q. Do you feel like you can play your best tennis on this kind of surface now?

GUSTAVO KUERTEN: Yes, I think can play most of the time my best. Maybe in the past I could not play many match. But right now I play at good level. So I have more confidence and I know that at least the guy has to play good to beat me.

Q. How does that confidence come back? What has happened for you to reach that point?

GUSTAVO KUERTEN: Wins. I am practicing. I winning tournaments, too. I won tournament last year in Halle in carpet. That comes with years, years of experience on this.

Q. You're No. 1. You finished the year No. 1. Do you feel like you're the best player in the world?

GUSTAVO KUERTEN: Well, one day I can feel this and the other day if I lose, I don't feel it. So this is a part of momentum, you know. But I feel that many times during last few months.

Q. Do you get more fan support here, more Brazilian flags you see in the stands at this tournament than any other in the United States?

GUSTAVO KUERTEN: I think so. Probably all around the world is the place you have more Brazilian crowd, and for us, it's like we playing in home because you don't have any tournaments home. This is the closest place we can play, big tournament from home. So makes me -- give me that special treatment for this tournament.

Q. Is this sort of beginning to feel like a home court for you? You've played so well so often here.

GUSTAVO KUERTEN: Yes, I feel comfortable playing especially on here, with the weather conditions. They are similar to where I live to, very humid and nice. So I feel myself very comfortable to play here and like other places, many of these place is in clay court. But still, as hardcourt, I feel, you know, myself with good conditions to play my best tennis.

Q. How much time do you spend at the beach here when you're not at the courts?

GUSTAVO KUERTEN: Not many times. If I go for one minute, maybe I don't come back. So I better not do it. (Laughter.)

Q. Did you look at the waves, see how small they are?

GUSTAVO KUERTEN: Yeah, that's why I don't go. If I look there, it's -- it's very strange for me. I want to go away from here, but I wait for finish the tournament and I can have a lot free time.

End of FastScripts....

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