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March 14, 2001

Gustavo Kuerten

Indian Wells, CA

MODERATOR: Questions for Guga.

Q. The match a little too early in the morning for you?

GUSTAVO KUERTEN: A little bit (smiling). Wish I could play 2:00, is better.

Q. Keep requesting that and it doesn't happen? Have you asked for later starts and they give you a dirty look?

GUSTAVO KUERTEN: It's okay. I know it's not going to work. Doesn't matter. You prefer to watch match at 10:00 or 2:00?

Q. I'm a night person. 2:00 is much better.

GUSTAVO KUERTEN: I think we all could play better if we play like this time to the end of the day. Everyone can be different. The one who likes, they should say, "I'm like," so they put the other guys to play him.

Q. Pete said the last time he played a 10:00 match was when he was a junior. What was the last time you played a match in a major tournament that started at 10?

GUSTAVO KUERTEN: Two days ago, just before him. I think it's tough. You have to imagine if you have to play all days, six days in a row, you make up two days in a row 7:00 to play at 10:00. We playing the best guys. I think we cannot perform at our best at 10:00, I think. A tournament like this should be played 10, 11 days, they could have more chance to work out the schedule better. It's a major event. It's a mandatory event. You have to play well. I think the players should get a little bit better conditions to play their best game. Sometimes you don't get yourself enough time to go there and show to the tennis what you can really play.

Q. Strange second set. He held his serve, then you won five games, then he won five games. What was happening in that?

GUSTAVO KUERTEN: Great match until 5-1 in the second. I was playing my best tennis. I just miss my focus for a while. Hard court, it's a danger, especially for me when I need to be a little bit more concentrate than clay. When I saw I had already 5-4, serving for the match, couple match points, I thought I had the match win already. When I saw it wasn't, it was third set already. It was bad maybe wrong way to face the games. I didn't show my aggressive enough to win the match. In the third set, I think I did right. I think I should not do this too often.

Q. What did you think of Taylor as a player? Second time you played him.

GUSTAVO KUERTEN: Yeah, I played him last year in hard court, as well. Yeah, he serves very hard, aggressive player. He's dangerous. I mean, like today I did one or two bad shots and, you know, he was already there, put me pressure all the time. He won the set. If I keep the same way, maybe I would lost the match. It's dangerous young guy who is playing well, the same level as us.

Q. When the Australians come to your hometown, what should they expect?

GUSTAVO KUERTEN: Nice girls, good weather (smiling). I think they going to have a great time there during all week, preparing. They have great facilities to practice there. They have good weather, hopefully. It's going to be nice and warm. They going to have -- all the city, they really feel the atmosphere of Davis Cup. You go to a dinner, they know you playing Davis Cup there. It's nice when we play there. Of course, when the weekend comes, they going to have a lot of people cheering against them. I think it's normal. If maybe they get too enthusiastic with the public, of course the public is going to get more and more into the game. It's going to be a lot of how they going to face all this. But I'm read already they have sold all the tickets last week. It's going to be great, great event for us, very important. It's going to be a lot of crowd cheering for our team.

Q. Pete was talking about the state of playing in the zone. Can you talk a little bit about what that is like for you as a player when everything seems to click?

GUSTAVO KUERTEN: Yeah, I think this is maybe the feeling you always looking for, but is not easy to get there. Maybe you get a stage that you go to the court, you don't think about the way you're playing, the way the guy's going to serve or react, you just hit the ball where you want it. I know maybe it's only three or four times in a year that happen. But it's the feeling that we always trying to reach. Sometimes it works. Like for me last year, I had many important moments like this, especially at the end when I play the Masters Cup. Doesn't matter where or when, when I hit the ball, was going the way I want it.

Q. Is that the last time you felt you were in that state?

GUSTAVO KUERTEN: I think right now I'm pretty close to that, too. Maybe not here on this tournament already, but I played ten matches in a row, won in clay, and I was playing very well, especially the last match. Was really close of that stage. Sometimes one set unbelievable, didn't have to worry about nothing.

Q. Is the key to not worry about your opponent and your opponent's tendencies, just play your own game?

GUSTAVO KUERTEN: It's tough to have this feeling. You have to feel the ball so well. You have to be running well, serving well. Like I said, that happens only few times. Maybe normal when you go to the court, you expect the guy to do this or that, try to play your game. Sometimes you reach so much confidence that you don't mind too much what the guy's going to come or what's going to happen, just hit the ball. You wait the ball and hit. Just the feeling so good that you do everything right. But normally is not like this. Every player there concentrate, focus, expecting to guess right what the other guy's going to do.

Q. Is any particular stroke, if it gets into gear, does that help you get into that place?

GUSTAVO KUERTEN: Yes, I think right now, not only me, other guys, we get a lot of the serve. When you serving well and doing maybe one or two first points in your game serve, makes the things so easy, put a lot of pressure on the guy's serve. You can play more relaxed when you're returning. So for me the basic is this, and then I start to work my game from the baseline or the volleys and everything, then I start to be everything in a row.

Q. When you were up in the second set 5-1, do you get the temptation to become a serve-and-volley player at that point?

GUSTAVO KUERTEN: Yeah, I try to mix it up, not only like this, but during all the match, you know, important points, surprise the guy a little bit. I don't like to serve and volley all the time. It's not my game. But I know I need sometimes to go there and show. I'm with good confidence, volleying quite well. It's good. Makes the thing a little bit easier for me. I let the guy with one or two guessing, they never know what I'm going to do.

End of FastScripts....

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