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August 9, 2000

Gustavo Kuerten


THE MODERATOR: Questions for Gustavo.

Q. That rain delay kind of save you there?


Q. What was wrong? What were you feeling?

GUSTAVO KUERTEN: I don't know, just feeling very bad. Something strange, but don't know what.

Q. Like you were going to faint?

GUSTAVO KUERTEN: Yes. Feeling bad. Not breathe.

Q. You were out of breath?


Q. From the heat, you think?

GUSTAVO KUERTEN: Probably heat. I don't know, just start to get dizzy and have no power. So...

Q. What did they give you then? They gave you something?

GUSTAVO KUERTEN: Yeah. They try to make me drink a lot. They say dehydrated, so I had to drink a lot, rest, have some electrolytes and a lot of tonic drinks. The only thing I could do.

Q. They never hooked up an IV or anything, did they?


Q. Did they give you something to smell on the court?

GUSTAVO KUERTEN: On the court, yeah. But then I stop already. I had -- fortunately we got the rain. I think for sure the sun and the humidity of this. When I got back, I was feeling so much better.

Q. How long did it take you before you felt better?

GUSTAVO KUERTEN: One hour, two hours. Yes.

Q. Had it not rained, would you have retired?

GUSTAVO KUERTEN: I think that's difficult. I was playing well, unbelievable well. But I couldn't go for the balls anymore. So I was hanging in there. I had a chance to win the set, just lost my serve. Probably I would keep trying a little bit more, but I think if things will be too difficult for me.

Q. How do you feel now?

GUSTAVO KUERTEN: Much better, yes. I feel relieved and more energy. I think - I don't know - maybe I ate something bad, too, because I was not feeling good in my stomach. Maybe it's gonna be better tomorrow.

Q. Had you ever had that problem before?

GUSTAVO KUERTEN: Yes, but long time ago. I had kind of the same.

Q. When was that?

GUSTAVO KUERTEN: Like eight years ago. Seven, eight years ago.

Q. Like a junior tournament or something?

GUSTAVO KUERTEN: Was Open, but just in the States, you know, like professional but in Brazil. In Brazil. So it was not very big tournament, just some good guys around where I live.

Q. Okay. And did you have to quit your match or whatever?

GUSTAVO KUERTEN: No, I start to feel like this, was the same as this. I play a lot in the heat, and then I had the -- but that time was worse. I had really a lot of fever, headache and all this for three or four days almost.

Q. So it went on?

GUSTAVO KUERTEN: Yes, it went on. And today I think I have -- I could control a little bit better.

Q. Do you think you're playing now as well as ever on the hard courts? Is this the best you've ever played?

GUSTAVO KUERTEN: Yes, for sure.

Q. Is it a confidence thing, or every time out do you learn a little bit more on how to win?

GUSTAVO KUERTEN: Yeah, my mentality is different now. I'm using better my shots. I know how to play better, what shot can work well for me on what surface. I know sometimes there's just nothing to do. The guy's serving well, you just have to wait, focus on your serve and wait for your chance. That's tough at the beginning to realize.

Q. Tim Henman said before it's much easier in his mind to learn how to play on clay and then become a very good player on other surfaces than to learn how to play on grass and try to do it. Do you agree, is it an asset to grow up on clay and learn that first?

GUSTAVO KUERTEN: Yeah, I think for you to be able to play on clay, you have to at least play very well the game, you know. You have to do everything. So if you're doing right on other surface, you can play well, too. Sometimes it's not easy, but, you know, the circuit is 80 percent on hard court. So if you play on hard court better you have more chance to become successful player. You don't need to play on clay.

Q. You're evolving away from the specialist -- now you're the No. 1 player in the world and you don't get to be that just as a clay court specialist.

GUSTAVO KUERTEN: Yeah, but I can't do. If I want to be No. 1, I cannot only play on clay. I can only play on fast, but not on clay. We have three Grand Slams, fast. Six of nine Super Nines, everything's on fast surface, just maybe six, seven tournaments on clay, important.

Q. Is that unfair?

GUSTAVO KUERTEN: No, it's just the guys that play better on clay have less chance to be in the top I think.

Q. So that makes your achievement even sort of more remarkable, that here we are in the middle of the hard court season and you've risen to No. 1?

GUSTAVO KUERTEN: Yeah, I think that's because we had played for five more already all the surface on clay, and I had play well on other surface too, like in Miami. And here I'm playing well again. So that's the reason I have to play on other surface until they change the tournaments. If it was the other way around, I could be more than satisfied now to play on clay.

Q. Do you have any technical changes? Do you change your racquet?

GUSTAVO KUERTEN: No, no. Just my big changes is the mental change, you know? I have to just -- what do you call it -- the rhythm, feeling the rope a little bit, the speed of the court and all this. But mentally I have to be really serve well, more focused and don't do anything wrong. I have to be more concentrated on hard courts, is not very easy for me.

Q. Do you ever change your racquet?

GUSTAVO KUERTEN: Yes, but not because of the court. Just because of the place and when I'm feeling more powerful, I change because of that.

Q. You said that winning the French for the second time didn't really change your outside life so much. But internally has it made you more confident that you're really going to be around for a while? I know talking to Patrick Rafter, Lindsay Davenport, a lot of people say the first Grand Slam, maybe it was a fluke. The second one, you say, "Boy, I guess I'm pretty good, I guess I'll be around for a while." Is that the way it is for you?

GUSTAVO KUERTEN: Yeah, it's great satisfaction. Just you see -- every time you win a Grand Slam, I think it's so good, your confidence, your work, everything, you start to appreciate it and see all you've done. So for me, it was great. And not only this, this year especially. Having so much good weeks. It makes myself proud and confidence and, you know, seeing that I can play against the top guys for a good time.

Q. Does it make you more difficult to beat? Maybe players who are playing you now sense the task being more difficult for them because they're aware you're at the top of your game?

GUSTAVO KUERTEN: Yeah. I think confidence always helps. The guy wants to beat you because you're a big guy, you're in the top, and also he can be a little bit scared about your performance in the last few weeks.

Q. (Inaudible)?

GUSTAVO KUERTEN: I feel like from now on we've got almost similar situation from all the ranking and now the Race. So I think every player knew that's going to be like that, and it's nice. You're going to see a lot of guys moving around in the first place. Every week you see one guy moving, he's coming to maybe fighting for the Race during the year. So I think it's from now on, it's going to be very, very interesting.

Q. Is it something you care a lot about? I know you're not the most goal-oriented player, you just like to play because you like to play. Is it going to be a fun next two months?

GUSTAVO KUERTEN: Yeah, for me it's been fun. We'll try to see, like I see myself with some chance to stay there, hanging in the top position, and try to do my thing, too. Sometimes you start to see too much the others, see how they're going to do, and you forget about playing yourself. So as much as I can win, get points and make things go well, I think I'm in the right way.

End of FastScripts…

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