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May 9, 2000

Gustavo Kuerten


Q. I had a personal press conference with you in Monte Carlo because nobody attended. We were alone. You told me you were very confident and so and so. Two days after, you lose your match and then you say that your back is in a desperate condition. So?

GUSTAVO KUERTEN: That's life. (Laughter.) What is the question?

Q. The question is how is your back? Have you been treated?

GUSTAVO KUERTEN: From that time it was confidence I was playing well. I was feeling good, but I had a problem with my back for a little while so was bothering me a lot. Now it's completely different. I mean, I haven't been playing for a while, but I feel more firm, I feel good, I feel no pain, I can enjoy more. I think it's more pleasant to play like this. Today, I play just as I been in my best form playing, as I've been playing for two or three weeks in a row. But just being out there, I feel much more comfortable. It's completely different feeling, so I'm happy just to be back playing like this. It was month or two months that I haven't been playing without the pain and enjoying it.

Q. So this isn't true that you were late because you had this very close meeting with one of the beautiful girls of the organization?

GUSTAVO KUERTEN: I wish it was. (Laughter.) Not true. False alarm.

Q. You said you don't feel any pain anymore, but you called the physio at the end of the first set. What was the reason?

GUSTAVO KUERTEN: Yeah, I still doing a lot of treatment, so I tell him how I was feeling and to see if I'm going right and I still a little bit afraid of what's going to happen. So I little bit called and I asked him if I was okay like this, I still not feel completely my best form, very strong, but I at least no feel pain and I am being able to run and move as my body goes, not I have to push all the time like I had to before.

Q. What is the psychological impact of your injury?

GUSTAVO KUERTEN: Well, I think this was tough for me when I had the injury to go out there and really have fun and do my best, enjoy the match. I had always to try to win the match and try to deal with my pain, so right now it's different. Like today, I been there, you know, relax, try my shots and if I miss, it's okay. I just try to think about the next point, don't have to think about go away of pain or all this. It's completely different feeling. I was very relieved to finish the match without a pain, too. You never know what's going to happen. So at least I've been there playing good match, two sets very strong and went out with confidence because I didn't feel any problem. I was able to compete and to have fun, to do -- play the way I like.

Q. When you won Paris, I tried to date your grandmother but I wasn't successful. Is she coming back this year in Paris?

GUSTAVO KUERTEN: I hope not. Now that I know what you want to do, I want her to stay home. (Laughter.)

Q. She's about my age. I was reading today you're used to being always very happy. I had an interview with Adriano Panatta, he says he doesn't understand the current tennis players: Very concentrated, too serious, too worried about their own tennis and so on, but some exceptions. I think you are one of these exceptions. You are one of those players who can still smile even when you are playing. Is that true, and is it real helpful for your game?

GUSTAVO KUERTEN: Well, I think this is -- has a lot to do about the personality. Everyone has best way to be on court: Smiling, serious, I don't know, do something with your hands, anything. Someone has -- anyone has something different. But I think like when you have someone more -- much more different than the others, it's good, you know. People pay more attention. It's good for the game, too. So I think the best thing is if not everyone the same should be, everyone very different from each other so you have different characters and you can identify yourself with any player. And if everybody is the same, so you don't feel anything like difference that causes you to be different.

Q. You really feel this difference between you and many others?

GUSTAVO KUERTEN: Well, I think I try to be myself. I'm sure I'm different than many other players, but is not that I try to be like this or try to be different than the others. It's the way I think it's better for myself. But for sure I'm different.

Q. You are.

GUSTAVO KUERTEN: I no think there's many that wear hair like this and skiing, surfing. There's a lot of things you don't see too often.

Q. Last week, there was a final played by two Chileans, Massu and Gonzalez. I think that was a reflex of Rios upcoming and good results. Is something changing in Brazil in terms of tennis with the young coming and approaching tennis instead of football? Or nothing has changed since you won Roland Garros?

GUSTAVO KUERTEN: No, I think it's been a big change. Right now we are in semifinal for Davis Cup. We have to play top players. Was long time that we did not have Andre Sa, he played semifinal in May this year and is playing quite well. We have a lot of young guys, too, that can play well in few years, and we not only playing here in the tournaments, we trying to give a little help for tennis in Brazil, too. We try to bring a lot of players to play here with Prieto, the doubles, trying to bring them to the Tour, try to see which one can go with first. As more we have, I think it's better for us. And we see the school, the tennis school there, full. A lot of people interesting watching match, going for the Davis Cup. Hopefully, we can have at least one tournament where it will be even better for the kids to have just the feeling to see someone playing closer and the feeling to one day try to do the same.

End of FastScripts…

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