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April 18, 2000

Gustavo Kuerten

Q. The first set went well. Then what happened?

GUSTAVO KUERTEN: Well, I think I didn't really play very well the first set. He was not playing good too. Then I think he start to play very well and I just stay in the same level, so wasn't my best form and I didn't really feel that good in the match and I feel I didn't had too much chance to win the match.

Q. You said you were not in your best shape. Did you have a problem, physical problem, injury?

GUSTAVO KUERTEN: Yeah, I have a bad injury now in my back, so I got to see what is happening, what is going to be for the next tournaments. Maybe I am going to have to stay away or maybe really take care of this that bother me a very long time. Probably next month going to be tough for me to play.

Q. You don't know what it is at the moment?

GUSTAVO KUERTEN: This has been bothering me for almost three months now. It is tough to play all the time with this pain, so I have inflammation in the bone in my lower back.

Q. The bone or the disc?

GUSTAVO KUERTEN: I am not really sure. I am all right one month ago and was a little bit degenerate and inflamed, probably the disc, and I go up and down; some days of pain, some days without and I have to take medicine a lot of times. So I stop for three, four days and now yesterday start a little bit and today was really bad, so I got to see what it is because it is really not fun to play with this pain.

Q. Did you consider quitting during the match today?

GUSTAVO KUERTEN: Well, not really because it is like bad feeling to play and make me feel like unable to do some things, but I don't feel like without -- with enough power to play, so, I feel okay for some games; then I start to feel bad. So it is not really something that I cannot really move or I cannot play, be able to play, but just let me with some -- maybe some -- I miss some of my condition like 20, 30%, then I can play better; then I cannot in this way -- I have been playing on this way that it has affected me.

Q. When you are saying that you might skip next tournaments, are you thinking about Hamburg, Rome, both?

GUSTAVO KUERTEN: Well, I think for sure that if I got to choose one of them to play it is going to be Rome and Hamburg, so if I had to stop this week to come back only in Rome, I think it will be good already. It is not going to be too bad. For sure not going to play if I don't have -- if I am not playing in Rome, it is because it is still bad and I really have to stop these weeks. Like today also, to retire the match it is tough because we all have to play here, this tournament counts a lot, so in our position now Super 9, these Master Series, it's really, really no chance, you got to play and you got to see how it goes. So sometimes it is like this. It can happen that you are not in best form and you can be out or I don't know, maybe if I am like this, too, for the next one maybe even better if you don't play so you can be back sooner in much better shape.

Q. You had problems with your back before this year? Was it the first time that you had a problem the last three months?

GUSTAVO KUERTEN: No, I have been since Mexico, I think, almost three months now.

Q. But before this year 2000 did you have problems?

GUSTAVO KUERTEN: I had pains, but not nothing chronic like it has been this year, bother me that much.

Q. Does it hurt more on some shots or is it something that goes from moving?

GUSTAVO KUERTEN: Yeah, today to play the forehand was really tough, but the pains, I miss a little bit of my movement in the serve too and, yeah, when I have to rotate. Most things is that I miss my power. I like to use a lot my power, rotating my body so I miss the timing and I miss the power too.

Q. Do you think you need surgery?


Q. What did the doctor say?

GUSTAVO KUERTEN: We got to see these next days to see what is happening. Hopefully not.

End of FastScripts…

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