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TMS - THE ERICSSON OPEN


April 2, 2000


Gustavo Kuerten


MIAMI, FLORIDA

Q. Do you think - doesn't come into it so much now - but if you got that fourth set do you think you would have lasted the fifth better?

GUSTAVO KUERTEN: At least I have some chance. I mean, I was so close 5-6, I had a couple of set points; didn't play too well. When I played well, he really played good too.

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Q. How are you feeling physically at that moment?

GUSTAVO KUERTEN: No, I think we both was, of course, tired, much more tired than in the beginning, but I was hitting the ball well; saving energy when, you know, I am feeling like the game was 30-Love or 40-Love or when he was serving, so I was going prepared for the fifth set too. I think I'd have maybe a chance because I would be more motivated than him. He would miss some chance, he would be a little bit down and I would have much more energy and motivation to show up in the fifth set.

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Q. On the final point when the ball clipped the net and jumped over his racket, did you think at that instant it will go in and I will win the point?

GUSTAVO KUERTEN: Yeah, I thought it was going in, but just look at the umpire, he was already -- his hand open, so I realized it was out, finishing, and I think I had very bad call in his backhand passing shot.

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Q. 7-6?

GUSTAVO KUERTEN: I don't know, something like this, ball went long and they didn't call, but it is like this if you are playing players, especially here and they are playing home, so you always have to account for this and try to win anyway. Unfortunately I could not. He had a little bit of good play; a little bit of luck in matchpoint too, so that is the way it finished a big match like this.

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Q. Have you ever smashed a racket in anger like that before?

GUSTAVO KUERTEN: Yes. (Laughs) It is finishing, I was disappointed to miss this match. I am happy the way I am playing, but at that time just think, I run, run a lot, fight a lot and couldn't get it. So it is kind of -- just putting away your bad feelings.

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Q. Are you saying that perhaps you think you didn't get that break on that call because you are playing in Florida -- (inaudible) --

GUSTAVO KUERTEN: I think maybe we could be playing still fifth set right now. I am sure it was in Brazil, it would be out.

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Q. It would be out?

GUSTAVO KUERTEN: Yes. (laughter).

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Q. It would be two sets for you.

GUSTAVO KUERTEN: Not like this, but if you have like tiebreaker, important calls, it is going to be for me.

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Q. What did you think were the most important reasons why you came up a little bit short besides with that call?

GUSTAVO KUERTEN: No, it is just -- it is kind of match situation, I have been winning some match that breaks for my side, you know, and I have been -- lose this one that went for his side, just one or two points, maybe one centimeter it goes away. I had in the beginning of the week already matchpoints against me and I save it with one ball on the line too, so that kind of things that you have to counter with; sometimes go to you; sometimes go for the other, and you keep going, surviving.

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Q. What were your thoughts about the crowd?

GUSTAVO KUERTEN: I think it was great. It was great atmosphere. People are really involved, screaming, a lot of Brazilian crowd and the American crowd got motivated too, try to push him as well as the Brazilian crowd was pushing me. So it was, for sure that we had one and a half, two hours of good tennis, good atmosphere on the court, everything we need to our game be successful.

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Q. What were you thinking when he got the first set and it was set point for a two-set lead very quick -- would have been very quickly at that stage?

GUSTAVO KUERTEN: Yeah, I mean, I didn't had my rhythm going so far. I was maybe playing the -- not too good strategy and he was playing great. He was not missing any ball. I was just waiting any time he give me some opportunities, been there and got it, I did in the second set, not in the third and not in the fourth, so -- but the match really got very close and could be for anyone.

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Q. You were standing very far from the baseline on your return. Don't you think you could have come in a bit more?

GUSTAVO KUERTEN: Yeah, first set I was very inside and lost 6-1, so that is one of the things that put me more into the match. I could play at least one or two points. I could run for the passing shot in the second; try my passing shots. I think when I give more space to him to work, but I also give him more trouble, one or two more balls that could be important for me to get my things going.

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Q. Do you look forward to a rematch on clay?

GUSTAVO KUERTEN: No. I think you don't really, you know, think about this when it is finished. It is just thinking about, well, I lose one final, it is always good to win the Finals, finish the tournament, you would be unbeatable, that is a great feeling. It is just kind of disappointing already trying to put my mind on Davis Cup. We got to play clay season so that is kind of the thing, but not play against him to beat him. That don't really happen with us. We have to play a lot of different players that we don't have -- not only one -- how can you say, revenge and all this. We play everyone who try to beat everybody and if I have to play him also, well --

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Q. There are players who hit their serve harder and faster than Pete Sampras. But when you consider everything, is he the best server in tennis today?

GUSTAVO KUERTEN: I think so, he has the greatest service in the game. He can come with different serves all the time and second serve is pretty strong too, so I definitely think he is the one who makes more things with his serve.

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Q. Looking at the match overall, obviously the circumstances and the surfaces is different, but do you think you actually played better than when you won the French?

GUSTAVO KUERTEN: Every match is different. You cannot compare one to the other. I just had to play one guy that is a serve and volleyer at the time, French Open I played Bruguera; stay on the baseline all the time, so it is a different situation. I think I played -- I played the match well; played here also enough to win maybe just could not get the right point in the right time, so it is really strange if you compare like these match.

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Q. Is this the best you ever played on the hard court?

GUSTAVO KUERTEN: Well, it was one of my best matches, but I have been playing well, a lot of match I have been playing well all this week. Last year, too, so I have been playing -- that is why I have been more successful because I have been able to play my best level in maybe 60, 70% of the time I am playing a match.

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Q. Whether you went down 8-9 you cracked your racket on the ground; did it crack the racket?

GUSTAVO KUERTEN: No, I think not. It is a strong racket.

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End of FastScriptsテ「竄ャツヲ.

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