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March 31, 2000

Gustavo Kuerten


ATP: Gustavo has reached his fourth career Tennis Masters Series final. He's won two of them. It's his second on hard court.

Q. Were you aware right away that he was hurt?

GUSTAVO KUERTEN: No. I think I just there to play my game. I mean, was a good chance to pass to the final. I was feeling good out there, having fun, too. Play good game. That was things that I wass concerning during the game. Of course, when the trainer goes on, you start to pay attention on all these things. But fortunately I could just be focused on my game and try to win the match on two sets like I did.

Q. Obviously with so many Brazilians here, that must help you motivation-wise?

GUSTAVO KUERTEN: Yes, especially at the beginning when I had tough match, first rounds, they really support me a lot. I think that's nice for tennis, too. Not only Brazilian, but a lot of countries that have many supports here, people singing, screaming. That's good for us. It's more attention in the game. I think that's why we all practice and try to enjoy these moments in these great matches.

Q. A couple years ago here you said you thought you'd be a good hard court player in about ten years. You think you're ahead of schedule?

GUSTAVO KUERTEN: Yeah. But I can play well, also I think a little long. First tournaments I play this year, I didn't play well in Australia. I had to maybe play a couple of match and get my timing from baseline, my rhythm going, too. I still not thinking that I'm really hard court player. I'm sure I'm much more comfortable on clay still, but I don't see something that don't give me a chance to play well on hard. So when I'm playing well, serving well especially on hard, I can give trouble for good players, too.

Q. How much more of an improved player do you think you are since 1997, the French Open?

GUSTAVO KUERTEN: Well, I think right now it's completely different. I just facing the tournaments much more normal. It's just (used/easy?) for me to go out, play against great player. At that time I had to adapt myself to start to live this new life. Right now, I just know how to deal with my expectation, know how to get my rhythm in the best way, how to try to get my game going. So I learn a lot of things. Still time to learn. So that's what I'm doing, trying to be better and better.

Q. Hewitt and Sampras play tonight. The winner of this one will be playing you. Would you like to speak about these two players?

GUSTAVO KUERTEN: I think they very different from each other, the way they play. I'm sure if I play Pete, he's going to put me a lot of pressure, he's going to come in all the time. He serves great. It's going to be a completely different game than if I would play Hewitt. We both play from baseline. He will give me more time to try my shots. It's two different players that they play very well. I think whoever wins, I just have to be ready play best-of-five maybe in the hot day. I'm going to have to don't waste too much energy, motivate myself and enjoy, too. Just doesn't matter who I play, I'm going to be there. I will try to take advantage of this.

Q. How much confidence do you get this tournament?

GUSTAVO KUERTEN: Yeah, a lot. I mean, I had match point against me in my first round, so I could be very far from here already. After that, we change completely. I didn't lose any other set, start to play really well. That's build your confidence so much. I mean, I could leave here very angry, and now I'm very happy.

Q. Do you remember what happened on the match point?

GUSTAVO KUERTEN: Yeah. These points sometimes you play to lose, and you finish winning. I try a terrible shot, but just went in the line. He thought was going out, and was in, so I win that point, come back in the game.

Q. Who was serving?

GUSTAVO KUERTEN: Me. I think was 5-4, 30-40 in the third set.

Q. Hit a forehand?

GUSTAVO KUERTEN: Backhand down the line. Looks like going out. He was just looking at the ball and forgot to play (laughter).

End of FastScripts…

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