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March 14, 2000

Gustavo Kuerten


GREG SHARKO: Questions for Guga.

Q. It appears that you played well today and yesterday. Tell us about that.

GUSTAVO KUERTEN: Yeah, I think I had just a few hours here to practice. They put me to play very early today, it was tough to play my best tennis. As far as I can manage, I win the match. So was good at this point. Try to recover now today, maybe play better tomorrow. I think I have to improve more if I want to go far.

Q. Do you feel your game is picking up at this point in the year? You seem to be doing pretty well.

GUSTAVO KUERTEN: Yeah, I've been playing much better right now. I needed more rhythm. I got with some match there, win a tournament, too. That was really great. For this week, maybe I took a little risk, but also I came with a lot of confidence. Maybe this can help. With one or two more days here, if I win maybe next match, I'll be much more ready, I think, for the others.

Q. What was it like having Davis Cup in your hometown?

GUSTAVO KUERTEN: It's always nice, interesting to play in Brazil. We played already four times in Florianopolis. For me, it's great. The team plays well there, too. That's more important.

Q. Here in America, we're desperate for new young guys to reach the top. What do you think Justin's chances are of really becoming a lead player, someone that could do a lot of damage at Grand Slams and so forth?

GUSTAVO KUERTEN: He's a good player. He gets motivated when he play good guys, too, important match. I think in America, you have a lot of chance to play well, a lot of tournaments. I wish we could have these in Brazil, and this support, too. He's in the right place, I think, to become a good player.

Q. What was it like last night to walk out in the stadium during the ceremony? Some other countries had pretty big contingents. Brazilian was pretty modest.

GUSTAVO KUERTEN: Well, I think it's great, especially for America. They stop everything, they say, "The United States of America." I wish they could have this in Brazil, too. I think we deserve the same way they do.

Q. I hope that you're not saying to us there is no like junior out there, maybe a girl in Brazil, Rio or something, who can reach or be as successful as you are. Have you seen anything recently worth mentioning a name from Brazil?

GUSTAVO KUERTEN: In Brazil, you say?

Q. Yes.

GUSTAVO KUERTEN: I think in the men's, you can see some guys like sad this year, he's been playing well, Andre Sa.

Q. How old is he?


Q. Younger.

GUSTAVO KUERTEN: I think the junior guys, we always have good players. Now we have Alvis (phonetic). I think maybe he's the best junior in Brazil. You never know what's going to happen.

Q. From which state is he?

GUSTAVO KUERTEN: Sao Paolo. You never know what's going to happen in the future. We don't have the chance like they have here in America to keep playing your own country for three, four years, try your chance. They always have to travel a lot. They don't have a Federation help. They need help. We miss a lot of good players because of this.

Q. Did you ever discuss this problem with Pele, minister of sport?

GUSTAVO KUERTEN: I also have to do my job. I spend a lot of hours playing, all this. I wish I could help, too. I try to help as far as I can. I'm not going to be the one that's going to change the position one year for the other.

Q. Do you feel the year-end final coming to Sao Paolo not this year but next year is the opportunity for either Brazil or South America to show that they are an arena for a big event?

GUSTAVO KUERTEN: Yeah, I think it's a great event. It's going to be one great week. Everybody's going to talk about tennis for all day long. This is not going to help the kids or the junior guys to start to play. It's only eight guys that's going to play in there. I'm not saying it's not important. Of course, it's nice, going to be great. I think if we had maybe one Super 9 every year, like here they can come with ten tournaments every year, it's going to be better, because you know it's going to be good guys playing one week. For sure you could come, so it's going to be tradition. It's going to be much more important than only have one tournament and it's gone, it's disappear.

Q. There was a point in time where you had tournaments down in South America. You had Vilas, Jaime Filol, and others. You did have a bigger core of South Americans. Why did it change?

GUSTAVO KUERTEN: We had a lot of tournaments in Brazil. They had a lot of chance. For me, I can only say it's a pity. I cannot do anything to build tournaments, to try to recover that time. For sure, they missed the opportunity. Right now everybody is trying to do it again, but they don't have chance. They may be paying for doing wrong.

End of FastScripts…

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