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September 9, 1999

Gustavo Kuerten

U.S. OPEN CHAMPIONSHIP, Flushing Meadows, New York, NY

USTA: Questions for Gustavo.

Q. What happened to your leg in the third set?


Q. Fourth set, sorry.

GUSTAVO KUERTEN: I start to get really fatigued. Was running a lot, was starting to get tight. I didn't know what was the rule to call the trainer, so I ask. He came in, but he could not stop only because of that. I would have to be really, really bad to stop the game. I just stopped for this and asked. After changeover, he tried to loose it up a little bit.

Q. Have you ever played such an exciting tiebreaker as the third-set tiebreaker?

GUSTAVO KUERTEN: Yeah, I think all of them got to 6-All, couple set points for both. It was tough. I think the atmosphere was great. We was hitting unbelievable shots. Not that someone was missing easy shots, just playing great tennis. That's the good side. I'm just a little frustrated because I really played well. I should have deserve to win maybe. I had the same chance as him. That's a little bit frustration. It's like this. If we don't have these moments, we cannot celebrate wins, too. Next time, hope to be a little more lucky.

Q. At 9-All, you're celebrating the point of Pioline.

GUSTAVO KUERTEN: Yeah. It was a great point. I think maybe the best point from all match. He just leave it to 9-All. I couldn't believe. It was great. I play well that point. He play better than me. So I congratulate him. It was amazing shot. That's what people get crazy. Crowd love it. That's good for tennis.

Q. I think you had six set points total. I could be off one. Do you feel like you had real chances on some of them, or do you think he just came up with good shots when he had to?

GUSTAVO KUERTEN: No. Sometimes I had a few chance, sometimes not too much. If you have set points, the chance, doesn't matter what happens. If he hit an ace, was because he played well that point. He could, I don't know, miss first serve, too. That's already happen. It's bad to think about, you know, the situation again. Just I didn't got the chance, and that's it. That's why I lost.

Q. Some of the shots he was hitting, the forehand passing shot, the volley at the end of the match, did you ever have a feeling out there with the way he was playing, almost fate was on his side, pulling out these miraculous shots?

GUSTAVO KUERTEN: Yeah. He was in a good mood. I was, too. I was playing well. I had some great shots during the whole match. I don't know, maybe some tough calls, too. I had a passing shot second set to win the set. It was pretty close. For me, it was good; for the line umpire, it wasn't. Some things like this maybe change the set. Maybe if it was Agassi with the pressure of the crowd, it was good (laughter). Maybe for us in Brazil, for sure it was good. That's maybe the difference. If it was in Brazil, this tournament, maybe I have a chance to win more than him.

Q. Is this a difficult loss for you to take?

GUSTAVO KUERTEN: Always tough to get a loss in a Grand Slam especially. We also ready to lose because we know nobody unbeatable, especially me. I'm still growing, improving my game. I know that a lot of good players that can beat me. You know, for sure I'm going to think about it for few days, but try to forget. I have more tournaments to play, so I going to lose again. Will come another loss in my mind to change. Life is like this.

Q. At the French Open, you were like that, and here you were a bit more crazy, different attitude (indicating). Was there a reason for that?

GUSTAVO KUERTEN: Maybe here I was much more surprised or underdog than the French Open, so I could take more time for myself. Nobody took too much attention on me at the beginning of the tournament. I could enjoy other things, too, in the city. I was pretty relaxed, maybe the way I've arrive here, practicing, you know. This week has been great. New York, it's nice, too. You have a lot of things to do. You can stay here, every day find something different to make you forget a little bit about tennis. It was good weeks. I got a few points, too. Maybe move a little bit in the ranking. That was good for me.

Q. How did you feel about your chances coming into the match? Did you maybe underestimate him?


Q. Yes.

GUSTAVO KUERTEN: I think we both -- I think the match was different from the beginning from 4-3 to me, then that tough game that I lost my serve. I had a game point. A big ace. Maybe was good, I don't know. It was very close. After he break me in that game, was 4-All. After this, was really close. The match could be going for any side. I had the control of the match in the beginning. I let escape. Then I was fighting, hanging on, try to do my job, try to get all the chance, if I had it, I had it, but I didn't got it. That was critical for the result.

Q. You must be happy with the run you had at the US Open. Were you surprised that you were able to stay in New York so long, or did you have an expectation how you might do?

GUSTAVO KUERTEN: Yeah, I was really surprised. I mean, I never got so far here. I never spend all these days in New York. Was different. Was new experience. That's what I looking for in my career. Be winning match, stay in the tournament as long as I can. That was really what really happened here. I didn't have any expectation. I got really far. I saw I could even get a little bit more. Just, I don't know, couldn't be today. Tomorrow is my birthday, I have more lucky.

Q. What was the most fun experience, most special experience you had in the city?

GUSTAVO KUERTEN: First, it's a lot of people. It fun to see everybody walking in the street all the time. A lot of traffic, too. Then we saw couple of Broadway shows, was good. We had dinner in great place, too. I mean, it's a nice city. Since Monday to Sunday, you can do whatever you want. In my city, only from Friday and Saturday you can go in someplace. During the week, everything is closed. So here, it's much different. It's nice. It's like rushing all the time. It's good.

Q. You're going to be 23 tomorrow?

GUSTAVO KUERTEN: 32 (laughter).

Q. Is 23 old?


Q. Is old?


Q. Yes.

GUSTAVO KUERTEN: Depends who you compare with. Sometimes I feel old; sometimes not too much. It depends every day. Today I can enjoy a little bit of my 22 still. I think I had more chance today because I was younger. I'm sure I'm wrong now, because more experience tomorrow, would be different.

Q. Is it one of the best matches you played so far?

GUSTAVO KUERTEN: I've been playing very good this whole year. It was not a great match for me. It was a tough one because I lost, but was really feeling the ball well, moving well. I've been doing the things that I do, just to - I don't know - just to miss because of lack of playing, you know, because I play bad, but just because it wasn't my day maybe. Portuguese (laughter)?

Q. Can Pioline beat Kafelnikov or Agassi if he plays the way he did today?

GUSTAVO KUERTEN: I don't know. I don't like to talk about this. I like to see the results and then you can talk. I think everybody now has a chance. If you go there and don't play really well, you going to lose. I prefer to wait the result, then I can talk. I always think like that. I think it's too much. Nostradamus, you know Nostradamus?

Q. Yes. Never met him, but I've heard of him.

GUSTAVO KUERTEN: It's wait and see. If I said someone is going to win or not, if I'm wrong, everybody's going to forget. If I right, someday they going to say, "Oh, you said this guy is going to win, congratulations." Nothing going to change, so.

End of FastScripts…

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