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April 21, 1999

Gustavo Kuerten


ATP: Questions for Gustavo.

Q. How would you rate your game and play right now?

GUSTAVO KUERTEN: Well, I think this year I've been playing fantastic on clay so far. I lost only one match to Rios in Estoril. I think it's good rhythm. I am in a great streak of match. I've been at a great level. I just want to keep like that. Maybe I can go farther in this tournament. I think I have a chance to win, too, if I keep playing like this.

Q. When did you decide to cut your hair?

GUSTAVO KUERTEN: I had to take a few days off to recover from a lot of weeks that I played after Estoril, so I couldn't do anything, so I had to find something to do. I decide to cut my hair (laughter).

Q. Did you realize there was less requests from girls because of that? Did it change your life?

GUSTAVO KUERTEN: No. I think now I'm getting more serious. 22 already, so I'm start to look like a normal person (laughter).

Q. Did you lose some strength in cutting the hair or strength is always the same?

GUSTAVO KUERTEN: I think not so far (laughter). I didn't feel that. I hope to keep with the same, you know, power that I was before. I just miss sometimes, I do like this and I don't find (laughter).

Q. You don't find anything?

GUSTAVO KUERTEN: Sometimes it's strange.

Q. You said you were more serious. Do you feel more serious than last year or the year before?

GUSTAVO KUERTEN: Not really. I just tell you, but no (laughter). Just try to impress you.

Q. You're playing one of your friends in the next round. How will you approach that? Will it be a different kind of game because you know him so well?

GUSTAVO KUERTEN: It's a little bit different. I played the other Brazilian already first round. I play Fernando I think for three times on the Tour already. It's a little bit different. It's like only few Brazilians, not like Spanish. There's a lot of guys, they have to play each other. We only a few. It's better for us I think if we play separate in the draw. If we go in the final together, it's okay. But like third round now, it's good because one is going to go for sure to quarterfinal. But it's a little bit strange. He's a good friend. But you just have to go there in the court and try to find a way to win. I think we both know that. We both going to play well. He's in great shape, too. He's playing very good tennis. So for sure is going to be a very interesting match.

Q. Do you normally beat him?

GUSTAVO KUERTEN: It's always a close match. I think last time I beat him in Stuttgart I think was the last time we played.

Q. I got the impression that after your big win at Roland Garros, you felt the pressure not being able to keep the same level. Now is over that kind of pressure?

GUSTAVO KUERTEN: Yeah, I think maybe I put a little bit too much pressure on myself to start to get the things going too fast. But I think it's normal like that. Also after the French, I was playing many more tournaments on hard than on fast surface. It's tough to me. The best part of the year is right now for me. I think I can play more relaxed on the clay. So I had a little bit of trouble. I think it's quite normal. You just feel you can go farther, you try to get the results early and early. So the time just make me learn that I had to wait, I have to be patient, keep improving my game. And I think now I have the things much more clear in my mind.

Q. Did you get a good response after your win in Davis Cup at home, in Brazil?

GUSTAVO KUERTEN: Yeah. We won like few ties in Brazil. We lost against Spain. But then we went there in Spain and beat.

Q. I'm just talking about after your win in Spain.

GUSTAVO KUERTEN: Oh, okay. Yeah, it's great. I was back in Brazil, too, after Estoril. The people was very excited about the Davis Cup. They give me a lot of support, you know. I could feel that everybody was happy about the result. So was good for me, too. I feel a great feeling there. Now I come back here. I know I'm playing well, so I try to get even better results and make me feel better, and them, too.

Q. Do you think your victory in Roland Garros really changed tennis in Brazil, now there's Fernando who has fine results? Do you think it's changed a lot, tennis in your country?

GUSTAVO KUERTEN: I think it changes a lot about the interest about the game, by the crowd and by the people who are following much more now. But we still not sure if it's going to be a big change in like tennis school in Brazil, if we going to have more players. Now we just have to wait and see. I think it was a big step, was a great motivation for everybody. So could be the thing that we needed to find many more players in the future.

Q. Do you think the Davis Cup, the victory in Spain in Davis Cup, was a new departure for you?

GUSTAVO KUERTEN: No. I think I was already playing very well before that. I was in a good moment of my life. I had a great result in Indian Wells. I was very relaxed, you know, playing good tennis, enjoying my personal life, too. So it was already things going very well. That's why I played so good there. So just I hope to keep like that. I had no other problems, you know, to have to spend my mind with this, and just enjoy these tournaments and be able to play my tennis, relax. I think like this way I can play much, much better.

Q. It looks like you are the only one who are able to beat the Spanish on clay. Do you know the secret?

GUSTAVO KUERTEN: No. I think maybe I have like some shots like them, you know. The way I play, maybe I'm a little bit more aggressive, but I can play defensive, too. So I hope to get trouble for everybody, you know, to can fight anyone on court. And I just believe a lot in my game, too. I know if I'm playing well, I can beat, you know, any player here. So I can just keep, you know, this mentally thing positive in my mind and try to have these good feelings to feel the ball good. So that way it's going to be difficult for me, I know, but for my opponent, too.

Q. What do you think of your France-Brazil in July in France?

GUSTAVO KUERTEN: Yeah, it's going to be I think even more difficult than Spain. We going to play in very fast condition. We have to, I don't know, go there and practice and get used to the way it's going to be. Davis Cup you know never know. But this situation, I think they much more the favorites than we are.

Q. I know you watched the soccer last year in July.

GUSTAVO KUERTEN: I don't remember this (laughter).

Q. Is it kind of a revenge for the Brazilians?

GUSTAVO KUERTEN: No, no. I think they play soccer, it's okay like this. No, don't talk about soccer, not here (laughter).

End of FastScripts....

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