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March 12, 1999

Gustavo Kuerten


MIKI SINGH: Gustavo Kuerten is our first semifinalist. He'll play the winner of Moya and Kucera, to be played later on today. First question for Gustavo.

Q. What in your mind made the difference today?

GUSTAVO KUERTEN: Well, I think was two big service, I was serving pretty well, too. Didn't have too much opportunity to break. I had a couple, and I got them. I knew it's going to be like this. One break I had, maybe it was the set already. I think I was a little bit more solid than him. I had more chance. Maybe big points, too. Especially in the first set, I played a great breakpoint. Then I got the lead. After that, I could play more relaxed and try to control the match. I knew it's going to be like this, serving. I just have to be there and wait for my opportunity, and don't miss opportunities. I just miss one or two, but after I was there and win the match.

Q. He seemed to have something wrong with one of his eyes. Do you know what it was?

GUSTAVO KUERTEN: I don't know. I have myopia, too, astigmatism, too. I don't use glasses. Both eyes. I can't play in the night.

Q. How do you assess your confidence today? How long have you not felt as good on the court as you are at the moment?

GUSTAVO KUERTEN: Well, I think it's not like a long time. I've been playing -- maybe I've been playing very well one tournament, and then for a couple of tournaments I don't play too good. Last time I play well was on Majorca, I think I won that tournament. Always when I got a little rhythm, one match bring me confidence, like a tough match, I always go up and really keep playing well during whole tournament. Maybe in the beginning of this year, I had some tough matches. I lost to Safin fifth set, and before to Kucera, too, in quarterfinal on third set. So it was some match I had chance to win, and I didn't. So here it's going the opposite way. I won a big match in second round, give me a lot of confidence. Next two rounds, now I just play incredible.

Q. Why do you think your career has been like you described it, where you play a good tournament and then a couple of bad tournaments?

GUSTAVO KUERTEN: I don't know. I think I still have to find the way to keep playing more solid for a longer time. That's the secret, I think, to keep on the top players. I think I have the chance to get there. I just have to find this way to keep my motivation, keep playing hard and fighting during two or three weeks more than I've been doing so far.

Q. What about the surface? You won three tournaments so far, all on clay. Is clay your favorite surface? How much of a difference do you feel here?

GUSTAVO KUERTEN: On clay I feel more comfortable. It's easy for me. If I have to play a tournament next week on clay, I don't see too much trouble. The other way, it's a little bit tough. I had to get used, at least one week to practice, to be able to set up my match on hard. I don't see, you know, not any fear or afraid from one of the guys that they play well on hard, that I cannot beat. I think I got to the level that everybody's playing in one good week like here, I have a chance to beat good players, too.

Q. What is it you think that gives you success on a court that isn't your favorite surface? What gets you through here?

GUSTAVO KUERTEN: Maybe a couple of tournaments that I play already, get some weeks for me to practice. Also the motivation, I think I fighting very hard here, I trying to win all points since the start of the match. A big win in the second round, I got much confidence of my game. Maybe it's the little things that come together and make you in a great week.

Q. Can you talk about the possibility of playing Moya? You've never lost to him. He's trying to become No. 1.

GUSTAVO KUERTEN: I think that's true. He has to play Kucera; he's a great player. If I have to play him, it's going to be like always, a tough match. I won all match, but every time it's so close. Both of us has chance to win. I think it's not going to be any different from if we have to play tomorrow. It's going to be interesting. At least I'm going to be happy if I'm going to go to the final, or he's going to be No. 1. For me it's a great guy, my friend. I'm going to be happy for him.

Q. Will they be getting excited down in Brazil now?

GUSTAVO KUERTEN: I think just pass the match life in Brazil, too. At least my mom is a little excited (laughter). That i can tell you for sure.

End of FastScripts....

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