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March 9, 1998

Gustavo Kuerten


MIKI SINGH: First question for Gustavo.

Q. Gustavo, while you were preparing to serve for the second set, you asked for an injury time-out, I believe, right?


Q. I just wanted to know what your problem was.

GUSTAVO KUERTEN: It was my low back, on the left side.

Q. Lower back?

GUSTAVO KUERTEN: Yeah. I had just doing during the match start to get tight. But on Saturday I start to feel a little bit my back. Then yesterday was getting much better. But I don't know what's happened. Unfortunately, I couldn't serve so well. I couldn't stretch my back and rotate it to play aggressive and to move well. So it was bad for me. Bad feeling to be there. I just was playing because I wanted to win, but I had no pleasure to play with this pain.

Q. Do you think you're going to be okay to play in Miami?

GUSTAVO KUERTEN: Yeah, I think for sure. They said it's a normal thing. It's not a big problem. Maybe tomorrow I can be much better. But when you have it, it's very difficult to deal with it, to be, like, in form to play.

Q. Did you consider retiring today, Gustavo?

GUSTAVO KUERTEN: Yes. I was almost in the third set. He almost got 3-Love lead in the third set. I was just to retire then. I think after when he had 5-2, just play one more game; no problem for me. That's no more -- I don't know how to say it. 5-2, we go there and play one more game. For me it's no big deal. I think it's not so nice by me to lose 5-2 in the third set, go in and retire.

Q. Are you looking forward to the claycourt season? Are you happy playing on hardcourt?

GUSTAVO KUERTEN: I think I can play pretty good at Lipton. Was playing very good tennis here. You know, I practiced well, I was feeling the ball pretty good. Just come out today, and I feel that I couldn't play my best. I still, like mentally, believe that I can play well next week. Just going week by week. I'm sure after the Lipton, I prepare myself for the clay because we have Davis Cup also on clay. I don't have much time to work on it.

MIKI SINGH: Any other questions?

Q. I have a question that doesn't have anything to do with tennis. Your trademark seems to be these yellow shoes that you wear. Has that been a profitable thing for you, Gustavo? Does a sporting goods manufacturer pay you to wear those shoes?

GUSTAVO KUERTEN: Yeah. I think everybody here gets a little bit of money to wear some clothes.

Q. Do you get more than a little bit?

GUSTAVO KUERTEN: I don't know. For me it's enough. Well, these shoes, for me, the main thing is that they are very comfortable, so I can use it. The color doesn't matter for me. Sometimes my opponent get a little bit distracted, this color.

Q. Who makes them?

GUSTAVO KUERTEN: Diadora. They said that I pay, but it's not true.

MIKI SINGH: Looks like you need a new pair, a hole there.

GUSTAVO KUERTEN: These are air conditioned (laughter).

End of FastScripts....

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