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August 7, 1997

Gustavo Kuerten


Q. Was it tougher than you thought it would be?

GUSTAVO KUERTEN: No, I played him once before and it was almost the same, 6-4 in the third, but the other set was a little bit different. So, I knew it was going to be tough and he is coming from qualies. He just beat a top 10 player in the round before this match, so I knew it would be like that.

Q. You got down 7-6, 2-Love, what changed then?

GUSTAVO KUERTEN: I think I just had a little bit of luck in the important points. The match was pretty close all the time, so to get the important points was leading. So, maybe I played like three or four winners that was important in 2-Love, then I just break back to get 2-0. So, I didn't let him go too far. I just came back right away and the match just keep going tied and I break at 4-3, so it was a pretty close match, but just got the chance to -- when the chances was there I got it and win the match.

Q. When you play a match like this for over two hours, it is really hard. Does it affect you the next day?

GUSTAVO KUERTEN: It is always tough to play a match like this. But, now I think I have a little time to rest; go for some massage some day after, so I think I will be ready for tomorrow. That is why I practice a long time.

Q. Do you have a choice of who you would rather play?

GUSTAVO KUERTEN: No, I don't. I think -- I hope they play as long as I play.

Q. Is it different for you being ranked in the top 10 as opposed to coming out and all of a sudden winning the French Open and, you know, moving up like that, do you find it different walking out on the court, how people react to you, how other players play against you?

GUSTAVO KUERTEN: Yeah, the people watch me a little bit different. They come to watch more my match and they follow me more when I practice and everything. But, for me, it is the same, just go there and try -- I try to win every match. I know how difficult it is to win over top 10, over top 50 or top 200 because the players now are playing so good and just keeping the same, I feel the same way, no big difference.

Q. You may have to play Chang again. Do you expect him to really want to prove to you --

GUSTAVO KUERTEN: Each player in the quarterfinal will be tough. I don't want to think which one I have to play now because they still have to play. So, if I start to think how I am going to play Chang and he loss, so will wait some time. And we will just wait for the match. I will see -- watch a little bit how they play and for sure it will be a tough match tomorrow. I will have to play very well tomorrow to win, both of them.

Q. Could you tell us what happened last week when you played him?

GUSTAVO KUERTEN: It was a great day for me. I was controlling the match. I hit -- I was hitting the ball pretty well and serving a good percentage of first serves, so I just play my best and he wasn't in so good shape, so that is why it was like 6-3, 6 --

Q. Were you surprised to beat him?

GUSTAVO KUERTEN: Yeah, it was.

Q. The crowd was really getting behind you today. Were you surprised that you built more and more of a following since the Agassi match?

GUSTAVO KUERTEN: Yeah, I hope they are going to follow me a little bit more tomorrow. If I play Chang, maybe it will be different. But, it is a great to play like today again, the stadium was so full and some Brazilians there and I really enjoy to play like that. That is why I think I also come back in the match and get the win.

Q. Do you think some people, they see the way you are dressed and see the sneakers and the loud colors, that they sometimes forget to watch your game the way you play, how effective you are on the court?

GUSTAVO KUERTEN: I don't know. I am sure that it is easy to see me than the other, normal yellow, blue, so they can see me everywhere. And, it is different, so everybody looks. But, I think my clothes there, but -- if I just plant my clothes there and don't do anything, it is no big deal. I try my best all the time. I play -- I think I am playing good right now, so they enjoy both and I hope to just to keep going like that.

Q. Do you sometimes feel nervous that people expect a lot from you?

GUSTAVO KUERTEN: No. I feel nervous just in the match, normally important points or before the match a little bit, but I know I will always do my best and the people don't know -- they think that I do the practice -- me and my coach together we know how things sometimes -- you can play 50%; sometimes I play bad and you can't win all the time. So, I just prepare for that and I know that me and my coach are both who knows what is the things that are going on and I will try my best all the time, so it is no problem.

Q. Do you feel you have anything to prove when you are on-court?

GUSTAVO KUERTEN: To myself, yeah, and for him, too. But not for -- just -- I know that I have to -- I always go there and try to win the match and do my best, but I can't say, wow, I have to beat Spadea today because he is 90 or 100 and I am 10 because the tennis is not like that. Some days -- maybe you play good, but the guy is better than you, so I go there and try to prove to myself that I am really playing good and I can win, but sometimes don't go the right way.

Q. The rankings change every week except they haven't changed very much at No. 1 for a while.

GUSTAVO KUERTEN: Big while. A long time then haven't changed.

Q. Is he that much better than everyone else or he is beatable? Is he that much better than you, for instance?

GUSTAVO KUERTEN: Yeah, I think he is beatable because he had lost some match, but I am sure that he is better than the others because he is just four years in a row like No. 1, so he plays -- many times he play good, but the difference I think it is not like he plays much better than the others, but it is like 90% of the time he plays good, so it is tough to beat him. And the time that he play bad, sometimes it is difficult to beat him also. So, he just play so solid, deserve to be that.

Q. Do you ever try to match your game against his and say what is it that I have to do to get to No. 1?

GUSTAVO KUERTEN: Right now I just thinking improving things in my game, try to learn how to play on these courts that I -- it is like my sixth or seventh tournament here in hard courts, so it is not like I came here and play like in clay that I really know how to use the shots. And, well, there is many other surface that I have to learn and so I still working on my game. I wish I had maybe little bit more serve like him to go and play on grass like he plays. But, well, I don't think that I am prepared to be the No. 1 like comparing with him. But, maybe in three, four years, if I learn the things that I have to, I don't see that I can't be there. I will try to be and it will be great for me if I get there.

Q. Did you go out and practice after your first round match here?

GUSTAVO KUERTEN: First round, yeah.

Q. You went right out after your interview and practiced?

GUSTAVO KUERTEN: No. Before the interview it was. Yeah, I do, especially in the night because I like to -- when the match gets a little bit tense, so I like to relax, to go to bed more relaxed, not today, I don't go now.

Q. Is there a turning point that you can point to tat the match was --

GUSTAVO KUERTEN: I think we are both serving the same way and hitting the balls almost in the same way, just I got the point that I need. He had a breakpoint in the 5-4 to me, to get back 5-All. So, it was so close. Just more lucky or maybe my confidence is still going on and I got the match. I just hit the big serve and he couldn't get it, in the breakpoint. So, after that, I got more energy, like, oh, now it is my time to win and then I -- again I am thinking -- I don't remember, but I just start to hit the ball good and I didn't want to approach the matchpoint, hit a good volley. That point was crucial to win the match.

End of FastScripts…

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