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THE LIPTON CHAMPIONSHIPS


March 28, 1997


Sergi Bruguera


Key Biscayne, FL

JOE LYNCH: Sergi Bruguera ended the '96 season ranked 81 on the ATP Tour. This win today could move him back into the Top 20. Makes him the first Spanish player to reach the final at the Lipton Championships. He will play the winner of Thomas Muster and Jim Courier Sunday at 1 o'clock, best of five sets. First question for Sergi.

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Q. Are you happy?

SERGI BRUGUERA: What do you think?

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Q. Sergi, this is a little bit of a new outlook for you on hardcourt. You seem to be playing more aggressive tennis than we've seen you play.

SERGI BRUGUERA: Well, I think that's maybe the key why I'm doing so well now on this surface. I think I changed not completely, but fix a lot of things. Maybe I was playing too defensive. Now I realize that you have to attack, but not like crazy all the time. Still have to play your game. When you have the shot, you have to attack on these courts because it help you a lot for that game.

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Q. Sergi, would you say this is your best match since you came back, the way you play now?

SERGI BRUGUERA: I think I play better with Andrei, the 11 games I played, but also true maybe is much easier to play Andrei. You have more time, more easy. Not more easy, because it's difficult to play with Andrei also. But with Pete, his serve, with shots, it's difficult to play your game.

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Q. Sergi, in the tiebreaker in the second set, score is 2-1, you have a let cord, you have to do a complete turn to get the ball. Do you remember the point?

SERGI BRUGUERA: Yeah, yeah, I remember.

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Q. Can you go over the point as you remember it?

SERGI BRUGUERA: Well, I think it was a short ball, then I came in. Then he played like a down-the-line. It was low volley, towards the net, goes to the middle. Then I turn, to touch it like this (indicating). It was very slow, I try to touch it again. I couldn't reach it. It was low, then high, I know I have time to run. I run again. It was almost on the second bounce, I put the ball back. He attacked. I make like a half volley hard to his body because I have no angle. He make a good volley. I make another very good shot, by my knees, down-the-line passing shot.

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Q. Another important point, the high overhead in the seventh game of the final set at breakpoint, which Pete took out of the air and hit right at you, can you go over that point a little bit, too?

SERGI BRUGUERA: Which one?

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Q. It was breakpoint in the final set.

SERGI BRUGUERA: 3-All?

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Q. Yes.

SERGI BRUGUERA: It was not breakpoint, the overhead. I make a lob, it was very, very high, then he smash in the middle. I know he's not going to make maybe good smash because it was very high. It was in the middle, and I was very far, I know I can hit as hard as possible, and I have time. Then I just run in because the normal shot would be a dropshot because I was like four meters, five meters behind the court. I hit as hard as possible and I start running forward. Then I have an easy passing shot. Breakpoint, he serves to my forehand, I make good chip on his feet, so I know I'm going to have time to make the passing shot. He make the volley, but I have time. I saw the hole down the line and I made it.

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Q. Were you surprised he didn't let it bounce?

SERGI BRUGUERA: Which one?

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Q. The overhead.

SERGI BRUGUERA: I think he have a lot of confidence in his overhead, in his serve. He can do whatever he want. It was very high. But when you have a lot of confidence, I think he thinks he's going to make it for sure. Anyway, he make good smash. Normally when you have a smash, you going to one side, you pick one side. Maybe that's what he thought. He smashed hard to the middle.

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Q. Sergi, to beat Pete Sampras on hardcourt in the United States, what does this mean to you?

SERGI BRUGUERA: Well, I think it's more difficult to beat Pete playing on his surface and his country. Like everybody else, if you play in your country, in your surface, you are more motivated, especially if he was playing the way he was playing. I mean, he just lost one match. In this tournament, he was killing everybody. I think I'm very proud of this victory, very, very proud.

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Q. Did you feel the crowd turning around on your side after you got a couple bad calls?

SERGI BRUGUERA: I think it was really bad calls. Then the people was a little bit -- took a little bit of my side because they saw that it was bad calls. But I think also the two or three great points I make in the tiebreaker, they want to see more tennis. It's like this. If you going down, they want to see more tennis. It was not for me, but it was for also cheering for to see more tennis. But then after when it was 3-2 and he had breakpoint, all the crowd was for him. It's normal. That's the way it has to be.

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Q. Sergi, which do you think was more of a surprise, him beating you on clay in Paris or you beating him here on hardcourts?

SERGI BRUGUERA: I think it's more surprise I beat him here. For me it's more difficult to play on hardcourt. I mean, he's the No. 1 and he can play in any surface. The problem is, sometimes if you're not playing your best tennis, on clay, he can lose with a lot of people. Only with a serve you cannot win on clay. Sometimes he doesn't play a good match, the other play a good match, that's why. He can say follow-up matches he's not playing best tennis. Playing 80 percent or 70 percent, he just keep winning. He cannot maybe do that on clay.

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Q. How did you think he played today?

SERGI BRUGUERA: Well, I don't know. You must ask him. I was really concentrating in my game and trying to return his shots, especially his serve. I was not thinking how he was playing.

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Q. Sergi, you've had some injuries, some serious injuries, the last few years. Does today feel a little bit like Sergi Bruguera in 1993?

SERGI BRUGUERA: I don't know. One thing I can tell you is it feels unbelievable good when you playing without any pain, very good.

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Q. How long has is it been since you've felt this fit?

SERGI BRUGUERA: Well, the truth is, even this year when I start this year, I was still having problems with my foot when I was playing a lot of hard matches, having a lot of pain, not the same as the last year, but I was still having pain. Now, every time it disappear, every time, less, less. I feel like moving much, much better, especially with my right foot. I don't feel pain when I'm on the court playing matches. Sometimes in practice, yes. But on matches you're very concentrate and you forgot everything if it's not very painful.

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Q. Sergi, how much did the bad calls, especially the one at the end of the first set, how much did that motivate you, or was it more the crowd taking your side?

SERGI BRUGUERA: I think the bad calls is very difficult to motivate. Normally it dis-concentrate you. I was only thinking because I was very unpleased with the calls. I was just turning around sometimes and trying to don't dis-concentrate because maybe you get bad call. Then you get angry, dis-concentrate, you lose a few points. You cannot make any present to Pete, otherwise you're going to lose for sure. I was trying to don't be nervous or mad about the calls.

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Q. Sergi, do you have any comment playing the Davis Cup against Italy, playing so well, no playing Davis Cup now?

SERGI BRUGUERA: The team, they made it right the first day here of the tournament, when just started the tournament, which I think is also right. I think the players can play more relaxed this tournament not thinking about you have to win to make your place in the Davis Cup. think the captain has to know which players can play already, not depending one match or at the last moment. I think he make the right thing to pick the players before the tournament so everybody can play more relaxed. I think it gives confidence also for the players that going there. mean, I would like to be there, but I respect completely the decision from the captain. I'm going to be on TV fighting for my team.

JOE LYNCH: Anything else in English for Sergi?

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Q. Sergi, have you tried using one of the longer-bodied racquets? You played Chang, who does use them. What difference does it make?

SERGI BRUGUERA: I think with the long racquet, you can serve much, much harder. You have more power in your shot. Sometimes it's difficult to control, but if you get used to it, I think you get a lot of much more power.

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Q. Have you used one?

SERGI BRUGUERA: Well, I try it, but I didn't really try that "I'm going to change it and try it." I try it like this, but, I don't know. For sure I will try it in the next, I don't know --

JOE LYNCH: -- off-season?

SERGI BRUGUERA: In the off-season I will try it. I think it shouldn't be allowed. If Goran, for example, takes even longer the racquet, you have to play with like a hockey team (indicating).

JOE LYNCH: Anything else for English for Sergi? Thank you.

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