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THE LIPTON CHAMPIONSHIPS


March 26, 1997


Sergi Bruguera


Key Biscayne, FL

JOE LYNCH: Sergi Bruguera is into the semifinals. First Spaniard to do that since Emilio Sanchez. He will play Pete Sampras. There's a 2-All head-to-head in that series.

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Q. You must have felt like you were in the zone, 6-Love, 5-Love. Feeling pretty good?

SERGI BRUGUERA: I mean, I think I cannot play better than 6-Love, 5-Love. I was playing the best tennis by far, feeling comfortable, I was feeling like his ball was coming very slow, I have time for everything. I was playing my best tennis.

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Q. What happened then? Did you let down a little bit or did he just pick up his game for those three games?

SERGI BRUGUERA: 6-Love, 5-Love, you know, I was thinking 6-Love. I really don't want to win 6-Love, 6-Love, because he's a friend of mine. I didn't give it again, for sure. I was a little bit dis-concentrate. The next game, I just was thinking to finish, to celebrate the victory, not to play the points. He came with some good shots, attacking. The three match points he played really well. I was a little bit nervous, because I should finish the match. He was going for the shots all the time. I had another match point, 5-3, Love-30. I just concentrate to play aggressive like before and to play the way I was playing, not to worry. Then I played a great four points.

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Q. Is that a good match for you to have before playing Pete, or would you have liked to have had a little harder?

SERGI BRUGUERA: No. Can't be better than this match. I mean, I play one of the best things I play. It's the best feeling you can have if you play this way before to play. I mean, doesn't mean that I'm going to play like this in two days.

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Q. How long since you hadn't play as well as that, you feel? Two years, three years?

SERGI BRUGUERA: I don't know. Maybe, yes. Two or three years, for sure. Since I get injured, I was not having my best tennis. The first set and a half when I play him in first French Open, everything I was hitting was going in.

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Q. Pretty amazing results for you on hardcourt. Is there something now that you figured out about hardcourt that has changed your game or is it just playing good tennis in general?

SERGI BRUGUERA: Well, I think I learn a lot from playing a lot of tournaments on hardcourt. Sometimes change a little bit one thing and you see everything much easier. It's no like big changes, no like I serve and volley all the time. I think I'm a little more thinking more aggressive, trying more for my shots, not just playing maybe. Sometimes you want to control the match. In this kind of court it's very difficult, attacking a lot. Maybe on clay better than the other one you can control the match and play as you want. Here it's difficult to control the match because they're going for their shots.

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Q. Is that something you wanted to do when you were really good on clay? Did you like plan to go on more hardcourt tournaments and just try in that way to improve your game?

SERGI BRUGUERA: The only thing I would like to improve my game on hardcourt, I was playing best tennis on clay, I was winning almost everything. You cannot be on top if you just playing well on clay. That was the only reason I want to play weller on hardcourt, to be on top and to be as better a player as possible.

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Q. Do you like seeing your opponent come to the net? You hit some amazing passing shots tonight. Him coming to the net just didn't faze you at all.

SERGI BRUGUERA: Normally I like that they come to the net because I think my favorite shot is the passing shot. Normally I like when they come in.

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Q. So you'll be ready if Sampras pulls out serve and volley?

SERGI BRUGUERA: Not if he's coming with his serve. I mean, the serve of Sampras, doesn't matter if he stays back or coming in, still difficult to put it back the ball. Depends if you come in with the serve, Ivanisevic, whatever, really good shot. Even if you have the best passing shot, you not going to pass. It's difficult to come with great shots all the time.

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Q. What do you take from Pete that you played at the French Open last year? Did it hurt to lose to him at the French?

SERGI BRUGUERA: I was not in really good shape. So many opportunities. I think I had like 18 or 19 breakpoints, and I just make two, in the same set. I think I was not playing really well over there. I mean, I try my best. At the end, I don't return like I used to, and that's why I lost. Here is different. Here is his best surface. It seems that he's playing his best tennis. He won two matches. Here is a court that he likes more. He just lost one match in the year. I think he will be with a lot of confidence. I will try my best. That's the only thing I can say.

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Q. When you get out to a quick lead like that, do you feel like you have all of a sudden the freedom to go for shots like you went for tonight because you're up, you're ahead a couple breaks, and all of a sudden, bang, here come some amazing shots? Is that tougher to do when it's a tighter match?

SERGI BRUGUERA: Of course, it is much easy, and more. For sure, if you are winning like 4-Love, you have a double break, you play more risky or more relaxed, because you very much ahead. You play with much confidence. If you are 4-Love, it means you are playing well. It means you also have confidence to try for even more. Of course, if you were ahead and the score is much easy, you play more relaxed and more difficult than 5-All or 4-All.

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Q. You're training with your own physio. Is it important to have somebody like Paul?

SERGI BRUGUERA: For me it's very important because after my injuries, we spoke with him and he helped me a lot with my ankle and with my knee. I was having a lot of problems. He came to Barcelona. We make a special program for my legs. Also he has special care for my ankle. Every day I was feeling much better, much better. We work a lot. For me it was really important, the help from Paul. Now I feel that I'm moving much better, I have no pain what I'm playing on the court. It gives me a lot of confidence. Every time I hit a little problem or whatever, he take cares, and it's done right away.

JOE LYNCH: Anything else in English? Thank you.

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Q. Did you purposely hit a short ball to bring Andrei to the net?

SERGI BRUGUERA: I don't mind sometimes if I play. I prefer to play short than don't risk. Sometimes if you're under pressure, you want to race because you're afraid him come in. I don't mind. I like, I prefer to play short ball than to try for the passing shot because it's open court.

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