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August 30, 1997

Jonas Bjorkman

U.S. OPEN CHAMPIONSHIP, Flushing Meadows, New York, NY

Q. Congratulations first off. Great match.


Q. Was that the best you played in a while, would you say?

JONAS BJORKMAN: Well, I think I have done a few really good matches before. I did one against Edberg here in '94. And, I maybe played better tennis today, but I think I was at a different level at that time. I was like ranked around 100 and I was just coming up. And to beat Stefan in a Grand Slam was a really good performance for me because normally he was beating all the Swedes at that time. And, now, you know, I have another big win here in the US Open and maybe the level of my tennis was better today.

Q. Had you played Kuerten before?

JONAS BJORKMAN: Yeah, I lost to him in French Open second round.

Q. You seemed to have so much confidence. You seemed to have so much focus like top 10 player already. How do you manage that?

JONAS BJORKMAN: Well, I think I have been working very hard the last couple of years and I think it starts to pay off. And, maybe for the first time I start to believe in my game. I think before I always felt that I can do one or two good matches, but never really go the whole way in a tournament. And, since I won a tournament beginning of the year, I really felt that I can play four, five really solid matches and win a tournament. I think that definitely helped my confidence, you know, since that it has just been going better and better and had another one in Indianapolis. Those kind of things definitely help you. And, for the moment, I am feeling very good.

Q. Almost felt like you expected to win, that if you wouldn't win, you would feel like disappointed; was it that the sort of thing?

JONAS BJORKMAN: If I would have lost today, I definitely would have been disappointed because I think from the moment I am feeling very comfortable with my game and came in with a lot of confidence from the hard court season here and even if he is a top 10 player, I felt like last time French Open, I was really close to come back and today we were playing on my surface, that I think is my best. And, I was hoping, you know, a lot before the match that I can go out and do a good match. After a few games, everything, you know, all the -- maybe I was a little tight in the beginning just -- I lost that half -- three or four games. Then I felt really strong and really enjoyed the time to be out there.

Q. John McEnroe said watching on television that he felt you were playing as well as any person in this tournament. Do you believe that?

JONAS BJORKMAN: Well, it is nice to hear, I mean, that is some great words from one of the great players we have and we had on the Tour. He knows a lot about the tennis and I am not sure, I haven't really seen the other guys playing. Definitely, Pete looks to be solid. Normally he struggles a little bit in the first and second round. But, he looked to be pretty sharp already from the beginning this year. And, even Chang, these guys have been looking quite good. I don't really -- I feel that I can beat these guys when I am playing on top of my level. I beat Pete in Queens and now I have been beating a few of the top guys in the top 10. So, I feel, you know, when I am playing good, I definitely have a chance.

Q. You played fantastic tonight. What do you think happened to Guga because against Schalken, Schalken also played very well, but he was -- today was a different Guga. What do you think happened to him tonight? I think it was not only because of your game, but something else. What do you think it was? No energy.

JONAS BJORKMAN: Well, I don't know. You have got to ask Guga.

Q. I will, but I would like --

JONAS BJORKMAN: I just felt like, you know, I didn't make too many unforced errors, so, I really was putting a lot of pressure on him and put a lot of balls back and that gave him a hard time and the key was -- he started to be more nervous after that. Then he started to lose his -- it is tough to get back in the match when your opponent is playing well and you maybe feel you have to change your game and win the points. I think that was a big key for me.

Q. John McEnroe also said that you are on your way to the top 10. Maybe still this year. Is that something you are seriously considering?

JONAS BJORKMAN: Well, first I was more having a goal to go into the top 20 and, you know, if I could have done that, that would have been really good. But, I already made my goal for this year and, you know, I have no points to come up with this fall. And, of course, I know that I got a good chance. I think I am like 300 points away and when I am playing as good as I do now, I definitely feel that I have got a good chance to do that. And, then, it is going to be a new season to go indoors and hopefully I can play as good as I do now and just got to take one match at a time and, you know, hopefully enjoy all the rest of the year.

Q. Do you feel like you have a champion's mentality to be able to win seven three out of five-set matches in a row; are you that confident with yourself?

JONAS BJORKMAN: Well, I don't know if I want to be that cocky to say that. That is not a typical Swede to go out and say that you feel comfortable to do that. But, I definitely feel that I have been improving my game. And, like I said before, before maybe could have -- I felt that I could win one or two matches and maybe beat one of the top guys once in a while. But, for the moment, I am playing very good and I feel that I am playing my best tennis in my career and I feel that I, at least, got a good chance and, you know, with the confidence I have now, I am feeling comfortable with it.

Q. Do you feel like the dark horse of the tournament?

JONAS BJORKMAN: Well, yeah, a little bit. I can say, I am unseeded, you know, you have Krajicek on this half as well which nobody has been talking about and who is a great player. He won Wimbledon before, so, that is another guy that maybe people have not been thinking about winning this event. So, I think we are a few guys who could be the dark horse in this event. And, if I could be the one, I am glad if I could be the one, definitely.

End of FastScripts…

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