September 29, 1998
Q. How did you get from Tel Aviv to Munich?
NICOLAS ESCUDE: I had to get up at 3:45 in the morning, and four hours later I was here, very tired.
Q. There was a party?
NICOLAS ESCUDE: No, there was just some time off Sunday night. Some had to leave even before us. So at 11, everybody was asleep.
Q. You slept a lot, I understand?
NICOLAS ESCUDE: 15 hours yesterday, I slept. 15 hours. I had a siesta of three hours, and then I got to bed at 10 last night and up at 8 this morning. I was still tired.
Q. So on the court today?
NICOLAS ESCUDE: I felt empty. I didn't train. Practice last week was too hot in Israel. I played the singles and the doubles, and the last match, so I really felt tired, under extreme conditions. Plus, it was a very straining trip, so you need some rest to get back into shape, and I didn't feel I got back into shape.
Q. Without speaking about today's match, what about the remainder of this indoor season? You are booked for six tournaments. What about the end of this season? Is this just a way to save your season?
NICOLAS ESCUDE: No. This would be too easy to say. My season was rather mediocre. I had some injury trouble, a couple of things that badly came together. But my play isn't all that bad, I mean, except today's match, I'd like to delete this one. Otherwise, my tennis isn't too bad. Last week I had a great week in Tel Aviv, in Tashkent the week before was great. I had some health problems, I have to recuperate a bit. Otherwise I'm fine.
Q. During this year, somebody told me you wanted to stay between 30 and 40 before entering the Australian Open in the world rankings. Assuming it's going to be better this time than last year, do you have to make some points before you get to Australia?
NICOLAS ESCUDE: There's six tournaments left, bigger ones. Those are the big ones. I will do my best, try and get a lot of points. I'm in all the draws, except Vienna where I've got to qualify. I'm going to attack and try to get as many points as possible before Australia. But Australia isn't around the corner, isn't next door. There will be some holiday, some specific preparation for Australia, then we shall see. For the time being, it's the remainder of the fast court indoor season. This is what matters right now.
Q. Any favorite surface?
NICOLAS ESCUDE: Well, not this one very much. This is relatively slow. I feel like I'm playing outdoor tennis. After a couple of hours of practicing on this, I don't love this really, but I'll be okay. I rather like faster surfaces, but you know I like the hard courts in the United States.
Q. Between the end of the season and the beginning of next year, Adelaide?
NICOLAS ESCUDE: Yes, Adelaide, you're right.
Q. What are you going to do in between?
NICOLAS ESCUDE: Well, a break, one week break after Moscow, maybe two in terms of tennis, but there will be some physical work, preparation for my shoulders, my back, a lot of things in trouble. This is when I'll have to do something in order to get back to shape. Then I'm going to attack before leaving to New Caledonia while there will be an intensive preparation period for Australia. I'm going to leave between the 15th and 20th, two weeks in New Caledonia where I'm going to work hard, conditions as in Australia.
Q. This is going to be as it was last year?
NICOLAS ESCUDE: That's right. Only last year I didn't have any break, not even a week. I didn't have time. I ended the indoor season and went to La Reunion and was in three days in Mauritia, no break at all.
Q. Independent of injury problems, do you think you made some mistakes in handling your tournament calendar and you're going to avoid these mistakes next year?
NICOLAS ESCUDE: Not really. This is how it goes. This is how a tennis players life is. I mean, I have seen those who played well in Australia, then I looked at what they had been doing before, and then I thought maybe. Otherwise, I think I'll do what I did last year.
Q. Tar rack gave me some of this information. How do you feel at this point in your career? A bit mellow? A bit mature?
NICOLAS ESCUDE: Well, I started playing the top players a bit more frequently, you feel you learn something, a lot of experience. This is certainly true in how to handle certain situations in a match. I think I have learned a lot. To say exactly what it is.
Q. He referred to the general way you practice and your plan, your game.
NICOLAS ESCUDE: No, as I always said, if I don't like playing, I play very lousy tennis. It doesn't help. So I play because I love playing, otherwise I take a break with some physical exercise. Otherwise, as far as my progress is concerned, there's nothing specifically that I added or that I learned. I played my program every time I could play. There wasn't any injury problem. I would still say that I'm not one of the very big tournament match players. That may be for physical reasons, for mental reasons, having 12 tournaments in a row without any break, staying at the same level, this is something I still don't really know how to do. Sometimes I'd like to have a week without touching a racquet. At the moment, I play. I have this series of six or seven tournaments. Unless there's some physical problem, then I don't play. Otherwise, I play every week. I'm not a bit worried about this, no, because I love playing. I didn't play a lot this year. I'm not worried about having to play six or seven tournaments in a row. And I need some points, don't I? I mean, you just think about Australia. I'm one of the first top 40, so I have to play, and I have to earn some points, otherwise it would be sad as a result. I'll do my best.
Q. Did you see the Oktoberfest here in Munich?
NICOLAS ESCUDE: What is it?
Q. The beer festival.
NICOLAS ESCUDE: No, I only arrived yesterday. I was in bed.
End of FastScriptsâ€¦.