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August 30, 1999

Justin Gimelstob


USTA: Questions for Justin.

Q. How well did you think you played today?

JUSTIN GIMELSTOB: Considering the conditions, which were really rough, I thought I played pretty well. I got a good amount of first serves in. I played pretty aggressively. I hit some good shots. I thought for the most part I did a good job.

Q. How bad was the wind out there?

JUSTIN GIMELSTOB: It was pretty rough. Probably rougher because we haven't seen conditions like that. I haven't practiced in conditions like that. Practicing in Miami so many times, pretty used to it. I was pleased. I was pleased the way I handled it. I didn't really let it affect me too much. As I said, I thought I did a good job.

Q. Was it going in one direction or swirling?

JUSTIN GIMELSTOB: It's swirling pretty good out there, changes direction. In the stadium, it swirls pretty good. As I said, it wasn't as bad as I thought it would be.

Q. I haven't seen you play in several months. I couldn't believe how well you played out there. Have you been playing this well?

JUSTIN GIMELSTOB: Yeah, I think I've improved a lot. I think physically, I've increased a lot since last year, become a much better athlete.

Q. Your speed is better, anticipation was very good.

JUSTIN GIMELSTOB: Yeah. So, yeah, I think I have improved a lot. As I was saying, even when I hadn't been winning that many matches a couple months ago, I was saying that I really believe that I'm improving. Even though my ranking is pretty much similar to what it was last year, my year has been pretty similar, I know I'm improving, I know I'm getting better. I really, really believe in my heart if I can just stay patient, stay positive, I'm going to really make some advances. I mean, as I said a couple of weeks ago, when I wasn't doing as well, but playing well, I was saying, "You're winning matches, your ranking isn't always indicative of how good of a player I was." Two years ago I was ranked the same as I am now, I'm so much better than then. As I say, I have to stay patient and positive, and my ranking will be more indicative of how I think I'm developing.

Q. What about your game has made that change?

JUSTIN GIMELSTOB: I think I'm serving better. I think I'm moving better. I think I'm understanding how to play tennis better. I'm understanding you don't have to win the point on the first ball. You get one point if he makes an error or if I hit a winner. I think I've matured. I still think I -- I could do all things better, as well, but I think I'm getting a little more of the hang of it.

Q. There wasn't any speed gun working. Do you have any idea how fast your serves were?

JUSTIN GIMELSTOB: You know, I've been serving good. I've been serving hard and fast. I wasn't serving out there as hard as I have been because it was so windy. I think I was serving, you know, probably the good high 120's, pretty good second serves, low 90's, mid 90's, high 80's sometimes if I started getting a little tight. As I said, I think I served well. I'm serving close to the lines, mixing it up better.

Q. This tournament is very important to you, for a lot of good reasons.


Q. Being from the area. Do you find yourself with expectations not trying to expect too much out of this one event?

JUSTIN GIMELSTOB: It's tough not to. I was talking to someone yesterday about the US Open and preparing and trying to get myself in a mental state to perform well here. It's interesting because there's nowhere I'd rather do better. There's nowhere I'd rather play well. I think I'm capable of doing well, because the courts are suitable to my style, I get really good support here. Yet with those positives, they can still work as a negative, I mean, if I let them. If I let the expectations, the desire to win, oversee the fact that I have to take care of the things that will help me win; that is, play aggressively, stay focused, not expend too much energy, not get distracted by all the things that are going on, because that's very easy to do. It's a Catch-22. But I think I dealt with it pretty well last night and today. Hopefully I'll keep doing it.

Q. What did Elliott say after the match?

JUSTIN GIMELSTOB: He was real pleased. He was real happy. Elliott spent last week with me in New Jersey at my house. Paul Goldstein came to my house in New Jersey. We worked pretty hard for four or five days. Elliott was there. I think he's pleased. I'm going to be out in LA a lot, working with him. I think he understands me. I'm happy with the input I've gotten from him.

Q. If he isn't happy, get a new coach (laughter).

JUSTIN GIMELSTOB: I've had enough coaches, as you guys all know. Hopefully, he'll stick with it.

Q. Results a lot faster than you thought?

JUSTIN GIMELSTOB: You've seen me play a lot of matches. It's been a long time since I've won 6-1, 6-3, 6-2. I was happy with the way it went, consistently throughout it. I played good service games the whole way through. So, yeah, I was a little bit surprised, but once I was out there, I felt confident that I was in control of the match, and I just had to stick with it, not lose concentration, I'd be fine.

Q. Do you feel anything about the real desire to win because of last year's Davis Cup?

JUSTIN GIMELSTOB: Huge. As I said, actually the referee from the Davis Cup was there, he said, "Good match." "Had to give them back one after that Davis Cup debacle last year." He laughed. That stuff sticks with me more than most people, more than it should even. I care about it a lot. That Davis Cup week was one of the greatest things for me, because it's always been such a goal, such a great thing to be a part of. To have it go down like it did, it was really difficult for me to deal with. It took me some time to get over it. Those guys, they stuck it to us pretty good. I felt they rubbed it in pretty good against us. I was pleased to give Andrea a nice little beating out there.

Q. Your net play was terrific today, I thought. How did it come about? How did you feel about it today?

JUSTIN GIMELSTOB: I thought it was pretty good. I felt his strength was just to get back and rally and try and grind me down. My strength was going to be to make the points shorter. I've been working on my transition game a lot. I feel confident in it. The courts are playing pretty fast. It's tough to pass in the wind when you have a big gorilla like me on the net. It felt good.

Q. Do you think about that second round match, it's a tough match coming up, no matter who it is? Do you want to talk about that?

JUSTIN GIMELSTOB: What's the score out there? It's 5-All. I think it's going to be a battle. Hopefully they can just beat the holy living hell out of each other for today, give me a little break tomorrow or Wednesday. Yeah, it's going to be two exact opposite styles. Vacek is a really aggressive player. Costa, great groundstrokes, really good competitor. It's going to be challenging. I'm looking forward to it. Playing at the US Open wasn't meant to be easy. There are a lot of great tennis players out there. Those guys are both really good. I welcome the challenge.

Q. Have you played either of them?

JUSTIN GIMELSTOB: I played Vacek. I beat him in Los Angeles last year. I've never played Albert Costa.

Q. You had a lot of fan support, a lot of young kids.

JUSTIN GIMELSTOB: I was real happy. I got a good court assignment. There's some high-ranked players on outside courts. I thought that was really nice of them. I think they're still -- the court committee, they're trying to make up when I won Kalamazoo, and they had the riot on outside courts when so many people came to watch me. As I said, I always get really good support here. It's a stage in my development where I have to understand how to use that as an advantage, not as something that works against me, by expending too much energy or getting too wrapped up in it.

Q. Were some of these kids brought here by you for the Foundation?

JUSTIN GIMELSTOB: No. I sent 11 of the kids from my charity to the Kids Day. We organized for them. The USTA was nice enough to give us 11 tickets. We provided transportation and organized it all for the Justin Gimelstob Children's Fund, children from St. Barnabas Hospital in New Jersey. Eleven of them came out and sure had a very fun day. I think the kids today have followed me and supported me, which is nice.

Q. No proposals out there from little girls?

JUSTIN GIMELSTOB: No proposals. I get a few on my cell phone every now and then. If I call, I've changed my -- to try and alleviate some stress this week, I left a message saying, "Hey, how you doing, you've reached Justin, blah, blah, blah. If you've called about tickets, call someone else." I left someone else's number to deal with it. Little things like that I've learned. I think it will help me with dealing with distractions, not getting so scattered as I have in years past. I'm getting old. I don't have the energy like I used to (laughter).

Q. Still running off the court a few times today.

JUSTIN GIMELSTOB: A few times. Not too much. I'll still have enough legs for Wednesday.

Q. Do you find yourself looking past Wednesday?

JUSTIN GIMELSTOB: I mean, I don't. People tell me things. I think some people don't really understand, people that haven't played at a high level of sports, don't appreciate the dynamic, I think. People have said things that are not really conducive to me playing great and seeing how good I could be. It's more result-oriented stuff. I'm not blind. I know the winner of our match will play Agassi. There's nothing I'd rather do than tee it up with someone who is playing the best tennis of his career. As I've learned, if I let that be an influence on my match Wednesday, I can guarantee you that the person playing Andre on Friday or Saturday will be Albert Costa or Daniel Vacek, not me.

End of FastScripts….

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