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August 30, 1999

Paul Goldstein


USTA: Questions for Paul.

Q. Unusual circumstances.

PAUL GOLDSTEIN: It's really difficult circumstances. It's a match that's difficult to go into. You just prepare like any other match. When you go out there, you just play every point, put your head down after every point. It's a match you play with a heavy heart because you feel for Scotty because he's really one of the most well-liked and most well-respected people on Tour. That's not to say anything about his tennis game, which is obviously outstanding. Just one of the most well-respected people on Tour as an individual. You play the match with a heavy heart. You have a lot of compassion. You admire someone for going out there in those circumstances and competing the way he did. I know he didn't feel like he competed well. Certainly under different circumstances, he's going to compete much better. For him to step out there on court and play the entire match, you have a great deal of respect for him. You just wish him all the best because he's all class.

Q. He said that you guys were talking after the match. He said he didn't want you to think that he was fiddling around.

PAUL GOLDSTEIN: He came up to me and said, "Mate," typical Scott Draper fashion, "Mate, it was nothing against you. My head wasn't into it today." He started the conversation, but before I could say anything, said, "I don't take it bad at all. You're all class." I said to him, "I admire you for being out here, and I wish you all the best because you're all class."

Q. Weird way to start a US Open. How do you feel about this tournament now?

PAUL GOLDSTEIN: I don't know. I mean, something I've never experienced before this way, to feel for someone that bad. Usually you have an opponent on the other side of the net; you're ready to stick a serve down his throat or something. That certainly wasn't the way I felt today. It's a strange feeling. I think what's most important for me, Scotty wished me all the best after the match, "Good luck, do your best the rest of the tournament." You put it behind you and try to maintain your focus, without losing the compassion for Scott, obviously. You just get focused for your next match; know that every match from here on out is going to be a dogfight. You're here to play tennis. Scott reminds us of the more important things in life, absolutely. But now you're here to play tennis. You try to be as professional as you can about it. I'll be ready. I'm sure I have a day off tomorrow, get a good workout in. I think I'll be ready to go, whether it be Wednesday or Thursday.

Q. Summer season helped you, especially Washington?

PAUL GOLDSTEIN: Absolutely. It's been a great summer, really beginning at Wimbledon for me. This first year out, I started pretty well. Had a good experience at The Open here last year after graduating in June. That kind of carried that momentum through with me most of the fall. I had a good fall, did real well in the beginning of the year. Then I kind of hit a little bit of wall. I'm not accustomed to being out and focusing on tennis as my first priority for eight straight months. Come February, I went three months really without winning any matches, struggling a little, trying to get it adjusted. Starting in Wimbledon, I got it together. I feel my perspective on the game, how to be professional, comfortable week-in and week-out has increased. I'm feeling more comfortable, at this level. The summer season has been great. I had a great Wimbledon, came back and had a fantastic PanAm Games, which is a wonderful experience, to get the team camaraderie at PanAm Games, which gave me a boost, a lot of momentum for the rest of the summer. I played great tennis in Cincinnati. I had a tough loss to Kiefer in the second round, but played really well. I used that as a real positive. I had one of my best showings in DC in front of the home crowd. This is the culmination of the summer. This is really, for American tennis players, a culmination of the year. You focus most of the year on feeling like you're most ready physically and emotionally for the US Open. It's an exciting time.

Q. Scott was saying that everybody outside of tennis certainly regards the lifestyle of tennis players as glamorous. He doesn't like the lifestyle, basically. He finds it a little bit too selfish, and in many ways, would rather stay home. You've done this a little bit now. How do you like it?

PAUL GOLDSTEIN: I'm enjoying it. I think there are a lot of worse things I could be doing right now at 23 years old. To be able to travel, see the world, meet people of different cultures, different walks of life is a great experience for me right now. I'm very pleased with what I'm doing right now, not only with the way I'm playing, but just my life style. I'm happy with it. Having said that, it took me a long time to come to grips with it. I was never someone who at a young age knew this was something I wanted to do. What I'm trying to say is I can relate to what Scott is saying. It is a selfish lifestyle. You're responsible for yourself. I have all these friends who graduated Stanford, are working banking hours. I'm hanging out with my friend that lives in New York here, Saturday afternoon, six p.m., watching a game, and he gets called into the office. What's that all about (laughter)? That couldn't be farther from my realm of life. The grass is always greener on the other side. I have certain jealousies of my friends who are more stable and get to be home, get home-cooked meals, just have a sedentary, stable lifestyle; whereas, I don't. For now, it's something I don't definitely want to do for 20 years. At some point I want to be more stable. Right now, I'm enjoying it. I think it took me four years of college to really appreciate that. I think -- having nothing to do with tennis, if I had gone pro after high school, I would be reciting word for word what Scott said in here. It is a selfish lifestyle. I don't consider myself a selfish person. In that way, it's very difficult. I get along very well with people on the Tour, great people. But you just don't develop the same depth of a relationship as you do in, say, college or high school when you have a more stable environment. I can relate to what Scott is saying. I know exactly what he's saying. Right now, I'm happy.

Q. With that great Stanford base under you, have you raised your expectations for your career in the last three months?

PAUL GOLDSTEIN: I try not to get caught up in my own expectations. What I can say is that I feel a lot more comfortable on the Tour at the highest level of tennis in the world. I'm not surprised when I compete well with some of the top players anymore. I just feel more comfortable. I don't set really ranking goals, "I want to get this point or this point." The better you do, the more comfortable you feel, the more you feel like you belong. Over the last three months, my sense of belonging has increased ten-fold. You mentioned Stanford. I credit the coach and fostering-family atmosphere at Stanford so that when I, as a young player competing at Stanford, when I get on the Tour, there's six, seven, eight fellow Stanford people who are older who are looking after me a little bit. It's a great thing for me. It's almost like a mentoring program, unofficial mentoring program. Alex O'Brien, Jonathan Stark, all these people have looked after me in the locker room, on the practice courts, at dinner, just to increase your comfort level. That helps to raise I don't know about expectations but definitely a comfort level where you feel like you belong, feel like you can compete with everybody.

Q. Do you feel that Agassi and Sampras' strong run now, they've given you younger players a shield to develop in which you can find your games?

PAUL GOLDSTEIN: I think that would be really difficult and maybe counterproductive for myself particularly, definitely myself - I can't speak for some of the other young Americans - to try to expect the same results that Pete and Andre have performed, have done over the course of their career. They're going to go down as two of the greatest players of all time. Pete has cemented that with his 12 Grand Slam titles, Andre cemented that by winning all four Grand Slams. They've had unbelievable careers. I don't expect to do that well. I wouldn't be upset if it happened, but they have laid an incredible foundation for Americans to try and emulate. It could be counterproductive to try to expect that much, if you don't get there, to feel disappointed. Obviously I'm not even close to a Grand Slam, but I'm pleased with my career. I feel good about it. It's wonderful to see how well Pete and Andre have done over the course of their career, but particularly this year. I think they've re-invigorated tennis, particularly in the United States. I just hope that my generation can, if not match their accomplishments, build on it and continue the progress that the game -- that the game of tennis has developed in the States.

Q. As tough as playing Scott was today, are you going to be able to take anything out of this match, into your next match?

PAUL GOLDSTEIN: Well, it's always important to get a match under your belt. I said it before. The longer I play, the better I feel I play. It's rare that I go out in the second, third or fourth round and feel like I can't hit a ball on the court and play awful. The more you're out there, the more you get used to the environment, the conditions. That's the biggest positive I think I can take. Wins are still not commonplace for me. With a win on the Tour, I feel good about that. Scott had an unbelievable year last year, won at least one tournament last year, finals after couple other. He's a well-respected player as well as person. You can build a little bit of confidence from that. Maybe not quite the same way under different circumstances, but I think the most important thing is the environment and the conditions. You've been out there for a few hours, you're more comfortable stepping on the court. The nerves kind of settle down starting the second round.

Q. How did you find the wind out there?

PAUL GOLDSTEIN: It was rough today actually. It wasn't consistent. Court 7, there's one side which has a lot of stands, I was hoping that would shield some of the wind. When I warmed up, I felt good because on my warm-up court, the wind was going one direction. I figured it out. On one side you put a little more topspin to bring the ball down. The other side, the ball just sits up. Out there, I kept looking up at the flag on top of the stadium. It was going in a relatively similar direction, but I couldn't figure it out. I don't consider myself the stupidest guy out here, but I couldn't figure out which way it was going. It was swirling a little bit. There were times when I felt like I was going to be able to step in and crack one, and all of a sudden I lost a little judgment on the ball and I'm hitting the ball off my back foot. It was tough today. Hopefully it won't be quite as bad my next match out. A consistent wind, you can deal with, but a swirling wind is tough.

End of FastScripts….

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