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March 17, 1996
INDIAN WELLS, CALIFORNIA
JOE LYNCH: Paul should move from his current No. 68 on the ATP
Tour rankings to approximately 25 or 26. It will come out officially
tomorrow. This was his first Mercedes Super 9 singles final and
he moves on to the Lipton Championships next week. Also appearing
here for the very first time. First question for Paul.
Q. The game, obviously, the pivotal game in the first set
PAUL HAARHUIS: The 7th game.
Q. The 7th game. Just after that you just looked like maybe
you weren't in it mentally?
PAUL HAARHUIS: No, I think first of all, I -- I think-- yeah,
that was obviously a very crucial game 4-2 Love-40 to go double
break for 5-2 and, you know, I -- the first one I hit a forehand
down the line where I really felt, you know, he would -- he expected
a crosscourt, so it would have been a winner, but it hit the tape.
And then he hit some very close shots, close to the line. So
what can you do?
Q. Did you feel those were out?
PAUL HAARHUIS: They were very close, but I just kind of felt,
looking back on it, that it was typical for how it went, the first
set, and every close call didn't go my way. That sometimes happen.
I don't say that they were out or that they were in. They were
very close and one might have been out. But, you know, that was
obviously a very crucial game, but after that he started playing
with much more depth in his strokes and you know, 4-3, I still
felt I was doing all right, but then he broke me and then I struggled
on my service games a lot more. And then when he broke me at
6-5 to win the set, you know, that really mentally and physically
drained me a lot, and, you know, because I knew with the heat
and with the matches I have been playing, that -- if I was going
to win I needed to, you know, to spend the least amount of energy
as possible. Then the first set was very tiring and then I knew
I had to win another three sets to win the match. So mentally
that was, you know, not the best thing to look forward to. And
Michael had every answer to my shots. Then you start forcing
things and you feel like you have to do more and better and closer
to the lines and you start forcing things and you feel like, hey,
I have to hit more service winners, and then your serve -- just
don't, you know, you miss too many first serves and it just --
that is all part of what Michael's game does to you also and Michael
played a really good match, so, you know, but it was disappointing
to lose that first set.
Q. In the postmatch scene out there, I think the guy referred
to you as the "old man of tennis."
PAUL HAARHUIS: Yeah (AUDIENCE LAUGHTER).
Q. Do you agree?
PAUL HAARHUIS: After halfway through the second set I felt like
it, yeah (AUDIENCE LAUGHTER) No. No, I mean, agewise, yeah, I
am one of the oldest guys on the Tour and I haven't been around
-- I think I have been around just as long as Michael has, but,
you know, he started when he was 16 and I just started when I
was 22, 23, so that is why we are both playing the same amount
of time. Yeah, I mean, I don't feel like I am one of the oldest.
I am just still trying to play good tennis and I proved that
today -- this week, especially that I can do that, so I don't
think, you know, it has anything to do with age. It crosses your
mind every now and then when you play a little bit -- when you
don't play so good.
Q. Why do you match up so well with Sampras and not with
PAUL HAARHUIS: Because I feel that Michael's backhand is --
you can't really hurt him on his backhand or forehand. He doesn't
really have a weakness. You can't say, okay, I am just going
to hammer away on his backhand and he is going to miss shots,
or which, you know, like Sampras, and Ivanisevic, both their
forehands are so much better than their backhands, you know, so
against those guys, you just go to their backhand and with Michael,
it is tough. You start out doing that, but after a while, he
had so much depth on his backhand, he would be, you know, hitting
the ball so close to the line; after a while I would hit a shorter
ball; then he would just hit the forehand. So you can't really
-- you try, but can't really hurt him on his backhand. Plus he
has the speed. He is like every time you feel like you hit three
winners already against other guys, the ball still coming back.
They should limit that. (AUDIENCE LAUGHTER).
Q. Did you think that serve and volley was going to be your
chance to --
PAUL HAARHUIS: I needed to every now and then, but I just felt,
like I explained, I felt like I had to serve better and I -- maybe
because I wanted so much to serve a little bit better, I wasn't
serving well. So I tried to come in every now and again on my
serve, but the couple of times that I tried, I either missed the
first serve or, you know, I didn't really get a good volley. You
know, after a while, you just get a little bit disappointed. You
do it a couple of times. First couple of times you do it, you
win a few points; that is the why you do it; you say, he would
hit you one return winner and I would hit three times the first
serves and still wanting to go to the net, but on the second serve
I didn't do that. But it was part of the tactic, but just couldn't
Q. Paul, let us get down to the real basics here. What Chinese
restaurant did you go to last night and are you going to go back
and ask for your money back?
PAUL HAARHUIS: I told them this is America, I think I will sue.
Q. Who gave you that great line?
PAUL HAARHUIS: No, I was thinking about it last night when I
was eating. I am preparing my best effort; giving it all, every
dish I tried, so I was thinking about that when I -- I would have
gone South American if I played Rios, but-- (AUDIENCE LAUGHTER)
No, but it was across the street and.
JOE LYNCH: You ate there all week?
PAUL HAARHUIS: I ate there a couple of times before. It was
the last time last night.
Q. Paul, do you believe in fortune cookies anymore?
PAUL HAARHUIS: No, I got some good fortune cookies last night.
It said great fortunes are waiting for me. I was going to get
the highest -- I actually got one cookie; I got these two little
notes. Other one said, you get the highest, I don't know, achievement
will come to you. I guess that was Lipton.
JOE LYNCH: That was Saturday's fortune.
PAUL HAARHUIS: They talked about Lipton. (AUDIENCE LAUGHTER)
So I was really thrilled. I was like this is going to be good.
I don't have to -- so I went to the bar; went out, I didn't figure
it was going to be easy. My fortune cookie told me I was going
to win anyway.
Q. Obviously you are crushed by this defeat.
PAUL HAARHUIS: Well, it is disappointing to, especially second
and third set to be to lose 1 and 1. I mean, it is a great crowd.
It is a final. I mean, on the other hand, it doesn't do you
any good if you lose 5-5 and five; then you are much closer.
If I would have lost three sets like the first set, then I was
close every time the first set, I would have been really disappointed.
But today, you know, it was disappointing to lose the second
and third set like that, but, you know, I knew I could win the
first and maybe something would happen but second and third set
weren't so good. But I had a great week. But the problem is
before we go into the final, you can't just say, okay, be satisfied
with how you have played now because, you know, you want to still
-- otherwise you are a little bit less aggressive on the court.
PAUL HAARHUIS: Yes.
Q. What part, if any, did Stanley Frankel have at your arrival
at this point?
PAUL HAARHUIS: Nothing. Are you family? No. Sorry. No, I
am honest; that is why I say, no, first; then I ask if you are
family. (AUDIENCE LAUGHTER).
Q. Part of the Davis Cup?
PAUL HAARHUIS: I am part of the Davis Cup. No, Stan was part
of the Federation and I never had to do anything with Federation.
By the time I finished college, the Dutch Federation thought
I was too old for their youth program coming into at, you know,
starting out as an a professional. Those guys are like 18, 19
and so I was too old for them.
JOE LYNCH: Do they have a senior program?
PAUL HAARHUIS: No, they don't, no. But it turned out all right.
I have my own coach with whom I work with and that was doing
Q. Paul, is this your biggest pay day?
PAUL HAARHUIS: I think so. I am not sure. But it is one of
them. Definitely. But I am not going back to Chinese -- no.
No -- yeah, it has been a very good week, but, you know, the
money is obviously very big here, but it is -- what is more important
was the points, you know, I am getting 400 points for beating
a lot of top 10 players and with my ranking, you know, and as
tennis players, I knew exactly how many points I had, but I had
no clue how much money I won. I mean, I knew the next round to
win today would have been another 150 points for me. But if I
-- but next week I will play the first round and I have to win
four rounds to get to 150 points, so that is why matches like
this, are so important to win when you get to the semifinals,
finals, then the points really count. But the money is not bad
either, so to answer your question, sorry.
JOE LYNCH: Bill.
PAUL HAARHUIS: We will get down to basics now. (AUDIENCE LAUGHTER.)
Q. Specifically, why did you decide to come here from Rotterdam?
Was it because you did have some good results before?
PAUL HAARHUIS: To come here?
PAUL HAARHUIS: Because I was a little bit disappointed with
the indoor season. I was always -- actually the month of February
was my best part of the season. And I didn't do too well so lost
a lot of points, and, yeah, I just said, okay, it is a good --
to make clean break get-away from the indoor season. If I would
have practiceed I would stayed indoor; played indoor on the fast
courts before going to Lipton. I felt, you know, get away from
it; I am out of the tournament early, so can go earlier to Indian
Wells and practice and get some couple of days practice in before
I play a match. Preparation will be better. Even if I lose first
round, my preparation for Key Biscayne will be much better, so
just said, you know, basically I can lose. If I lose first round
then I just practice you a lot which I would have done also in
Holland, so....., but sometimes you just feel like you know since
there is no real time in between Rotterdam and Indian Wells, the
preparation is so small, so short, I mean......
JOE LYNCH: I think, Paul, he will be the oldest guy in the top
30 as of Monday, but I will double check that if anybody is interested.
Q. I that that was a compliment calling him the old man.
PAUL HAARHUIS: Wasn't I the oldest guy?
Q. I would take that as a compliment.
PAUL HAARHUIS: Yes, I do. Yeah. No, I mean, I feel great.
I mean, of course, it crosses your mind as a tennis player that
if you don't do well for a bit, well, I am getting older, maybe,
things a week like this is really good for your confidence to,
not just tennis, just that you are hitting the ball well, but
just mentally that you think, oh, yeah, I can hang with these
guys at least another year or two, whatever.
PAUL HAARHUIS: So....
JOE LYNCH: Thanks. We will be back soon with Michael.
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