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August 12, 1996

Andrei Medvedev


JOE LYNCH: ASAP Reporting will be doing a transcript of this interview, so feel free to speak up when you ask a question so he can hear you. Andrei Medvedev into the second round. Andrei is the 1993 champion here. First question.

Q. Andrei, unfortunately some of the top players have had to pull out with injuries, what's your -- what are your feelings overall with the field this year?

ANDREI MEDVEDEV: Well, it seems the field is very strong now, and you have two Grand Slam champions from this year, and you have the regular field is very strong. And it's good for the tournament and (inaudible.) But it's the risk you take with the guys. I'm sure they're both unable to perform 100% and that's why they didn't come. And I still think that the draw is very tough to come through, and the tournament is good as it can be. And the big names are not here, and it's a lot, but there are many up and coming players here. And I'm sure there will be some great tennis played this week.

Q. Compare your game now with when you won here.

ANDREI MEDVEDEV: It's such a long time, I don't remember, really. And in 1993 I get, actually, lucky because in the first round I was down with Tommy Ho 6-3, 5-2, and I won that match. And then I went on and won the tournament. And compared to now it's hard to say. It's a great match I think for me. I think one of the best I played this year. And if I could keep playing like this, I mean, I have a chance to do well, you know.

Q. You were way down in that first match, things were just like 1993, and you were able to remember it and so on and so on. So it must make an impression on you that you retained for a long time when you come back like that and at the end of the tournament you're the winner.

ANDREI MEDVEDEV: You know, most of the tournaments you go through the stages like this. Especially with my game, I'm a young player, and I wasn't exactly very consistent with my game. And the first match I was down, and I could have (inaudible.) A lot that match. Tommy was serving for the match, I think, with a new ball. And before that I don't think I had one break point. So then I broke him, and I went on to win the match and the tournament. And once you play this match, it gives you a lot of confidence. And that's what I got. And then I played some more great matches. But hopefully with -- if I will stand a chance of winning, I hope I don't have to face the situation again, because it's just like Russian roulette. I hope my form is much better now not to face this kind of point.

Q. There was so much talk about you as a teenager. I mean, when you look back at that, was that a lot of pressure on you; too much pressure maybe?

ANDREI MEDVEDEV: No, I was -- I was a young guy, and I was feeling from a different world, you know, the things. And for me, change was fun, was exciting, and answering the questions to the press. It was something that I wasn't used to. I wasn't afraid to show my personality. I wasn't afraid to say what I think. But, unfortunately, as you probably -- as everyone probably has experienced. And so time of stress, I would say misspell my quote and turn it into something that I would never say. So I became a little bit more defensive. I became a little bit more careful about everything. But I think things have changed now. I'm not a teenager anymore, by far I'm not the youngest player on the tour. And I feel like, in a way, a cadet, because I was five years on the tour, and I am only 22 -- I mean, I will be 22 this month. And, actually, I've had lots of luck 'till now. At the moment I'm struggling with my ranking, but I am still the same person. And I think I have learned much more than I had when I was 19 or 18, and I can handle it better.

Q. You mentioned that the press misquoted you badly. Did the quotes differ from country to country; some countries are worse than others?

ANDREI MEDVEDEV: Yeah, sure. I mean, even the press in Ukraine supposed to be Mr. nice guy, but I think the preconceptions are not true and just creating the rumors. I understand all that, you have to make your money, so you have to get people buying the newspapers. And so you're writing sometimes what you want to write. And I can accept that. But I'm just -- I wasn't ready for it. I wasn't -- I was a young, naive kid, and I thought that everything I will say will be exactly printed the same way. I didn't face the reality of the world. It was my mistake. But now I'm more careful. And I have so much rubbish already all over the world, so whatever you write it cannot be much worse.

Q. There will be a transcript of this press conference, so you won't be misquoted.

ANDREI MEDVEDEV: No, because -- I mean, I know guys maybe like me, like, you know, the press, I have a pretty good relationship. And sometimes they write things that I never said. You go to them and ask them, what's wrong? And they say well, I have to sell the newspapers. We have no choice. I have no control over it. I hope you will write what I say, but if you don't, bad luck, I don't want to talk to you no more.

Q. When you were young and having so much -- younger, 17 and 18 having so much to accept, did you expect it to come easier to this point? Did you ever expect geez, this isn't as hard as I thought it might be? Because you were having so much success.

ANDREI MEDVEDEV: No, actually, it was very hard. And I often asked myself how long I can survive in there. And I can tell you that coming up, when you don't know the way up, it's a lot easier than, for instance, I was up and now I'm down a match, I will try to get back up. It's a lot harder. And so, when I was 17 and 18, I had a great success, and perhaps it came a little bit too early. And I wasn't ready for this on some stages, and I lost. I lost my game. I lost the feeling of the game. And now I'm trying to retain it. It's hard work, and I'm happy that I'm working with my coach he's pushing me to the right direction. And I think my game is getting better now. But it's a long process and it's quite painful; much more painful now than it was when I was 18.

Q. What exactly do you mean it's painful; learning your game or adjusting the game?

ANDREI MEDVEDEV: No, adjusting the game. Especially, I realize just a couple of years ago I was in the top ten, and I win, sometimes I get -- I mean, especially in the beginning of this year, I get into the court and I start to play tennis, and I'm pretending it's not a game, and I don't really try, and I feel helpless. I feel that I'm pretending working -- I understand how I should hit it, but I can't make it. And it was very frustrating, because I knew how it is. If I didn't know how to get it in and how it feels to be in the top ten, how it feels to be playing tennis in the top ten, then it wouldn't be so painful and frustrating. But in the beginning, especially this year, I struggled a lot. I went through the patches where I just keep practicing and practicing and practicing to kill the pain, to kill the frustration. I'm sure all the players they go through this, all the atheletes, not just in tennis, but in every sport you go through this. And you have to handle it. You have to stand up to the challenge, and you have to stay on top of it. You have to just keep working and waiting for your time to come. And I hope the thing just starts to turn around for me, but my

result --

Q. When did it start to slip, and why?

ANDREI MEDVEDEV: Well, I don't know why. Maybe I overplayed, maybe I lost concentration. I really cannot say this. I probably worked too much, and I got burned out. And I just kept working, but things didn't go my way. And then I get injured -- I mean, actually, quite a few times in a row. And when I was young, I never dealt with injury, I didn't know what injury is like. And so when I face those injures, and I have to recover, I didn't know what to do. I had to start, not from the beginning, but from the -- from the way back. And I didn't know -- I didn't know how to do it. And it was difficult. But I'm happy. It's really a time of my life where I don't really remember. I went through this and I hope it's over forever.

Q. Did you consider taking a break at any point? Talk about the grind of practicing.

ANDREI MEDVEDEV: No, no. I would only consider taking a break if my body gives up. If something -- if something is breaking or something is hurting so much, then I will take a break. And now with my coach, I mean, we managed this thing quite well. We work hard taking some -- we take one day off or half day off, and we keep working. And it's a great balance between working and rest. But before, I mean, I was really misjudged my potential. And I was working hard without taking rest, and then suddenly I have the injury, and then I have to recover from the injury but I couldn't practice. So I was really thinking on one place. And the rest of the guys, I mean, rankings especially, they were improved. They were healthy, they were working. And tennis is improving in the last two years, I think. And then when I was coming back from injuries, I didn't have the same confidence. I wasn't the same player. So my results are to be a little bit worse than before. And the results are better, I'm not a bad, but not as good as I left.

Q. Do you expect to be number one anymore? And do you want it more now than you ever did?

ANDREI MEDVEDEV: Now I'm definitely set on becoming the best player I can be. Whether it will be number one or not is not -- it's something that I don't think anyone can answer. It's a point where I haven't been, it's a point where I haven't a faced. But I think if I will just try for being the best player I can be -- I was number four once, and I don't see the reason why I cannot come back down to four. If I can reach number one, it will be a great dream for me to come through true, but it's really not my only objective, to be number one in the ranking. And my real goal is to be the best player I can be. And if that is -- if that means to be number one, great. If it means to be number 100 in the world, it's great for me too. Because I'm only prepared to give my very best effort, and if I give my best effort, then result will be, you know, 20 or 30 in the world, it's okay. But if the result will be number one in the world, the result will be much better. But I can't expect it. All I can do is to give my best every day.

Q. I apologize for not being able to watch your entire match, but can you talk about how you played today.

ANDREI MEDVEDEV: I played very good. I lost to Stephane here five years ago, probably 1991. I lost to him in the qualifying. Nobody here remembers that.

Q. That one is not even on the computer?

ANDREI MEDVEDEV: Yeah, I loss to him, and I had a match point. I walked on the court and he laughed at me (LAUGHTER.) It's true. It's true. It was in 1991. And then, actually, right next week -- it was in the qualifying, so I mean, we don't have -- and then next week I lost to him in Schenectady, also in qualifying. And the other time was in two sets. But then I was a lot younger and less experienced, and I don't think I had the ranking -- maybe I had the ranking of something like 400, something like that. And I think I even got the wild card to get into the qualifying. And so I lost to him two times, and I never played again him since then. And it was interesting for me to face him again. I was ready for the challenge. I think I played one of the best first sets I ever played this year. And second set he starts to play much better. We have a close club game in 2-4 all. Then in 4 all I really played two great games, and the match was finished. I'm quite happy with the way I played. I'm quite happy with the way I started this tournament. And then New Haven has always been a good week for me. Three years ago I won it. Two years ago I lost in the qualifying. I had the match point. Last year I did great year, but I wasn't in Indianapolis, and I won Harley Davidson. So this week has been very -- you know, very lucky for me, and I hope it will not change this year.

Q. Did you talk about being on Court 11 at all with him today? Did you ever say gee, do you remember when we played that qualifying match?

ANDREI MEDVEDEV: I think you remind me now, but not before the match. I mean, it's something you don't want to remember. It's something that you're trying not to think of. It's -- for me, he's just a guy. He's the guy -- I know I played against him. He's the guy that I know how to play against. And it's the guy who I desperately I want to beat, because he beat me two times. And, I mean, doesn't matter what type he is, if he's the Grand Slam winner or number one or nobody, I just want to beat him. For me, he's just a player. And tennis is pretty much like a boxing match, you just have a guy on the other side that you have to beat. What he has done before or what he will do after is not in your control, and I don't really care what he does.

Q. I'm sort of talking about just how far you guys have come from the qualifying from -- being way out there --

ANDREI MEDVEDEV: In five years I did better than he did in the rankings. But I know that he is starting -- or he was starting -- and compared to each other in amount of time on the practice court, my game improved a lot. And I wanted to show it to him. But I wouldn't remained him before the match or even now that we played once on Court 11. And I'm quite sure that he remembers.

Q. Do you think the press overall is fair with you?

ANDREI MEDVEDEV: Yes. Press has been great to me.

Q. I thought you were --

ANDREI MEDVEDEV: Yeah, because even when press sometimes misquotes me or misspells, whatever you call it, it's still okay. I really don't mind, because overall, if I look overall from the position of press, press likes me. And so even if they gave me some rubbish in the newspaper, they still do it in a nice way. It's true. It's just something I didn't expect. I was too naive. And you can blame me for that. But press has really been fair to me, really fair.

Q. But you do realize that -- I'm not preaching to you, but that a person who would misquote you deliberately is doing a dishonorable thing. I mean, that's just not -- he may want to sell papers, but that's not -- he has your accurate quote and he deliberately changes it, it's a --

ANDREI MEDVEDEV: I understand that. But as you probably know better than me, there is the affiliate for any kind of newspapers; serious newspapers, the in between newspapers and the BS newspapers. And so the last portion of the newspapers, they do it because it's their job. They don't want to quote you, of course. And I have not had experience yet with the press. If I say please quote me, then I would misquote.

Q. I thought you were lumping all -- comparing everyone with the same --

ANDREI MEDVEDEV: No, no, no, no, no. Not at all. And I'm really not angry.

Q. I just wanted to clear it up.

ANDREI MEDVEDEV: Even with if this group of newspapers, I say please don't misquote me, and normally they don't.

Q. Can I quote you on that? (LAUGHTER.) You used the term Russian roulette before. Does it mean the same to you as it does to us?


Q. I thought maybe in your part of the world it may mean something else.

ANDREI MEDVEDEV: No, I think in your part of the world you just put one bullet, right, into this chamber? In Russia we leave one empty. (LAUGHTER.) That's the real -- you have much less chance when you live in Russia, that's for sure. And I'm not talking about some specific area in the big cities, but generally in Russia. Is like all Ukraine. I'm talking actually from the former Soviet Union point of view. It's much more dangerous than here.

JOE LYNCH: Okay. Thank you.

Q. Thank you.

End of FastScripts….

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