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August 30, 1997

Scott Draper

Flushing Meadows, New York

Q. Quite an atmosphere in that last set.

SCOTT DRAPER: Unbelievable. I find it amazing that an Australian was getting supported by the Americans. Jeff came up with a few antics. I think they got against him. Certainly turned the crowd in my favor. It was a superb feeling out there. Probably the most exciting match I've played in, especially on grandstand court; crowd seems close to you. It was a great feeling.

Q. When he comes up with those antics, are you rolling your eyes, laughing? Are you almost thanking him for that?

SCOTT DRAPER: I find it a little bit amusing. As I already said, you can actually turn it around on him. If he starts to do those things, it means he's starting to feel a little self-conscious, unconfident, has to try to find other ways to beat you. He doesn't have that big of a tennis game, he'll have to try something else. You can turn it around and make it positive anyhow.

Q. Do you always expect that kind of stuff from him if he gets in trouble? You've played him a number of times, I believe.

SCOTT DRAPER: I mean, I have a lot of respect for Jeff, you know. He fights hard. He's a -- you know, he uses what he's got to the best of his ability, and I find him very tough to play. Every time I've played him, I've been lucky enough to play great. I mean, you have got to expect the antics a little bit. That's just part of the game. It adds a little more excitement sometimes. It was fun.

Q. For those of us who weren't able to see the whole match, can you describe some of the antics? I know he was complaining about hecklers. What else was he doing?

SCOTT DRAPER: Little things like his banana was half eaten, the ball girl threw it in the bin. He said, "Does that look like rubbish? Does that look like rubbish? Give me my banana back." Carrying on with things like that. That's funny. I feel sorry for the ball girl. Hope she doesn't take it too personally. Never want to be a ball girl again. Little things he does. Maybe it fires him up. I don't know. Just part of him, I suppose.

Q. What was the ten-minute break about?

SCOTT DRAPER: He just had -- I don't know -- something on his hand, so he called for a time out.

Q. They were saying in the commentary it seemed like a long, long time out.

SCOTT DRAPER: Took a while for Doug to get there, the trainer. Once he got there, they get the three minutes. Just got to wait. May have been part of his tactics. I was on a bit of a roll. Maybe he was feeling a little tired, wanted a bit of a rest. I don't know. It turned out good for me.

Q. It's been said of him that talent level-wise, he's perhaps a little wanting compared to a lot of the other guys, that maybe all the stuff he goes through, this psycho-Jeff routine is what he has to do to play far enough above his head to stay in there and play with you guys. Do you think there's any credibility in that?

SCOTT DRAPER: There's one thing about talent. It can actually be a hindrance sometimes. It's actually good to have less options on a tennis court. If you do a couple of things really well under pressure, you can maintain that level. But if you have a lot of choices, under pressure you don't know which choice to make sometimes. That can be a positive for him. You know, he returns serve very well. He has a solid serve, nothing out of the world. But he just does a few things very well. It's very tough to play him. He's a good competitor. He's been in the Top 100 for a long time.

Q. How important was that for you to win, particularly coming from a set down?

SCOTT DRAPER: Well, I won the first, lost the next two.

Q. Yeah.

SCOTT DRAPER: At the start of the match, I was feeling a little tight maybe. I wasn't really feeling great. I wasn't playing as well as I'd like. But I just tried to stay patient. I was down a break in the fourth as well. Things were looking -- I was looking down a gun barrel. Just hung in there. I ran a lot of balls down; made him play an extra shot; just tried to keep in there, stay positive. I mean, a double-fault on set point at 5-4 to me in the fourth set was a fault by six feet. It was unbelievable. It was a huge break for me. That turned it around for me anyhow and I came up with a fifth set win.

Q. Was fitness a big factor, Scott, in the last set?

SCOTT DRAPER: Yeah. I ran down a couple good shots. You know, high defensive lobs landed in for me. Just everything seemed to go my way in the fifth set. Jeff certainly, to his credit, he was coming back with some great shots. I didn't put a couple balls away in the last set. Lost my serve at 5-3 serving for it. I felt confident I could break him. It worked out for me.

Q. You probably don't enjoy the same recognition as, say, Philippoussis, Rafter and Woodies. Does that bother you?

SCOTT DRAPER: Well, I don't deserve the recognition at the moment. They have the results on the board and I don't. I think their records speaks for itself, basically. I just need to prove myself a little more. I have some good results here and there. I need to consistently win and have some good results, then people start to take notice. That's just something that hopefully will come in the future. It's great for them. I want the Aussie guys to be one, two, three, four, five, six, seven in the world. I hope they get more recognition and become better. And Philippoussis serves even hard enough, it's possible. I hope it will happen soon.

Q. It's not entirely fair to ask you, I suppose, because he's a competitor, were you at all surprised today that Mark lost? Are you surprised at the kind of lack of consistency he's shown?

SCOTT DRAPER: Who did he lose to?

Q. Vacek.

SCOTT DRAPER: With Mark, I mean, he can blow you away. Daniel is a very good athlete. Can maybe jag a few more serves back than the average guy. Gets it in; puts a bit of pressure on Mark. If Mark is not quite firing, he can be a little bit off on some days. That's something in the future, he's 20 years of age, young. He's still got a lot to learn. I mean, better not come to me for advice, go to someone else. But, you know, he can either blow you away or really struggles with himself. I am surprised with the loss, basically. I don't know what to say really. It's disappointing for him, I suppose.

Q. Is how Tarango acts out there, the behavior of Tarango, is that completely on the opposite way of how the Australians and how the tradition of the Australian guys have been or is it nothing to do with where you've grown up?

SCOTT DRAPER: That's a tough question. We seem to get on with the job. I mean, we all have our days where we're just really struggling mentally with ourselves, get down, throw racquets, carry on, whatever. But generally, we all keep to ourselves a little bit. We're just the Aussie battlers.

Q. You abused your racquet fairly well out there on a couple of occasions.

SCOTT DRAPER: Couple occasions, yes. Fourth set, as I say, I was looking down a gun barrel. I was starting to feel, "God, I've got to do something here." You have to settle yourself down and say, "There's a lot more games left in the set." I missed a couple of shots that sometimes you feel, "That could have been the key shot." You miss an easy forehand, "If I made it, I could be back in there." You just go to the next point. Some days you don't. The champions do. That's something I need to work on.

Q. What are your expectations for the next round?

SCOTT DRAPER: I never got past the fourth round of a Grand Slam.

Q. This is a first?

SCOTT DRAPER: Well, first here. I made two French Open fourth rounds. I got nothing to lose. I'm playing high-ranked guys, both have different styles. I don't know who is going to win the match. Both great guys. It will be an enjoyable match. Hope I win, but it will be a very tough one.

Q. In the last game, Jeff had a really pretty short, pretty easy overhead. You returned it for a winner. When you get such a big point like that, what is your response? What do you feel inside?

SCOTT DRAPER: He got to the net, I put up a lob short, and it's a matter of trying to make him hit the way you want to hit. I sort of opened up that side. He'd think he's got to go that side. I ran that way; he did go that way. I happened to jag in a little slice back court. He hits it back down the line. I hit a forehand winner down the line. Nuts. Crowd went nuts, I went nuts. Unbelievable feeling.

Q. You say you don't deserve the recognition. This year you've beaten, Agassi, Medvedev, Muster, Chang. You've beaten some pretty good tennis players.

SCOTT DRAPER: Yeah, I mean, but it's still -- they're good wins and anybody on their day can have a good win. It means that on my day, I could beat some good players. Until you become consistent at doing that and have consistent results, my ranking is 66 or whatever it is, it's okay, it's good in some people's eyes, it's average in my eyes. You know, I certainly don't deserve the recognition that Mark and Pat and the Woodies deserve. Wimbledon, Woodies, their record speaks for themselves. Flip has an incredible serve that creates interest. The public, they're both bloody hunks, what I understand everyone calls them. That creates interest. Pat has had a great year. Flip won three tournaments. Pat won three tournaments or Flip has, whatever. You know what I'm saying. They've certainly got better results than I have, and that's the bottom line.

Q. What do you need to get to the next level? Are you missing, say, a big weapon?

SCOTT DRAPER: Maybe, maybe. I don't know. Some days I feel like I've got everything. Other days I feel like I've got nothing. It's somewhere in there. I've just got to find it, find the answers. You know, hopefully if I keep working hard and stay patient, things will start happening. If they don't, at least I've tried.

Q. So today it was probably running things down?

SCOTT DRAPER: Yeah. I mean, I didn't play great. I didn't play great or anything. I played okay. I fought hard. Ran a lot of balls down. Didn't make too many unforced errors, stayed in there basically. You know, put it this way: if I play like that, I don't think I'll play the next round; I have to play better than that.

Q. Do you think there's a chance that you'd be picked for the Davis Cup?

SCOTT DRAPER: No, not at all. You know, you've got three guys, Philippoussis, Rafter, Stoltenberg, other than the Woodies, to play doubles, and it's tough for them to play singles and doubles, that are ahead of me. I don't deserve or expect to be in there. I've just got to keep working. Just try and get better. I don't want to start competing with the Aussies. If it happens, great. I just want to keep -- you know, I'd like to have great teamwork with everyone, and just feel a part of something. That's more important than, say, "I've got to get past this guy." If you play the points and the match as hard as you can, the results take care of themselves. If I become the second or top Aussie that deserves to play Davis Cup, I'll play, I'll want to play. At this point, I don't expect to be in there and don't deserve to be in there.

End of FastScripts….

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