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January 24, 2003

Rainer Schuettler


MODERATOR: Questions for Rainer.

Q. You didn't look nervous at all out there for your first Grand Slam semifinal.

RAINER SCHUETTLER: I was nervous in the second set. But, of course I was nervous. I mean, after I won the first set, I got a lack of concentration, but then I tried to focus again. Yeah, it worked. So, of course, I was nervous when I went out there. But, yeah, it was okay. It was a good feeling actually. It was a nice crowd.

Q. You wiped out the entire United States Davis Cup team.

RAINER SCHUETTLER: I mean, actually I didn't think about that (smiling). But, no, I mean, I just took the opponents how they came. I'm in the final now. I'm more than happy. There's another guy from the States waiting. I mean, he looks in a really good shape, so we see what's going to happen on Sunday.

Q. Can I ask when you first realized how hurt Andy was with his wrist?

RAINER SCHUETTLER: Actually, I didn't care if he was hurt or not because, I mean, I tried to play my tennis. Yeah, like he did this in a couple matches to get treatment when he was a set down. I really tried to focus on my game; I didn't care if he was injured or not. I tried to play my aggressive game from the baseline. I mean, if you serve with 215 or whatever, then I don't know if the wrist really hurts. I mean, he knows better. For me, I won, and that's what counts.

Q. Did you feel the longer the match went, the better it would be for you?

RAINER SCHUETTLER: Of course. I mean, he had a tough five-set matches. I mean, I played I think four or five hours less than he did. So, of course, for me it was better if we go in the fourth or fifth set. It would be better for me.

Q. Could you have imagined when you arrived in Melbourne that you would be a German hero at this moment?

RAINER SCHUETTLER: No. I don't know if I'm the German hero right now. No, I mean, it's a dream for me, a dream to be in the final. Yeah, I said on the court, sometimes you have a dream, and you're able to reach it. I guess it's one of my best moments in life.

Q. The coverage of tennis in Germany went down after Boris and Michael Stich. What's the position of tennis in Germany now?

RAINER SCHUETTLER: I mean, my parents said it's pretty stressful for them right now. I think, yeah, everybody is happy, or a lot of people are happy and watching my games. Yeah, I'm very happy about that. There are a lot of people watching me and support me. They enjoy the way I play tennis.

Q. When you laid down on court out there, what were you thinking?

RAINER SCHUETTLER: As I said, it's like a dream. I did this when I reached the quarterfinals. I said, "Okay, maybe it's going to bring me a little bit of luck because I will need it for Sunday." I'm just happy to be there, just try to feel the atmosphere a little bit more.

Q. How do you think you can beat Andre Agassi on Sunday? What kind of game do you have to play?

RAINER SCHUETTLER: Maybe he eats something wrong the day before, then I have a chance (laughter). No, I mean, I have no pressure at all. I just go on the court. He's in good shape. He played the matches unbelievable. So I go out there, try to give my best, and at the end I will see the result.

Q. No German has lost a final in the Australian Open. It's a big task for you.

RAINER SCHUETTLER: Yeah. Sounds good, actually (laughter). But every time is the first time. I mean, no, I'm really looking forward to the final. Yeah, maybe I have the chance to win. If not, I try at least to play a really good final. But I will go on the court and try to win, of course.

Q. You played him once before. Do you remember much about that match, what happened?

RAINER SCHUETTLER: Yeah, but it was different because I played on clay. I think it was four or five years ago in Munich. I think, yeah, it was a totally different game. I mean, it was my second year on tour. It's a long time ago. I think I improved a lot. So it will be like for me, it's fun to go out there and, yeah, try to give my best. But I think to discuss about a game five years ago, actually I don't remember a lot, but I know that he kicked my ass.

Q. Where were you the last time Boris Becker was in the final? Did you watch it on TV?

RAINER SCHUETTLER: Actually, I really don't know where I was. I mean, I wasn't here. I don't know where I was.

Q. Grand Slam final, there's a lot more attention on you as a person. People ask, "Who is Rainer Schuettler?" How would you answer that question?

RAINER SCHUETTLER: This is pretty tough. Actually, I don't like to answer that question because like people who know me, for them it should be easier. I always try to be friendly. I try to be a polite person and a very friendly person.

Q. Obviously, Andy played five hours the previous match. Did you specifically just try and keep him in the long rallies?

RAINER SCHUETTLER: No. I mean, my game is to play aggressive from the baseline. I just try to play my game. It's always the same. When it doesn't work, maybe you have to change it a little bit, the tactics. First of all, I try to play my game, yeah, play aggressive from the baseline. I didn't change anything before.

Q. Some people say these courts are sticky. Do you have any difficulty running on them? Doesn't look like you do.

RAINER SCHUETTLER: No, I don't have any difficulties running on the court. Actually, I prefer to play on hard court because for me it's easier to run. I mean, on clay you always have to slide. I mean, I like to play on hard court, and I don't have any problems with running.

End of FastScripts….

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