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May 11, 2006

Greg Rusedski


THE MODERATOR: First question, please.
Q. He served very well today, didn't he?
GREG RUSEDSKI: No, I thought the first set I played pretty well. He served very well, which was the key for him. I could never really get into his service games today. When I started to a little bit, I never really managed to capitalize on it.
But I felt like I played a pretty good first set even though I lost the tiebreaker. I started to get into his serve a little bit in the breaker. Then from 2-All I felt I played pretty good in the second set. Then I think just having all those tough matches with the first one with Robredo and then even yesterday, it was nearly two hours, you know, it just caught up a little bit.
So, you know, overall it's been a great week, and I can build on that. You know, I had my two-week holiday, as I said before, and now it's move forward for the next few weeks. I have to look at it as a positive week, getting to the third round here.
He served and played well, so all credit to him.
Q. What will you do between now and the French?
GREG RUSEDSKI: Well, I'm going to play Hamburg next week, obviously.
Q. You are?
GREG RUSEDSKI: Yep. I'm going to have a day off tomorrow and recover, get a nice massage, and then get to Hamburg for Saturday and practice and hopefully try to win a few matches there.
Q. Earlier in the year when we mentioned clay to you, you were sort of, "Well, I'm not sure, I'm not sure." What was the thinking process about whether to come here or not?
GREG RUSEDSKI: Well, I just had two weeks off and I felt fresh, I felt better. I thought, you know, Monte-Carlo, I felt I played two pretty good sets against Chela even though the third wasn't so great. So, you know, I felt fresh and said, "Why not give it a go? Rome is usually pretty quick, and if the conditions are fast, you have a chance to play well."
You know, I'm satisfied. I beat a top 10er in the first match who is a clay court specialist predominantly, and beat a tough Italian. It's not always easy, no matter whatever their ranking is, to beat an Italian here. Overall, a good week. I played a good set and 2-2 with Andy. So that was satisfying.
So, you know, hopefully it will put me into good shape for the grass court season where I'm really going to focus my tennis for.
Q. You seem to be confident on so many of your shots at the moment. Is that a very beneficial thing going into a couple of Slams coming up?
GREG RUSEDSKI: Yeah, no, I think, you know, I can come over my backhand now much more, which you guys have noticed. Yesterday was more of slice because that was the strategy. But when I have to come over it, even though I missed a few, I didn't miss them by much.
Q. He was taken aback by it when you did.
GREG RUSEDSKI: Yeah, most guys -- I'm starting to come over that backhand. It's only taken me, what, 15 years to get one (laughing).
So, you know, that's a nice feeling to be able to hit a few good backhands. The returns are getting better as well, too. So, you know, who knows? It's a good feeling and it gives you a little bit of confidence going into the next few tournaments.
Q. Were you annoyed with yourself at 4-All in the tiebreak, that volley.
GREG RUSEDSKI: Yeah, I missed it by an inch, a fraction. Had I made that volley, it would have been interesting. But he was clever. He mixed me up with two really good kick serves on the next two points. You know, I missed it by a fraction. Went for the right shot, but maybe just a little bit too much. I was down, came back, down, came back twice. Just missed a ball by an inch or here.
But he just seems that just little bit quicker and little bit fresher than me today, which is a big key. Plus, he served so much better than me. But my strategy, as you saw, was to get a lot of first serves in then try to dictate the rallies which I managed to do for the first set.
But I got to remember I'm 32 and he's, what, 24, 25, or whatever it is, 26. So, you know, just need to just get a little stronger and a little better and that will come over the next three or four weeks before it starts at Queen's.
Q. How much different is there in receiving a serve like Roddick's on clay today, which looked really tough getting back, compared with Roddick's serving on grass?
GREG RUSEDSKI: Well, it's just the bounce. It goes higher. The problem is the way the ball kicks, kicks up, for example. You know, say you have Nadal or Federer. Federer will stand up there and he'll block it back and reads it very well. Nadal will stand 20 feet behind the baseline and he'll just rip at it. And he's so physically strong that even if he's so far away in the corner, once he gets his second hit in, then he starts dominating the point. With him, if you don't do one or the other well, he's the one who's dictating. Then that's where you get into trouble. And if you make a shallow return or nothing on it, then you're in trouble. So you have to either do Roger or Nadal's way, and there's not too many people that can do that (laughing).
That's really the solution to the problem on his serve. That's why if you look at the record those two guys have against him, it's pretty good. I think on the hard courts, Andy against Nadal, probably favorite is Andy. But on the clay, Nadal is still the Superman out there.
Q. I know it's a fair way off, a lot of things can happen in the meantime, but is the fact that we've chosen to play on grass in the Davis Cup, I mean, are you content with that as things stand right at the moment?
GREG RUSEDSKI: I think it's a good call to play on grass because if you look at our players from Andy playing Wimbledon to myself playing grass to Alex to all the guys, I think if you look at their singles players with Sela, with Okun, and also with Levy, that's probably not their best surface. For us, it's our best surface. I think it's a good play to be playing on the grass courts.
Q. As someone who's had times in your career without a coach, have you been able to offer any thoughts to Andy at this time, and what are the key considerations at this crucial period when you're making a vital decision like that?
GREG RUSEDSKI: Well, I think, you know, he needs someone to be around him, whether it's a friend or whether it's a family member or someone to keep him company until he makes that decision, which it's always important to have, you know, just the support. I mean, like Roddick right now has his brother as his coach which, you know, it seems to be working for him while he makes a decision if he's going to go to a bigger-name coach or what he's going to do.
I think for Andy, he wants to choose the right person, and hopefully he gets close to it. So we've had a little chat about it, and, you know, he's got a short list of people he wants to make the decision on. But he's got to make it himself and feel comfortable with it. It's a hard relationship, you know. You've been with someone for a while and then starting afresh, and you want the right person.
In my opinion, there's good coaches out there, but there's not that many good coaches. It's really hard to find someone who's good enough to take on that role and who you're really going to feel is a benefit for what you're having a person there for.
Don't look so glum, it's all right (smiling).

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