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September 2, 2006

Dmitry Tursunov

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. How has your day been?
DIMITRY TURSUNOV: Great. Woke up at 12, then I showed up here. I been sitting here.

Q. Can we talk some Davis Cup?
DIMITRY TURSUNOV: Have I thought about Davis Cup?

Q. Can we talk some Davis Cup?
DIMITRY TURSUNOV: Yeah, sure. We can talk about the rain, too.

Q. Maybe three months ago, red clay looked pretty good to the Russians. The way Andy is playing right now, maybe Safin isn't his best self. Doesn't this tie look a lot more closer than three months ago?
DIMITRY TURSUNOV: I guess they can water it badly enough to where it doesn't matter how Andy is going to play. They can still make it slow for Davydenko.
I don't know. You know, it's hard to comment on that because I don't know how Marat is going to be playing. With him, he can come out and play great. He can come out and play really bad.
I think still, surface wise, Russia has more chances to win. But, again, Andy and James are top 10 players. I think that has to be taken into account.

Q. Red clay, rather than play to your strength
DIMITRY TURSUNOV: Don't put me into this picture.

Q. You could wind up playing.
DIMITRY TURSUNOV: I'm a loose cannon on clay. I can win, I can lose. Nobody's expecting.

Q. What I'm saying is, the strength of your team would be on a hard court. Rather than playing to your strength, playing to the U.S.'s weakness.
DIMITRY TURSUNOV: You have to commit to a surface. Russian team committed to clay before Andreev got injured. In reality, the surface was chosen for Davydenko and Andreev. Now our chances are diminished in some way.
Davis Cup, crowd can play can be a factor. Still, I think, Davydenko can do much better on clay than either James or Andy. I think it's going to depend on how everybody else plays as well.
At this point, I think it's up to anybody to win it. Surface wise, I think it suits Russia better.

Q. Is it an odd situation for you because you're kind of entrenched here in the United States in terms of your life, yet obviously play as a Russian?
DIMITRY TURSUNOV: I don't treat that match as a Cold War. That's how it seems like people interpret it. It's just a tennis match. It's Davis Cup. Yes, it's Russia versus the United States. There are two flags out on the court. Players don't treat each other as enemies.
I think a lot of people put too much emphasis on the fact that it's a country versus another country. In reality, it's a team versus a team. It's like Lakers versus Sacramento Kings. You don't see people come out with guns ready to fight.

Q. Is there part of you that feels like an American at all?
DIMITRY TURSUNOV: Yeah, but I'm not about to go and tank in the match just because I've been living here for 10 years. I'm playing for a team. I'm playing for a Russian team. I'm going to try to win it. I'm not going to feel any more Russian or American at the end of the day depending on the result of that match.

Q. Were you living in Roseville at the time of the '95 tie with Pete Sampras? Did you watch that on TV?
DIMITRY TURSUNOV: I watched a little bit on TV. I watched the part where he cramped. Actually, at that time I wasn't in Roseville. I came here in '95, but I lived in the Bay Area. I moved to Roseville about three, four years ago. But, yeah, I watched it.
Again, I didn't feel it like, damn it, those Americans won. It's just a match. Whoever wins it, wins it. I don't take sides of the team.

Q. You've been called by some a little bit of a wildcard. There's times when you step on the court and you're never really sure which Dimitry you're going to see. What do you feel about a statement like that?
DIMITRY TURSUNOV: I think if enough people say that, then it's probably true (smiling). I know, again, it could be an upside, it could be a downside. Depends how you look at it.
Obviously, my game is not at the level consistency wise from maybe Andre Agassi, where he can come out and you know what to expect from him. But on the upside, maybe I can come up with shots that most people can't come up with because I go for them.
I don't know. I think I have a general idea of what I want to be as a player and I try to work on those things. You can be criticized regardless. Davydenko can be criticized, he's too consistent, he's too boring to watch. Goran Ivanisevic can be criticized if he's not consistent enough, he's going for second serve aces. If he didn't go for second serve aces, he would be a much better player.
I think it's always easy to watch from the side and suggest. But I think at some point you have to make a commitment to either be playing one way or you're going to be playing the other way. I think there's a fine line between going to either extreme.
As a player, you're always you always have options of what shot to take. Depending on what shot you're going to be taking at that point, you're going to be put into a category of, you know, he's too consistent, he's boring to watch, or he's wild, he's fun to watch, but you never know what to expect from him.
I think that I could improve on my consistency. But at the same time I'm an aggressive player, so I can't sacrifice my weapons just so I can improve on my consistency and become someone that I'm not really,

Q. Are you mentally as strong as you've ever been in your playing career right now?
DIMITRY TURSUNOV: I think so. My mom says I'm really good (said with a child's voice) (smiling).

Q. As far as keeping your composure.
DIMITRY TURSUNOV: You have good days at the office. You have bad days at the office. Sometimes you show up and anything can frustrate you. Sometimes you're mellow and something that would upset you yesterday wouldn't affect you today.
I think in general I'm more consistent. I still have my ups and downs, just like anybody else. But I think when people have enough experience, they learn how to adapt better. Maybe on a bad day, maybe win not feeling well, maybe not get frustrated on the court, even though some things can frustrate you.
Yesterday I had a couple of bad calls I thought at the important time, but I didn't get upset. Wimbledon was a different story. I think everybody knows that.
I think I'm dealing with things better. I don't know if I'm mentally stronger or not.

Q. Have you made up with the umpire? Can you request not to have him at any of your matches?
DIMITRY TURSUNOV: I think ATP is going to try not to put us together, to the best of their ability. Again, if it happens that he's going to be in the court, definitely I'm going to try to do the same thing. I'm going to try to deal with it.
You know, you are always going to have some sort of a problem on the court. I think it's how you deal with it. I didn't deal with it to the best of my ability. I think if I want to get better as a player, I need to learn how to ignore things, even though they may be it might be a hard pill to swallow, you still have to learn to deal with it at the end of the day.

Q. Did he deal with it to the best of his abilities?
DIMITRY TURSUNOV: That's his business. I'm not going to worry about has he looked at the review, the match. Has he looked at the tape and thought whether he made a good call or not. You know, that's going to be his business. I got to worry about myself.
We can call him. I think he's not doing anything either (smiling).

Q. How did all the delay, the rain, change your approach to what you're going to be doing for the rest of this tournament?
DIMITRY TURSUNOV: I don't know. I really haven't been in this position too many times, so I don't know how to deal with it. Kind of go by how you feel. I've had enough tennis over the last few weeks, so I don't think that I need to go out and practice too much.
I'm personally not doing much. I'm just kind of sitting around. I would really love to go back to the hotel right now. I can't do that. We'll probably sit around here till 9:00 and do nothing, then go back and get ready for tomorrow.

Q. If you're living in the U.S., when you go back to Russia, how do the media react to you? Do they say, Why aren't you living in Russia? What kind of reception do you get?
DIMITRY TURSUNOV: I'm sure they ask the same question: Do you feel more Russian or American? In reality, I've been in California, at home in California, for three weeks, and I've been in Russia for three weeks this year. I'm not sure. Am I living in the United States or Russia more?
I think I've been in Palm Springs last year more than I've been anywhere else. It's not really my home.
At this point I think I live more out of a hotel room than out of anywhere else. I think for that purpose you can say that I live in Russia and it would be a true statement.
Again, people kind of look at the passport. What passport does he have? He has a Russian passport, that means he's more Russian. If he lives more in the United States, you make a difference, declare you're Russian or American. They can't understand you can have part of both cultures in you. I've been kind of trying to explain that for a few years, but it's not really clicking with a lot of people.

Q. You've proven yourself a pretty crafty writer as a blogger. Any chance you'll be writing a book any time soon like Vince has?
DIMITRY TURSUNOV: Vince? No, actually, I don't have that much time to. That we would need a lot more rain delays for that.
I think at this point, whatever comes up in the site is what I will write. I really feel like after a while people get used to it and it's going to become boring. But you never know. Everyone has a different opinion on that. Plus I think you can just get it all together at the end of the day and put it together as a book.
I really don't have enough material at this point to where I could write a book without getting my ass kicked in the locker room (smiling).

Q. What was your feeling about Vince crossing that locker room code?
DIMITRY TURSUNOV: Actually, I haven't read it. I probably should read it, because if he wrote anything about me I want to know. Victoria's Secret underwear wasn't mine. I don't know how it ended up in my locker.
I don't know. I'm sure I would be okay with it. I think any initiative to get all that stuff across to spectators or fans, I think that's a good idea. Not everyone has the same opinion. I welcome pretty much everything that goes out into public, as long as it's not your private life.
I think fans are a little bit everything is guarded from them a little too much maybe. I think some things we can let go of. We had a player party, I think, in Monte Carlo with charities and other players, but somehow it's other players that get to see that, which I think would be a good chance for the fans to see how players see other players. I think that book is probably going to do more good than damage.

Q. James Blake was talking about a code in the locker room. What goes on there stays there. It certainly is true with football teams. You have 150 players who aren't on the same team, but are individuals. Is there really a locker room code?
DIMITRY TURSUNOV: I think I'm not going to go around and talk about certain things about other players obviously. I don't think even in football teams everyone is friends. I think there's going to be a little clash of personalities.
But, again, you usually don't hang out that much together. There's enough space to where you don't have to end up in the same corner. I think there's definitely some sort of a code where you're not going to go around and tell people something embarrassing about somebody else, because that might come around and happen to you as well.
If not because people are decent, people do it more out of fear, because they don't want to end up on the receiving side of the same thing, same problem.
Yeah, there's definitely a certain code, I just haven't written it down yet to tell you guys.

Q. Davydenko is playing a Polish player. What chance do you give the Polish player for an upset?
DIMITRY TURSUNOV: Hard to tell. I think Nikolay is more experienced. He's a better player. That doesn't really mean much at the end of the day. It depends how both players are going to play. I think Kubot is relatively unknown on the circuit. I know him a little bit as a person, but I never played against him. I don't really know how he plays.
I think just from that fact, I think Kubot knows a little bit more about Davydenko than Davydenko about Kubot. I think it also depends on each other's game how their games are suited to each other.
It depends a lot on how Kubot is going to play, too. If he's good to come out loose, he has nothing to lose. If he's going to come out loose, play well, I think Davydenko might run into some problems.
I think at the end of the day, if you have to put money on either player, I'd probably go with Davydenko.

Q. Have you been briefed on the proposed round robin system for next year?

Q. What are your views on that?
DIMITRY TURSUNOV: It never hurts to try it. We can try it. First of all, I think the main issue is how the fans respond to it. If it increases the interest in tennis, then I think we should go along with that.
At the end of the day, fans are the ones paying our bills. If they're enjoying the format, the players will adapt eventually. The players that are having problems with challenge reviews, with tiebreaks in the fifth set, a lot of things.
But eventually, if that's the rule, then players have to abide by it. As much whining as we'll go through, I think the end result is going to depend on how the reaction from the fans is going to be.

Q. A lot more matches to be played over eight days. Etienne threw out the possibility of a super tiebreak third set. How do you think the singles players will react to that?
DIMITRY TURSUNOV: I think that's probably going to be that change is going to be probably much harder to slide by the singles players than the round robin. I think these are all just ideas. They're not really I don't think they're going to start playing a super set tiebreak all of a sudden.
I think if they change to round robin it is going to be good enough and it's going to be a positive review, then they might not even go along with that super tiebreak. I don't know. I mean, I think we have to take it one step at a time. If we start doing a bunch of changes right away, we're not really sure what has been having positive feedback and negative feedback.
Super set tiebreak, I haven't really heard too much about it. I know round robin has been talked about a lot.

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