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September 6, 2006

Tommy Haas

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. If you make it to the finals, you'll have to play four out of five days just because of the rain, scheduling, stuff. Can you talk about that, three out of five set matches on hard courts.
TOMMY HAAS: If I will make it there, then I wouldn't really care, if it was in the last three or four days obviously. So, you know, you can't really do anything about Mother nature, you just have to play by it. Can't really control of how you play and how you win. But I'm still here. I'm still in the race. That's obviously for me the most important thing. Winning another thriller match today against Marat, it's obviously, you know, a great feeling.
So I'm really happy to be in the quarterfinals once again, and, you know, no matter how I feel really, I'm looking forward to the next match.

Q. You were part of the New Balls Please campaign.
TOMMY HAAS: It was a long time ago.

Q. Yeah. Since that time, you missed a year with surgery, have steadily been coming back. You were part of that young group of players that so much was expected of. Do you feel right now that this is the time to achieve what was once predicted you would achieve?
TOMMY HAAS: Well, I mean, I was No. 2 in the world in 2002. I don't know, I think that's pretty high achievement there already. Obviously, I have, you know, never made it to a Grand Slam final in my career, which, you know, still remains a dream for right now. You know, I do the best that I can to hopefully fulfill that. And if not, then just hopefully giving it my best, try, and that's all I can do with it.

Q. How important is it to get through a match like this in terms of testing your mental strength, physical strength? Marat was obviously playing very, very well. To have it go as far as it did, how important is that to you to have one of those under your belt?
TOMMY HAAS: Well, it's very important. You know, like I said before, it's a great feeling, obviously, winning in the fifth set. You know, that it happened in a tiebreak, that it happened back to back matches, I mean, I don't know how many times it happened before, but for me it's the first time. I know Marat won 7 6 in the fifth, as well, against Nalbandian. So for us, it's not a new situation. We've kind of been there before, just a couple days apart. I came down to that tiebreak again, couple points here and there. What can you say? It's almost like flipping a coin really who's gonna win that match, but I was the lucky one.

Q. Andy Murray lost his final set 6 0 today to Davydenko. He said Davydenko was that good today. What do you know about his game? What do you think you're going to have to do to beat him?
TOMMY HAAS: He's a nasty player, very good player. You know, I've had pretty bad experience with him a few years ago at the French Open. You know, but that's in the past. I'm feeling pretty good myself right now. I'm gonna have to try to change up my style a little bit but still be aggressive and play my game.
So it's gonna be interesting one. You know, I'm looking for revenge there.

Q. How are you feeling physically after two five set matches back to back?
TOMMY HAAS: Yeah, right now I feel pretty good. I'm still very excited after the victory, obviously. I don't know how I'll feel tomorrow. Always a good night's sleep will tell me that in the morning. Just make sure that my body feeling loose, have my treatment later, all that good stuff. Then try to get ready.

Q. You won't need IVs or anything like that?

Q. Nick Bollettieri is at all of your matches here. Can you talk about his role in your career at this point. Do you practice with him? How is your relationship with him?
TOMMY HAAS: Well, Nick is Nick. I mean, he's part of my life, basically. He's been kind of taking over the father role a little bit when I was 13, 14 years old when I came to Nick's, when I was there pretty much by myself without my family. He's that person. He still helps me out once in a while on the tennis court. Or when I feel like I'm not feeling my strokes, I know all I have to do is pick up the phone and call him. Even when I'm seeing him at the academy. He's a tennis fanatic. He definitely is always there for me on the court and off the court.
So, you know, seeing him there is really not a surprise.

Q. What is the academy like? Can you describe what it's like to be in this 24/7 tennis world?
TOMMY HAAS: It used to be just tennis back then. Yeah, I call it the glory days, obviously. But now it's also football and basketball, you know, you have a golf academy there, baseball. You've got all kinds of sports with lots of young kids running around just trying to fulfill their dreams. You know, they got great programs there, pretty tough programs. They have the school, now building a spa over there. They have indoor courts.
For sports, if you like sports, it's a great place to be. Sun is shining usually 300 days out of the year. So, you know, it's a fun, relaxing place.

Q. Can you assess sort of Nick's place in tennis history. I know he has an illustrious career in terms of coaching so many good players. In your own words, what do you think he's given to the sport?
TOMMY HAAS: He's giving a lot to the sport, obviously. I don't know how many great tennis players have passed through Bollettieri's. Even if it was players that like Rios was there. I know Marat Safin didn't even get a scholarship when he was there as an 11 year old because he didn't think he was going to make it. So many names of people that have been there.
A few have stopped there because they enjoyed playing. You know, coaching so many great players, being on and off with so many good players, I mean, not many coaches out there like that. You know, this guy will live and die for tennis, and I think that speaks for itself.

Q. Just because of the schedule and the rain, you may be looking at several matches in a short stretch. What do you think about the weekend schedule, the semi and the final back to back? Is that something that you think should be looked at?
TOMMY HAAS: Well, I've never had the experience of playing that, so I can't really say much about it because I think you only have a right to say something about it if you actually have to play it.
As a fan, I think it's maybe a little bit too much to ask for from the players, you know, once you actually get there. Then maybe if you have a very tough semifinal, you know, five set match, three and a half, four hours, then to come back the next day to play the finals, I think it's a little bit ridiculous, to be honest. Especially if you want to see a great final, maybe then they should push the final to Monday afternoon or night. Then it's okay.
But, obviously, I haven't been there, so I don't know. I get to experience to play another match tomorrow after a long match. You can't do anything about Mother Nature, that's just the way it is.
Obviously, I'm still really excited to just be here, and be in the quarterfinals and have another chance to maybe try to reach the semis here.

Q. I know it's so important not to get ahead of yourself. A lot of matches to win. You have to take it one at a time. It only gets more difficult. Does there come a point, say, in a quarterfinal where you really do start to think, I could win this thing? Can you see the trophy, the light, the whole thing? Does there come a point where you can't help but think about what it would be like to win the whole thing?
TOMMY HAAS: Well, you think about it, obviously. I've had dreams about it when I was a kid. You know, it's nice to be this far in a tournament already. Obviously, there's still a long way to go to get to a final. I have to look at it match for match. I mean, my next opponent, like I said, I still want to get a revenge with him. He's obviously a very good player. His ranking speaks for himself. I think he's the guy that also plays the most tournaments of the year. He's pretty much a machine, a Russian machine, every week after week. There's nothing else in life but playing tennis. So I'm going to have to play well.
If I happen to go through that match, the next favorite guy will probably be Federer to be in the semifinals. We don't have to talk much about Roger. He's dominating the sport for the last two and a half, three years now. He's obviously the favorite again to win this.
But, you know, doesn't matter who you are. If you make it to like a quarters, semis, I think anybody has a pretty good shot to maybe get further, as well. So we'll see.

Q. What got you to go in the first place to Bollettieri's academy when you were a kid? How did it fit you?
TOMMY HAAS: My parents hated me, so they sent me away (smiling).
No, I don't know. My dad had the vision, you know. He saw the place. IMG was, you know I had a contract with IMG right away when I was young. He kind of saw the big picture of fulfilling my dreams. Was a good place to go. Was very tough in Germany to keep up with the school and tennis at the same time.
We had an experience with my older sister. When she went out to play some junior tournaments, the police would like show up at our house and ask where my sister is in order for her to go to school. It was like a nice way out and, you know, obviously that place, and being in Florida is, you know, nice as a little kid going to the beach and, you know, water skiing and jet skiing, all that good stuff, playing outside all year long. It was a fun time, so it was a good place.

Q. Some people think of academies as a good way to burn people out. That clearly didn't happen with you.
TOMMY HAAS: Yeah, I'm not burned out yet. So maybe ask me in five years again.

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