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August 16, 2006

Tommy Haas


THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. You played him earlier this year on grass.

Q. I know it went to three. I think you were up a break in the second. Talk about how you pulled that out.
TOMMY HAAS: Yeah, everything seemed to go pretty smoothly until 3-1 in the second set. He broke me back I think to go back on serve to go 3-All in the second. You know, he played a couple of good points. I played a loose point and he returned my first serves pretty well. Deserved that break. And I lost concentration just a little bit, I thought, maybe thinking about the game a little bit too much. Then he broke me again to win the second set.
But, to be honest, didn't really bother me that much. I think the key points of the match were when he was up 1-0 in the third and had a couple of breakpoints on my serve. I think that was the key moment for me to win that game.
Then I broke him I think at 2-All to take a lead and then, you know, just trying to survive and win this match.

Q. How do you fancy the prospect of playing Rafael Nadal?
TOMMY HAAS: Yeah, it's gonna be, you know, first time to play against him. You know, to be honest, I'm not feeling unbelievable confident the way I'm playing right now at this tournament with the situation of the balls and how every court is playing a little different. Tomorrow I get to see how the center court plays.
But, you know, it's a nice feeling. You're playing against one of the, you know, youngest guys that has proven a lot of things already in this game in the last year and a half, two years. And, you know, will be interesting to see how it plays different, so I'm looking forward to it.

Q. Without giving away secrets, how do you deal with someone who counterattacks so well and hits winners from very defensive positions?
TOMMY HAAS: Yeah, we'll see. I mean, you know, gonna have to go out there and kind of feel each other out a little bit I think the first couple of games and see what works and see what doesn't and go from there. Obviously, I'm going to have to play my game, be aggressive. You know, he plays with a lot of spin so you have to wait for the right shot. I'm going to have to feel pretty confident to go for those kind of shots, so we'll see what happens.

Q. You won four titles back in 2001 and you had the shoulder surgeries 2002. This year, three titles. If 2002 is maybe your peak, No. 2 in the world, how would you say this year has been? How would you grade this year?
TOMMY HAAS: I don't know. I never look back. If you're out for about 15 months, you know, that's a long time. I don't wish that on anybody on the tour because it's very, very much hard work and self-belief to make it back at this kind of a level.
So for me it's kind of like a second start when I came back in '04, and, you know, I really can't complain. Every time I'm, you know -- I get to play, I need to be thankful for it because having two shoulder surgeries, you never know if something goes wrong or you don't do the right rehab or whatever happens. You could be out, not even playing this game.
In the end of the day I love to compete and I love to play this game. That's really what I want to do for many more years to come, hopefully. So I don't really know what would have happened if shoulder surgeries wouldn't have come. I played some great tennis the end of '01 and throughout '02 to get to No. 2 in the world to where I was. You know, right now I'm back in the top 20 where I actually finished off in '04 after coming back, which was a tremendous year as well. You know, last year, end of the year kind of slipped away a little bit after I had a stupid accident in Wimbledon where I twisted my ankle in the warm-up which shouldn't have happened.
Right now I'm playing pretty confident, you know. Every time I win a tournament, for me it's such a great feeling because, you know, holding up the trophy at the end of the week, knowing that you played better than everybody else that week is just a great feeling.
That's it, you know. I try to go out there and compete as much as I can.

Q. You mentioned the conditions and the balls. Can you describe how they vary. Is the ball bouncing higher and faster here?
TOMMY HAAS: Yeah, I think that Court 3 really today was a little bit quicker than I think the grandstand court. You know, the balls puff up like crazy. I think some of them almost feel like dead the longer you play with them, the longer the rally goes on. And, obviously, that's not great for my shoulder because that means you try to hit a little bit harder or you try to do more with your arm, and sometimes I can feel it a little bit. But still nothing to worry about.
So, you know, that's really all. I just don't feel like they're very consistent to be honest. The more humid it gets, the thicker they get. Right now actually it was nice conditions today, so they stayed a little bit harder.
But, you know, it's tough when you go from one tournament to another. The Masters Series have the contract with Penn so you play with those kind of balls. Always feel a little bit different. Then you have a couple tournaments in between, they use the Wilson ball, use the US Open ball, the Wilson ball. It makes it not easy. But some people it doesn't bother, some people it does, so I guess I'm one of the players that kind of feels the difference. But at the end of the day, there's nothing you can do anyway, right?

Q. You had a wrist injury in April?
TOMMY HAAS: Yeah, but that was nothing too serious, thank God. It was just something that happened I think during the match when I played against Andy Roddick. The next day I just couldn't grip my racquet, so that was a little bit frightening there for a while. So I took, you know, a week off and, uhm, started to feel better. I haven't had a problem since, so that's good.

Q. What are your goals for the rest of the year?
TOMMY HAAS: You know, just play well. Obviously, it would be nice to maybe try to get back into a top 10, you know. We'll see.
Try to play a good match tomorrow against Rafael Nadal. See what happens there. Then prepare myself well for the Open.
Then, you know, I like the fall -- I mean, I like the winter season when we go over to Europe to play indoors. If I can get a couple more good tournaments, maybe we'll see what happens end of the year.

End of FastScripts...

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