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August 17, 2006

Tommy Haas


THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. Why is he so good? What makes him so hard to beat? Roger has so many shots, but what is it about Rafael?
TOMMY HAAS: Well, it's the first time I played Nadal so it's tough to know what to expect going out there. I mean, what you have seen the last couple years is always that he's very quick, gets a lot of balls back, and once in a while he does some phenomenal shots. When you think actually you're gonna get an easy ball back, he seems to come up with an incredible winner or passing shot. That's what makes him unbelievable difficult.
He's a left-handed player, which sometimes it's tough to read his serve or to dictate play because it's much different, you know. You have to really remember yourself the whole time that you're playing a lefty, and that's not easy to do sometimes.

Q. Do you remember when you were first aware of him as a player? Did you see him as a junior?
TOMMY HAAS: Well, I remember seeing him I think when he got a wildcard one time into Hamburg, and he actually beat Moya there. That was I think his first big win on the tour. But Moya obviously also helped him when he was young, so I don't know how much Moya actually put into that match.
That was the first time they started talking about him. I think also when he qualified in Monte-Carlo or something. Obviously, that was a big talk about him and, you know, for the right reasons. He has been undefeated on clay courts for the last two years, and I think it shows. He has a lot of heavy balls. When he runs around the backhand and starts hitting his forehand, dictating play, it's really tough to get out of it.

Q. How have you seen him develop and evolve over the last couple of years?
TOMMY HAAS: I don't know. I don't really want to talk about Rafael too much. If you have questions about how I played today, then that's fine. But other than that, no comments.

Q. When a player of your stature is asked about other players, that's bothersome, isn't it?
TOMMY HAAS: No, it doesn't bother me. I mean, obviously, I was up 5-3 in the tiebreak, and I made three or four unforced errors. It's frustrating because I think I could have won the first set after playing a very solid first set.
And then, you know, that break I got in the second set with two, uhm, unforced errors, my forehand, you know, where I just didn't stand good through the ball, and then he came up with a phenomenal shot and then he broke me to that game. And didn't use the break chance I had when I missed the return.
I'm just a little bit frustrated about those key points, not being able to focus enough or to play the points that way that I wanted them to play. Didn't really make him win the first set there when I was up in the tiebreak in the first set, 5-3. That's quite frustrating, but a good thing for me to know for the next time.

End of FastScripts...

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