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November 13, 2006

Jonas Bjorkman

Max Mirnyi


THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. You are one of the three pairs that doesn't change according to last year's Masters Cup.
MAX MIRNYI: The streak doesn't change?

Q. It doesn't change, your pair, according to last year's Masters Cup. There were eight pairs. Only three of them doesn't change according to last year's Masters Cup.

Q. Yes, as a team. I'd like to know, how can you maintain such a consistent cooperation?
MAX MIRNYI: I think the easiest and the most natural answer to this is to look at the results of teams. The ones that are satisfied with their results end up staying together, and the ones that tend to not work well together, they lose more matches; therefore, they look for different opportunities, different matchups. That's why teams break up. You normally don't ever see teams separate when they had the results at least we've had in the last two years.
So, you know, we have a similar approach as to our tennis. We both play singles and doubles and help each other when there is a need for it. That's why I think we've had good success in the last two years.

Q. Can you talk about the match today.
JONAS BJORKMAN: Yeah, I think we got off to a good start in both sets and didn't make too many errors. The only few mistakes we did was at good times in the game, early in the games. Returned well. I think we played a solid match in general, not too many mistakes, and took our chances and kept very solid at the net.

Q. A question for Max. You played mixed doubles with a Chinese player in Wimbledon. I wonder, how did you meet each other, and how did you make this agreement?
MAX MIRNYI: Actually, the first time we played was at the US Open -- I mean at the French Open this year. I was just planning on playing as much tennis as I can during that time of the season, that's clay courts. It is not always that I do well in singles there, so I was hoping to find a mixed doubles partner, but I had no idea that she was that good.
My father approached maybe their team manager who travels with them, and it was a great approach. Actually, a Swedish coach, a friend of Jonas', told me that she was available, Thomas Hogstedt, who's helping the Chinese women's tennis. So it was this kind of a connection at the French Open.
You know, I have no look-backs, no regrets. It was a great experience, and I hope we can play again and maybe win one of the Grand Slams.

Q. Do you pay attention to what's going on in the other group? If so, what do you make of Bob and Mike's loss yesterday? Is it too early to say, "Maybe they're not on top of their game here"?
JONAS BJORKMAN: No, I think you follow both the singles and the doubles results yesterday, watching the matches, and take notes of what happened.
But, you know, it's just too early to say, obviously, because it's such a long way to go. I think everyone has been in the situation of losing the first one, coming back strong and, you know, end up winning.
You know, in a tournament you're not supposed to play your greatest matches in the early stage, you know; you need to save it to the last. It's just too early to say.

Q. Max, could you say a little bit more about Jie Zheng?
MAX MIRNYI: Well, we got on the right foot very quickly. There were a few miscommunications in the beginning when I was thinking she understands what I'm saying, but she's so shy and polite that she never, you know, she never told me that she doesn't understand, so there was a few mis-matchups. When I said left, she thought right, and the other way around.
But once I figured this out -- her coach told me that after the first match at the French Open, that, you know, I should tell her and then she explains. But then, you know, basically a month later at Wimbledon she spoke so much better English that I didn't need to speak to the coach.
It was a great experience, but that was really the only thing that I can point out. She's a great player. I think she'll be at the top of Chinese tennis for a long time. Hopefully, she's not far from being at the top of the world. They've already done so well in doubles. We see more and more Chinese players coming up and starting to dominate, so I think it's a matter of time before she'll be as successful in singles.

Q. Max, just like you said, China's women's doubles players have done a great job this year. The country's men's players are so far in a very low level. Do you think they could or should more focus on doubles just like Jie Zheng does?
MAX MIRNYI: Well, I think any successful sport has to come up and thrive on good tradition. You know, we know that China for a long time was part of a different regime, and table tennis, for instance, was much more popular than tennis. So I think it's the beginning of a long-term success for China because we see that very quickly women's tennis is making an impact just for the reason that maybe it's a little bit less competitive as a whole than the men's tennis.
So I'm sure that the work is being done, and it's a matter of time before we'll see more men's players coming out. But the women are setting up a great tradition for the sport in this country, and I'm sure there will be many more to follow.

Q. (Through translation .) Max, you once were ranked No. 18 in the world in men's singles. That was your best record. It seems to me right now you focus more on doubles instead of singles. Does that mean you actually shift a lot more to doubles now? Also, throughout the whole match today you and your partner really talked quite a bit. Does that mean that actually your partner, Jonas, because of his age and also experience, really is more experienced in that sense and you need to get advice and suggestions from him?
MAX MIRNYI: Well, any good -- any doubles teams tend to communicate, and, you know, we're no different. A lot of little elements need to be discussed on the doubles court.
But as far as my primary focus, trust me, you know, if I could choose to be playing singles here at this tournament, I would give anything I have for this. Not always that you get something that you want, and it's a long process, something that I work for. My focus hasn't shifted from singles in any way. It certainly is getting more difficult because we all get older, and more and more young players are coming up. Different variables. The game is just advancing so quickly.
But I still believe in myself, stay strong with both singles and doubles. It's just by the virtue of having a good partner, good attitude, I have better doubles results than singles results. But I pay attention to both.

Q. Since you cooperate so smoothly, any common interests in your spare time off the court?
MAX MIRNYI: Well, it's such a technology-oriented world we live in now. I think with the computers and everything that's involved with the high tech, you know, we try to keep up and maybe have the latest models of Canon camera, but I always have a tough time keeping up with Jonas.

Q. Bjorkman, your son's name is Max. Does it have anything to do with Mirnyi?
JONAS BJORKMAN: You put me in a position where I have to say yes now (smiling).
MAX MIRNYI: I don't think he's got the winningest record against anybody in singles, and he's beaten me nine times. There's a reason why he calls his son that (smiling).
JONAS BJORKMAN: We thought it was a good name for our son, so we're pleased with it, as well. You know, he's a true tennis lover already, trying to follow our matches as much as he can. You know, unfortunately, they're not here but, you know, we see them next week.

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