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November 17, 2006

Jonas Bjorkman

Max Mirnyi


THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. Could you talk about you came out of your group 3-0, obviously playing well.
JONAS BJORKMAN: Yeah, it feels good, very good, to perform better this year than last year. We had a lot more energy coming over here this year. So we came in early trying to prepare, finally work on some doubles issues because most of the time during the year we only play singles, then play the doubles matches. Now we had time, since we came in early, to do a few extra doubles drills and get ourselves even extra prepared.
Got off to a good start. Hopefully we can continue that.

Q. Just look ahead to the semifinals. I know they have a bit of a better record against you. Can you talk about that.
JONAS BJORKMAN: Could you tell me the record (smiling)?

Q. It wasn't too much.

Q. I think it was 2-1.
JONAS BJORKMAN: Okay. Well, once you head into the semis, obviously any team you play is going to be tough to beat. The good part for us, we feel fresh. We have a lot of energy. Hopefully we can keep up the momentum.
I think Max, if you look at the team, has been very, very good all three matches. I think hopefully I can lift up my game a little bit more. Hopefully I've saved that for this weekend.

Q. Santoro said you will probably be the final champion for doubles. Which other team will probably meet you in the final, do you forecast?
MAX MIRNYI: Well, to win the title, it's two matches away for any team at this point. Like Jonas said, it's great to be in the semifinals with not having lost a match. Also repeating what he said, feeling a little bit fresher by only having to play doubles at the tournament.
Still another tough match ahead of us with Leander and Martin. We have to prepare for that, play our best tennis tomorrow to win that match, then see what happens from the other semifinals.
Also Ullyett and Hanley haven't lost a match. They will play Knowles/Nestor, who are very strong. Yesterday, last match, we had a very difficult opponent. You know, very difficult at this stage to prepare. We have to care about our opponents and see what happens.

Q. Jonas, I remember you playing in Hong Kong in '96, '95. Do you think tennis has had growth in Asia? What is the role of doubles now in that or even in the individual career?
JONAS BJORKMAN: Well, I think the interest of the game in Asia has always been good. By the time I played in Hong Kong, nearly every day it was packed. I think it helped a lot when Michael Chang played most of the tournaments over here, creating a good interest.
I still think maybe now it's getting on the way to get very hyped after the success of the women doing so well. Beijing, with the Olympics coming up, I think it's on that turning point to maybe get that interest again.
Singles, doubles, I think they like tennis here. That shows from last year when people were really thrilled about the doubles matches in the end. I heard, because I was not here, it was great doubles matches, and people really appreciated it. I think in general they're very happy to see both singles and doubles.

Q. I am from Argentina. You both have experience in Davis Cup. You know in two weeks Russia and Argentina will play the final of the Davis Cup. What is your opinion about that match? Who will win and why?
MAX MIRNYI: Well, I know that I will support Russia all the way because this is my region and I support anything related to Russian tennis, men and women. So I hope they get another Davis Cup victory. It's going to be very exciting. They haven't won at home yet.
But now since the Argentinian team has been announced already, I can only make one suggestion -- not suggestion, because it doesn't matter any more. If I were captain, I think would choose Cañas to play or at least be on the team. This is only one thing I would have done differently.
It's going to be difficult no matter what team you bring there because Russia is a very strong team, especially now. But I think, you know, Cañas has a lot of experience, a good indoor player. Particularly in the last year and a half he has been fresh, not been seen too much.
But, again, that's what captains are for, making decisions. They've made their decision. Hopefully it's the right one for them. Should be an exciting match.

Q. Both of you are veterans. You have enough energy to play doubles but also singles. What is the secret? Other doubles players are specialists.
JONAS BJORKMAN: I think it's all about the mental approach, how you got taught how to play tennis. I think for both me and Max, if I speak for both of us, in early days we got told to play singles and doubles because it's very important to improve your game of singles and to help your doubles game.
That's what I have done since I was a junior. I always played singles and doubles because I felt losing first round in singles, still playing doubles, ending up winning and coming to the next week, I feel very happy and motivated in getting a lot of good matches, feel fresh to maybe have some good results in singles that week, instead of losing first round and not play doubles, you keep waiting, you get into a bad mood because you want to win matches.
For me I always think that it's great no matter what you do, that you get some wins instead of being in a position of losing. It has helped me in both ways, to improve as a player and also to have a success in both.

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