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January 10, 2007

Nathan Healey


THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. Are you heading to Melbourne for qualifying?
NATHAN HEALEY: I am, yeah.

Q. How disappointing was it to not get a wild card into the main draw?
NATHAN HEALEY: A little bit disappointing, but yeah, I shook it off pretty fast. I mean, that was out of my control, so I just had to look forward to this tournament and to do my best, and that's what I did. So now I'm in qualifying, and I'll head out tonight.

Q. What would you have done if you had won today, given the qualifying starts tomorrow?
NATHAN HEALEY: I wouldn't have -- I would have been playing here and not been able to play qualifying.

Q. You wouldn't have asked them to --
NATHAN HEALEY: Yeah, I don't think that would have happened, no. I mean, a Grand Slam is sort of set. There's not much I could do there.

Q. What are your memories of Melbourne Park last year? Obviously a strong tournament for you.
NATHAN HEALEY: It was incredible. I mean, as I said, last year was just a huge learning curve, and I continue to learn, but I'm starting to feel more and more comfortable in that environment and against those players.

Q. What did you learn in today's match?
NATHAN HEALEY: Well, I learned -- James is a great player. Yeah, I knew he hit the ball hard, but I wasn't expecting that. I think he forced me into more errors than I would have liked. Yeah, today, I don't know I felt a little bit sluggish out there for some reason. My first serve percentage dropped a little bit, but I bet that was due to him putting so much pressure on.
Yeah, overall I wasn't quite happy with the match. I don't know, that's tennis; you've got to remain positive, so that's what I'll do.

Q. Did you play the wild card playoff?
NATHAN HEALEY: I did, yes. I lost to the finalist, Joe Sirianni.

Q. What's on the schedule for you beyond the Australian Open?
NATHAN HEALEY: Well, at this stage I plan to play -- it depends on the Australian Open. If I can fire up and do what I did last year and even further, then I can play Tour events in the States. But at this stage I have on my schedule to play a Challenger in South Africa and just work my way through the Challenger circuit.

Q. Do you feel it was a bit unfair given that you did well when you got into the Australian Open last year?
NATHAN HEALEY: Unfair? I mean, our rankings were very close. It was difficult to split us up. I was a little bit shocked because I thought they were going to go down the ranking list, but unfortunately they didn't. But that's the way it goes. It's all right. I mean, I'll just keep plugging along.
One day I want to play for Australia, and I just hope they know that (laughter). I'm definitely getting closer, and I really believe that Hanley and I would be a great doubles combination. Yeah, I really believe that one day we'll play -- I mean, we played one tournament after we won here in 2002, and yeah, since then we haven't played. But I think we could pick it up straight away.

Q. The criticism of Australian men's tennis --
NATHAN HEALEY: There's a lot of it.

Q. Do you take that personally?
NATHAN HEALEY: It's sort of hard not to. I mean, I'd really love to read positive articles, and it was awesome, Gucc doing well last week. We all did well last week. We just fed off each other. Just, I mean, it's a real good feeling to read positive articles. I don't think it's too far away.
I think sometimes people forget the depth of men's tennis. I mean, it's tough to break through. Once you can break through, I think it's easier to stay there. But yeah, it just takes a little bit of time, and I think Australians, we all mature later generally.
I think there's a chance the AIS is going to include us "older" guys in the program next year, and I think once again, we can feed off each other and crack through that top 100 together.

Q. When you say you mature later, you mean in a tennis sense compared to --
NATHAN HEALEY: For some reason, I don't know, if you look at the past players that have cracked through, it's generally been a little bit later Wayne Arthurs, Pat Rafter, they came through just a little bit later.
Myself personally, I've only been playing singles like for three years. I was playing doubles before that. Yeah, I had a tough decision to make there. I was making good money in doubles and I was climbing the rankings, but I thought I would give it a go while I was still young enough.
But so far, so good, yeah, I'm working my way up.

Q. How far do you feel you're off cracking it?
NATHAN HEALEY: I think this is going to be a good year. I haven't really had access to too much coaching at all. I mean, it's too expensive. I've had my father who helps out and I've had another guy, a local guy in Sydney that's come away with me for a few weeks here and there, but other than that, it's been on my own, and it's a tough world out there. I mean, everyone sees the glamour and glitz of the Tour, but the Challenger is nails, it's very hard, and then you've got another level below that.
So I think next year with the support of the Institute, fingers crossed that will happen, but I believe that that's going to be a huge benefit to have all the assistance of those good coaches in there. One coach is working with Chris Guccione at this stage, and there's good guys and good medical staff, and yeah, I really see good things happening next year.

Q. What would you have to shell out if you wanted to get your own coach? What would you have to pay for a coach?
NATHAN HEALEY: I think it ranges between generally probably around $800 USD up to $3,000 a week plus expenses, so that's all their flights and everything else. Yeah, I mean, as I said, everyone sees the top of men's tennis and there's a lot of money, but around the Challenger level there's not much money. It's hard. It's very difficult to support a coach without -- actually it's nearly impossible to support a coach without a sponsor.

Q. Who was the fellow who was helping you a few weeks?
NATHAN HEALEY: Troy McDonald was his name.

Q. When you went through the junior system, did you access the AIS then?
NATHAN HEALEY: I did then, yeah. From 16 to 18, and that was a good help in development, but at 18 it was like, see you later. I mean, I wasn't really ready. I wasn't mature enough to crack through then. Now I'm putting in all the hard yards. I'm doing everything correctly, very professional, it just took time to learn that.

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