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July 2, 2007

Tommy Haas



Q. Tell us about your situation.
TOMMY HAAS: Yeah, sure, unfortunately I have to withdraw from Wimbledon due to a severe, yeah, stomach tear in my lower abdominal. I felt it a little bit a couple days ago, that my whole body was obviously tight since I haven't played a lot of matches.
I wasn't really able to practice much before the tournament started, didn't really think too much of it really against Dimitry. In the beginning and middle of the second set, I started having some unbelievable pain in that area. I don't know if you remember, but I called out the doctors there, took some painkillers.
Just realized yesterday that the pain got way worse. So the doctors here on-site and, yeah, basically came out that I have a pretty severe tear there. So, you know, my decision of pulling out here, not being able to play against Roger on Monday on Centre Court, which is basically why you play this game and why you keep coming back from other injuries, so you keep training hard.
It's obviously very, very disappointing. Probably not even able to put it in words really right now. But on the other hand I have to try to get healthy again as soon as possible to be ready for the upcoming events leading up to the US Open. So that's the situation.

Q. Did they do an MRI on the injury?
TOMMY HAAS: Yeah, they did like an ultrasound yesterday and saw that there was obviously severe bleeding and hemorrhage, a tear.

Q. Is there a preliminary estimate of how long you're going to be out?
TOMMY HAAS: They say anywhere between two to four weeks if I do the right treatment. I'll be going even to Munich already tonight to start the process later on this evening and tomorrow.
So get back as soon as I can because I haven't played much since really the shoulder injury occurred in Rome. You got to play. I want to play. Try to get that under control now.

Q. Do you think sometimes you're kind of cursed?
TOMMY HAAS: You wonder. You know, if you look back, even just this year's Wimbledon again, it's kind of strange. At the beginning I really didn't think I was going to be able to play here. Then I come here, see that they seeded me from my ranking, took three spots away from me. I was seeded actually my lucky number 13.
Really didn't expect much. Next thing you know, for the first time I reach the fourth round, which was really one of my main goals here at Wimbledon, maybe playing one of the most important matches against Roger here. That's not going to happen now. It's really frustrating 'cause, you know, who knows if this opportunity comes up again.
You know, I certainly hope so. You can look back and, you know, I twisted my ankle in the warmup one time here, couldn't play one year because my parents had a bad motorcycle accident, another year because of shoulder surgery.
Yeah, a little bit of bad luck. On the other hand, you have to just keep thinking positive, keep coming back and see if this tournament has some kind of happy ending in store for yourself.

Q. Is this the worst disappointment you've had?
TOMMY HAAS: It's high up there, yeah. I mean, you know, when you go into a doctor's room, the doctor tells you you're going to be out for seven, eight months because of your shoulder surgery. That's pretty bad news you can get as a professional athlete.
But here, it's kind of like, I don't know, a situation of not being here at first, maybe not playing, then actually reaching the fourth round, now having to withdraw . It's a lot of ups and downs.
Feels like a rollercoaster here. It's, you know, not a happy end, but at the same time it was a successful week.

Q. You obviously did it during the match against Dimitry.
TOMMY HAAS: Yeah, right. I must have done something severe.

Q. Was it a stretch or something?
TOMMY HAAS: It's really just on the serve I felt it all the time, to be honest. The painkillers helped. The adrenaline, rush of being out there, wanting to win so bad, getting to the fourth round, I think you just overcome any kind of pain that you have.
But I think during that match, for sure, I must have really made that tear worse and worse.

Q. Nothing before that match?
TOMMY HAAS: No, there wasn't. Like I said, I felt just soreness. But I felt the soreness pretty much all over my body because I haven't competed in so long. You can't really practice. It's a totally different kind of atmosphere when you go out there and you're tight and you want to win.
But, I mean, that's just muscle soreness, which is something you can deal with no problem. But I didn't really think that the muscle problem I had there in my abdominal muscle would, you know, turn into something that bad.

Q. Do you think there's some sort of curse here at Wimbledon on Tommy Haas?
TOMMY HAAS: I just kind of answered that question already. You can look back at it and say, Yeah, you know, maybe there will be one happy end here in Wimbledon for me. I hope to be back a couple more years and give it another go. That's all you can do.

Q. The one where you twisted your ankle, you stood on a tennis ball?
TOMMY HAAS: Basically my opponent was serving and the ball came back while I was doing a service motion. Unfortunately, nobody caught the ball. The ball was rolling almost perfect way for me to step right on it. I stepped on the ball in a perfect way to tear a ligament.
It's quite phenomenal, yeah.

Q. Is there any funny side to it?
TOMMY HAAS: I don't have to pay for another week for my house rental, which is great. But funny side? Not really. I mean, you know, you just -- you know, you go home now, you try to get this thing, you know, under control and get back as soon as you can, follow it on TV, I guess, wish you could have been out on Centre Court playing Roger. There's not really too many funny things.

Q. Can you tell us the tactic you were going to have against Roger, a strategy you had in mind this time, a special way to beat Roger?
TOMMY HAAS: To be honest, I mean, I think the way I was playing and the way that I'm feeling, you know, going out there really trying to compete hard, play every point like it's maybe your last. You know, I thought I would really give myself a good chance to have a good match.
If I use my chances, I think I'm one of the players that can actually be very dangerous for Roger. You know, last couple times we did play, we had some good battles. You know, it's always a lot of fun. It's one of the matches I really gear up for. That's the guy you want to play, you want to have across the net, and you want to beat him.
I think here would have been a nice opportunity since I have a winning record on Centre Court.

Q. If you were a player in the bottom half of the draw, hearing what's happened today, would you think, I mean, this guy can't be beaten here? It's his championship? He's played his matches, got one round ahead of most people, now his opponent can't play in this round, best player in the world on grass. Is it almost a gimme?
TOMMY HAAS: A lot of players, like I said, I think there's a few that have a chance against him. You kind of look at the draw and maybe a lot of players say, I hope I'm away from him for, you know, a long period of time. So did I, to be honest.
But, you know, he is the man to beat. Obviously when you see how he plays on grass, the way you see his movement, the way he hits the right shot selection, has the confidence of having won here the last four years, it's going to be very tough for anyone.
But, you know, the rest of the field knows that. But I think the further you get in the tournament, the further everybody becomes more dangerous, and so does he obviously. Who knows, maybe in his next round, now that he won't play probably until Wednesday, you know, he hasn't played a match in a few days.
But he's going to play the winner of Ferrero, Tipsarevic. If he would have played somebody else, to be honest, maybe he would have a different start. But I don't really see a threat there. We'll see what happens after that.

Q. You have an attacking backhand. So does Richard Gasquet. Gasquet has beaten him on a hard court. Is that one of the essentials you have to have in order to have a shot at beating Federer?
TOMMY HAAS: Yeah, you have to do a lot. You need to have probably more luck out there against him. You need to play the big points the right way - probably aggressive and let him come up with, you know, a great passing shot, winner time of after time.
If he does it, that's too good. But you have to give yourself that opportunity, that chance.

Q. Did you say you have a winning record on Centre Court?
TOMMY HAAS: I did, yeah. Glad you picked up on that (laughter).

Q. Could you tell us what matches you played?
TOMMY HAAS: Just one (laughter). It was against Agassi in '98 in the second round. You know, I'm quite proud of that match.

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