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August 30, 2007

Jonas Bjorkman


THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. Did you have to play too many long serving games?
JONAS BJORKMAN: End of first and in the second set, yes. I felt great out there, but then we had some really long games. I also had a lot of breakpoints there.
Those games sort of took a lot of energy. I was really tired second and third set, but then felt great again and actually felt really good in the fifth.
You know, Andy never really gave me any freebies. He managed to put a lot of pressure. I was 40-15 up in all three service games actually, and a couple more ad, but I didn't get those games.
I think if I could have -- to go up the first game in the fifth would have been big because then he played so relaxed when he was up a break. He started to return really well and be aggressive.
Yeah, there was -- I actually feel pretty good now physically, but it was much tougher in the second and third, that's for sure.

Q. What did you make of him? First time you played him you said you were interested to see what he'd come up with. What do you think he's got?
JONAS BJORKMAN: He's having a little bit of everything. That's why it's so hard to play him I think because, you know, he obviously mix it up -- he's mixing up the pace, serving well on and off.
But he can do mostly everything. What I think the biggest strength is he doesn't give you too many easy points. You know, he makes you play a lot, moves well. You know, you always got to be sure that you hit the ball at the perfect spot, too, if you want to come to the net and try to put it away.
He has a few ups and downs still, but he's very consistent.

Q. One criticism appears to be a lack of fitness. If he can keep rolling on for three and a half hours plus on a very hot day, that can't be the case, can it?
JONAS BJORKMAN: No, I think today was really tough conditions out there. It looked like maybe he got a little tight in the fourth. But there's always going to be ups and downs. Same for me. I felt tired in the second and third, felt better in the fourth and fifth.
But he looked sharp out there in the fifth. You got to play these matches to get stronger. It's always gonna help and benefit you when you play these matches to feel that you actually feel great out there with your fitness.
This is probably just something that's going to help him a lot for the future.

Q. Can you see anywhere where he might still work on his game?
JONAS BJORKMAN: It's hard to tell. I think he got everything out there really. He plays good volley. Maybe sometimes he could even come in a little bit more. I think his return of serve is good.
What he did in the fifth, he was so aggressive on my second serve, and that's something he can maybe use a little bit more because he's got such a good return.
You know, it's just more to find the balance on how aggressive he should be maybe. But sometimes maybe he's a little too defensive. So I think it's just to find a better balance with that.
But, you know, he serves well, moves well. Yeah, there's no doubt he's going to be up there in the top.

Q. It seems like several players are struggling a bit with tendinitis in their knees. I'm wondering if in the course of your career you had that problem and maybe if not why you haven't? Finally, if you could comment on this particular surface, my impression is it takes more pounding, is harder on the knees than some other surfaces. I'm wondering if that is so?
JONAS BJORKMAN: Well, obviously the clay court is the nicest for the body. But, you know, I had it on and off. I had jumper's knee a couple times, but I managed to have good treatment and get rid of it.
You know, just got to be careful. I had it for six, seven weeks after Wimbledon, but then I took two, three weeks off and worked really hard to get it away with a lot of treatment. Now I've been feeling much better.
But, you know, you've got to find that balance. I think a lot of people, they still play a lot of tennis when they have it, and that's obviously not the right medicine. You need to rest. You know, hard court is a tough surface, not only for the knees but for the lower back.
I think the balls we have, as well, it's always been getting a little heavier these days. So elbows and shoulders, it's always a situation that's a lot of stress.
You know, it's a tough sport, but you've got to be smart and have your breaks, try to work hard with your fitness.

Q. If you were a sportswriter and your editor said, Give us a short preview of the upcoming Davis Cup, what would you say succinctly?
JONAS BJORKMAN: I think it's going to be a great week, no doubt about that. We have a great venue. Hopefully the Swedes finally appreciate that we are in a semifinal. They want to win. If we don't win, we suck (smiling).
But it would be nice. Swedish TV asked for money actually to even televise it. We had to go to someone else to at least have a better situation because we don't have money in the Federation.
It's been a lot of problems. But, you know, we looking forward to play the Americans. We obviously been winning three times in Gothenburg, so we have a little bit of a tradition that we hopefully can take advantage of.
They are the huge favorites for the match with the team they have, with the rankings they have. But Davis Cup is Davis Cup, and that's what we're going to try to see if we can come up with an upset. We play on a surface that they like, but we felt it was better to play on our strength and our weakness because we both hate clay (smiling).

Q. The history, when us big bad Americans come into town and you seem to bring us down, does that sort of play into it?
JONAS BJORKMAN: I think it's different now. To be honest, now you've got a team. You really have a great team with a team spirit. They get along really well all year round. They practice together. They like to go out to hang out and have dinner. So you actually really have a strength. I think before we could take advantage of having a much better team spirit.
These guys, we know them well. We have a good time with them off the court. I think it would be a really good for both them and us.

Q. Chances there will be a good ole tantrum like the old days from Blake, Roddick or the Bryans? Any chance we'll see a Connors-like tantrum?
JONAS BJORKMAN: No, I think these guys practice together and also have dinner together. It's not going to be like '84, no. It's going to be an interesting one.
Hopefully we have about a hundred Swedes coming over there from the supporter group of the ones we have in Australia. Hopefully they're going to be loud enough to give us some good support.

Q. Say you had a list of the top sports in Sweden, where does tennis count?
JONAS BJORKMAN: That's a good question. Soccer and ice hockey's always going to be the top. But then track and field, we done really well in track and field. That's coming along well. Some other sports, as well.
I would say the priority is not really tennis right now, but we're trying to do our best. We're working hard to get the people to understand that it's still a great sport. We still doing pretty good.
We're not having the same depth like we had on the '80s and '90s. Got to also realize it's so many more other countries playing this sport, so the competition is much stronger now.

Q. What is the surface and how will it play?
JONAS BJORKMAN: It will be very quick. It's like ice (smiling).
It's like a Supreme Court, low bounce. It's going to be fast. It's going to be good for them, but I think it's going to be good for us, too. It's definitely, I would say, the best surface for Thomas Johansson. With his serve he gets so much out of it. It's a good service for me. Soderling likes it, too.
It's gonna be maybe not the most entertaining tennis, but it's all about winning.

Q. You said in Sweden it's a mentality that unless we win, we suck. We sort of have that attitude here. Do you know any country in all of your travels where the fans are really satisfied or the Federation is satisfied with the results?
JONAS BJORKMAN: I'm not sure. I mean, obviously it's going to be a lot of pressure on everyone. You still see some countries, the smaller countries, because they're coming up, they have new players, like Serbia.
I think France is still pretty pleased. Their program is still making so many good players coming up every year. They might be looking for the big name, having someone in the top 5 or top 10, but still they have like 15 guys in the top 100. They're still producing. That's the opportunity that one of these guys will be in the top.
I mean, we would be happy to have the same support, a big media group like UK. I don't know if we even have Swedish media here. It is sometimes tough times. But, you know, I think all sports goes up and down. We are maybe on the downside. But hopefully we can get back and Wilander and all these guys are working hard to do that.

Q. The fact that Borg came out of his shell, came to Wimbledon, played the oldies, could that help?
JONAS BJORKMAN: It would be great. He's still an icon everywhere. You know, maybe we can get him a little bit more involved in Swedish tennis. Obviously that would help for sure.
If we get Sven Goran to be more involved, that's going to be helping (laughter). They speak more about that.
Hopefully what we can do is at least to try to get all the good coaches back to Sweden. We have three in UK. Obviously we don't have the same money, but still I think it's something that we need to work on to get all these old players back. We have so many great ones. Try to get them back into Swedish tennis.

Q. You were saying the other day you've actually funded the Swedish Tennis Magazine. How did that all come about?
JONAS BJORKMAN: Well, the other one went down.

Q. What was that called?
JONAS BJORKMAN: Tiebreak. For six months we didn't have a Tennis Magazine. Like I said, tennis in Sweden, we should at least have one magazine. A few guys approached me if I was interested to help out. I thought it was something that would be fun to do. Also with my contacts, I have help out to make it interesting, as well.
I've done my first two interviews with James Blake and the Bryans that we're going to put into this magazine who's coming out after the Open just to make sure that the Swedes get to know these guys better when they come over to Gothenburg and make the interest of Davis Cup much more. That's something that also will be fun for me after my career.

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