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January 20, 2008

Jarkko Nieminen


THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. Your third Grand Slam quarterfinal. How do you feel about getting there?
JARKKO NIEMINEN: I feel obviously amazing. It's been a great start of the year, first final, which I almost already forgot, finals in Adelaide and quarterfinals here and, like I said, third quarterfinals in Grand Slam, so it feels great.

Q. You haven't had anything come easily. All the matches have been tough, five sets, four sets. How are you holding up physically?
JARKKO NIEMINEN: Pretty good. Today was tough day, four sets of a pretty long match against Kohlschreiber, and like you said, those matches before, they were not easy, and actually, it was pretty good.
I went to the courts to play doubles. I felt pretty good in doubles physically, and now we lost, so I'm only singles. I just -- I just recover from this day and take easy day tomorrow, and fortunately I can concentrate on my singles on Tuesday.
My body feels good. I have been practicing a lot for this tournament, and the older I get, I think the more -- I have to pay more attention to my fitness. It has always been good, but I think I have been done more fitness, comparing tennis lately.

Q. You won two critical tiebreakers. Are you a bit of an expert on playing tiebreakers?
JARKKO NIEMINEN: Well, I think in 2006 I was, and last year I wasn't, and now it's going well again.
I don't know. It's just -- those tight situations seem to turn to me. I think he had, I heard, about 11 set points in the second and a few in the third, and I just, still set points down, I saw myself winning. I was thinking really positive.
I was calm, and like I said, I saw myself taking those tiebreaks, and then obviously it was really small margin, one point here and there. I think I hit few shots to the line, so it was only few centimeters here and there.
I did it. I kept thinking positive all the time, and I won those unbelievable tight second and third set, and then it was not easy fourth set, but it didn't go to tiebreak.

Q. Is that maybe the difference between this quarterfinal and the last two you've played, I mean, this mental toughness?
JARKKO NIEMINEN: Yeah, I feel mentally -- really, I'm obviously tougher all time, but I have felt, at least -- like already in Adelaide I felt really good, had good self-confidence. And the matches that I didn't play so well -- today it wasn't easy to play.
I think we both had difficulties with the wind, because we came from indoors. We both played last match indoors. So it's not easy to feel good all the time there, and I just -- if I can -- when I stay mentally strong, then I can think positive and just concentrate how I can win these points with this little bit more difficult feeling today, or any day.
And I have won matches, tight matches, not with the perfect -- maybe sometimes not with the perfect game and not the with the easy feeling but stayed mentally strong, and it obviously helps a lot to think right things.

Q. James Blake was saying that there are people who come along who could be No. 1 or No. 2 in the world are 1 in a million. Do you think it's all about experience? I mean, the more you play, do you find it easier to make the right decisions and do the right things on court?
JARKKO NIEMINEN: Well, I think experience always helps. Obviously some people, they can play well, and they are like -- I don't know. They seem to be more experienced, faster. They are happy and seem to handle the pressure very well.
I think it's very individual how you handle it, but I feel -- I know -- I think this is, I don't know, eighth year in top 100, so I know what I'm able to do, and I know I can still improve my game. That's -- I feel I have done it again for this year, how I'm playing now and started this year.
I always -- I know the opponents well. There's some new guys who I always have to scout, but I have played most of the guys in top hundred, and obviously I know myself on the court. I know my game, so I think experience always helps.

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