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March 19, 2008

Tommy Haas


THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. Does it surprise you the level you're playing at, considering you had that shoulder surgery?
TOMMY HAAS: I mean, yeah, that it's all coming together here in some sort of way. Sure, you know, you kind of wait for that moment where you start to feel good again, and it's been going pretty well this week.

Q. That match you played against him last year, did that figure in your mind at all today that, you know, you'd like to get your own back?
TOMMY HAAS: Sure. I mean, you think about that match for a while. You have match point to go to a semifinal in the big event, and a lot of times I play that shot over in your mind, months later, still talk about it.
It's nice to get your revenge back at the same place, pretty much. It took a year for us to go back and battle at it again. It was another great match, very exciting, and just came down to a few big points here and there.
You know, I saved a lot of break points in the third, and so did he, and, you know, I came up with the goods at the right time, which was great.

Q. I remember you saying last year that you liked the way he showed a lot of emotion and made a lot of noise. You thought that was a little bit like you are on court sometimes.

Q. He said after his win yesterday that that's something that he's trying to just take out of his game. He's trying to be more composed. Do you think it can actually hurt a player to be reacting so aggressively after losing points?
TOMMY HAAS: You know, maybe in some ways. I mean, there's a lot of emotions involved in this game, especially when it's tight, and every person is different, you know. Somebody, you can go to a lot of places and work on that or, you know, work on this part of your game on your own or have a mental coach and all this crazy stuff, and I'm sure people have done that in some sort of way.
If you get into a groove and you're very focused, yeah, it's probably the best way to be on the court. But sometimes there are certain situations where you just can't hold it in, and these people that can't hold it in show emotions, and I think that's fine.
As long as you come back and try to regain your focus. If you lose your focus because of that, and you're still, 10 points later, thinking about the situation, it's going to maybe cost you the match every once in a while.
If you can just shut that off, then that's very important. But, you know, some people are just like robots out there and nothing bothers them, and that's great for them.

Q. Last year you described Murray as very much a defensive player, and in Dubai, or after the Dubai match, Federer got in a little bit of difficulty for comments about Murray where he also talked about his defensive style. In the match that you played today, do you still see him as very much a defensive style player, or has his style changed?
TOMMY HAAS: Yeah, that's his game. He moves incredibly well on the court, even though you wouldn't think -- you wouldn't believe it when you see him sometimes move around on the court, but I think he's one of the best movers out there.
When you do come in he comes up with unbelievable shots. He's got great hands. I think he improved his first serve. I don't know if he necessarily served unbelievable today. But when he had to, at times, I think his first serve has gotten stronger.
Other than that he hasn't really changed his game that much. That's his game. He drives people crazy with it, and he's been very successful with it. Why change it? He's going to work on a few things, I'm sure, to be more aggressive at times, and he's just going to get better.

Q. Are you becoming king of the comebacks? Do you have this comeback thing mastered now?
TOMMY HAAS: Yeah, in some ways you have to look at that and be pretty proud of it. I mean, yeah, it's been incredible. Like I said before after I beat Andy, for me every day is just important to feel kind of healthy and going out there and hit my shots and hit my serves without feeling anything in my shoulder.
You know, I need to keep telling myself that that's really the most important thing for me. On top of that, playing a great week until now and hopefully more, it's worth going through a lot of pain.

Q. Does that take the pressure off you when you're in that situation, do you think?
TOMMY HAAS: No, because when you fight your butt off all year and you get your ranking up there you have sometimes -- you know, everybody can play today, but you have some sometimes a little bit easier draws at the big tournaments and you are seeded and you deserve to be up there when you play well.
When you get thrown back again and you can't defend your points and it takes you a while to actually hopefully feel good again, not knowing if you can actually come back and feel good and see what's going on, you're not getting any younger, it's hard, you know, it's hard to keep mentally being strong.
But, you know, I've done it before, and I guess that helps me a lot mentally. Like I said, as long as my shoulder stays strong and I don't feel too much pain, I can go out there and compete and I can be tough.

Q. How is the shoulder today?
TOMMY HAAS: It's okay right now, so... definitely a little bit tired, but I have a day off tomorrow, which is huge.

Q. When you know that you're going to be playing either Federer or someone else, in this case Ljubicic, would you rather play Federer and have a shot at the world No. 1, or would you rather play the opponent who I guess you're more likely to beat?
TOMMY HAAS: Well, I mean, you can look at it many ways. Obviously the better player tonight is going to win. Roger is the favorite. When you play Roger everything has to be, you know, in the mindset of really playing aggressive, you know, playing the big points the right way.
He can pretty much do anything on the court, which makes it so tough. There isn't really much to do but try to focus on your game and try to play it really, really solid. And it's always great. It's always something special to go out there against him and have another chance and see if you can make it.
Probably is a little bit less pressure, but at the same time, you want to go further in the tournament, too. So you put the pressure on yourself trying to get further.
You know, anybody that's going to beat Federer -- let's say Ljubicic wins -- he's going to feel pretty good about himself as well. He's going to be tough, so we'll see what happens tonight.

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