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March 26, 2008

Gustavo Kuerten


THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. Was it what you expected?
GUSTAVO KUERTEN: Yes. I think especially the second set, I was really happy the way I played. I was very nervous the beginning. You know, playing an opponent like him, he put me right in a tough situation, but I knew I was practicing well. I had some good feeling warmup. I knew I would play well. And the second set was great. I could enjoy a lot. I saw myself with many chances.
It's hard sometimes, because when you see yourself like that you must have something else, especially in the physical, and for me it's tough. So I had to take too much risk, and even one or two breakpoints I had to miss some shots that I was a little bit too tired already.
But I think the goal was done. I had some good feelings about my tennis game again. I hit some shots that I was doing it before, creating some angle on the courts, hitting the ball hard.
So this is always what I expect from these last matches. And today I think I really had a great day and much better than the last one I played.

Q. You've had some big moments here. You made it to the final and everything. This is presumably your last match here. What's it feel like?
GUSTAVO KUERTEN: Yeah, I think over the week I could enjoy a lot, not only during the match. And the first set I thought maybe would be too fast him and not to be able to enjoy so much. But then luckily I was wrong. Then I had some great feelings in the second.
So it's good. It's good coming out of here and playing some good tennis. I think I played much better than even last year when I was here. So this makes myself looking back see everything I got on this tournament as a result and as experience emotionally and everything around. I think this year especially I try to remember all of that and try to take these feelings with me for longer.

Q. The match with Sampras, would you say that's your highlight of memories of all your memories of this tournament? What do you remember about that day?
GUSTAVO KUERTEN: I would say that year in the world, I had a great match against Andre, too, in the semifinal. And then playing Pete in the final, that was the first time I had that experience in my life. That day in the final I remember the atmosphere on the court was really amazing. Not only we played some great tennis, a match that lasted for three or four hours, but people getting involved and really being part of the match. So that's what I always enjoy on tennis.
For sure it was not only one of the greatest memories for me in this tournament, but in the world.

Q. How important is it for you to see another great player come out of Brazil? Do you plan to be involved in that?
GUSTAVO KUERTEN: I think would be awesome. We hope to help more kids there and maybe Larri Passos getting -- going to find some new talents and help kids. He's working with four or five kids back there that I think they have some potential to be good players.
Every country, it always helps when you have someone between the best players, some idols, you know, an icon that the kids can be inspired. So I'm looking forward to see how can I help the Brazilian tennis in the world to try to be involved.
I think my life is very connected with tennis, so I will be around for sure to see how can I manage to really do something that is helpful. Hopefully we can take advantage of these last years and see if maybe in the future three or four years we have someone in the top 50. I think it would be awesome already for Brazil.

Q. What kind of discomfort are you in with your hip? Is it very, very painful? Are you worried that maybe later you're going to need surgery or something?
GUSTAVO KUERTEN: It's very painful. But I think it's more once I get to the limit, like today, that I try to get myself on the physical test to do all that I need to. I don't believe for normal life I have to worry too much.
But to be able to play and perform like the guys, for me it's really difficult. It would be impossible. That's probably the main thing that makes me decide to stop.

Q. Before the serve you were actually adjusting your hip, or do you have to do something with your hip?
GUSTAVO KUERTEN: Yes, adjust a little bit. It keeps going away a little bit (smiling).

Q. Slipping?
GUSTAVO KUERTEN: Like it's sliding a little bit to the side, so I have to put it back. I need a hand there. If someone hold for me, that would be great (smiling).

Q. You're such an emotional player. Are you at all worried that when you get to Roland Garros it's going to be almost overwhelming for you with emotion?
GUSTAVO KUERTEN: Day by day I don't think too much about it. Maybe once in a while you start to thinking around. But I prefer to let it be and see how it will happen.
I had a great experience back in Brazil to play my last match on the ATP Tour there. It is very emotional. And probably the French will be the same way, or maybe even more because it will be my last match on the tour.
So I prefer to skip from these thoughts. Try to keep myself worried about my game, see if I can improve still a little bit here and there. I mean, how it's going to happen, just be natural and see what happens, and then I for sure will enjoy it. It's been -- this tournament and already in Brazil it's been a lot of fun.
I think it is a great decision that I did to play at least few more tournaments for myself and to be able to enjoy. For the people to watch me once more.

Q. Can you talk about the decision to play this one? Is it just because there are so many Brazilians here and you have so many memories here?
GUSTAVO KUERTEN: Yes, it's many things together. I think I've been playing this tournament for many years. I lost here in the quallies when I was really young. Saw myself in the final then. That year was probably the biggest step through in my career on this surface, once I played the final in this tournament. Always with the feeling and the crowd that are involved and the atmosphere in the city, too, it's really nice.
The weather, so that always made myself feel confident and playing well. So these are the reasons that I really wanted to be back and just remember. Of course, I could remember many good feelings that I had back in the past.

Q. Are you keeping the door open to the Olympics or is the French definitely it?
GUSTAVO KUERTEN: Yeah, the Olympics, I'm trying. But I think it's going to be hard to get a wild card there, so so far I'm still thinking that the French will be the last match.
But if I have a chance to be in the Olympics, I think it would be great for me. It would be the third Olympics, and that would be a great accomplishment for myself.

Q. What kind of work are you going to do to prepare for Hamburg, Monte-Carlo, and the French?
GUSTAVO KUERTEN: Keep going on the physiotherapy a lot. Work on the gym. Trying to get on the court as much as I can, too. But there's not that many hours, around one hour is the maximum I've been playing for every day.
Doing some special exercise. I was already at Indian Wells, trying to work out. See if I can get a little bit better. I know my limitation today doesn't help me too much. I thought this last month I really improved, but it's very little by little, and it's there so it's unbelievable.
But I think it's only three, four months more I'm going to keep on my mind to make it happen. And see, at least play this level of tennis, I think my goal would be accomplished.

Q. Are there any favorite Brazilian restaurants in Miami that you go?

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