home jobs contact us
Our Clients:
Browse by Sport
Find us on ASAP sports on Facebook ASAP sports on Twitter
ASAP Sports RSS Subscribe to RSS
Click to go to
ASAP Sports e-Brochure View our


April 21, 2008

Gustavo Kuerten


I. LJUBICIC/G. Kuerten
6-1, 6-2

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. Is it not too much emotion in one year to play every time in a tournament and you have to say good-bye, make a succession of good-byes? It's not difficult for you?
GUSTAVO KUERTEN: No, I think it's been enjoyable because I'm not only playing the match but being in the tournament before, it's nice to remember everything that, you know, happened in the past.
I also will stop. And for me it's going to be a nice part of my life that's coming. So I'm approaching this very well. I'm happy that I'm able to play at least a few more tournaments but also I'm happy that in French Open is gonna finish because I know my body's already tired of playing over these years, especially in these conditions.
So for me it's been hard to play. But these last tournaments, it's been very fun. I really enjoying every part of it, and hopefully keeps like this through the end.

Q. In the paper you explained the greatest moments were really important for you but also the suffering moments or difficult moments were maybe more important for you in your life. Can you explain that?
GUSTAVO KUERTEN: No, because I always thought that as big as the challenge, the more as you learn, no? So for me, I was able to overcome every challenge that I face on tennis. Unlucky I had this injury that made myself, my limitations, very low compared with before. So I had to learn over the years to deal with that and also to appreciate it more, the things that happen to me.
I think life is always lessons. You always learning something more. For me I think I really learn a lot these last years and also was very grateful that I could, you know, maintain myself in the kind of condition I could play some kind of tournaments, maintain myself happy by even not being the way I would like but trying to see a good thing about this. And so I think was a great experience and probably will help me a lot for the future.

Q. Were you asking for a wildcard also in Rome? Did you get it?
GUSTAVO KUERTEN: No. In Rome, no. Only in Barcelona next week and French Open.

Q. Rome, you didn't ask?
GUSTAVO KUERTEN: No, we ask, but it was tough. They had many Italians, too, asking for. So for me also would be much tournaments, many tournaments, if I would play here through French Open. I wanted to play here, one more tournament, then the French Open. I tried playing either Rome and Hamburg, but was difficult. I preferred playing in Barcelona. That's already next week. Then I can take some time off till French Open.

Q. Speaking of Roland Garros, besides winning the three titles, what are some of your best memories of Roland Garros?
GUSTAVO KUERTEN: I think I had many since the first time I got there. I was really excited. I was 15 and just come up there. We were able to get in. We even had tickets. Just got there. Saw Lendl playing against Jaime Oncins, a Brazilian. Was already a nice feeling for me because since we got there, Jaime start to turn the match around. Finally he won in five sets the next day.
And also the atmosphere there, for me it's always been special. Since that first day I got out there, my dream start to become more real. You start to feel yourself more able to be closer to what you want.
So I had three years that was unforgettable for me. But every single time I'm out there, and even the years I played not my best tennis, was very important because I think this tournament probably was the one more keep me going over the years to try my best.

Q. Did you ever have a bad memory of anything at Roland Garros? Anything bad ever happen?
GUSTAVO KUERTEN: Yes, I was ejected in the court the only time in my life in the doubles. I think was '98 or something like this (smiling).
But I think even like that was important that happen, for me to learn more. So even not one of the best memories, but was good for me to have idea and to get myself better control later.

Q. What was the problem? Was it a warning or something?
GUSTAVO KUERTEN: We had a point discussion in the break. I was playing with Meligeni. Rafter was playing with Bjorkman. It was the quarterfinal in doubles. And then we had a big discussion, Meligeni and the umpire. They were there arguing, arguing. Then finally we lost that break and I throw my racquet. I was too far away, close to the fence. I throw my racquet to my chair, and the racquet went up and almost hit the umpire (smiling).
At the end the guy came, try to discuss, but I was already too tired. Said, No, no, no, I have to go. They eject me in the match. I lost my points and everything. At the end was a little bit unlucky. But, anyway, was good to learn.

Q. You were the last one to beat Roger Federer in Paris since Nadal. How did you make it? What do you think about the confrontation between Roger Federer and Nadal for three years? What is the evolution of the confrontation?
GUSTAVO KUERTEN: No, I think to beat Federer, it's been really tough, especially last years. This year, him and either Nadal, they are losing a little bit more often. What I think it's more normal than before.
But it's tough to play him. I don't think there is a way or what you have to do. Just have to compete. Have to go out there. Somehow, if I think if you play three, four, five times, you going to have a shot in at least one or two times.
But these last three years, they been dominating a lot, especially Roger. And it's been a little bit unusual. So I think this year it's been more as I think it should be. And it's also a little bit more interesting for the game.

Q. How did you make it three years ago to beat Roger in three sets?
GUSTAVO KUERTEN: Yes, you know, I trying to compete with him. I think I played well. Since the first set, I was controlling the match and I had the lead. So I was able to put him in an uncomfortable position. I think that time was tough for me also 'cause I had a lot of problems still already in my leg, but I knew I had a chance if I did it in three or at least four sets.
So I believe a lot in the way I was playing, the tactics I was doing, and was working. So I was able to really play a solid game beginning to the end. At the end I really could control that match all the way through it. Probably was the last time I really played a great event.

Q. The match of today, for instance, is it somehow embarrassing for you because you think, Years ago I would have played much better, I could compete? Do you feel somehow you are disappointing the crowd that would like to see you competing at the same level of your opponent or not?
GUSTAVO KUERTEN: Not really. I think in one way for me, especially today, was tough 'cause I thought he was playing really well. I had a couple of matches before. I face other guys and I was able to compete a little bit. Not the same level, but to keep myself into the game a little bit more.
And with Ivan today, he seems to be hitting the ball really well. And from the beginning he already broke my serve and start to play more and more relax. But for me I already know I cannot ask for too much, you know. Over the last three years, I been facing this problem. Especially right now I know clearly that my body cannot get to the same level. So I just trying to get as best as I can.
Of course, if I could play longer and get couple of shots, opportunities to see myself a little bit more competitive, will be even nicer. But especially in a tournament like this or playing guys that are playing the level as him, it's gonna be really tough. So I'm not expecting for too much.
Maybe because of that, I don't get too frustrated. If it would be two or three years ago, I think it would be really difficult for me. And probably this was the reason, too, I had the decision to stop. Because if today I was looking or trying to find a way to come back and find myself in this situation, then would be tough.
But for me I know it's just to have the matter to be once more here, trying to get myself a few more times in the court, you know, take a little bit advantage of that, nothing more than that.

Q. Aren't you afraid in a way that in Paris you will have to play best-of-five?
GUSTAVO KUERTEN: A little bit. But I've been getting a little bit better rhythm and physically over these last two months that I played quite often. Also I had to play at home last week so I just got here Saturday night. Was a little bit rush for me, tough. Especially for my body. But in the same way, I'm increasing a little bit more endurance. I think it will be tougher, but I don't think it will be big, big problem to the French.
Probably the toughest thing for me is to get myself in a better performance, running faster and doing things you need to do on the court. But being half an hour or one more hour out there... I just played last week for 2 hours, almost 2 hours, 15. I finishing quite okay. So I think it's going to be no problem.

Q. Do you think the demanding effort to play on clay, on hard court, on grass, makes that your body suffers and there are more and more injuries in tennis? You were the No. 1 who had to stop his career because of that.
GUSTAVO KUERTEN: I think sports in a row, it's been pushing the limits more and more. It's not as healthy as you play sport twice a week, maintain yourself in a good shape, sort of way you really force your body all the time.
But I don't think it really change too much if you go only one surface or if you get yourself only playing in clay. I think everybody have to watch out and work differently to get better prepare for different courts.
But at the end, it's your decision. You can play 12 tournaments, 15, 20. Nobody really has to play that much. But the circuit, it's been hard. I think it's very physical right now. People are having to work a lot to get themselves ready.
But at the end I think sports in a row, it's getting to a certain level that probably the guys are having more risk to get injured.

Q. Were you sad that this is the end or you're happy this is the way you're ending your career?
GUSTAVO KUERTEN: No, now very happy (smiling).

Q. Do you think it would be better not to do these last three tournaments and lose badly and ruin your image?
GUSTAVO KUERTEN: No, I think the image is what you do it in the court, what you feel about the game. Is not the way you go and you win one match or you lose. You have players that won Grand Slams and nobody knows any more, nobody talks. And a player who lost 20 matches in a row, and certainly they have so much passion for the game, everybody remember.
So I think it's a private decision. You have to feel happy, comfortable, self-secure, too. So for me I'm very tired. Last three, four years I've been fighting all the time, and I knew I did my best. I tried to find a way to get myself to compete again. And right now I'm really sure I cannot get to the level that I would like to compete.
So I think it's always a chance for me to play once more, to have these feelings, to being around the crowd, to come here and watch me for a little while. Not only playing, but they go to the court where I'm practicing, you know, they getting close. I think it's their respect for the game, too.
I don't think it's fun or good, Oh, I finish, I go home, I pack my bags, I go there, nobody know any more if I keep playing or not. So I think in my mind I always had this clear. I will make sure, you know, this gonna be the end. I would have the time for myself, for the people, and just being sure that this is nice for me. It's gonna be an important experience.
And from that I think the rest, it's trying to enjoy more and also believe that you make always the right decision. You don't get right all the time but you have to make sure you think a lot to try to get it right. So I think so far it's been very enthusiastic for me. Even playing today that I didn't have any chance or any good feelings out there in the court.
In a row, I think it's important and will be very special for myself once I finish and I'm looking back, no, I did the things that I wanted.

End of FastScripts

About ASAP SportsFastScripts ArchiveRecent InterviewsCaptioningUpcoming EventsContact Us
FastScripts | Events Covered | Our Clients | Other Services | ASAP in the News | Site Map | Job Opportunities | Links
ASAP Sports, Inc. | T: 1.212 385 0297