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June 27, 2003

Max Mirnyi

WIMBLEDON, ENGLAND, M. MIRNYI/I. Karlovic 7-6, 3-6, 6-3, 7-6

MODERATOR: Good evening, Ladies and Gentlemen. Max Mirnyi. Questions in English.

Q. The serve seemed quite important today.

MAX MIRNYI: Well, just like any other match, my serve is something that I count on. Today there was no difference. I believe that I was maybe more consistent and solid on my service games, and that's why I end up winning.

Q. When you're up against someone who also has such a big serve, does that put more pressure on you?

MAX MIRNYI: Well, actually, I enjoy this type of match-up because I knew that there are some other things that I do much better than him. I'm a little bit more mobile. So I knew that if I had to stay -- I knew I had to stay focused and do what I had to do on my serve, I would get chances to break him. That was the case in the third set. The few points in the tiebreakers, I was able to make him play an extra ball. That happened to be enough for today.

Q. Do you mean specifically that you returned better than him? You knew you would return better than him?

MAX MIRNYI: Well, he's got such a weird serve. It's actually not very fast speed-wise. In the match before, I played against Ljubicic. According to the speed gun, the speed of the serve wasn't that much faster. The trajectory it's coming from, it takes some time to get used to. It certainly caused me some trouble today. But I instructed myself well enough where, you know, I've made a couple returns when it mattered the most.

Q. There may not be a player on the tour who works harder than you have to get here. It's taken a while to get to the second week of a Grand Slam. Are you surprised that it's taken you this long?

MAX MIRNYI: Not really, because I just take what I get. You know, I had a good run at the US Open last year where I got to the second week. This is my second occasion being in the second week of a Grand Slam, something that I'm going to try to take advantage of, capitalize on. Again, it's not a surprise. I don't know what's out there waiting for me in the future. So I just take it the way it is. I do work hard. I like my tennis. The fact that I play both singles and doubles may be one of the reasons taking me a little bit longer. But, again, it's something that I choose to do. I'm sure doubles game helps me with my game. I don't want to take it away from me.

Q. John McEnroe said on television you're one of the outside hopes for the title. Did you know about that? What does that mean to you?

MAX MIRNYI: Well, I did hear that night show when he said that. It certainly gives you a lot of confidence when somebody of John McEnroe's stature says something like that. He's been very positive to me. He's commentated a few of my matches at the Grand Slams. I appreciate his support. But there's still a long way away from winning the title. I have to face Jonas Bjorkman in my next round opponent. That's mainly what I'm concerned about.

Q. BBC, Sue Barker and Boris Becker were quite beside themselves with your shirt. Could you comment on that?

MAX MIRNYI: Well, it's not really up to me. I'm being represented by Nike for the last six or seven years. This is what they choose for me to wear. I'm being loyal and a good client of theirs. I just do what I'm told. I like the feel of it. I guess since the Wimbledon committee has approved this outfit, it should be fine. I hope that more people like it.

Q. If you win the tournament, there will be no problem?

MAX MIRNYI: There is no problem already because, like I say, the Wimbledon committee has approved it. It should be just like any other shirt, just a different style.

Q. How do you feel about the decreasing number of serve-and-volley players?

MAX MIRNYI: Decreasing numbers?

Q. At Wimbledon especially, obviously.

MAX MIRNYI: Well, it's a sad story in a way, but it's a positive thing for me because the fewer serve and volleyers, the better for me because I become more of a unique player. I guess the fact that many tournaments have slowed their conditions with surfaces and balls, it certainly, you know, favors the back-court players. Just in general, I think players have become a lot more physical. The returning part of the game has been much more closely looked at - many more good returners than maybe there were 10 years ago. So it is becoming harder for us serve-and-volleyers to win our matches. But, again, I like my tennis. This is how I want to play. Just makes me work a little bit harder.

Q. Is it more physically demanding to play serve-and-volley tennis where you have more explosive movements coming forward, side to side, than sitting on the baseline?

MAX MIRNYI: Well, I think it is in a way, but it's something that I've been doing for so many years. In fact, this is much more energy consuming for me playing that way. If I were to be running side to side too often, this is how I drain myself. I train much more often going forward and back. This is how I want to play my tennis, approaching to the net and finishing a lot of the points at the net. It is physically tough, but this is sort of what I'm trained to do. I preserve energy that way for myself.

Q. Do you know Ivo at all?

MAX MIRNYI: My opponent?

Q. Yes.

MAX MIRNYI: Well, I've seen him around tournaments for the last two or three years because he's persistently tried to qualify at many events. Of course, for his size, it's hard not to notice a guy like that. You know, I've seen him, I remember, during the grass court seasons. He always does well here, Serbiton, Queen's, always plays qualifying at Wimbledon. You always hear these stats with so many aces. He always plays so many tiebreakers during the year. I was aware of him, but as far as seeing him play completely for the whole match, I don't think I ever have.

Q. He has a stutter.

MAX MIRNYI: That was something I was surprised about after Lleyton's match, he had to speak and say what he feel. There I notice he has speech problems.

Q. He stutters a bit, but doesn't seem to be too upset. Do the players respect that fact?

MAX MIRNYI: I don't think that's something he can change at the moment. I don't know if it's something he can get rid of. You know, he's lived with it. I'm sure he's just now more exposed being in front of the camera. I think he's dealt well enough with it. Players certainly understand this disability. I don't think he's any of a different guy than all of us.

Q. Still training at Nick's?

MAX MIRNYI: I am, yes.

Q. Boris Becker was talking on the BBC with admiration about your Yoga, fitness regime. Has it made a huge difference?

MAX MIRNYI: I come from an athletic family. Both of my parents are athletes. I was very well-educated as far as physical education is concerned. From a young age, I was told how to rest, how to relax, how to eat right. I tend to just keep on going with that. Now that I'm a professional athlete, I just try to look after myself and do what I have to do, try to listen to my body. I believe that I benefit from it, from having a disciplined way of living, looking after my body. My schedule is very enduring. I play singles and doubles. I believe that it's a big part of my career and where I am right now.

Q. How do you feel about being called The Beast?

MAX MIRNYI: I don't know. I think it's a positive thing. You know, people have something to relate to. It's, again, something that I never picked or chose myself. As long as that's how I relate to people, if they feel comfortable calling me that, there is another character out there on the tennis tour, that's fine with me.

Q. Is Nick's academy underrated? What is his best quality?

MAX MIRNYI: Well, I don't know if it's underrated. There are -- so many new things have happened to the academy right now because now it's just became a big sports academy with basketball, baseball, other sports in there. The way I look at it, it provides me with a lot of hours of tennis, outdoor tennis, any time of the year. There are always plenty of guys to practice with. Nick himself, you know, he provides suggestions here and there. Now, of course he traveling a lot less. I listen to his advice. You know, I admire what he has achieved in the sports world. You know, it's a good atmosphere being in Bradenton and training at Nick's academy.

Q. Best advice he's given you?

MAX MIRNYI: He's never discouraged me. He's always believed in me, and I appreciate that. You know, he's always been positive towards my career, towards my singles and towards my doubles career, towards my mixed doubles career with numbers of partners I've played. He's provided me a lot of positive support. Just in the tennis-related business, he's never really tried to change much of my game. That's also very important.

Q. Did you speak to Lleyton before the game about Ivo?

MAX MIRNYI: No, I didn't.

Q. You didn't think to?

MAX MIRNYI: Well, I haven't seen Lleyton. I don't know if he's still in town. I've seen a little bit of the match myself. You know, I knew what I had to do as far as my game is concerned. That's how I came into the match.

Q. Did you have an injury problem? You called for the trainer.

MAX MIRNYI: No, again, I took the advantage to just stretch out and loosen up. It was actually him calling for the trainer. He had a callous or blister, bleeding finger. I knew that we were the farthest court away from the clubhouse and it would take a while for the trainer to come out. I didn't want to sit and stiffen up.

Q. You're going to your second Grand Slam title? Didn't you win one with the -- you have a mixed doubles Grand Slam title?

MAX MIRNYI: Yeah, I have a few mixed doubles and a few doubles titles.

Q. How many would this be now?

MAX MIRNYI: I'm not sure. I think I have four. I won two US Opens, Wimbledon and US Open in mixed. I believe I'm out to win the fifth.

Q. Where do you keep the trophies?

MAX MIRNYI: I have a few houses. I spend some time in Florida, I do spend a lot of time in Belarus. Wherever there is near to the house, I bring the trophy there.

End of FastScripts….

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