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May 15, 2001

Max Mirnyi

HAMBURG, M MIRNYI/G Kuerten 6-3, 3-6, 7-6(5)

ATP: Questions, please.

Q. Was this the best match you ever played?

MAX MIRNYI: Probably on clay, you know, having not won too many matches over the last three tournaments, definitely good, you know, to win a match, much less for beating Guga, so I am pretty satisfied.

Q. Have you ever served and volleyed like that on clay? I mean, that's really impressive.

MAX MIRNYI: Probably over a long period of time, no, because it was a fairly long match. I have been -- I have had some good matches on clay, but, you know, this is definitely one of the better ones for sure.

Q. Considering the fact that you haven't won many matches lately on clay, how did you feel getting into the court, playing Guga, did you really believe you could do it before?

MAX MIRNYI: Well, I definitely believed I could win. I knew certain things I needed to do in order to win that match and that is what you, you know, that is what I did today. But overall, having to play on center court, and I had a lot of people behind me today which was very nice playing in Hamburg, in Germany, and having a lot of people supporting you, it felt very special and just in front of that many people, it was nice to play good tennis.

Q. Was there a time of the match you said: After all, I can get it, that, you know --

MAX MIRNYI: I had a good feeling going into the match. The only concern I had was my foot which I injured last week in Rome, but I guess that turned out to be -- it wasn't a major injury. It was just a minor sprain. It was still a little bit in my head going into this tournament whether or not I will be able to test it to this extent. Playing on clay and beating Guga, that shows me that the foot is okay and I am ready to play farther in this tournament.

Q. You have ice on your foot. Is it for precaution or you do feel some pain?

MAX MIRNYI: That is where my minor sprain occurred last week in Rome. It was just a wet, wet surface and I took a wrong step and my foot just a little bit twisted in the ankle area, but I haven't had much injury experience, so was not sure how it is going to feel in my next match, singles match because I did play doubles yesterday and it felt good in doubles, but I knew that in singles there is much more movement. But I am glad that I won the match and it showed me that the foot is okay and -- because I did not feel the pain. I just knew that because it was taped during the match and I knew that it is taped and I was always thinking about it and kind of always listening to how it is going to respond to movement.

Q. Does this victory give you new expectations for the next couple of weeks on clay?

MAX MIRNYI: Well, it certainly raises my confidence level, but as far as any expectations, no, I don't have any expectations because, you know, every opponent is a tough opponent and it is a different match every time you step on the court. So hopefully I can produce this type of tennis time and time, over and over again and if I am able to do that, then I will win more matches. But this is how I am going to have to win matches on clay, by coming forward and it is not the easiest, you know, thing to do because you do have to get down a lot and play a lot of volleys. But I am looking forward to more matches to come because I feel good now.

Q. Your doubles partner told me, he said earlier this day that the court was very weak and the balls are very soft. How did you feel when you played kind of hard court tennis today?

MAX MIRNYI: Well, definitely the conditions are very slow, you know, I was hoping having to arrive to Hamburg on Thursday the weather has been exceptional for the last four days and then I wake up this morning and I see, you know, the trees are going like this (indicating swaying back and forth). That just gave me shivers down my spine right away because before I even got outside I got cold which definitely slows the conditions down. But I strung my rackets a little looser, but fortunately, you know, everything worked fine for me today.

Q. You said before that you knew how to play against Guga. Was it just serving to his backhand, moving him forward and making the volleys?

MAX MIRNYI: There is one thing knowing and another thing executing. So I mean, it is easy to watch matches on TV and say that is how you have to play to beat this guy. But, you know, it is not easy to be doing this time after time, over and over again in the match. But this was my plan having, you know, this information that Guga is very far behind the baseline; I knew that I have to bring him forward and I would have the best chance of winning the match there. That is what I did and I guess it paid off at the end.

Q. I noticed you always hit -- not always, but most of the time to his backhand, but he could pass it quite a lot. Do you think about changing this tactic by serving to his body or forehand much more?

MAX MIRNYI: No, during the whole time in the match, you know, being even with him I knew that I am having the right plan for the match because, you know, having 3-All in the third set is a good position. That is where I want to find myself almost in any match if I can. So knowing that it is slow here and heavy conditions I am playing against Kuerten and being 3-All, 4-All in the third set I knew that I was doing the right things and I just needed a little bit of luck and a little bit of more consistency on the breakpoints conversion and I knew that if this was going to happen towards the end I have a good chance of winning the match.

End of FastScripts....

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