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October 23, 2005

Ivan Ljubicic

MADRID, SPAIN, R. NADAL/I. Ljubicic 3-6, 4-6, 6-3, 6-4, 7-6

THE MODERATOR: Questions for Ivan.

Q. You were in control of the match, but what happened in the third set? How can you explain it? Is not normal for you to lose after being two sets up. Was it a surprise?

IVAN LJUBICIC: Well, it's not surprise. I mean, I played very good first two sets. Then at 2-1 in the third set, we played two very long games. He won both. That's where the crowd went in the court. You know, everything changes. I knew is going to be extremely difficult, and it was. I cannot say that I lost the match because I think I played as good as I can in this moment. And I think my tank was a little short today because I played so much tennis last three weeks that maybe if I was a little fresher, I would win in three. But what can you say? I mean, I'm not disappointed with my performance. Definitely one of the great matches that I think for the tournament because best-of-five to finish in a tiebreak of the fifth set, I think it's great for everyone.

Q. Rafael Nadal said that the crowd support him a lot. Do you think they were a nice crowd to you or a bit aggressive?

IVAN LJUBICIC: No, was not nice crowd for me. I mean, is Davis Cup crowd. You know, when they whistle when you miss the first serve, they whistle because you miss the serve, that's not correct. But I expect that. It's nothing wrong with that. I knew how it's going to be. The people were talking a lot about final against Ferrero and Massu, and the crowd was wild. I was expecting the same thing, you know. That's absolutely normal. I'm not saying that it would be the same in Croatia, probably not. When Moya is playing in Croatia against Croatian guy, the crowd, it's neutral. But this is a very, very warm country, very warm people. But that's the beauty of the game. That's how it should be.

Q. Your possibilities of going to Shanghai are a little less, but are you going to play more tournaments and try?

IVAN LJUBICIC: Well, we'll see. We'll see. I'm dividing No. 8 spot with Marat, who is directly in, so I'm still out. Many points I think to -- I think 47 points behind Davydenko, which is a lot. I have to play final in Bercy. So it's long way, absolutely long way. There are other people who can make points next week, and I cannot. It's not going to be easy.

Q. Marat is not playing St. Petersburg.

IVAN LJUBICIC: We're not talking about Marat because he's already in. I'm talking about other players like Puerta, Nalbandian, Gaudio, David Ferrer, all the guys who are behind me, they can go up, and I cannot. Next week, I'm talking about. I think everything is going to be decided in Paris, as every year. I think my position, it's good to fight. Why not?

Q. Were you too tired after the third set? Were you surprised the way Nadal came back? Do you think there was a plan after that or not?

IVAN LJUBICIC: Yeah, I was not tired at all. I'm tired now because probably I lost tension of the match and everything. But I was absolutely feeling good the whole match. It was not physical problem. It was not a problem at all, because if you don't expect Nadal to fight back after two sets to Love, then nobody will fight. He's very young, he's a big fighter. I knew it's going to be very difficult even after two sets to Love. That's how it was. Of course, I'm sorry that I didn't won. But it was great match. I think he deserve to win.

Q. What do you put your great level of consistency down to? You had a wonderful start to the year. Now you're having a wonderful end to the year. Why do you think that is? Is there any particular reason?

IVAN LJUBICIC: Well, for me, indoors it's much easier to play. It's much easier to keep this high level indoors than outdoors. But I played also great outdoors. It's just that during the year I had some physical problems and I had ups and downs. Well, more downs than ups in that mid-season. But I'm extremely happy the way I'm playing now. I know what I did to get here. I'm definitely not going to give up this position. I'm going to try to improve even more.

Q. Although you say it's mathematically unlikely, what would it mean to you if you were able to get to Shanghai and play the Masters?

IVAN LJUBICIC: It would be fantastic. I mean, I'm not saying more than a Grand Slam title, but close. That's fantastic honor for me. To be there, top eight guys in the world, to compete is just unbelievable. But, I mean, I'm going to fight until the last point, that's for sure. I think I showed the level of the game indoors that nobody maybe did this year. I'm looking forward for Paris, and I hope I'm going to recover my energies and give it a last try.

Q. Before this tournament, Nadal only won three matches indoor. Are you surprised about his level indoor?

IVAN LJUBICIC: No. I mean, this is not classical indoor tournament. The hall is huge. The court, it's more hard court than indoors, real indoor tournament. I think I'm absolutely not surprised. When I saw that he's going to play, I knew that it's going to be extremely difficult to beat him on this court because the ball is bouncing very high, it's very difficult to control. He has huge topspin. I don't think it's going to be last tournament he won indoors.

Q. You played a lot these last weeks. You said you can't improve your ranking points. Are you playing Lyon or do you need some rest now?

IVAN LJUBICIC: I'm going to go to Lyon. I'm going to see how I'm going to feel tomorrow, after tomorrow. If I'm healthy, if I'm fresh, I'm going to definitely play.

Q. Did you feel that you got sucked into longer rallies as the match went on?

IVAN LJUBICIC: Well, I don't know. Maybe end of the third and fourth set, but definitely not in the fifth. I think in the fifth I played my game. It's just that, you know, after that break in the third set, he started to believe, and the crowd went in. I don't think it's really -- I mean, also against Ferrero in Vienna, when you play best-of-five match, with my game, I know my game is strong first two sets, whatever. As long as I have huge energy, my shots are powerful and really dangerous. The more the match goes on, it's more and more difficult. I was really surprised the way he was running in the end of the match because it was unbelievable, because people were telling me like if you can bring him to a long match, you have good chance because he has problem knees, he is not fit, over here, over there. But he was running much, much better in the fifth than this the first. You know, I don't think it's a problem because I was hitting everything I could hit. You know, if he's not giving me the chance to hit, of course, I have to go in long rallies.

Q. You mentioned the crowd. Did you mention the crowd to the umpire at all?

IVAN LJUBICIC: Well, I asked him couple times because they were a little loud during the point. That's bothering me really a lot. But, I mean, what can you say? You miss the first serve, they whistle. That's just not correct. I mean, especially this umpire is not going to do anything for sure.

Q. Do you feel your game can still improve, that next year you can do even greater things?

IVAN LJUBICIC: I think it can improve a lot because I know my weaknesses. I'm not going to talk about them, but I know what I can improve, how I can be better player.

End of FastScripts….

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