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October 21, 2005

Ivan Ljubicic

MADRID, SPAIN, I. LJUBICIC/F. Gonzalez 4-6, 7-6, 6-4

THE MODERATOR: Questions for Ivan.

Q. Amazing effort. Set and a break down. Your 15th match. How did you manage to do it?

IVAN LJUBICIC: Well, I think I lost the first set and I lost the serve in the second set mainly because I played some bad shots. He was extremely defensive. That surprised me in the beginning. Then in the first set, I attack him a little bit too much on his forehand. In the second set, I lost the serve again because I missed couple approach shots. That's not very usual. I knew if he stays defensive as he was, that I'm going to have a chance, for sure. In the end, that's what happened. I think after the break back in the second set, I was -- I had the match in control. I could win the second set without tiebreak. I think had couple breakpoints there. Tiebreak was pretty clean. Third set, I had a breakpoint before breaking him. I think after that break back, I had control of the match because I kind of just stand there, I said, Listen, this is not the way I should play. This score is 4-6, Love-2, mainly because I didn't play well. Nothing to worry about. Just focus and try to play well. That's what I did, and it worked pretty good.

Q. You had a huge grin on your face at the end. Did you enjoy that recovery more than most?

IVAN LJUBICIC: Well, yeah. I mean, obviously everything, it's about Masters Cup. This one was very important match for that. That goal, it's closer and closer. It's not close, but it's closer. You know, today it was extremely important match because Fernando was six points behind me. You know, a lot of guys are still fighting for that spot. You know, every match now, the more I go on, it's more and more important, the bigger and the bigger the stakes are in there. I felt like it was quite important match to win.

Q. Do you think he was defensive for tactical reasons?

IVAN LJUBICIC: Obviously, I missed couple easy shots in the beginning. I didn't manage to do well on the approach shots in the first set and beginning of second. He probably did, you know -- he was defensive because I was missing. There's no reason for him to be aggressive. You know, once you start to play like that, it's tough to, you know, switch. I knew that, you know, even if he realized that I am starting to play well, it's going to be very difficult for him to switch and be aggressive. Again, I was not worried even if I was set and break down.

Q. I know you have a very positive attitude to your schedule. Forgive me for asking, after 15 wins in a row, what do you feel like when you wake up in the morning?

IVAN LJUBICIC: No, I mean, of this 15 matches, I beat only two times Davydenko who was better ranked than me. I feel like all these matches, I'm the favoured player, I'm the one that should win. I'm winning matches I'm supposed to win. It's not like I'm winning, you know, against Top 10 guys every day. I just feel like this year I have I think 31-3 record indoors. I feel comfortable playing indoors. I feel like there's not many guys out there who I should be afraid of. Maybe tomorrow, Ivo Karlovic or Nalbandian, they're both -- David, I lost to him last year in semis. Ivo, he's extremely difficult player to face. Tomorrow, it's not going to be easy at all. But it's just another match, another tennis match. If I can win, it's a good win, it's important win. But, you know, I'm not really thinking about the numbers because, I mean, 15, I know that maybe Muster did 40 or something. It's far, far away from something very important.

Q. You won't feel different if you have to play Ivo?

IVAN LJUBICIC: Well, for me, for the race position, it would be better if Ivo can win because before this week, David was one point in front of me. If Ivo wins, then I would be in front of him. That's important for the race. But, you know, I would be happy for Ivo if he can manage to win for two reasons now. But even if I face David, you know, I like the head-to-head matches. If he beats me and he's going to Masters Cup because he beats me, that's good enough. I'm not afraid to face him. I would like to have a chance to beat him. If I beat him, if that's something that I have to do to go to Masters Cup, I'm willing to fight for it.

End of FastScripts….

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