(NEW) Roland Garros 2002 - match with Clement
U.S. Open 2001
Eurosport Chat
Roland Garros, 2001 - Final
Roland Garros, 2001 - Semifinal
Roland Garros, 2001 - Quarterfinal
Roland Garros, 2001 - Third round
Ericsson Open - 2001
Indian Wells - 2001

Roland Garros - the AMAZING match again Arnaud Clemet...when we all experienced what a heart attack is like!!

A. CORRETJA/A. Clement 6-1, 6-2, 4-6, 5-7, 8-6

Q. How do you feel?
ALEX CORRETJA: How do I feel? I feel happy. I feel proud. But I feel so tired.

Q. What was the best bit about the match, apart from the end?
ALEX CORRETJA: Well, the end is the most important thing. That's the only reason that we play: to win the last point. Unfortunately, I came in trouble - still I don't know why - in the third set and in the fourth. But somehow I came through in the fifth, and that's the most important thing.

Q. Did you think at any point that you wouldn't win?
ALEX CORRETJA: Well, of course. When I saw he was going to volley one meter from the net, I thought it was over, of course. But, you know, I think it was like kind of a miracle because it wasn't normal that he couldn't put away that volley.

Q. Do you feel lucky?
ALEX CORRETJA: I don't feel lucky. I feel like I believed in myself till the end. And, of course, you need some luck sometimes. Today probably I was not too smart to go to the fifth set. And then maybe at some stage I believe in myself till the end, and that's why I won.

Q. How about playing against the crowd, as well. It was an extremely big part of the match. I was up in the press box. It seemed to me that the press center closed down while this match was on. Seemed to be an awful lot of interest in the match. Obviously, just looking, the whole crowd was there cheering every point. How do you feel when you're down there trying to win the match?
ALEX CORRETJA: The crowd, I think, is getting involved probably in the third set or something when they saw Arnaud start to play better. I think in the fifth, they were pretty good for both players. Of course, they went more with Arnaud. But I think they were nice. They were better than last year in the final, and I play against a French guy. So I think it was good atmosphere. At the end they were pretty nice with me, too. I feel good with them.

MODERATOR: Questions in Spanish, please.

Q. What do you think happened to you this time around?
ALEX CORRETJA: Well, things don't really happen just because they do. It isn't something that comes just from one day to the next or one week to the next or one month to the next. In all the tournaments you want to play well, it's good to come out ahead. But at times your doubts continue to bother you. And even at some point when I was winning, 6-2, I didn't really feel well. I felt that my game was not really what it should have been. When I had played in different courts, as I have done in the past couple days, well, it's a different ballgame when you come to the main court. There's a strange sensation to all this. I think what happened here is that he didn't play well the first two sets. Perhaps I would have taken advantage of this and carried the game in three sets. But instead of feeling happy, I was trying to challenge myself by saying, "You've won two sets. To win today in three sets, there's practically no change."I practically felt there had been nothing to win against. I wasn't really playing well in the beginning. And then at the end, you have all kinds of different shots. When you come out ahead in a game such as this, you feel happy - happy to have won, but I should never have come to this situation. The first thing is to have been able to come out on top, because if I had lost, I would really wonder what was wrong with me, given the type of match this was.

Q. 5-4, you were serving. You could have won at that point in four sets. Then you had to go into a fifth set. You had to fight all the way through.
ALEX CORRETJA: Yes, this is really striking. The third set I should not have lost because he was really up to the game. I allowed him to come back to the game. During the fourth set, I had a break. When I was 5-4, the first serve was called as a double-fault. The next shot I played well. Then I had a serve that they called out. I thought it was in. So these were all small things. But these small things count in a day such as this. I don't really know what this is all about. This is not something that comes from one day to the next. Being able to win, well, this is really a miracle. Given the way the fifth set went, if you tell me that somebody was able to win that last set with the kind of volleying that the opponent had, I wouldn't believe it. I would think this was utterly impossible. Of course, some luck had to come my way. The thing is that in other matches, even if I feel nervous, I don't feel as uncomfortable as I felt today - perhaps not as much as my opponent. As much as I can play with mistakes, at the end I came out on top, I was able to win.

Q. Do you believe in miracles?
ALEX CORRETJA: Yes, you have to believe in whatever you believe in - whether it helps you or not, I don't know (smiling).

Q. Last year, you played Mariano Zabaleta. You're going to face him the next time around. This was a very hard fight last time. You reached the semifinals.
ALEX CORRETJA: Well, everybody is having a hard time. If you look at things clearly, you see the results for Sanguinetti, you didn't expect this. Safin played -- had to play five sets. Everybody has had to go beyond their endurance. This is really wild, utterly wild. If you're up in the clouds and you want to reach paradise, well, that's difficult to achieve. But what can you say? I was relaxed. I was feeling well. I was having easy games so far. But then I'll have to take it in stride. But if I have a few matches like this one, I will truly die. I was watching Moya play. I was saying to myself, if you ask me who my favorite is, I thought Moya was playing beautifully. He has such strength. Then suddenly I ask, "Who won?" They say, "Canas." I didn't expect this. So everything is difficult. Ask France about the football results, but that's the way it is. Life has become a jungle. One doesn't really understand. Whoever doesn't fight, you can't expect anything to come without fighting very hard for it.

Q. When you speak about your doubts in being able to finish the game, what are you referring to?
ALEX CORRETJA: The fact that I didn't play too many matches during recent months; the fact that I didn't have enough experience this year. If you come with 15 or 20 matches in the year and not more, and separate the ones from the other, this is the first time I won three sets in the same match.

Q. Is your game weak somewhere along the line? Did you notice this in some part of your game?
ALEX CORRETJA: No, no. I think I'm hitting my shots as I should. My serve is all right. But apparently the results are not always that telling. So it's not that I doubt myself when I'm out there. It's just that you have certain doubts when you've had a season such as the one I've had this year.

Q. The fact that you are not used to this type of match and these statistics, does one have time to feel afraid about the consequences and about what it means from a psychological point of view for the rest of the season, the fact that your ranking would go down? Does this go through your head when you're out there playing?
ALEX CORRETJA: No. A lower ranking, this doesn't really worry me. I can't really tell myself any lies about this. The ranking is what it should be. But ask Clement how he's going to face the fact that he lost this match. There was one match that you saw in Barcelona that really left a bad sensation with me. I had a hard time recovering from it. This was another match of this nature that if I would have lost and had to recover from, it would have been very difficult. Luckily, I won. But from this point on, whether I lose or win in this tournament, in any case I think that I will have to, with the people that surround me, think of what we want to get from this season. The thing is that I can't continue to play as I've done in recent matches - almost as if I didn't care.

Q. Now you face Zabaleta.
ALEX CORRETJA: Yes, this is going to be a very hard match, no doubt. He knows how I play. I know how he plays. It's not going to be easy. In the final rounds, my results may help. But, of course, if he dominates the match, I won't be able to do anything in the game. I need to have an aggressive game. I have to believe in myself till the end because anything can happen.

Q. After this last match in the "the jungle," how does clay seem to you?
ALEX CORRETJA: Well, I have the taste of clay in my mouth. I told myself, "This is an awful taste." What I wanted was to kiss the clay court. Since I didn't kiss anybody, the best thing I could do was to kiss the court (smiling). If I could have reached God, I would have kissed God himself.
(from the Roland Garros website 2002)

U.S. Open 2001 - INTERVIEW
A. RODDICK/A. Corretja
6-4, 6-2, 6-2

Q. Did you shave your beard since the match?
ALEX CORRETJA: Two minutes ago, yeah, in the shower.

Q. Why?
ALEX CORRETJA: Because probably I was boring (sic). I saw my face on the mirror and I decided to shave it. I didn't like myself.

Q. Were you surprised at how difficult it was for you to control him with your backhand?
ALEX CORRETJA: No. I was surprised by the fact that I didn't move well and I was surprised how well I was playing last couple of days, how much my level of game dropped today. That's the thing that impresses me more than the fact that he was playing well. I think he was doing his match, but he didn't need to do anything special to beat me.

Q. It wasn't the way he was serving, the way he was hitting that put you off your game?
ALEX CORRETJA: No, no. I mean, I give him all the credit. The guy was playing good tennis, serving well, hitting good forehands.
But I'm saying that on the court, I just felt lost, you know, completely out of rhythm, out of situation. Because he was playing well, that's why probably he beat me so easy. If he would play bad, maybe I would have my chance.

Q. The errors, overrule on an ace, he gets a let cord that flops over for a point, no way to make a play. I sensed that you were ready to bring something there on the court. You seemed to be under control emotionally.
ALEX CORRETJA: No, no, I think I was just feeling down. I mean, no reason why to break anything when you don't have any chance to win. My perspective of the game, from the baseline, I thought I was going to be better than him, and I wasn't. I think I was going to have a lot of problems to return his serve. I think I returned pretty well his first serve. Everything in the opposite, you know.
From my point of view, I played pretty bad, even if he played good tennis, and I give him all the good credit because he's a good player, he's going to be good, he's already good, he has good groundstrokes, tremendous serve. But besides that, if I feel about myself, I feel really disappointed by the way I play, especially because I been playing well the last two days against two guys that were pretty dangerous, they played pretty fast. I adjust my game pretty well. There was no reason to play bad. I just cannot find any reason why I didn't feel good on the court.

Q. Did you feel helpless out there?
ALEX CORRETJA: What is "helpless"?

Q. Unable to do anything.
ALEX CORRETJA: Not because he was playing unbelievable. As I said, at the end he was serving well, but he didn't serve as well at the beginning. I broke him back. I had 15-40 to go 5-3 and serve for the set.
Still, even in that moment, I didn't feel like really concentrated, really focused because, as you saw, I make easy mistake with my backhand. Like I wanted to go down the line. It didn't make any reason to go there. I could play cross-court and have the point again because I came from a lob, so I recovered that point.
But I think mentally I wasn't too concentrate. I think I was a little lost on the court. It was the first time I play there since, I don't know, second time in my life, first time during the day. I didn't feel good. I was just kind of trying to find my position, and I never found it.

Q. Did you ever see him play before?
ALEX CORRETJA: Yes. I saw him play a couple of times. Saw him play at the French, a little bit these days.

Q. Is he a better player than you thought he was?
ALEX CORRETJA: No, he's a really good player. I mean, I didn't expect to find a guy like an easy match, you know. But I was expecting much more from myself. That's the only point.

Q. When you talk about all the good things he does, even with that, that he be breezing through this tournament at this age?
ALEX CORRETJA: I don't know who he's playing now. Who does he face?

Q. Juan Carlos or Robredo.
ALEX CORRETJA: Well, I think by the way he plays, if Ferrero play him, I give him a good chance to beat him, Ferrero, because he's a guy, pretty aggressive, he can return well. But he can lose. As I said, he's a good player. He's a really good player. I cannot say anything else. I mean, I don't know how good he is because he has to show if he can win a Slam or not.
But why not? He's good. He wants to win it. He feels like on fire. He's been winning a lot of matches. He's been winning easy matches, and that's good. I think if I would be him, I would think it's a really good win to beat me 6-4, 6-2, 6-2 here, especially by the way I was playing. But the way I played, it's pretty terrible for my part.

Q. You're a good runner. Maybe Juan Carlos is a little better runner, as well as being younger. Could that speed make the difference in the match?
ALEX CORRETJA: Either Juan Carlos or Robredo, they have to play their game, forget about his game. Probably I was thinking too much about his serve before the match. Once I get on court, I think I was returning pretty well, but I was probably also lost that I had to serve myself. That's why he broke me like twice in the first set and again in the second set at the beginning. So I wasn't as focused as the other days because they just broke me once in two matches.
I tell you, Golmard, Sluiter, they are not known names, but they return pretty well. I was serving well and feeling pretty sharp. But today I wasn't like that. Maybe because he forced me to play worst, that's probably an issue.
But, as I said, my feelings weren't too good on the court.

Q. Is that Courtney quicker than the others?
ALEX CORRETJA: Well, when he serve 140, you feel like it's pretty fast (smiling).

Q. It just looks quicker.
ALEX CORRETJA: Well, I mean, is not too slow. But I don't think it's quicker than the other ones. I believe not. It's difficult to compare, as you know. I think it's okay. Of course, it's not Barcelona.

FastScripts (by ASAP Sports)

Chat with Eurosport
Read the highlights from Alex's chat on Eurosport from May 22,2001 (English/Spanish)


Q. Is what you're going through right now the toughest side of tennis, having lost the second time in the final here?
ALEX CORRETJA: No. I mean, there are moments in your career that are much worse than losing a Grand Slam final, of course. It is clear that when you reach the final, you want to win. When you are up in the final, you feel a chance like to still able to win the tournament.
But then, of course, when you lose, you don't feel too happy, you know. Even if it's on the final today, it's a moment where you feel like you feel a little down when you lose. But it's not the toughest moment.
I mean, I've been feeling much worse before when I was playing terrible, you know. I don't have the feeling that I played terrible today.

Q. After you lose to Kuerten, what do you feel?

Q. How do you feel now? For the fifth time, you lose to him.
ALEX CORRETJA: Well, as I said, how can I feel after I lost the French Open final? At this moment, I don't feel too happy. Maybe afterwards when I will see that I'm in a great situation again, you know, I'm back in Top 10, I play another Grand Slam final.
I think when he play the way he plays, or the way he's been playing last two sets, it's pretty difficult to beat him.
I think I still have the chance, even when I lost the third set -- the second set. But once I lost the third set, I lost my focus, I lost my game, I lost my north. I wasn't feeling too well because I knew that he was playing better, and every time it was difficult and difficult.
So I think I kind of lost my strategy.

Q. Was there a particular point at which you suddenly felt the momentum swing? As you say, you felt okay after losing the third set. But had --?
ALEX CORRETJA: The second set I was meaning, sorry.

Q. Was there a point towards the end of that second set where, in hindsight, you would say the match decisively swung?
ALEX CORRETJA: Yeah, I think for the first two hours, the match was pretty even. When I won the first set, I was pretty pumped. Then I broke him immediately. I think I had good chance there.
But there was a moment when he start to serve unbelievable. His serve was pretty good, pretty high percentage, lot of winners. And he save that tough moments with his serve.
Even that, we get to a tough second set. I had some breakpoint opportunities, especially one at 5-All where I think I played the point pretty well, but then I missed a backhand down the line. I think it was good play from my part.
Then afterwards, he played like two shots over the net, you know. He was down, he was feeling maybe a little pressure because he was seeing that maybe I could serve for the second set. He just came for that game. He start to feel more fresh. With 6-5, he was hitting the ball pretty hard. He play a really good game. From that point on, I think he start to realize that he had the chance to beat me.
Even that again in the third set, first game I have breakpoint opportunity. 4-2, breakpoint opportunity. I didn't convert them. I think it make a big difference to make a comeback in the third set and to make it tougher for him.
But since I lost the third set, I think everything went completely wrong for me, completely in the opposite, and he was much better than me, at least in the fourth set, of course.
I think until the third set, everything it went even, even if he was in front of the score. But once we start the fourth set, I didn't feel with a lot of power, especially mentally, no?

Q. I know it's the same for both of you, but how difficult were conditions with the wind out there?

ALEX CORRETJA: Well, it's a pity that we have to play a Grand Slam final with that conditions because I think we don't like to play that way. But we had to handle it. If it's wind, it's for both. It's terrible, but we make some mistakes that we shouldn't make them. But because of the wind, it was difficult to control the ball. We were like hitting the ball maybe slower than usual.
But then at the end, it wasn't that bad. I think it was not the key of the match.

Q. He's now won three French Opens. Kafelnikov said a couple of days ago that to be considered with the caliber of players that have won three, including people like Lendl, Guga still needs to show that he can win in another major. What are your thoughts about that?
ALEX CORRETJA: Well, it's a win in Lisbon? It's not another major? To be No. 1, it's not another major? I think he show many things already. Winning three titles, even if they are on clay, what's the problem? I mean, I would love to be in his situation and some people ask me like I have to show some things, you know.
I think on clay, he show that he's the best. He show already, you know, on fast surface like he did in Lisbon last year when he won the Masters Cup, that he's able to play well anywhere. What's the meaning?
He have to show that he can win the Australian Open or US Open? He doesn't need to show anything. He has to feel happy what he achieve already.
But, of course, he can go for more because he can play anywhere.

Q. What's next for you, and whether that's dependent on announcements regarding the seedings at Wimbledon?
ALEX CORRETJA: Yeah, probably. I mean, I like to see what they do this year, and then I will take a decision. Of course, I haven't the time yet to think about it. But it's going to be a decision after they make their decision first. I would like to see how they manage everything this year.

Q. Is it fair to say that they would have to do the seedings in accordance with the rankings for you to be there?
ALEX CORRETJA: I don't know. I already said many times what I think about the situation. They know my opinion. Everybody knows my opinion. I will take a decision afterwards.

FastScripts by ASAP Sports...

Interview after the Grosjean (semifinal) match

Q. Pretty impressive performance. Your thoughts.
ALEX CORRETJA: Great feelings. It's great to be back again in a Grand Slam final, here in Paris. I think it's been great week for me - well, last two weeks. I didn't drop a set yet since the first day. It means that probably I'm playing much better than I even imagined when I came here.

Q. Must give you a lot of confidence going into the final against Guga.
ALEX CORRETJA: Yeah, of course. It's nice to see I won straight sets, even if we got to the breaker in the first one. I came back strong in the second set after I was down 3-Love.
Going into the finals, it's always nice to see that you don't feel exhausted or physically or mentally too tired. It's nice to see I have one more day to recover and then to prepare the big final.

Q. You struggled against him in the last three or four matches. What do you think about it, turning it around on Sunday?
ALEX CORRETJA: That was in Rome. Always in Rome. This is Roland Garros. I hope it's going to be different story.
It is clear that last times he beat me, semifinals in Rome, semifinals in Rome, quarterfinals in Rome. This time I am pretty proud we are in Paris.

Q. What do you think made the difference today? ALEX CORRETJA: Today?

Q. Yes.
ALEX CORRETJA: Well, I think he had some chances in the first set when he was up a break, both times. He just lost the serve right away. Then in the tiebreak, I think I played pretty well. Maybe he make some mistakes.
After he lost the first set, I think he came down a little bit. He wasn't maybe too sure to be in four sets or even five sets. I think afterwards I play a little deeper, move him a little more, and he start to make more mistakes.
Maybe if he would have won the first set, he would feel much more confidence. Since he didn't, he didn't feel well on the court.
I think I had the control of the situation, even if I was a little down in second set.

Q. How do you explain what happened in the second set? You were 3-Love down then, five games in a row.
ALEX CORRETJA: There some up and downs during the matches. I think after the tiebreak, I had some opportunities in the first game. I didn't convert them. He broke me. I was kind of losing a little bit my focus in the third game.
But then afterwards, I came strongly. I came playing pretty well. I came back pretty nice.

Q. You've never played against Sebastien before. It was like you always knew where he was going to play. He never surprised you today?
ALEX CORRETJA: No, no. He surprised me many times. I think he played really good shots. But it wasn't easy, you know, for him also because he has to play perfect tennis maybe to beat me. I was trying to read the game. But it's nothing that I was having videos of Sebastien the whole night, nothing special. It was just that I was really focused, really concentrate, and maybe I was moving pretty well on the court. It was pretty important for me.

Q. Throwing you forward to Wimbledon for a second, but both Guga and Juan Carlos came in after their matches today and indicated -- certainly Guga, doesn't look like he's going to Wimbledon, and Juan Carlos says he's waiting to see what the seedings are. If they don't seed according to the rankings, he's unlikely to go. Have you thought any more about it yet?
ALEX CORRETJA: Well, I said the other day that I didn't think about Wimbledon because it's pretty important for me to be here in the finals. I was semifinals today. Once I finish this tournament, I will take a decision. But I would love to play in Wimbledon. I mean, no reason why not to play. But I need to see also what do they do with the seeds and all the situation there.
I think it would be nice for my career to can play on grass, as well.

Q. In '98, you had to play Carlos, obviously a compatriot and friend. How much easier will it be going into another final playing somebody from a different country?
ALEX CORRETJA: It is different, of course. At that time it was my first final, against a friend. Maybe I wasn't too focused on that match, maybe thinking that it was the same like to win or to lose. But after two days, I realized how bad it was losing that because it's a big difference, not to win, losing the final.
I think this time it's a little bit different. I'm going to play a Brazilian guy. If I would have to play Juan Carlos, I would be the same focus, so it's not going to change anything.
But for sure, for the first time it was difficult for me to concentrate. But then right now, it wouldn't be the same. There's no any reason like to think I'm more concentrate because I will have to play Guga or if I were to play Juan Carlos. For me it's the same.

Q. Did you see any of Juan Carlos' match against Guga today? If so, what did you think of Guga's form?
ALEX CORRETJA: I watched a little bit, not all of it. I didn't want to watch the whole match. I was listening to a little music. I follow a little bit.
I think Guga, it seems like he found himself again on the court. He was hitting pretty well from both sides, serving well, having the control of the match, of the situation. I don't know about Juan Carlos, if he felt okay on the court or not, like playing well or not, because I haven't spoke with him. But it seems like Guga was playing pretty well, pretty impressive.

Q. In '97 you overruled a line call in your favor. You lost the match against Dewulf. If the same thing happened in the final on Sunday, would you still overrule the call?
ALEX CORRETJA: If I see the ball on the line, I would give the ball to the opponent, that's for sure, no matter if it's the final or first round. The main thing, when you go and check the mark, you see is touching the line, there's no reason to say that the ball is out.
I've been playing on clay for many years. Most of the time I know if the ball is good or not. If it's pretty close call, maybe I like the chair umpire to take the decision.

Q. You talked to the French TV about being in the final again, that it proves to yourself that your career is still alive, you're still a good player. Did you doubt a lot about your future?
ALEX CORRETJA: No. Now I have to feel like proud that I'm on the final. I need to concentrate whenever I finish, tomorrow, whatever, to focus again on the final.
What I was trying to say, it's great for me to realize I was finalist in '98, we are still 2001, and I'm again in another big final, able to be again Top 10, you know, feeling like I'm playing pretty good tennis, to prove myself that it's good and it's worth it what I'm doing, you know, traveling all around, practicing, making all the efforts.
If I would not have the chance to be on this moment, maybe it would be tough for me to continue. It's nice to see that I'm able to be there again.

Q. The beginning of the year was not easy for you. When do you think your confidence began to come back?
ALEX CORRETJA: Two hours ago maybe (smiling).

Interview after the Federer (quarter-final) match

ALEX CORRETJA: Sorry it took a while. It was pretty late, so I wanted to stretch, massage, have lunch. That's why I took longer than usual. I hope you understand me.

Q. At the end of the match, you said a big, "Vamos," like you were really freed from this match. Was it really important to finish the match at this moment?
ALEX CORRETJA: I mean, if I don't do this when I reach the semifinals of a Grand Slams, when am I going to do it? I wasn't afraid. I had control of the match I think from the very beginning.
Sometimes, you know, you win matches, and you don't feel like you are pump. Then you realize how difficult is to win matches, so it's good that you show some emotions, but nothing special.

Q. Not the fact to go to a semifinal for the second time? Quarterfinal was a big barrier for you, a limit? ALEX CORRETJA: Well, when you play, you try to do your best. Sometimes you play better, sometimes you play worst (sic). When you are in quarterfinals, you have to try to play the same tennis, try to play your game.
Today I think I did it. I won. That's the most important thing.

Q. What can stop you to a final victory here in Roland Garros?
ALEX CORRETJA: Well, it could stop me the opponent that I will have on Friday. That's the only thing. I mean, that's clear that when you are in semifinals, you can go to the final, you can lose.
I think I've been playing pretty well. Last two days I think I play pretty good tennis. Today I play even better. Federer is a great opponent, great player, great serve, good forehand, difficult slice. I think it was pretty good performance. Even again, I won straight sets. I think I cannot complain with anything today.

Q. Can I ask you if you've made a decision yet about playing at Wimbledon? ALEX CORRETJA: Not yet.

Q. What will your decision be based on?
ALEX CORRETJA: I have to finish here and then I will focus on next part of the season.
But when we start the season, we said we going to play through French Open, and then we will see what do we do afterwards. I didn't take the decision yet.

Q. Tim Phillips is here again today. Have you had any more discussions with him about it?
ALEX CORRETJA: No. Since Monte-Carlo, I haven't had any conversation with him. But I think it's not the right moment right now, I mean, to go and talk about Wimbledon. They know my opinion already. I will have a decision after this tournament, for sure.

Q. If you decide not to play because of their seeding arrangements, do you expect the other Spanish players to follow you?
ALEX CORRETJA: I don't know. I cannot talk about Wimbledon right now. I mean, I said I didn't take a decision. If you ask me, "If you take the decision not to do it," you're asking me to say if I take a decision - and I didn't yet.
I will see how it goes. Of course, I would like to play Wimbledon, but I have to see how it goes, how everything is based on the tournament.

Q. How confident are you feeling about getting through to the final and winning the final this time?
ALEX CORRETJA: I am pretty happy the way I've been playing, especially last two days. Of course, it's always nice to see that you won four matches in straight sets, you know. I know I have to stay a long time on the court, even if it's three sets. But you cannot expect easy matches.
So everything is struggling. You know, it's not easy to reach semifinals of a Grand Slam. It's my second time. I've been in quarters for four or five times. But that's again the second time I've been in the semifinals.
I am confidence, but I not look forward to that. I'm going to do the same things: tomorrow practice, and then try to play my best on Friday to see if I can beat my opponent.

Q. Do you watch on TV the scene when Mr. Clinton entered the stadium? What's your comment about that?
ALEX CORRETJA: Well, I saw something this morning already when some people were looking at the locker room, many things. I was kind of thinking that some important guy will come - more important than a tennis player. Usually when you get to the locker room, you don't see guys looking at the garbage and all this stuff, you know.
But today was the day. It's good to see that they show some interest in tennis, all these guys. I think he has a lot of charisma.

Q. What do you think that Agassi directly stopped playing after he arrived?
ALEX CORRETJA: That I don't know. That i don't comment. I couldn't follow the match. I was just doing my physical condition, then stretch, relax. Everything, it went too fast on the match. I didn't know about it.

FastScripts by ASAP Sports...

Alex has just defeated Magnus Larsson

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. You've been struggling a bit. Is everything coming together now; you're feeling like you're hitting the ball like you should?

ALEX CORRETJA: Well, at least I'm hitting the ball enough to win these days. And I've been struggling a little bit, but not on my game - more in my feelings on the court. I didn't move as aggressive as I should.
Right now I feel like I'm doing much better, and it's nice to see that I won just straight sets today again, playing better game and more aggressive and, of course, moving better on the court and with more mentality.

Q. Was it lack of motivation that gave you your problems? What was the root of your problem, the cause of your problem?

ALEX CORRETJA: Well, you know, it's not easy for us to play every week, every year and every month. And, of course, I had a pretty nice year last year. We finished pretty late. Then afterwards I had some time off, and wasn't easy for me to come back as aggressive as I was before or as ambitious. And I wasn't playing bad, but maybe mentally I wasn't too fresh, you know. I was still a little bit tired and I didn't feel like I was moving well on the court, because mentally I was a little tired.
So it's good to see that I didn't play too many matches before here and I play enough to come here and play pretty well, but not too long like to feel, like, tired.

Q. Do you feel like you have to be even fresher or stronger mentally to succeed on clay than on other surfaces?

ALEX CORRETJA: Yes. I mean, on clay you need to be pretty strong physically and mentally, and, you know, matches can last like for a while and you gonna be out there maybe for four hours. And especially first days, maybe you don't feel as well. Like it happens to me, first day with Zabaleta, struggling at the beginning, didn't feel my rhythm. Then afterwards I start to feel much better. Then I practice a little bit. I didn't ask for too much to myself because coming up here, I play pretty well last week in Dusseldorf, but nothing else. So the whole year for me was kind of weird, because I didn't play too well in Monte-Carlo, Hamburg or Rome, and I came here just pretty relaxed and not putting too much pressure to myself.

Q. What do you think when you see the way a Sampras and even Rusedski and Henman, who are both out now as well, those two guys worked very hard to try to get themselves in shape for this event and stuff? Do you think their problems are that they are more attacking players on this surface, do you think it's more a mental or physical, technical problem?

ALEX CORRETJA: They need to spend a lot of time on clay, of course. They improve their games. I think Henman was playing pretty nice tennis on clay. He can really play well. And Rusedski and Sampras, sort of the same thing.
But they spend maybe four weeks on clay through the whole year. We spend maybe 30 weeks on hardcourts, so that's why we improve our game on hardcourts. But they need to improve their games on clay. They just play four tournaments and it's over. So maybe for them it's unnecessary to spend so much time on clay, you know, because they can be on the top of their game, even if they don't play well on clay.
Of course, when you see the guys that they have really good level and they're pretty high, good players, they can play everywhere, as they show. Henman was playing really nice tennis. Maybe Rusedski and Sampras didn't play that much. Sampras played two or three tournaments. Maybe it's not enough to be at his best.

Q. Mental or physical reasons?

ALEX CORRETJA: It's both. I mean, mentally and physically, it's a combination. You need to spend a lot of time on clay to understand what clay means, and it means sacrifice, you know, it means patience, and it means at the same time you got to try your best, but you got to know that the ball can come millions of times and you got to be ready for that.

Q. Could you talk a little bit about the camaraderie amongst the Spanish players? The final against Carlos, much was made of your great friendship with him. Is that friendship even stronger now in the wake of the Davis Cup success?

ALEX CORRETJA: It's been great for us because I think we create a good atmosphere, and we all go together. But at the same time, we understand that we are singles and we are individuals. We play our game, and we try to do our job, and of course if you can help the young guys, you try to do it.
But it's nothing that you just go and say, "Okay, we just go together for dinner every night," or we just practice together, it's nothing like that. We bring something good, and we bring something good to Spanish tennis. I think with the Davis Cup we even created better atmosphere.

Q. Your next match is obviously against Fabrice. Do you have any sort of rivalry between France and Spain, whether that adds to the match that will be played?

ALEX CORRETJA: No, I mean, it's not any rivalry between the French and Spain, at least between Fabrice and myself I would say. I would say that we are good friends. We're playing with the same coach. So we need to be pretty close each other. Still, I want to beat him on Monday, of course.

Q. Fabrice has met a couple of the big-hitters in the last two rounds. He's going to find it very different against you - maybe difficult as well. What sort of tactical change will he have to make to face you?

ALEX CORRETJA: Well, I mean, that's a nice question. I'm not going to tell him the tactic to beat me, of course. He knows how I play, I know how the way he plays.
I can say for sure it's gonna be tough for both because we kind of play from the baseline most of the time, we like to play with a lot of topspin, he likes to mix it up with some drop shots and some slices, and it's not gonna be easy.
Maybe these days he was used to play like a guy hitting harder and maybe not with that much topspin, and it's gonna be different, of course. I'm not gonna switch my game in 24 hours, so I'm gonna try to play the same way I've been playing to him last few times. And for me, was pretty successful. But we never played on Grand Slam, we never play five sets here at the French, and for sure he's pretty pumped and he's motivated and he's not gonna be easy.
But as we are, I'm pretty happy about the way this week, it come through actually.

Q. Alex, the fact that you've been winning over Fabrice a number of times is probably value added for this match. He managed against Safin quite well. Are you going to use this result for this match?

ALEX CORRETJA: No, no. It's clear that when you face a guy that you beat him many times, you feel confidence. But every time it's different. And he, of course, beat Safin many times - and he beat him again.
So, of course, I hope that the same way he beat Safin again I'm gonna beat Santoro again. But there is nothing you can do different. You just have to follow your routine, try to play your game, and as I said, I think my game is pretty successful.
But you have to be mentally and physically prepared to do it, and I've been practicing pretty well so far. But I didn't play really too competitive like when I was playing before last week. So that's why it makes a little bit difference now.

Q. Wimbledon are looking to resolve their seedings issue by the end of this French Open. I just wondered whether any developments had taken place from where you stand and whether your stance on that issue had changed at all?

ALEX CORRETJA: Well, I had a nice conversation with Tim Phillips. I told him my point of view. Of course, I think everybody knows what's my point of view. I told him if we've been playing for 52 weeks and everybody respect the ranking, they should respect the ranking as well, especially because now your ranking is based on hardcourts, clay, indoors and grass. So you cannot say you are just a clay court player, like before maybe you can win 14 tournaments on clay and put it all in your computer. Right now it's not like that.
So I wanted to see what they gonna do. Then afterwards I will take a decision. But I hope they will do something good for the players, and they will respect at the end the game and their job.

Q. For you to take part, it would depend on them going with the rankings?

ALEX CORRETJA: Well, I don't know yet. I hope I'm gonna be able to be seeded by ranking, because I need -- I still need to win some matches here to improve my ranking. Then we will see if they put me as a seeded or not.
But I didn't take the decision yet.

FastScripts by ASAP Sports...

March 24, 2001

6-7, 6-3, 6-3

THE MODERATOR: Questions first in English.
Q. Alex, can you say that the injury didn't in any way affect your ability to play your game today or did it? ALEX CORRETJA: Not today. Maybe the other days where I didn't practice as well as I want. But since last Wednesday already I've been practicing pretty well. So I had enough time to get ready and unfortunately this happen. But right now everything, it's okay.

Q. No problem tossing the ball?
ALEX CORRETJA: No, no, no. Not anymore. Not even burning, so it's okay.

Q. Is Gianluca one of those players you hate to play because you know he's just going to drive you crazy?
ALEX CORRETJA: Well, I always beat him, so I beat him like four times and we play four times. So I know every time we play it's kind of a strange match, and different situation than you are used to. But of course I didn't play my best today but it was good to come through and see that -- spend some time on the court and getting ready again. You know, I feel like I'm getting into the year already again. So I was little bit off, you know. I had some time off and right now I didn't feel at my best since last week, you know, and I needed to play some more matches. I don't feel like I'm 100 percent in tennis way.

Q. The way he plays, can he make you look bad even though you're playing well?
ALEX CORRETJA: Sometimes, yes. Of course. Because it looks like he is doing nothing with the ball, you know, no pace, no passion. I mean, nothing. But of course you have to beat him, you have to give him credit. The way he plays, it's difficult these days. And still the guy is 40 in the world or something, with 35 years old. So it seems like he's a great contender.

Q. How good will you be when you're 35 years old?
ALEX CORRETJA: I hope I'm gonna be good father, but nearly sure I'm not going to be a tennis player.
ASAP Sports

March 11, 2001

An interview with: ALEX CORRETJA
MODERATOR: Alex returns as defending champion. This year he missed the first month of the year after his Davis Cup title in December. He's back with us here at Indian Wells. First question, please.

Q. How do you feel about the way you're playing coming into this event?
ALEX CORRETJA: Well, of course, I need some more matches to feel better on the court. But the only way to do it is just winning, practicing, trying to give hundred percent in every aspect of the game. Right now, of course, I'm not hundred percent, but maybe if I can go and play some more matches, I will be. So I need to try to pass through the first couple of rounds and then probably I will feel better on the court because I haven't played much this year. Of course, you need to play matches to feel better on the court.

Q. Do you wish they would have left the court alone rather than making it purple, seeing that you won last year?
ALEX CORRETJA: Well, I wish to see the same conditions, yeah. There are a little different conditions here this year. I think it's a little slower. The ball, it doesn't fly as much as before. Maybe before you didn't have the control of the ball as much as now, so you can hit the ball harder than before. But it's a pretty nice courts anyway. It's pretty good conditions. You know, it's been pretty good place here to play. It's wonderful to come back and see that you won here last year.

Q. What will realistically make you happy here? Semifinals? Quarterfinals? Just play well?
ALEX CORRETJA: Just be happy. That makes me happy.

Q. Losing in the first round doesn't make you happy, does it?
ALEX CORRETJA: If I enjoy on the court. It makes you happy when you feel like you're giving hundred percent every time, you know. Off the court, I'm happy. Right now I didn't find my rhythm yet on the court, but if I keep on practicing and keep on the same way, maybe I'm going to find it. But before the tournament, I cannot say I will be happy with quarterfinals or semifinals because you got to go day-by-day and then you can see if you can be happy after one day or seven days, you know. But at this stage of my career, I cannot sign before the tournament with any result. I mean, I'm ambitious. I come here to try to win again. Of course, you can lose tomorrow or you've got to know everything. Like every year, when I came last year, I know I can go first round out of the of the tournament or I can still win the tournament. Nothing changes. The only thing that change sometimes is your mind.

Q. You say at this stage of your career, but how much is the factor that there are some really tough first-round matches and everybody is playing at a high level?
ALEX CORRETJA: For me is the same. I mean, I've been playing for many years. Right now I don't feel like I need to put pressure to myself, no matter if you have to defend the title. What happens one year ago, it happens, and it's been great. I've been having that tournament for me for the whole life. Right now I go on the court. No matter if I lost first round or I won last year, I have to do something different. I'm going to practice today. I'm going to try to play quallies in doubles to see if I can get in rhythm and play some more matches before my first round. Of course, it's not something that I cannot sleep at night, you know, defending the tournament. This is something that nothing happens, you know. You have to be happy on your life, and I am. If I win, it's great. If not, it's a pity in a tennis way, but not in a life way.

Q. How are you feeling your game is at this moment?
ALEX CORRETJA: Well, I said before, my game is, of course, not a hundred percent because I haven't played much during the whole year. Of course, I need to play a little bit more. I've been practicing pretty well these days. I'm feeling like I need to be out there, concentrate, focus. During the matches, I need to maybe struggle a little bit at the beginning to see if I can get in rhythm, then play better tennis. Maybe I'm not playing like the Angels, but I'm looking forward.

Q. Can you tell us about the reason for your lack of match play?
ALEX CORRETJA: The main reason?

Q. Yes.
ALEX CORRETJA: That I'm a human being and I wanted to rest. I've been playing a lot of tennis last year. It happens to me in '98 when I played a lot of tennis, then I came back '99, I didn't have rest, I didn't have time off, and I didn't enjoy my life. I was too tired to play tennis, to travel and everything. So when I finish year 2000, I decided to rest. I had like nearly three weeks, maybe four weeks off, then I start to practice slowly. It was great. For my life, it was great. For my tennis, of course, it's different. After nearly three months, I play three or four matches, which is nothing. But still I prefer to be happy person than maybe feeling like I'm struggling the whole time because of tennis.

Q. Most players can't do that. What's in your personality that allows you to say, "I don't need the Australian Open in 2001, it will be there in 2002"?
ALEX CORRETJA: Well, if there is, I don't know. I don't know. Everybody has his own personality. Of course, I like to be home, as well, a little bit. I spent a lot of my time, my career, my life, traveling all around. There's time where you want to be home, spend time with your family, your girlfriend, and your friends. For me, it's great to play tennis. This is the main thing. I love to play tennis. I like when I'm playing good out there. I cannot just die because I don't play good tennis. That's why I decided to rest and keep on going. For me it's great to see all the guys on the tour, feel the atmosphere of the tour, that's great. But sometimes you feel a little tired, as well.

Q. Is that the longest break you've taken outside of injury, three or four weeks?
ALEX CORRETJA: Yes, yes. It seems strange, but of course. It was the longest I ever had since I was born. It was like 25 days or something. In a regular job, maybe it's not much, but in the tennis way, it's a lot. You don't feel the ball as well. You need to practice, you need to play. It was great.

Q. What did you do during that time off?
ALEX CORRETJA: Oh, many things.

Q. Anything you care to share?
ALEX CORRETJA: I just enjoy. The main thing it was not to look at my watch. "Tomorrow if I want to sleep 14 hours, I'm going to sleep 14 hours. If I want to go play golf, I play. If I want to go out at night and have some fun, I do it." I mean, we are different life in Barcelona. I can wake up at 3 o'clock in the afternoon, go dinner 4:30, go back and have dinner at 12:30 at night. For some people, it's like, "Are you crazy or something?" No, it's different culture, different life. Then you can go out, spend some time at night, go to sleep at 7:00. That is something that is not strange in Spain. I didn't want to look at my watch. I wanted to stay happy. I said, "Okay, I want to do this now." I do it. It was great for me to spend some time with my girlfriend and my family, of course.

Q. You've also been politically involved with the tennis tour. What's your take on the situation with ISL? Are you concerned about how things are going to go?
ALEX CORRETJA: I don't know much about it because, as you know, I've been away from the tour. I wanted to have some meetings with the guys, maybe they can explain me what's the situation. I hear there's some strange feelings there. Of course, for us it's great to have these kind of people working with us. After one year with the race, I think it's been great for us. As you see the rankings last year, we finish the year having last match of the year having the chance -- in this case it was Guga to reach the No. 1. We never had that before. It was a great idea, good changes. We still have to keep on working and make people understand how the race is, what's the ranking, how it works. Of course, we need the support from everybody, no? From the players and from the sponsors, all these people.

Q. Spain won Davis Cup. It lost in February. Do you favor any change in the format for Davis Cup which would allow the champion to get a first round bye?
ALEX CORRETJA: I mean, you can sit down and discuss some things about this. I believe what you did in the past is great. I mean, I don't know why you need to have special support because you won last year, no? It's like if I have a bye here because I won last year. You have to live for the present. The present is that there are like 16 teams. They got to play first round. No matter if you play home or you play Holland, wherever you play, you got to win or you got to try to win. For us, it was the biggest thing ever in Spain to win Davis Cup, of course, in all aspects. In support, tennis is pretty popular. Of course, tennis was pretty popular. After Davis Cup, it becomes like a big bomb. Afterwards it was tough to make the people understand that after one month and a half we just lost again against the Netherlands because they thought that we were going to win every year now. We told them, "If we won once in hundred year history, that means it is pretty difficult to win the Davis Cup." We still have the trophy at home. It's good to look at it and see that we were the champions in 2000. It was great feeling.

Q. Do you support any kind of change for the format?
ALEX CORRETJA: Everybody has his own options, his own rights to say that. Maybe you can find some other solutions. It's always somebody who is going to complain. Maybe they find another solution, they don't like that kind of tournament, that kind of solution. It's difficult. Everybody has to see what's best for the tour, best for the players. It's not easy to say, "I like another thing." It's of course right now the way it is, maybe you play a lot of tournaments. You've been traveling a lot. You have to play Davis Cup. I can say that Davis Cup for us was great. Maybe if I would be Sampras or Agassi, I would understand them, because they won Davis Cup already I don't know how many times, they won Slams. It's a different situation for them. I understand their point of view. I don't know what's the best solution for everybody.

Q. You're happy with it to stay the way it is then?
ALEX CORRETJA: I'm not happy the way it is right now because we lost first round.

Q. The general format.
ALEX CORRETJA: With the general form of the system, I mean, I like the system. If there is something better, we can look at it. I'm not closed to say that's the only system I like. If somebody come up and say, "This is another system. Could we see if it's better for the players or the tour or for everybody, for the spectators?" Okay. I don't know right now what is the best system F we have this cycle system, maybe it's the best from the past.
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