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Roland Garros: Gustavo Kuerten, May 25, 2008

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Roland Garros
Sunday, May 25, 2008

Interview with Gustavo Kuerten

Q. Can you tell us about your feelings right now?

GUSTAVO KUERTEN: I think I'm very satisfied, especially the memories that are going are going to stick with me from this match. I thought I played much better than I expect. Wasn't a single shot that I didn't make, so I play, you know, forehand, backhand, serve, dropshot, volleys.

I did everything that I think I was able to do in the past, too. Not at the same frequency, but at least I had the feeling to do it once more. I felt myself competitive sometimes, and like this.

I really had the real idea that, you know, if I had the better ‑‑ if I could expect better reaction from my body, I'm sure I would be playing a great level, so that's good for me.

Probably my goal was pretty much achievement from what I expect from my match.

Q. And then the match ended and we saw you going to the bench, putting the towel over your head. What were you thinking about at the time?

GUSTAVO KUERTEN: No, just being thankful for everything that happened to me in all my career.

I'm always used to do this once finish tournaments, once I had the wins, too. Just take one minute for myself and really deep thinking from everything that happened in my life.

Especially right now, it was more ‑‑ more overall, you know, during all these years, all the success that I have, and the opportunity that I have to play on this great event.

So basically, thanking for all this great time I have on tennis court.

Q. You will play doubles with Sebastien Grosjean. Why Sebastien?

GUSTAVO KUERTEN: I think yes. Yes. I didn't know because he was injured, but I think he confirmed now, and we book in Miami. He has been around all the years I was playing very well, too, and we are good friends. We ask each other, Hey, let's go. We play. It's nice, a French guy playing here. I think it would be just some extra fun.

It's not the same, you know, expectations. It's not the same intenseness (sic) and the singles match, but at least extra fun that I can try and enjoy a little bit more.

Q. What did tennis mean in your life? What did tennis give to you?

GUSTAVO KUERTEN: I guess big knowledge. All these years I've been learning a lot, and especially these last three or four years that I have to deal with difficult situations. So I had to grow as a person, too. I guess my world start to get larger because of tennis, the success I had.

I was able to ‑‑ my life just became something much more larger than normal people. And like this, I think I was able to adapt myself pretty well. I was happy being successful, so basically tennis, it was ‑‑ in this part of my life was running into my veins, into my blood. I love to be out there and playing.

For me, this tournament especially was probably the motivation for myself, probably my heart that keeps the blood flow, you know. Like all the goals and all the dreams that I have to come out here and play well.

Q. Do you have any regrets about your career?

GUSTAVO KUERTEN: No. I guess I had the toughest moment, but that's, I think, part of life, too. As tennis is, it's going to be ‑‑ sooner or later it's going to finish for me. I don't know, Nadal, Federer, Djokovic, everybody, one day it's going to stop.

Basically I'm lucky I'm ‑‑ I could understand that, you know, in my career things not happen, probably in two ways. One stage of my career was very successful, and I was able to get all the goals that I could. Then the second part was really tough.

But in the same way, as I said, for me it was important to live these years, to grow as a person, to understand what it's, what is the ‑‑ to have other things to deal.

So I guess like that, for me, there's no regrets at all. Just big knowledge, like I said, I could get over this 10, 15 years.

Q. What is your best memories here at Roland Garros?

GUSTAVO KUERTEN: I had so many. Probably of course the one I did the heart in the first match. The most intense one. And probably today it's going to be the second, you know, the one that's going to stick with me, also, more often.

But I had a great time here playing over the years, one after the other. Always being successful, I always had some emotion going on. Good connection with the crowd, too.

So this particular tournament is really like home for me. I feel myself so comfortable. Every time I get very anxious. And like I said, I'm really excited just to be out here and playing.

Q. Maybe you are the first guy in history that you lose a match and receive a trophy. What do you think about that?

GUSTAVO KUERTEN: No. When I lose in the final I have a trophy, too, sometimes (laughter.)

But I get ‑‑ it was a great memory for me, and I didn't expect. I received not only the trophy but nice words, too, from the president, you know. He thanked me for everything that I could agree for the tournament, the way I play, and then the joy that the people have, watch my play.

So for me, that's great. I guess goes over my expectations. It's not only the way I'm playing and how I hit the ball, but also the way I face the game, I think, was very important. And to be out there today playing against a French player and having more support than him is not usual at all.

So for me, it was, like I said, a great day for me. I just have to be very honored for ‑‑ for today and everything that really happened for me, especially here.

Q. What do you think you will miss the most in tennis?

GUSTAVO KUERTEN: I guess these days before the competition. The match itself, once you are there, the part that you can, you know, live the joy of playing breakpoints, set points, you know, playing ‑‑ having these feelings that I think only the sports can bring it over.

But I guess I had my time, too. I really been very intense for the time that I was around, so this ‑‑ I'm not going to have it anymore, but I think I'm not going to miss that much. I really feel as I had my job done.

For now, maybe I find another way to feel myself as happy as I was playing tennis.

Q. So now it's time for party?

GUSTAVO KUERTEN: No, I'm very serious man, you know. Brazil, we don't like parties. (laughter.)

No, it's time probably to have more priorities for my personal life, too. Get myself more structure, you know, have time off to think about it, to rest a little bit.

Like I said, my life, you know, becomes something very huge ‑‑ it takes a lot of effort to deal day by day, especially in Brazil, you know. I'm really a big icon in Brazil. Every day they come to me and look as a different person.

That's probably now an adaptation that I have to do. See what's going to get myself interesting in the future. Probably rest for a little bit, but also I like to be active doing something. So maybe around tennis and my foundation I will find nice things to do.

Q. It was hard for some of us to hear your speech on the court. Can you just tell us what the most important part of those words was?

GUSTAVO KUERTEN: I know why it was hard, because my French is terrible. (laughter.)

No, I try just to say first that for me was really important that the feeling and the success I had here in my three wins over these times.

But what feels even more important, and the real meaning for me, that today even I had another great example. The love that people treat me here, the way I could get them involved with my game and with myself.

This, I think, was the highest victory for me. And then the other thing that I said was just about how I said, Now it's about tennis. That means, you know, this part of my life was really intense and like my blood. I live this very intense.

This tournament was the most special and most motivation ‑‑ motivate tournament that keeps me going, like my love, my heart, and everything. So that was basically two things that I tried to say in French, but I think nobody understand me. (laughter.)


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