Canadian Open 2000
Pre Tournament Interview
July 30, 2000
Q1: What do you think of the purple courts?
PS: It's different but it looks good. I think on TV it will be a nice addition to tennis with the yellow ball obviously and the purple court.
Q2: When you're playing will it make a difference?
PS: No, I just play.
Q3: How's the foot?
PS: The shin is... feels good. I took two weeks off after Wimbledon and just got treatment on it. I started hitting on Monday and as of right now I feel no pain and certainly hope that it is gone forever.
Q4: Was there a time in the last week or so when you thought that you might not be able to attend this tournament?
PS: Yeah there was. Well I started hitting on Monday of last week. And at that point I didn't know if I was going to play here. I was hoping to play, but if I woke up Wednesday or Thursday morning and it was stiff and bothering me I wasn't going to play. But fortunately it was fine and I got here on Friday and have been practicing pretty hard. It was a consideration but once I didn't feel any pain it was fine to play.
Q5: Peter aside from the shin healing, what have you been doing since winning Wimbledon in London?
PS: Well as soon as Wimbledon was over I went to New York for a couple of days to do some press stuff, got to L.A. on Wednesday. I just slept, slept for a couple of days, to catch up on that. I got treatment a couple of times a day I had to take care of my shin, just stayed home a lot. And enjoyed it, hung with my family and my fiancée and just let it all sink in.
Q6: Are you hungry to get back on the court and play?
PS: Yeah I'm hungry. I feel like I've had a good break and obviously I am looking forward to the U.S. Open and this tournament here which is an event that I haven't won. So I am eager and motivated to do well here.
Q7: Pete, as much as you needed a break physically, did you need a break mentally, you've just had so much happened in the last few months and winning at Wimbledon, did you need an emotional break as well?
PS: Yeah that was one thing I definitely needed to let the mind rest a little bit. It was a tough Wimbledon, a stressful Wimbledon and as soon as it was over it was time to just chill out and let the mind heal obviously my body was healing and I didn't pick up a racquet until the Monday and it is just important to just get away from the game. Enjoy it, come back hopefully, eager and ready to go.
Q8: Would you like to have some more time off?
PS: I always want more time off, but with the schedule we have there is not a lot of time off to you know, to really enjoy a couple of weeks. I mean you certainly would like a month or so but with the schedule, we only have so much time off. And Davis Cup was out of the question and you know three weeks off, you know, it's ok, but I would certainly like more. I'm looking forward to the U.S. open. I'm looking forward to playing here and starting off my summer tour a positive note. This tournament and field is very, very strong as we see on who's playing so it's a good test to see how I am physically and my tennis to see how I'm playing.
Q8: Pete, can you give us an idea of what your schedule is like after Toronto, you'll play Cincinnati and what other tournaments leading up to the Open?
PS: For sure here and Cincinnati. The week after possibly Indianapolis, but we'll see how these two weeks go. That's my schedule.
Q9: As part of letting everything sink in after Wimbledon, do you think you could see a point where you could say out loud I am the best player this game has ever produced?
PS: Well that would be one thing I will never say. But to the critics of tennis, until I win the French Open I can't really say that. But I don't feel like I need to win the French to be considered one of the best ever. I will never sit here and proclaim that I am but as far as my career and my story, it's not over yet. I still want to continue to play at the highest level and to continue to do well at the majors. But you know, what happened three week ago is about as good as it's ever going to get for me as a tennis player.
Q10: Is that just modesty Pete saying that you could never really say. this is no reflection on your peers or anything, but you're pretty special. People like you don't come along that often regardless of whether you win the French or not.
PS: Well I appreciate the compliment.
Q11: No but you know what I mean, this is pretty hot stuff
PS: Like I said I appreciate it but I would never ever walk around here thinking I am the best ever. I would still having known what I've done. I still try to walk around here humble and not letting all the success get to my head, and still be the same guy. But thirteen majors is something that will be hard to be duplicated and so time will tell to see how long that record stands out. I am still amazed that I have able to do what I have done over the course of the past ten years.
Q12: is it possible even something that you would have to reflect over 10 or 15 years down the road where you would really be able to put it step away from the game since you're still playing it and look back and say yeah that's right up there with the people who I think are the greatest in the game?
PS: Yeah I mean it will probably be years after when I am done to look back and really appreciate it. I mean I can still appreciate it today and when you take time off after Wimbledon. But you know you are constantly on the move in tennis you're constantly looking forward to the next tournament or the next season and the next grand slam,. When it is all said and done and I look back at my tennis that will be the time to reflect in what happened and appreciate my success so but I am trying to enjoy it as much as we can especially with the schedule we have it's not easy, but it is something that I have got used to over the years.
Q13: Having broken the record and the circumstances in which you broke it having to battle the injury was there ever the temptation to say, as you did a moment ago it'll never get better than this so stop or is that desire still there?
PS: Well it will never get as good as the way it happened in the final with my parents being there, one of the best moments of my life. It was more than winning Wimbledon and breaking the record but to share it with the people who helped get me there, it really meant a lot to me and that really hit home. But I am still eager and motivated to do well at the majors and still enjoy playing. When the day comes when I am not enjoying it when I am not in contention for the majors if so am not playing the way I want to play will be the day that I will stop. But I am still reasonably young, I'm maturing 29 in a couple of weeks so I just want to keep on going, keep on enjoying it and have a good schedule where I am not overplaying, and not burning myself out as the time to enjoy these last number of years
Q14: Pete I am just a couple years older that you are. I can't believe that this coming September will be 10 years that your turned the tennis world on its ear by winning the 1990 U.S. Open, what a great year that was, you cracked the top ten. Do you find it strange that ten years has passed since that day?
PS: Yeah it's gone by quick. The way I looked at 19, I was such a skinny scrawny kid that was a little bit over my head at that time, wasn't really that proven as a player at 19 and came out of nowhere and a lot's happened since then.
Q15 I think we are overplaying this emotional victory a little bit too much. As you get older, do you feel that the wins are more emotional, do they mean more to you?
PS: Sure, when you're in your early twenties, you're tying to prove yourself and you're trying to win majors or whatever. And the older you get, I think the emotion hit me at Wimbledon because of the record, but more because my parents were there and they never come around to watch me play. Wimbledon has been such a big part of my tennis I would've loved to have had them there, but it was a perfect ending to the tournament. And you know, it's not a guarantee that I'll make the final every year at Wimbledon or the Slams but you just appreciate it when you get there, it was a lot of hard work to get there and it win it the way I did was a storybook type of ending.
Q16 Pete you mentioned the fact of. being 29 already tens year have gone by how does it feel today to be challenged by 18, 19 year olds, how does it feel today.
PS: It's a challenge. Guys are getting younger and better and stronger. And I walk through the locker room and don't recognize a lot of the guys. The game today is very very strong and a lot of young guys trying to prove themselves. And that's a challenge for me is to try to fend them off and keep on winning and keep on doing the things I've done over the course of my career. It's just the nature of any athlete when they get older, there are younger guys coming up that are threatening and going to be tough to beat.
Q17 Do you find that the challenge of keeping these young wolves away is what you're looking for in terms of keeping you on top of the game
PS: Well, I'm looking at everyone, I don't look at just the young guys I look at Andre and Rafter and guys that are in their mid to late twenties. I put everyone in a big ball that `s going to try to beat me each week I play so I don't look at anyone differently, so the challenge for me is myself and how far I want to take it and how far I want to go over the next number of years.
Q18 What tactical changes do you have to make going from grass to hard court and from five set matches to best of three.
PS: Obviously grass I'm coming in on both serves, it's all hit and miss tennis where you deal with the bad balances, tough surface playing on grass for a month and after a month on grass I look forward to getting back on hard court, get the good balances and the surface that I grew up playing on. So it really just takes me a few days to get back into the swing of things. You know two out of three and three out of five, you just get used to that. Just a different mentality. You play a lot more base line points and you have a lot more time to return and pass and that's an adjustment that's very easy for me, to go from grass to hard court.
Q19 At Wimbledon you had a slow start so you needed five sets to succeed?
PS: Yeah. A couple of matches I lost the first set and fortunately three out of five you have time back into it. You have to be careful, you can't afford to play any loose games in a two out of three set match. But it is hard court and you do have time to kinda get your game in gear so you know hopefully this week I can find my form and play at a high level.
Q20 You talked to Andre, what did you say?
PS: Just hello
Q21 Just wondering what you feel about McEnroe sort of suggesting that maybe you faked out on Davis Cup, he sort of implied that both of you were faking injuries and how you reacted to that?
PS: John was at Wimbledon and he knew what I was going through and I told him when I couldn't play and how serious it was and he understood and on the phone he sounded reasonably supportive. Um but I'm sure after the loss he was disappointed and you know John says things, he says things and so Andre's situation I don't know much about but it's obviously a tough situation for everyone. The fact that I wasn't able to go and Andre wasn't able to go just made the tie that much more difficult.
Q21 Speaking of Davis Cup how do you feel with this tough challenge that you have on your schedule throughout the year putting in the Davis Cup into your schedule itself?
PS: Well the Davis Cup weeks as we know are tough weeks. The Davis Cup schedule should be changed to have it a week after Australia, a week after Miami, a couple of weeks after Wimbledon. You know if you're going to give Davis Cup it's due you need to give it a better schedule. And there are a lot of tournaments and a lot of guys who are getting injured and pulling out of events. You know you play all the tournaments, the Slams and Davis Cup it's a heavy year. I just decided to give my commitment to Davis Cup and I changed my schedule to fit it in, you know, I didn't play LA and didn't play some other tournaments because of Davis Cup, it's a price to pay I knew when I was going to play Davis cup that my rankings would slip a little bit, but now that we're out I just look forward to next year.
Q22: As you get older do you find now that the key to staying on top of success is more of a mental edge as opposed to the physical edge. I mean the talent that you have you've had it you know it's there but is it more mental now that keeps you winning tournaments?
PS: Well it's both. Physically it's the older you get your body changes, you wake up a little more sore at 29 than you do at 19 so that's something I'm working on with my training and mentally it's when you have achieved something what I've done it's a tendency to lose motivation and hope that that won't happen. Hopefully I'll keep on training and putting myself in contention for the majors. You know and I still enjoy play I just enjoy playing the Andres in the finals of Slams, I mean that's what gets me going.
Q23 If in the middle of matches you're down 5-1 do you find now at 29 you've got a better chance at being able to come back because maybe you don't panic mentally like you might have at 19?
PS: Part of that is experience and trying to figure out the match and the situation who you're playing , what the weather's like, is what you take in consideration to try to figure out how you're going to win. An area that I think I've done pretty well is, when I'm not playing well I try to find a way to win. And if you're down 5-1 and it's a hot day you just throw it away and get ready for the next set. So it's just experience and getting in the situation a number of times to try to get through it.
Q24 While you're here in Toronto will you have a chance to see the city at all, do you have a schedule outside of playing tennis?
PS: Well unfortunately not really pretty much is the hotel and to the courts and back to the hotel and maybe see a few movies but um you know unfortunately there's not a lot of time to do other things. It seems like a beautiful city and I look forward to coming back over the years. I hope I can come close to winning here, it'd be nice to have the Canadian Open.
Q25 Have you seen the new (slogan) for the tennis masters series, have you seen it with maybe Tommy Haas and Hewitt and Kuerten they sort of wanna look tough?
PS: Oh the new balls please?
Q New balls please
PS: I don't know, not my cup of tea they can probably figure something else than that, but I think I mean those guys are the future of the game, but they can probably find a better slogan.