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)