Q. It's been a great tournament for you again here. Clay court tennis, here at the French, there seems to be a passing of the torch sometimes. A player like yourself comes up, rises to the top, plays well for a number of years, then the younger players come up. Are you quite ready to pass on the torch at this point?>
GUSTAVO KUERTEN: Yeah, I think if I didn't had these problem that I had for two years now or three, I think I would have physically now the conditions to play the same level as the young guys right now.
I think today I felt especially physic like endurance, like this part. I felt great, and I think I had more chance than him, even if we go to the fifth set.
But I struggling a lot in one specific part of my body. That is not a problem of age, I think is just a question of using too much one part of my body and, you know, having this getting worst because the way I playing, too. So that's a very difficult thing to deal with.
For me, I think I manage to deal well with this this week. Today I suffer a lot in the court. I had a very tough time down there, but at the same time was nice and was pleasure for me to play the matches as you are in the quarterfinal in this tournament.
So I think I'm facing this specifical problem, but in other ways I think I could compete, you know, as any other guy in a great level as, you know, like Moya or Gaudio, these guys are all the same age as me. I think they are playing maybe their best tennis of their life.
Q. You said you suffered a lot today. What was the biggest problem - Nalbandian, your physical condition? What was it? >
GUSTAVO KUERTEN: I think the main problem is my own problem, my hip. But then I face a tough opponent as I knew, and he made me run a lot. I think I was very satisfied the way I was moving around and running and, you know, resisting. Even having this lot of hours there and playing a guy who made me play all the time and made me go to one side to the other.
And as I said before, I felt like I was maintaining a good level. I had a very unlucky fourth set there, three or four set points. And maybe two or three of them, he played some great shots.
I think it's maybe start with my own problem, then becomes tougher and tougher with the other guys, you know, the problem I have to face in the court playing a guy like him. Maybe the next match will be even worst and worst. So I think it's all of these things that come together. Well, today was just by a little, but too much for me.
Q. Is your hip problem solvable only by rest? I mean, is the only thing that's gonna help put this problem away is if you stop for a while? What goes in to stopping it? >
GUSTAVO KUERTEN: For me, what can stop my pain is if I stop to play. But this, I don't want to, you know, this to happen. So is nothing for sure that I can manage to work out and be 100 percent that I would have free pain for one or two years.
I have to try and see how my body is gonna respond now doing good workout, maybe try and see if I can get more muscle around the area, no, to protect my hip a little bit better, and still working, increasing my stretching, you know, having the area working nicely without too much pressure.
So I think it's gonna be like trying to find a solution, you know. Is nothing that I can stop for two months or three or six months. For sure I never be 100 percent that I have no pain. So I have to work and see how it's gonna respond, my body, and see if I can have kind of a better support, you know, by my muscles.
And like this, being playing, seeing the tournament, see if I can have a little bit of at least release, you know, less and less pain. Because like this, it's very difficult. Right now I don't know what's gonna happen if I had to play another match. I think would be very, very difficult for me.
Q. So basically, for you, playing tennis is pain at this point, right? Either it's small or it's big, but it's there, right, at all times?>
GUSTAVO KUERTEN: Yes, yes. Right now it's like this. I mean, I said before I suffer much more when I have to practice than when I have to play because when I play, at least I have some challenge, you know, I'm here, I have my goals there, I put my mind in other focus and I can go away for little bit.
But the difficult thing is every day going out there and see what I have to face and deal with this pain. I practice a little bit less right now than before, and working more in other therapies to help me to get better.
But as you said, right now, it's being -- as I play, it means pain. So for me it's been very, very frustrated. I see if I can manage to change this a little bit around, and for sure my tennis will increase unbelievable if I can, you know, find a way to have at least a solution for let's say playing for a few days, and then for weeks and then for months. And then like this, maybe having the confidence that I can play free pain for a long time.
Q. You made it a very good tournament for us, a lot of good stuff to write about. Are you taking painkillers? >
GUSTAVO KUERTEN: Yes, a lot. And today I use the trainer as much as I could, then was the last time there at the end. Right now, I know it's my -- it was, you know, my only chance. Now I have time again. I gonna start, but keep working and see if I can, like I said, find a way to get in better shape, you know, to don't face so much pain when I'm playing.
But the way I came to this tournament, I knew I have to face the pain and take another -- a lot of painkillers during the match and before the match, but still not enough when you play, you know, in this top level.
Q. Did the doctors say that it's possible for you to rebuild this muscle around there? >
GUSTAVO KUERTEN: Yes.
Q. And be cured? >
GUSTAVO KUERTEN: I have a chance, but it's not that it's gonna be for sure, too. So I have to find a way -- there's nothing specifical that I'm gonna do, like you can have other kind of problems in your muscle like this, you stop for two months, you are fine, you just have to rehab and that's okay.
For me, it's different. You know, it's in the bone. It's a structure that I miss already, so I have to see if other parts can support better my articulation there. It's gonna depend of my healing process and my body. So it goes a little bit away from the (inaudible) and then try to see if I can do specifical things and getting a little bit away from this problem that I have.
Q. Apart from your physical condition today, what did Nalbandian do that made it so difficult for you? >
GUSTAVO KUERTEN: Yeah, I think he's -- the way of his playing was, of course, much more important than my physical problem, you know. I was feeling pain, but I was maintaining a good level of tennis, like it was in the other rounds and I was able to beat even Federer like this.
So he played very solid. He changed the directions so easily, you know. He see the game very well, too. He know what's to do. He read your shots pretty well. And I think he just was able to, especially in the second and third and fourth set, to win the right points, you know. He was able to play pretty well in the right time, and that was probably the difference, because I would see myself very well-contented to win the fifth set if that happened. And I had at least three or four chance to make this happen. By just a little bit, it escape from my hands.
But maybe 80 or 90 percent of this was because of his effort, you know, and not my fault. I think he was able really to play great, even in the circumstances that normally you are little more nervous and you are tense. But he was able to really even -- I knew he was feeling tense as me, but he was just capable to come up with some great shots.
Q. How hard is it mentally to know that you're not only just facing a very good and excellent and deep field of players, but also you're fighting your own body? Mentally, is that a difficult process to go through? Does it wear on you? How do you pull through that? >
GUSTAVO KUERTEN: Yes, I think it's a different approach, that's for sure. And it's much more difficult than if you are feeling 100 percent.
For me, the good thing is, as long as I go far in the tournament, it's much better than, you know, I have to face the same feelings if I play in the first round. So that's much more frustrated for me.
And probably the toughest thing is, like in a match today, I got the early break in the third set, and if I know I can spend more energy, you know, I can give some extra jumping around or running, you know, all this, I can make some more or expect more from my body.
Especially today I felt at that part if I could power it up a little bit more and maintain a great level, maybe would be the key to get me going. I had a little bit of drop on that time and was probably the toughest time in the match for me.
In a situation like this, I just gave another chance for him, you know. He was playing comfortable again. Came back to the match and made three or four games in a row. That's the toughest part, to maintain your mind, you know, ready and fresh and thinking about the game during all the time. Sometimes it's really tough to forget all the pain that you have.
LOTS of painkiller.
Ouch. Get well soon Guga!