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Press Conference with AUGUSTIN CALLERI

Calleri vs. Nalbandian 6:4, 6:1 17.05.2003

Q: He wasn’t very happy with the way he played all those breakpoints. Do you think it was of the way you were playing, of keeping so much pressure on him?

A: I think I played a very high level tennis today. I tried to have the same tactics as Fernando yesterday: to be very aggressive and hit the ball very hard, because he doesn’t like that when you put pressure on him and you don’t let him play his own game.

Q: Have you had much conversation about the four of you, about the significance of the achievements of being in the semi-finals?

A: No, we didn’t have a chance to talk, but I think that each one of us is very happy to be in the semi-final of such a big tournament. And second of all, I think for the country this is just something very very big, to have four players in the semi-final of such a major event, because it never happened in the past.

Q: Obviously all four of you are very talented. Are there any particular aspects of the way you were brought up in Argentinian tennis, which has helped bring about those things or is it just a coincidence that you’ve all come through together?

A: It’s more like a coincidence of all the sacrifices that each one of us is doing. Not only the four of us, but also Zabaleta. And, it’s our own sacrifice to make it to the top, because we never really got much help from the Argentinian tennis federation.

Q: So, there wasn’t a junior programme that you’re all the result of?

A: No, there is not really a junior tennis scheme in Argentinia. The only two players that got some help in the past were Coria and Nalbandian, that was it. No, I think that Gabriela Sabatini is trying to put something together to help juniors back home, which I think is great. But, there is nothing like that. I really don’t know any Argentinian junior players coming through right now.

Q: Are you aware of the fact that the last Argentinian player that won here was Guillermo Vilas and what would it mean to you to maybe follow his footsteps?

A: Guillermo Vilas, of course, is the reference for Argentinian tennis. He was No. 1 in the world. Since his era a lot of good Argentinian players like Mancini, Perez-Roldan, Clerc and now there is this group of young players coming through.

Q: You obviously didn’t have the sort of help that players in a lot of other countries did have as juniors, but do you think that the fact that the four of you at the same time were perhaps pushing one another all the time?

A: Well, we do practise together as much as we can and when we have Davis Cup ties even the players that are not in the team go there and practise together with the team. But, you have to realise that tennis is a very individual sport, so everybody thinks about his own destiny, his own future. The thing about the support they give, yes, I am not happy with the way they are treating the junior players.

Q: The point I was trying to make is that if there is an Argentinian pushing ahead you want to keep up with it.

A: Of course, there is competition among ourselves, but now it’s very healthy. Maybe in the past it was not the same way, but now we all get along fine. Of course, if I see somebody getting to the final of Wimbledon, then I want to do the same. But now this rivalry we have is something very healthy.

Q: Where did you learn the German? Whenever I asked you in German you answered in Spanish?

A: I understand languages because I travel and I here a lot of different languages. So, I know what they are talking about. Like on court, when they asked me a question in German, I could understand what it was about.

Q: When you were a teenager was there any one thing you can think of which at times showed you were aware you were a poorer nation than other countries? Was there anything you wanted to do, but weren’t able to do because there was no money for you to do it?

A: No, I never really missed anything when I was growing up and playing tennis, but it was always my parents that made the sacrifices for me and nobody else. Nor the federation, not the sponsors. And that’s the big thing right now, because the sponsors are not involved. They are not helping the junior players and that’s very difficult if you don’t have anybody to support you. Now, the economic situation in Argentinia is ver difficult. If something was 1 $, now its three times as much. And also some of the tournaments are struggling and if they get cancelled there are less opportunities to play.

Q: But, there was never a case where you couldn’t go to play say the junior at Paris when you need to?

A: Maybe I didn’t play juniors in Europe because it was very expensive, but I tried to play all the South American tennis federation junior circuit and always with my parents’ help.

Q: Why made you pick up a tennis racket and not for example choosing soccer, football?

A: No, I always played only tennis since I was 4 years old and I really didn’t take up any other sports. Of course, I liked to watch football, but it’s always been tennis.

Q: Are your parents keen on tennis?

A: Yes, my parents like tennis and they are both tennis players.

Q: Where and how did you learn your fabulous backhand?

A: Maybe it’s something that God gave me.

Q: Does it bother you that Hendouble constantly calls you floppy haired and baggy eyed?

A: No. Because I am in the final of a Master's tournament and he is home on his couch.

98 Posts
starr said:
Q: Does it bother you that Hendouble constantly calls you floppy haired and baggy eyed?

A: No. Because I am in the final of a Master's tournament and he is home on his couch.
LMAO. Good one.
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