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November 15, 1994

Gabriela Sabatini


Q. Gaby, how difficult was it to play out there tonight against the background of the occasion?

GABRIELA SABATINI: It was a tough one. I mean, it was hard to go there, I mean, you know, once I was on the court, I try not to think about it. You know, I just try to be focused and try to play my best. But it was really hard. I didn't -- on one side I didn't want to be the one to beat her, and on the other side, I was thinking, well, this is a great honor for me to get to play Martina in her last tournament.

Q. Did you feel like you rose to the occasion? That's the best you've played in awhile.

GABRIELA SABATINI: Yes, I'm very happy about the match. I mean, I played extremely well. You know, every single point I was very focused and, you know, I knew what I was doing, I knew what I had to do, and I attacked very well, and I played very aggressive and I played deep, and, you know, I can't ask for more. I mean, that was great.

Q. Did you hear what she said about you, that she --

GABRIELA SABATINI: I didn't hear, but somebody told me.

Q. What does that mean to you?

GABRIELA SABATINI: It means a lot, because I got to know Martina off the court and I have to say that she's a great person and, you know, we started to talk more in the last few years, and, you know, I really like her as a person and, you know, for her to say that about me, is really special.

Q. What did she say to you at the end of the match?

GABRIELA SABATINI: What did she say?

Q. What did you both say?

GABRIELA SABATINI: No, I said, well, I'm sorry I won, but she said, you know, if you play like that, you know, you can beat everybody. That's the way to play.

Q. When was the last time you felt you played that well?

GABRIELA SABATINI: I played like that for moments, I mean, in the last few weeks, I played like that, you know, I knew it was there and I know it's there and I'm just not being consistent enough and today I was the whole match and that's what I need to do. You know, at the Open, at the U.S. Open, I played a good tournament and I played very good tennis for some moments. But I have to keep it up. It is not enough with one match, two matches. You know, every single game has to be like that.

Q. Did you think your first two serves were from nerves or what was it whatever problem you've been having with the doublefaults?

GABRIELA SABATINI: I've been doing a lot of doublefaults, even last week, I know I'm going to do doublefaults and it's okay. I felt good about it. Even though I did those doublefaults, I felt good about my serve and probably, I didn't go for the first serve as much. I've been hitting that first serve a lot harder and, you know, I knew she

was going to try to come in on the second serve, so I tried to put it in a little bit more and I served very well.

Q. Did you have any problem with the nerves at the beginning at all?

GABRIELA SABATINI: You know, I've been nervous thinking about how I was going to be. I knew it was going to be a very special match and everybody was waiting for this match. Martina's last tournament and every time I think about that, I would get a little nervous, but it was a good nervous; it was an exciting nervous. I was looking forward to the match, but on the other side, I was -- I can't wait to finish this match to be over.

Q. Did you expect to hear some cheers? You were cheered by a number of people.


Q. Yes for you.

GABRIELA SABATINI: Yes, I was a little surprised because I knew a lot of people were going to cheer for her and I mean, I understand that completely, because, you know, she's Martina. But, yeah, there were a lot of people also from Argentina, so, it's good.

Q. Could you address how Martina's style impacted players like yourself; her physical attacking style?

GABRIELA SABATINI: Even when I start to play tennis, I used to look at Martina a lot. I loved her style the way she played. I always thought, that's, you know, that's the kind of game I like to play. And she's so talented. She can do anything. Great fitness, great serve, great volley, the best volley, you know, even in mens I think too. It is amazing the things she can do and even at, you know, she's almost 40 and where she is -- why are you laughing?

Q. That's so old.

GABRIELA SABATINI: No, it is not, but for tennis, it is, you know, a lot of years. And she was able to stay at the top five for so many years and that's amazing.

Q. What about Halard?

GABRIELA SABATINI: Julie Halard. Yeah, I couldn't see the match yesterday, but obviously, my coach saw it and he told me how the match went and she's very good. She hits the ball very hard and, you know, I think that's what she's going to try to do. I know it's going to be a tough one to beat Arantxa you have to be playing very well.

Q. What were you doing during that tribute just now?

GABRIELA SABATINI: I was waiting for my shower for the water to get warm. It takes like 15 minutes, so, I said, well, I'm going to watch a little bit. So, I watch when they entered the motorcycle and that's all I saw. When she sat down and that's all.

Q. And you wouldn't mind that motorcycle?

GABRIELA SABATINI: Not at all. I would think, hey, I beat her, what do I get? Don't I get something?

Q. Did it hit you right when it was over? Did you feel emotional?

GABRIELA SABATINI: A little bit. I mean, you know, when we went to shake hands and I have a lot of affection for Martina and I just wanted to give her a hug and it was very special. I felt, yeah, I felt bad and I probably will feel bad for a long time, but, you know, that's how it goes, I guess.

Q. Did Juan say anything to you before you played the match?

GABRIELA SABATINI: Just try to play my game and, you know, just go for it and don't let her take control of the match just play very deep and be aggressive.

Q. You've always said at the Open that you like playing when people don't expect you to win?


Q. Did you feel like this was one of those moments did you hope --

GABRIELA SABATINI: Yeah, I guess, I was thinking, okay, I am nervous, but, she must be feeling very nervous, because, you know, she has a lot of pressure. I mean, everyone is talking -- was talking about this match or this tournament, Martina's last tournament and I was thinking well, she must be feeling a lot of pressure, so actually that made me feel a little bit better.

Q. Did you ever, like, last night or this morning feel you were going to win for sure?

GABRIELA SABATINI: You feel -- you can feel positive and very confident about yourself and that's how I was feeling. I mean, I was very sure of what I had to do and that I was going to try my best and, you know, but, you know, you don't have that feeling that, okay, I'm going to win.

Q. How does it feel knowing you're the last person to play Martina professionally?

GABRIELA SABATINI: Well, I don't know yet, I guess. I'm not conscious of that, but, I thought about it a lot and I thought, well, you know, even if I lose the match, you know, it would have been okay. You know, I lost to Martina. The greatest player of all. So...

Q. Do you have to worry at all about any let down? Are you going to be able to stay up?

GABRIELA SABATINI: You mean through the tournament? I think this match gave me a lot of confidence. I think I proved a lot of things and mainly to myself that everything is there and, you know, if -- and I can play like that, it's possible. So, I'm feeling very good.

Q. Do you feel inspired to continue improving your serve and volley game to the level Martina has achieved and incorporate it in your game?

GABRIELA SABATINI: Sure, I think I can do it, I don't think the way Martina does, you know, but I know I can do it. I can mix the game a lot and come to the net a lot and especially against some players, and, you know, I keep working on that and try to keep doing it.

Q. When you won the Open, Martina was very vocal about you would win for a long time to come, she thought that was your breakthrough; were you aware of her supporting you in that way and --

GABRIELA SABATINI: Sure, she always supported me I always felt that from her. And that was special, you know, that's a good feeling for someone like that, someone that I admire a lot to say that about me. It gives me a lot of confidence. You know, I think that's something very positive.

Q. Thank you.

End of FastScripts....

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