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March 25, 2002

Alexandra Stevenson


THE MODERATOR: First question for Alexandra.

Q. What do you learn from a match like this?

ALEXANDRA STEVENSON: That I need to work on lots of things and get a little more fitter because I'm playing tough matches now and winning and I need to sustain that, the level that you have to get when you're winning a lot of matches. So I'm just going to have to go back and work harder. I didn't really perform well today.

Q. Your serve particularly bother you today?

ALEXANDRA STEVENSON: Everything did. I think it was pretty flat, so... I'm very upset that I got bageled in the second. That's not a good thing. But, I mean, she played the normal Martina Hingis style. And to play against her you have to be ready and you have to hit the ball and you have to move in and you can't let her dictate. And I let her dictate, didn't move in and didn't hit the ball very well.

Q. She doesn't make too many errors?

ALEXANDRA STEVENSON: No, I think I was making -- sorry. I think I was waiting for her to make the error, but she doesn't make that. And I guess I was thinking I was playing somebody else. Because it just didn't work today.

Q. When you lose a tough match, you go through a tough period, do you ever think back to your magical moment at Wimbledon? Do you ever draw anything out of that experience a couple years ago?

ALEXANDRA STEVENSON: No, because I'm a better player than I was then. I kind of just -- I don't really think about it. It's funny, everyone always brings it up, but I just think of it as it was a good stepping point, and it was nice to make history. But I didn't win a Grand Slam. So it's not like -- It was a good point my life, but it's not the big picture. I'm still waiting for more.

Q. In general, would you hold Wimbledon in higher regard than you would the other Grand Slams?

ALEXANDRA STEVENSON: Definitely. Wimbledon's like the Super Bowl of the Grand Slams, to me. It's just -- it's magical and it's a great place. There's nothing like it.

Q. Why aren't you in good enough shape? Obviously, you see the conditioning is critical in tennis. Most of the players have upped their conditioning level. Why do you feel like you haven't reached that at this point in your career?

ALEXANDRA STEVENSON: Well, I think that I'm in good shape but I'm not in perfect shape. I'm not playing at my peak, and to do that, I have to get in better shape. I mean, you just have to keep working and getting your cardio so you can go like a whole seven days. And as I could tell today, I was tired and I was flat, and that didn't help. So as a result, I guess I have to go back and work harder. I mean, I know what my body feels like, and I think that if I up my level of fitness that I'll recover quicker. I played two matches yesterday, finished doubles at like 9:30 at night. I just didn't recover fast enough. I need to get to where I can recover fast enough and play the next day against a top player and play well.

Q. You're going deeper in the draws now, playing more matches. Could that be why you're tired?

ALEXANDRA STEVENSON: I think so. I've been playing week after week, I've been playing every week. I've been getting to the Round of 16 and the quarters. As you all know, last year I was getting to the first round. So it's a big difference, winning more matches. It's a good thing, but I just have to learn how to cope with it and learn how to recover faster going from week to week to week, getting into the tournaments, playing four rounds, three rounds.

Q. Should you rethink playing doubles?

ALEXANDRA STEVENSON: Well, Venus and Serena don't play doubles a lot together in the main events. I think that's because it's hard to recover. It's hard on your body. I'm going to think about it. I mean, I've tried to play doubles and my ranking doesn't compare to what I've done in singles this year. I think it's 160. But I'll think about it.

Q. Have the doubles helped your net game?

ALEXANDRA STEVENSON: Yeah, I think the doubles is always good because it helps your net game and helps your returns. But it's tough because, like, the rain delay here, I was supposed to play doubles on my day off but instead it got pushed back to playing -- I played third on singles, had 45 minutes and went right on for the doubles. So it's just bad luck of the draw, I guess. You have to learn how to do that. A lot of the men, you never see Andre and Pete play doubles. So maybe that's for a reason.

Q. What contribution has Ray made to your game?

ALEXANDRA STEVENSON: He's great. He's helped me with my volleys. I think they obviously need more help, getting to the net better. I still need to work on that. He's helped me with the net game and, I mean, he coached the Woodies for a long time so he knows what he's talking about. Actually, Todd Woodbridge was nice enough to come out last week in Indian Wells and give me an hour and a half lesson. That was very valuable. I didn't know he was so smart. I mean, usually --.

Q. Volley lesson?

ALEXANDRA STEVENSON: Volley, everything. We did everything: Volleys, return of serve, we did ground strokes. He hit with me for an hour and a half. Normally, a guy on the men's tour doesn't do that with a woman player. It was pretty special. He did it for Ray because he loves Ray and he watched my match and wanted to come out and give me some tips. It was amazing.

Q. Can you talk about steps you take to get to the net also?

ALEXANDRA STEVENSON: Yeah, he talked about getting down really low, which I need to work on. Getting up quicker. If you watch his first volley, I think it's one of the best first volleys. He really -- he said that he was -- when he was younger he went with Ray, he was about 19, he saw a picture of Lew Hoad, remember him? Not too many people know him I bet. Lew Hoad was in the perfect volley position with his back knee, right in back of his front leg. Like perfect perpendicular together, down low, touching the ground. He said he always remembered that. On his first volley he tried to do that. He tried to teach me how to do it. It was very tough. I also need to work on my fitness for that because it is not easy to get down low and touch the ground.

Q. You and Pete clearly share a regard for Wimbledon. The game has been changing. Do you sense in the locker room that the other players have the same Super Bowl concept about Wimbledon, or do a lot of the other plays say it's either just another Slam or it's the biggest pain in a butt for a Grand Slam because of the grass and all that?

ALEXANDRA STEVENSON: Uh-huh, I think it depends on the player. Because I know some Spanish players don't like to go there; that's for sure. I've read about it. But I think it just depends. I mean, what the player was raised on, how they were brought up, how they viewed Grand Slams. I think a lot of them just think it's another Grand Slam and they don't realize the value of it. But a lot of them do realize it, and they love going there. I think a lot of men really like Wimbledon a lot. The women, I'm not too sure about. I haven't really asked. I know Venus and Serena like going there. I like going there. But I don't know about the other players. It doesn't -- I think maybe because the game's changed a little, the history of it is kind of lost now. It would be nice to bring the history back.

Q. Do you think grass offers perhaps the best surface of all for women? It's fast, gives you a chance to get around the court. But at the same time the women's game isn't so fast you can't have long rallies on grass as well.

ALEXANDRA STEVENSON: I think, I don't know, Chris Evert had pretty long rallies at Wimbledon. But I think women's tennis on the grass is definitely different from the men's, because it's not, "boom", big serve, game over. I think that there's more rallies, but they're shorter. I guess it gives more entertainment to the game to watch them, because they have to come in, some of them. But some of them stay on the baseline, which is amazing on the grass. And it's definitely different than a clay court.

Q. You don't have to readjust the seedings for women?

ALEXANDRA STEVENSON: Yeah, I guess so. I mean, Mr. Mills always sees who does well at Wimbledon and hopefully maybe -- well, I'll be seeded this year, so that's pretty cool. I'll be in the No. 1 locker room. I really wanted to get there. So that's very -- I'm very excited about that. I've been working for that.

Q. Have you gone in there?

ALEXANDRA STEVENSON: No, I've never gone in there. This will be my first year. Never even set foot. I tried to sneak in, but they wouldn't let me in. This will be my first year.

Q. What's the schedule like?

ALEXANDRA STEVENSON: I'm going to go play the French and I'm playing Amelia Island in Charleston.

Q. Why are you foregoing those other tournaments?

ALEXANDRA STEVENSON: I decided I'll let the clay courters take those tournaments, and I'm going to try and work really hard on my fitness those three weeks. That's a good time to work on that because after the French is the grass season and the hardcourt season in America. And those are the two -- not two tournaments, two months, three months that I really want to do well at.

Q. I know you want to be there some day. What did you think of the Oscar's last night?

ALEXANDRA STEVENSON: Well, I have to say Halle Berry made a spectacular opening for women like me, for girls like me. I'm very excited because she gives me a chance now when I'm 30 and want to go into Hollywood. I thought it was great she won. I started crying when she was crying because she was so emotional. Then Denzel, I was like, "Oh, my gosh, this is huge." But I always have loved Halle Berry. She's so pretty. I always -- I thought she did a really good job in this movie even though it was a little bizarre. But it was really exciting, after 74 years to have an African American win, it's a pretty big deal. I'm looking forward to that in my later years as an actress. I have to thank her.

Q. You were up pretty late then last night?

ALEXANDRA STEVENSON: Yes. Because I got back late and I had to eat dinner at like 10:30. I was like, "I can't not watch the end. I have to watch it." I really wanted to be there. But... Maybe when I'm 30 I'll get to go. I had to see what Jennifer Lopez was wearing.

Q. She got dissed for it.

ALEXANDRA STEVENSON: She did? Well, her hair. Her hair. I loved the dress, though. It was Versace.

Q. Looked like a Miss America contestant.

ALEXANDRA STEVENSON: The hair was a little bit much. But I think she was going for an '80s look.

Q. She missed.


Q. That's your plan, stop at 30?

ALEXANDRA STEVENSON: Well, if I'm on a roll, maybe 34. But, I mean, Steffi lasted until she was 30, right? And she was out there for a long time.

Q. And Martina?

ALEXANDRA STEVENSON: Well, Martina's still there. She's back. So I don't know. Maybe I'll follow Martina, go till I'm 34. But we'll see. Thank you.

End of FastScripts….

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