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June 26, 2001

Alexandra Stevenson


THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. The ten-minute heat break, extreme heat break that took place out there, did it ruin your rhythm at all? Were you upset about that?

ALEXANDRA STEVENSON: It surprised me actually. They told us about it before the match and I forgot about it, I was so focused. But I figured, guess it's just like the Juniors. In the Juniors you used to get ten minutes when you split sets, but then you would get to go with your coach or something and talk and sit down. But I just figured, I'll just go back to the locker room, put cold water on my face and walk back, that would be ten minutes. I just tried not to let my focus go. That was the key.

Q. When you served for the match at the end there, you get called for a foot fault, double-fault, second point.


Q. Do you think it's not meant to be at that point or did you let go?

ALEXANDRA STEVENSON: No, I didn't think I foot faulted. My foot turned over the line because sometimes since they see the foot over the line, it's a foot fault, but it really isn't. I have to move back a little more because that happens. They'll see the heel over a line and they'll call a foot fault. So I just figured just to move back and hold my serve because I wasn't losing it.

Q. Venus was watching your match and for a while Richard was there. Can you talk about the relationship you have?

ALEXANDRA STEVENSON: We're friends. We grew up together when we were little. She comes to see me play and I watch her play and we hit sometimes and it was nice. I didn't expect her to come out because it was hot today. But she came out in Australia, too, where it was even hotter and sat through the whole match and she had a doubles match that day. So she gives me nice support. It's nice.

Q. Get back to the first question, she invoked that heat respite, but shortly after she had called for the trainer, just before you were preparing to serve for the set. Do you suppose she might have had an ulterior motive there?

ALEXANDRA STEVENSON: Girls here are pretty strategical (sic). I guess it's not a word, I don't know. I'm a little tired. They like to take -- two years ago, they liked to take bathroom breaks, but that's kind of -- they've narrowed down the bathroom breaks over the years. I think maybe she was hurting. But she just got massaged on her leg, so maybe she wanted to throw me off a little, but I don't know. I'm not in her head so I can't ask. But I just figured she needs a little break and just to not let it fluster me and keep going. It's happened before.

Q. Describe what it's like facing another one-handed backhand, another person who's coming in on every point. It was almost as if the two of you, you don't look the same, she's smaller, but were mirror images of each other.

ALEXANDRA STEVENSON: She's definitely a great athlete. It was tough because she was coming in, and a lot of the girls on the Tour, as you know, don't come in a lot. So I think first set, it kind of threw me off and I had to get used to it. I just got down low and said, "I'm better, I'm gonna hit the ball and I'll just have to pass her."

Q. Can you give us a big picture, sort of review since you really burst on the scene here two years ago. Are you a little disappointed in your progress? Any regrets at all about not just going into college at that time? Bring us up to date.

ALEXANDRA STEVENSON: Actually, I'm in college right now, on-line. No regrets about that. University of Colorado, distance learning. And I think I was really young two years ago, and obviously I just graduated high school and played my first Wimbledon and got to the semis. A lot of people think it was a fluke, but you don't win, how many matches, seven, no, eight matches. That's not a fluke. I think I just played well. And I was on these two weeks. After that, I had to learn how to play the game. I really had no clue. And the girls out here are really tough, as you see. Doesn't matter if you're seeded 1 to 200, they come out wanting to beat you and wanting to win. I learned that, and then I had some injuries. I didn't play the clay season this year and took off to get my back better. And it's tough. You have to learn how to live on the road, learn how to train on the road and learn how to not get injured on the road. Because, for me, if my body's not 100 percent perfect, then I don't play well. And, obviously, I can't. I can't get to the ball. It was very difficult. And now I'm feeling great, and I took the time off, and I think I've matured. Obviously, I'm 20 now and I've learned a lot. I don't have any regrets, because it was a great lesson, and you can only get -- my mom would put life lessons, when you're out in life, doing these actual things and traveling and learning, learning what to say and learning what not to say, meeting different people.

Q. How about coaching? Somebody's mentioned that you may be back with Pete Fisher, is that true?

ALEXANDRA STEVENSON: Well, Rob Lancer and Pete Fisher have always been my coach since I was nine.

Q. Actively now?

ALEXANDRA STEVENSON: Well, he's out. I've seen him. He's a good friend of mine. He always will be.

Q. What is it with you and grass?

ALEXANDRA STEVENSON: (Laughing.) Well... The green grass.

Q. I've heard you mention on other occasions how anxious you were to get back to Wimbledon.

ALEXANDRA STEVENSON: I love Wimbledon. It's a great place. It's magical. As Pete Sampras says, "You can't miss Wimbledon, you have to respect it. You have to respect the grass." I saw today. It's tough out there, these girls know how to play on it. I just think when I was little, I grew up watching Wimbledon and I was built to play on grass. My game was formed to play on the grass, and I just have to keep doing it. It's a wonderful surface. I love it. But I also like hardcourt. So I'll hopefully, after this, have a great hardcourt season. And I'm learning to try to like clay. I think maybe give me another year and I can do well on clay. It's hard to master that. But grass is definitely wonderful, and I think someone, John Lloyd actually said they should get rid of grass at Wimbledon. That's like saying you can't have strawberries with cream or something. If grass wasn't at Wimbledon, it wouldn't be Wimbledon.

Q. You talked about skipping the clay court season. How hard is it to come back to tournament play after taking some time off just in general?

ALEXANDRA STEVENSON: Well, it's tough because I wasn't match tough. I mean, I went to Birmingham, did pretty well. I lost to Tauziat. She's still around and knows how to play on grass. That's another person that likes grass. I wasn't match tough, and I'm trying to get match tough here. It's definitely hard when you take two months off, because all these girls are just playing and you have to get right back in it. But it's good discipline for you, to get ready.

Q. Do you feel with your game in particular that you need that match toughness? Because in the beginning it seems like a lot of the backhand, you were missing a lot of backhands, a lot of first serves. Then as the match wore on --?

ALEXANDRA STEVENSON: -- It got better.

Q. Definitely.

ALEXANDRA STEVENSON: I think I've always done really well when I build into the tournament. Like '99, I qualified and I went all the way through. A couple other Tour tournaments, qualified, got to the quarters. Just when I'm playing, like give me three weeks, first week is okay, second week gets better, third week gets much better. I think obviously I guess I think that it helps when I build into the match. But I have to not do that in the next round, because I don't want to lose the first set. So hopefully this will be the building part of the tournament, and then I'll go into my next match ready to win the first set.

Q. When you say you've learned what to say and what not to say, what does that mean?

ALEXANDRA STEVENSON: Just means I've learned that people interpret what you say differently, and you just have to be careful. I mean, you can't trust anyone out there, except your blood, and my mom's my only blood right now out there. It's hard. You have to be very careful who you surround yourself with.

Q. In view of what you were saying about learning life lessons and so on from two years ago, if you got to the same stage again this year, would you feel better equipped mentally to go one stage further?

ALEXANDRA STEVENSON: Definitely. I think my focus is much better. I've matured on the court. I actually have a clue of what I'm doing now. So I think definitely it will be much better once I get there.

Q. What does that say to you in terms of you came here a couple years ago, you were very young, you seemed to be implying that you did trust people. Now you don't trust people.

ALEXANDRA STEVENSON: Well, I trust certain people. I mean, you have to get to know them. Obviously, two years ago, I was pretty open, wide-eyed, young child, I mean 18, you think, "Oh, you're old." But I really wasn't. I had no experience on the Tour or doing press conferences or getting my plane ticket or booking a hotel. I was pretty clueless, just high school. I mean, people don't realize that when you're in high school you're pretty sheltered. You go to the dances and you do your homework and you go to the mall. After that, I had to become an adult. And I think kids go to college when they're 18 and they spend the first three years or two years goofing off. Then the fourth year, maybe they're like, "Oh, I better get serious." Well, I started, it was kind of my freshman year and sophomore year out here and I just learned how to handle it.

Q. How would you describe your coming of age? Painful? Insightful? Challenging?

ALEXANDRA STEVENSON: Obviously, I guess there's always trials and tribulations that you go through, but it's for a reason. And sooner or later, everything will be great. You can't go through life without some ups and downs.

Q. Which was your most bitter experience during this freshmen period?

ALEXANDRA STEVENSON: Well, I hate to lose and I think I lost a lot over the last two years (laughing). That was really hard, because I really wanted to win, and everyone around me wanted me to win and I was trying to win but I just didn't. I just learned that you just had to keep going. It made me stronger, because you either collapse and you can't handle it, or you keep working and you keep working and then it will happen. So that's what I decided to do.

Q. In your off-court experience, was there something that you realized that you wouldn't want to happen again? Was there something that you have in mind as a bitter learning lesson?

ALEXANDRA STEVENSON: No, no. I'm not bitter about anything. I'm actually happy that I went through it because now I know a lot more. I'm more educated, you could say. And I just -- it was a wonderful experience. I'm still experiencing it. It's just nice to know that I'm doing better and that I know a lot more and that as the years go on, I'm only 20, I'm not over the hill, I have lots of years left, and I'm gonna do well.

End of FastScripts....

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