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August 29, 2000

Alexandra Stevenson

2000 U.S. OPEN CHAMPIONSHIP, Flushing Meadows, New York

MODERATOR: Questions for Alexandra.

Q. You appeared to have chances in that match. Is that your feeling?

ALEXANDRA STEVENSON: Yeah, I had lots of chances to win that second set. I didn't pull through with them.

Q. You were very streaky, if one could say that. What do you think is responsible for this?

ALEXANDRA STEVENSON: Well, I guess I just -- I don't really know. If I knew, I wouldn't be so streaky. I think I had her on the ropes many times. I got down 3-0 in the first. I think I was a little tight, but then I loosened up a bit. It was close then on. The second set wasn't very streaky. It's just I was up, and I made errors. It was close all the way through until the end. It wasn't like up and down. It was kind of up, but just making the errors to not close it out. I think that's what I need to work on.

Q. Do you count this as one of the stronger matches you played recently?

ALEXANDRA STEVENSON: Yeah. I think I definitely am getting closer. The last match was against Conchita Martinez. That was close, too. It's better. This match, the statistics said that I lost by six points. So maybe if a couple of those forehands I could have made, then it would have been a different match.

Q. What is on the drawing board? You say you have to go back to the drawing board. What is on the drawing board?

ALEXANDRA STEVENSON: Well, I'm going to work on getting into the net more. I think that made a big difference. On the approach shots, I didn't follow through with it and get in close to the net. Just working on closing the points out and not making so many errors. I think I made a couple - a lot - of unforced errors that I could have kept down. In my game, I'm going to have unforced errors. I'm going to try to work them down to very few.

Q. You started working with Eric Reilly (phonetic) last week. Are you going to stick with him for a while?


Q. What has he added to your preparation?

ALEXANDRA STEVENSON: Just preparing for my match. It's pretty new, but he's really smart at net play. We're just working together. We're going to see what happens.

Q. Obviously your emergence at Wimbledon the year before last was one of the fastest emergences of someone from obscurity.

ALEXANDRA STEVENSON: ^ yeah, it was pretty quick.

Q. Pete recently said that in retrospect, he would have preferred not to have won the '90 US Open when he was so young; that he would have liked to come out in a more gradual way. When you reflect, do you ever wish that you had emerged --?

ALEXANDRA STEVENSON: I'm not as old as Pete, so I can't look back over the years. But over the last year, I think it was pretty tough to come out. I mean, I'm happy I did it, or else I would have been attending UCLA right now. If I hadn't of done it, I would have been in college. I think that it's tough because you come out on the tour and you're pretty clueless, you're happy-go-lucky. You do really well, and everyone knows how you play, but you don't know everyone. People get jealous of you. It was pretty rough. But I grew up a lot over the last year, so I think it was a plus and a minus. I didn't really know what I was getting into. But then also it made me older, I guess you could say, and more mature after this year, because I learned a lot.

Q. When you say "clueless," what were you most clueless about?

ALEXANDRA STEVENSON: I just came out like a person that just graduated high school, like all happy, no stress, everything's really nice, everyone's really nice, there's like no negativity. Afterwards, looking back on the year, I'm like, "Wow, I was pretty dumb." But now I'm not so dumb. Everyone better watch out.

Q. Do you ever think it wouldn't be so bad playing for ^ Stella and walking around ^ westwood?

ALEXANDRA STEVENSON: I look back. It would have been good to do both. Hopefully I -- I will go back later. I don't know if it will be to UCLA, but I'll go back.

Q. Was part of the growing-up process to develop a thick skin?

ALEXANDRA STEVENSON: In the last year?

Q. Yes.

ALEXANDRA STEVENSON: Yeah, you have to. I don't really read things anymore because what you read, you can get hurt by. I learned that over the last year. But there's also positive things, too, that you can read. You just have to stay in your own circle, have a support group that supports you and believes in you 100% ^ so that there's no influence where you could get down on yourself and not believe in yourself. That's really important.

Q. In the second set, you had a service game where you had three service winners, an ace, to go up 2-Love. Your next service game, you were up 30-15.

ALEXANDRA STEVENSON: Missed a volley and a forehand.

Q. Double-faulted.

ALEXANDRA STEVENSON: I think that came -- I don't know where that came from. I guess it wouldn't have come. I think that was a key in the second set because I could have been up. I think I would have won that set if I would have held. But it's just some errors that I need to cut down. Now when I go to play my next match, I'll remember what happened in this match. Hopefully I won't do it again. I'm going to make sure I don't do it again.

Q. I forget whether the Wizard of Oz was one of the plays you played in. If you could have a magic wand and change one thing about your pro career, what would that one thing be?

ALEXANDRA STEVENSON: Let's see. Probably to win a little more in the last year. I think I've had a pretty tough time. I'm not going backwards because I'm progressing in my game. I think I played a lot better in this match than I did even the last match. Actually, I know I did. I played some tough opponents. Mary Pierce isn't an easy first round. But I think it was good for me to go through that. Over the last year I guess probably I wish I could have known a lot more of what I was getting into than I did.

Q. If I could ask, have you spoken to any of the French women or any people in the French community about the comments at Wimbledon?

ALEXANDRA STEVENSON: No. There's nothing really to talk about. They're people that I don't talk to.

Q. They haven't approached you and you haven't approached them?


Q. Would it be easier to develop your game through qualifying rounds? For a while, it looks like that's where you're going to have to build your game back.

ALEXANDRA STEVENSON: I don't think I'm going to go play satellites and challengers. I mean, I lost by six points to Mary Pierce. She's 3, 4 in the world. I think I just need to get some more matches and just keep playing, and it will come soon. I mean, it's going to come. A lot of the past champions, like Pete Sampras, won the US Open in '90, and lost a lot of matches in a row. I think I caught up to him after that second year. It's just a matter of time, just playing. If I'm in qualifying in a WTA event, then I'm in qualifying. I'll just get through it. The last tournaments, I've been in the main draw, so that's helped a lot. I've played really well. I won a round against a Top 20 player, then played Conchita, just lost again. It's just a matter of time. I keep hearing this "matter of time." Hopefully it will come very fast because I'm getting impatient. I'm just going to work hard.

Q. Are you telling yourself "a matter of time," or are people close to you telling you that?

ALEXANDRA STEVENSON: Everyone kind of comes up and tells me that. I know that I'm really close. I just have to keep working hard.

Q. Will Alexandra Stevenson eventually win the US Open?


Q. Will it be soon?

ALEXANDRA STEVENSON: May take another year or another two years, but I will be sitting here on Sunday, the final day, saying, "Hello, remember the year back when I lost the first round?" But I will win the US Open one day.

Q. When you said you wished you knew what you were getting into, did you mean the level of competition?

ALEXANDRA STEVENSON: Just everything, the whole environment, just the traveling. I mean, it's rough. People don't realize how hard it is to be a professional tennis player. You have the plane tickets, to lug your luggage, jet lag, you have the training, you have the coaches, you have the people around you, you have the outsiders trying to get in, you have the hangers-on. You have total chaos. In the last year, it's been kind of really crazy. You have your personal life being on the front page, people in the street honking their horn going, "Hey, what's up?" It's just totally different than anything I ever experienced. I like it. I mean, I don't like the chaos, but I'm cutting the chaos down. I like being well-known. You just have to get used to it. I'm used to it and I'm okay with it now.

Q. Within the chaos, is there a certain loneliness?

ALEXANDRA STEVENSON: Yeah, it's not easy on the tour. I'm lucky to have my mom travel with me. A lot of people diss my mom, but without her I probably would have quit. On the tour by yourself, people just eat you up. It's really hard to travel by yourself because you have to do everything. That's dealing with the agents, the public, the press. It gets really crazy. Your laundry, the little things, your breakfast, your lunch, your dinner.

Q. Your passport?

ALEXANDRA STEVENSON: Yeah, everything. Most people either have a parent or a coach or someone with them because you can't handle it at all or else you'll go crazy. I think a lot of people don't realize that. Little kids will come up to me and be like, "I'm turning pro, I don't want to go to school," like high school. I at least say, "Well, finish high school before you make that decision because you have no idea what you're getting into."

Q. In a way, do you feel like you've lost some innocence? Is that good or bad?

ALEXANDRA STEVENSON: Yeah, I guess I'm not -- well, I'm not as immature as I was, obviously. I'm a year older. I think it's good -- I guess in a way you could say it's kind of bad because nothing's really pure. You get out in the real world really fast out here, and you learn a lot, a lot of my friends in college have no clue about. In a way it's good, in a way it's bad. You learn it earlier. My friends will learn it later. But you learn it at one time. It kind of balances out.

Q. Have you seen the Arthur Ashe statue outside?

ALEXANDRA STEVENSON: No, I haven't seen it yet. I was focusing on my match. I do want to see it. I guess pretty isn't the word to say. It's very nice, I've heard.

End of FastScripts….

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