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June 27, 2000

Alexandra Stevenson


Q. You're still writing notes to yourself. I saw you read a little bit. Are there any new notes on there?

ALEXANDRA STEVENSON: Actually, Brian Gottfried wrote those notes. He wrote them with me. I went over them with him yesterday. He kind of wrote final words. They're just reminders to remind me what I do. I tend to rush. I'm starting to be more patient now. At least this match I was. Those helped me a lot.

Q. Was it nice to be out there?

ALEXANDRA STEVENSON: Yeah. It was great. It was very exciting. It was wonderful to be put on Court 3. It was like being back home. I loved it.

Q. I know that you were plenty excited and appreciative at the time when you had your great run here last year. Now that you've been through a year, also had some harder times on tour, do you appreciate that even more now?

ALEXANDRA STEVENSON: Yeah. I mean, I think it was a rarity that a high school student comes out and gets to the semifinals all of a sudden. I think I expected a lot. I just needed to just work hard. After my rookie year -- I guess now it's going into my second year on tour. I'm not a veteran yet. It's great to be starting off here again. It's kind of like a new beginning.

Q. Have you seen Pete around the grounds at all?


Q. Pete Sampras.

ALEXANDRA STEVENSON: I told his fiancee congratulations. We crossed on the court, but I didn't say anything because I was hitting the ball and I had to focus on the ball. I noticed him. He was on the court next to me. I haven't seen him. Let's see, where did I see him last? I think I saw him at the French. No, I didn't see him at the French. Somewhere, I can't remember. I've seen Paul, though, and talked to Paul.

Q. An article in the Sunday Mail last Sunday, you're quoted as saying that it would be naive if someone thought there wasn't racism on the WTA Tour. Your mother is further quoted as saying if she had known what you were going to come up against in this first year, she would have sent you to college. Would you identify the person or persons who have subjected you to these racial situations?

ALEXANDRA STEVENSON: Well, I just think that it's naive to think there's no racism in the world. The tour is part of the world. You're going to get it wherever you go - being multi-cultural, being pink, being blue, being whatever, it's different cultures out here. You just have to face it. It's made me tougher.

Q. On the same subject, have you had any repercussions, positive or negative, about playing Hilton Head? Has it affected your friendship at all with Serena?

ALEXANDRA STEVENSON: No (laughter). Serena and I are still friends.

Q. She said yesterday she would never have played that.

ALEXANDRA STEVENSON: Well, she's a different person than me. I represent both sides of races, actually eight of them. It was just important for me to go in and express my feelings because I thought that it was smart of me to stand up for it. I think it helps because the House voted it down right after I went in and talked about it. The Governor wrote me a letter saying, "Thank you. I think you helped." I think they realised if a 19-year-old could go into the state and tell them it's wrong, discuss it with them, approach it in a positive way, they realise their mistake. It should come down. Serena had a different approach, but that's not going to ruin our friendship. Lots of people had different points.

Q. It would seem that the tour being so multi-cultural, that there would probably be less racism because there are so many different people, as opposed to the regular world. Do you not feel that's true?

ALEXANDRA STEVENSON: Well, it's different because there's a lot of -- it's multi-cultural, but it's still -- there's still a difference between the races, I guess if you put it that way. I don't know why, but it seems silly because it's the year 2000 and everyone should grow up. It's not going to work that way and you just have to go at it one day at a time, just live your life, not let it bug you.

Q. Can you give us a specific idea what kind of incidents you're talking about?

ALEXANDRA STEVENSON: I'd rather not. I'd rather not get into it because then that opens a whole can of worms.

Q. You don't have to give names, but just something in general.

ALEXANDRA STEVENSON: It's just something you can't explain until it happens to you. Sometimes it might not happen to them. You can't really talk about it because a lot of people don't understand about it.

Q. Are you saying players and officials or players, officials of the tour?

ALEXANDRA STEVENSON: I'm not saying anybody right now.

Q. I apologize for even asking it, but I wondered if the problems with the Erving family has changed the dynamics as to whether you are more in contact with them at all?


Q. Don't you think you opened up the can of worms by talking to the Daily Mail about the problem?

ALEXANDRA STEVENSON: He asked me if it would be naive if someone thought there was racism on the tour. I said, "No, because there's racism in the world." I can't say the tour is perfect, it's a perfect society. There's no perfect societies in life.

Q. Monica Seles recently said in a perfect world it would be nice if there were one standard, that no one would have to live in conditions below that. Is that a sentiment you can agree with?

ALEXANDRA STEVENSON: Yeah. I mean, the tour is rough and tough. It's not perfect. It's by far glamorous and by far perfect (sic). It would be nice to have it perfect, but life isn't perfect. You're going to come across bumps in the road. Monica knows. She's had a rough time, but she's succeeded. She's a great person and I like her a lot. It would be nice if everyone could get along, the tour would be perfect, you wouldn't have to travel and lug your bags around, get your bags stolen, do all this stuff. It's hard. But that's part of life, that's part of being a champion. If you want to be a champion, you have to go through everything.

Q. If there was one thing that you could change since last year's Wimbledon and now, what would that one thing be?

ALEXANDRA STEVENSON: Probably nothing because I think it was important for me to go through this year and to play really tough. I've been losing by a couple points. It's not like I've been losing by O and O. It's just getting experience. If you look back at a lot of great champions, their rookie years are horrible, they're not very good. Everyone goes through it. You can't expect everything to be just peachy, I guess you could put it that way. It's going to be tough. Nobody wants to hand anything over to you. Women's tennis right now is getting a lot tougher. The opponents are tougher. I mean, the girl I played today, she's beaten a lot of great players. I was going into this match prepared because I knew she was tough. Before that I probably would have not been prepared as much. But going through all my matches and going through life on the tour for a year, I've now learned how to be a professional.

Q. Did you have your result from last year tucked away in a little locket? When you went through hard times, you could look back and say, "I did this last year, that tournament is still coming"? Did you take any consolation or inspiration of what you did last year?

ALEXANDRA STEVENSON: Yeah. I know at my best, I'm great, and I can play great tennis. It's just getting to the best, to the top of my game. It's just learning how to put it all together. I looked back on last year and I saw that I came out of nowhere basically and I beat a lot of players. I look back on that and say, "I can play with these girls because I believe in myself now and I know I can play with them. It's just a matter of time."

Q. You have such a great record here. What is it --?

ALEXANDRA STEVENSON: I've only been here one year (laughter).

Q. What is it that you really like about the big stage that makes you perform so well?

ALEXANDRA STEVENSON: I just love the stage. Ever since I was little, I loved to perform. There's nothing better than being on Centre Court and having millions of fans on TV and in the stadium and outside on the outside courts cheering for you. I think that every great champion loves to be a performer and they understand it's entertainment out there, and that people buy tickets to watch you play, and they have great enjoyment in seeing you succeed, and they want you to succeed, the people, the fans. It's just wonderful to be out there and to be able to give back to them and to perform because there's nothing better than giving a great performance, singing or dancing or acting or playing tennis, any one, or giving speeches.

Q. What's the big difference between the two?


Q. Acting and singing, dancing, and actually going out on Centre Court at Wimbledon.

ALEXANDRA STEVENSON: Acting and playing tennis on the court aren't very different. When I walk on the court, I'm an actress. I've learned to do that in the last year. I pretend each day I'm a different person. One day I'll be Julia Roberts, one day I'll be Audrey Hepburn, one day I'll be Grace Kelly.

Q. Who were you today?

ALEXANDRA STEVENSON: Julia Roberts. It's just great. Great actresses are wonderful to watch. You see them perform for us in the movies and entertainment. You go on the court and you want to perform, too. You put on a face. It's your game face and you're tough. You know that's still entertainment and great performing.

Q. Does it help your game to take that attitude rather than thinking, "I just have the job to do"?

ALEXANDRA STEVENSON: Yes. I think the past couple months I've tried to go out and be tough and focused, get all rushed. But then I start rushing. I'm like, "Hello, you can't play like this." You have to be loose and happy, but tough at the same time. You kind of have to balance it out. That's helped a lot.

Q. Has there been any instance where you've been watching a movie, reading a book, "Wow, what she's doing there can help me in tennis"?

ALEXANDRA STEVENSON: I see so many movies. Probably. I can't remember. The last two movies I've watched have been Beaches and Dirty Dancing. I didn't get anything out of those movies, except I loved Dirty Dancing because I loved the dancing. I'd really want to be in that movie. Over in England, we don't have the up-to-date movies, so I went and bought those two. Those are my two of the moment. I haven't really seen anything so far that I've been like, "Wow, I want to take that on the court." I kind of take whichever I think of first in the morning.

Q. Why were you Julia Roberts today as opposed to Audrey or Grace?

ALEXANDRA STEVENSON: Just because I like her today. She's a good actress. I just pick different ones. It's fun to pretend you're someone else.

Q. So there was nothing about that first match back at Wimbledon that conjured up images of Julia Roberts?

ALEXANDRA STEVENSON: No. It was like, "Today I'll be Julia Roberts."

Q. How the Holly Go Lightly of tennis?

ALEXANDRA STEVENSON: That, you could say, because I love Breakfast at Tiffany's. I read the book. I bought the book in Rome because we went to an Italian bookstore and all they had was Breakfast at Tiffany's in English. I said, "I think I'll buy that." She's a great character to play, that Holly Go Lightly. I got some Audrey Hepburn movies, too.

Q. If you had the opportunity to switch and be a movie person, would you do that instead of this?

ALEXANDRA STEVENSON: I'm going to do that after this. I have it all planned out.

Q. You're a busy girl.

ALEXANDRA STEVENSON: The WTA has this thing called Career Planning. It's actually very helpful for veterans that go off the tour and you play tennis all your life, you have no clue what you're going to do. They give you a test and they help you. They're giving it to me. I'm like, "I just started so I don't need this yet." I keep going, "I'm just going to go into acting and win an Academy Award so you don't have to worry about that." They all laugh. It's great to know that I can be an actress after this. Maybe I'll be a broadcaster. I just love it. Right now on the court, it's great to perform because you can do both on the court. You can act and play great.

Q. What is it about Julia Roberts?


Q. Yes.

ALEXANDRA STEVENSON: Her boyfriend. No, just kidding. He's really cute. Pretty Woman, I loved that movie. In Paris we went shopping, went into this store called Chloe. My mom said, "You spent your allowance in Rome, you can't spend anymore." We were in sweats. You don't want to be dressed up to go shopping. Regular people do that. Tennis people go in tennis clothes. This store was very snobby. The lady wouldn't help me. I kept saying, "Do you have this in my size?" They only had one skirt out on the rack. In the high couture stores they have one item on the rack. They go back and help you. I just learned this this year. I totally felt like Julia Roberts because she totally dissed me because I was young and in tennis clothes. She thought I had nothing -- she probably thought I had like $5 allowance. This skirt was so cool. It wasn't even that expensive because it was in Francs. I really wanted it because it was cute. It had ruffles, then it had this little thing that said Chloe with a heart. It went perfect for a Californian summer. The lady said, "We don't have your size." I said, "Of course you do, you have all this stuff in the back." She said, "I'm sorry, we don't." I went and tried on three shirts. My mom said, "It's not worth it. Don't let them get to you." We left. Afterward we were walking out. We said, "You guys should rent Pretty Woman because this scene was that scene in the movie, go rent that and learn something from it." I thought that was pretty funny.

Q. She emerged triumphant in the end.


Q. Do you think you'll emerge triumphant on this stage?


Q. What is your allowance?

ALEXANDRA STEVENSON: My allowance? I was only allowed $200 in Rome. That wasn't very much. I went a little over. Now I kind of spent my allowance because I got some shoes and some clothes, went a little crazy. I don't have an allowance till the US Open now. No shopping in Wimbledon. Too much, the pound is too much.

End of FastScripts….

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