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March 6, 1999

Alexandra Stevenson


Q. How did it feel playing the No. 1 player?

ALEXANDRA STEVENSON: It felt great. I got to play a great champion. I got the experience today to play a No. 1 player. It was really exciting. I was a little upset that I couldn't hold my serve at 4-3, but I'll learn how to do that.

Q. How much did nerves figure into the equation?

ALEXANDRA STEVENSON: I wasn't nervous at all. I mean, I had played Venus last week, so -- I mean, they're just girls like me, so I wasn't nervous.

Q. You bring a lot of people up from San Diego, a lot of support out there today.

ALEXANDRA STEVENSON: Yeah. I heard a lot of people cheering for me. It was really nice.

Q. Yesterday I was not at the press conference, but you mentioned that Sandrine Testud was the one who sort of motivated you to work harder. Can you say a few words about that?

ALEXANDRA STEVENSON: I wouldn't exactly say motivated me, personally. I would just say, sort of after losing to her, I guess it did motivate me to learn how to beat Top-20 girls, even though I haven't beaten one yet. But I've beaten a Top-30 girl. But she motivated me enough to get me going, although I was going before, but she made me a little more mad.

Q. She said something to the effect like, "She needs to work harder on her physical training," or something.

ALEXANDRA STEVENSON: "She needs physical fitness training." So I just laughed at that. I mean, she could use it, too. Everyone needs it (laughter). It was kind of a generic comment because you can never get too much physical training.

Q. So did you head to the gym immediately after?

ALEXANDRA STEVENSON: No, no. I just kept doing my routine.

Q. What did you learn today?

ALEXANDRA STEVENSON: Oh, wow. I learned -- I haven't really gone over it yet with Teltscher. He's sitting back there. I learned personally that I need to hold my serve at 4-3 after I've broken the No. 1 player, because she's going to break me back if I don't hold serves. I also learned I think I went, on some shots, for a little too much. I'm kind of known to do that. I learned that if she hit the shot, if I just got it back over the net, I would have still been in the point instead of hitting it out or missing in the net. I learned if it's not a good shot, just get it over and see what the other girl does with it. Because she doesn't really hit hard enough to hurt me with a winner, like, I would say, Venus could hurt you with a winner, like really hard because she's big. And Martina kind of plays off your pace. She hurts you by getting everything back and being smart. She doesn't hurt you with her power.

Q. Who taught you this beautiful backhand?

ALEXANDRA STEVENSON: Well, when I was nine -- no, 11 years old, Pete Fisher changed my two-handed backhand, which everyone loved, and Robert Lansdorp was very upset that I changed it. But he changed me, and Robert Lansdorp got it to being really good. He gave me, like, 50 at the baseline every Friday for me to get it over the net, and if I didn't get it over, he'd give me 50 more. I'd have to say with Pete and Robert, Robert did the most, but Pete changed it and taught me some things also.

Q. What was going through your mind when you achieved that second straight break there and were leading 4-3 with your serve coming up? Were you thinking, "I'm going to win it"?

ALEXANDRA STEVENSON: Actually, yeah. I was thinking towards the third. I wasn't thinking automatically towards the third set, which you shouldn't do because then you get too far ahead of yourself. I was thinking, hold myself and you've got her and you've got her into a third set, and that's a whole different ballgame. So I was excited that I broke her because in the first set she broke me twice, and I didn't break her any. I didn't break her once. After being up 4-3, I just said, "Okay, you can serve well." But, oh well.

Q. A couple of times when you aced her, she looked stunned. Do you think she underestimated your serve today?

ALEXANDRA STEVENSON: Maybe. She watched my match yesterday. I was kind of impressed with that. She's the No. 1 player in the world and she came out and watched at least a set and a half as I was told after I won. I think she knew I served hard, but I don't think she taught I could ace her that much, I think. I think she thought she could get more of them back. I think she was a little stunned.

Q. What is going to be your next tournament?

ALEXANDRA STEVENSON: I'm going to go play qualifying for the Lipton, then I'll probably play Hilton Head and then I'm in my school play and graduation, so I won't play anything after that.

Q. What role are you playing in the school play?

ALEXANDRA STEVENSON: We're doing Grease, and I'm Patsy Simcox, the cheerleader, and vice president. I got a minor role, so it will be fun.

Q. Have you decided yet whether you're going to remain on the tour full-time or go to college?

ALEXANDRA STEVENSON: Well, that's a tough question. I think college is really good, good for some people. I would like to -- I don't know. I'd like to do both maybe. It's a hard decision right now. I mean, maybe if I would have won today, I would have said, "Yeah, I'm not going to college, forget that." But I just think I need to work harder and I'm going to work hard this summer and decide. I did apply to UCLA, so I might go there for a year. It's still up in the air. I know my mom wants me to go.

Q. If you had to decide right now, what would you do?

ALEXANDRA STEVENSON: Flip a coin (laughter). I don't know. My mom would probably say, "You're going to college now." I probably wouldn't have any decision right now. After the US Open, I'll decide.

Q. Who are the champions you admire or admired growing up?

ALEXANDRA STEVENSON: Margaret Court, she's a great champion, she's my role model. I admired Steffi Graf for all she's done. It's pretty amazing, she's coming back and she's -- is she Top 10 yet? She came back after an injury. Monica Seles, she's tough, too. When I was a little girl, I watched Martina Navratilova win Wimbledon. I went to my mom, "That's going to be me some day." So I admired her serve and volley game, and how she played on grass. Pete Sampras, he's one of my favorites.

Q. Did you ever watch Margaret Court play?

ALEXANDRA STEVENSON: Yes. I have old tapes of her playing Billy Jean King, I think, on the grass courts in Flushing -- wait, Forest Hills. And my uncle used to work for CBS, and he sent me all their old tapes of Margaret Court matches, so I've gotten to see her play.

Q. You don't exactly seem devastated. May we assume you feel pretty good the way you acquitted yourself today?

ALEXANDRA STEVENSON: Medium. I don't feel great because I needed to rotate a little more on my serve and I would have gotten that game. So I'm a little upset. I'm actually very upset that I didn't get that game. But it's going to make me tougher. You don't get mad; you get even. So I'll get even in one of these tournaments.

Q. Which is a tougher player to play, Venus or Hingis? You played them in the last couple weeks.

ALEXANDRA STEVENSON: Venus has a harder serve, but Hingis' serve is hard to return because she serves it quickly and she's a little sneaky about where she puts it. I mean, it's not hard, but I did have trouble returning it. Venus makes more errors than Hingis. Hingis is pretty consistent. Venus hits harder. I'd probably say Martina is harder for me to play because I have to be thinking on my toes every minute and not make unforced errors and give her easy points. I mean, I have to do that against Venus, too, but I know she's going to make the errors also.

Q. Was there anything that surprised you about Martina's game in person?

ALEXANDRA STEVENSON: No. Maybe how the ball isn't that hard. I mean, I haven't played against her. Obviously this is my first time. But her ball, she uses -- I mean, I knew she used other people's pace. But playing against her, it was up to me to take control because she likes to take control with your pace. So you have to take control of your game and not make errors. So that's probably what surprised me a little. I mean, I've watched her on TV a lot, so.

End of FastScripts....

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