August 27, 1997
U.S. OPEN CHAMPIONSHIP, Flushing Meadows, New York
Q. So, you break her first serve. What are you thinking then?
TARA SNYDER: I was pumped the first couple of games. I wanted to come out and start out
strong because I know -- I knew she really didn't know who I was, hasn't seen me play
before, so I wanted to use it for my advantage and kind of come out and not be
intimidated, but go ahead and play to win.
Q. Even before you broke her you came out with the attitude that you were coming to
play to win?
TARA SNYDER: Yeah, definitely. I wanted to go out and compete as well as I could and
kind of gauge where I am at this point. I hadn't really played anyone within the top 50.
So, I mean, I definitely thought if I went out there and competed hard that anything could
Q. So then you break her. And, I mean, did it shock you? Did you --
TARA SNYDER: Not really the first game, because my returns, I relied a lot on, almost a
lot of times more than serving it. I think I have a pretty strong return, so I actually
felt comfortable when she said she wanted to serve first. I was like, "Great."
Then when I held and I got up 2-Love and had chances, I think the third game went to
deuce, that is when I kind of not woke up, but I was kind of like, "Wow, I am in the
stadium," you know, It took a few games for it to hit.
Q. You got in a situation where there was an opponent on the other side of the net, but
also it was somebody who could have been an idol of yours. Is that kind of unique?
TARA SNYDER: Yeah. And I think -- I thought a lot about it before I went out there,
that I really wanted to focus mainly on the ball, not the opponent. It is hard when you do
have Seles who is ranked No. 2 -- it is hard to play the ball and not the player. So I
really wanted to just concentrate and keep my focus on the ball. And compete against the
ball instead of who is across the net.
Q. She reeled off like seven games in a row, but you fought back. I mean, a lot of
players might have kind of just given up at that point. What did you tell yourself or what
were you thinking?
TARA SNYDER: I wanted to get into some better rallies. I think once we kind of got into
some longer rallies I was better off -- once I was up 2-Love, I was ending the point too
quick, going for maybe too much too soon. So I wanted to -- I started to throw in more
second serves, because I thought the percentage was pretty low. I definitely wanted to
have some rallies and step up like I did the first couple of games and play aggressive.
Q. You said you relied more on your return. Would it surprise you to know that she
complimented your serve in here a few minutes ago?
TARA SNYDER: Oh, really? Yeah. I have worked a lot on my serve in the last year. So I
definitely feel I am better about my serve. It seems to be improving. I had a shoulder
problem, so I wasn't serving much last year, but my shoulder has improved and I have been
doing rehab so I am starting to feel more comfortable serving.
Q. Would you say that has been your biggest focus for the past year?
TARA SNYDER: With my shoulder?
Q. I mean, your serve.
TARA SNYDER: Definitely. We have worked a lot on the serve. I think when you play at
the level like Monica, you have to be able to hold your serve and really focus on
breaking, because it is tough when you are always thinking, you know, before to hold your
serve. If you have a strong serve, it takes a lot of the pressure off of returning.
Because I think I started to put -- when I didn't hold early in the first or after the two
games, then I started to put more pressure on my returns and if you notice the second set,
I started to hold serve better at least, so it kind of took some of my pressure off the
Q. What are your memories from winning the juniors here? Did you think about that
before you went out, I guess, or before your first match or today?
TARA SNYDER: Actually I thought about it all week. I feel very comfortable playing here
in New York. Even when I am out there, I haven't played on the stadium that I played on
today, but I played here two days ago. And just being back, I felt like it was kind of
like being back home, even though I am not from here. I have always said this is my
favorite tournament. I enjoy the atmosphere and the crowd and everything is great. Walking
out I saw the grandstand as I was going onto the stadium, I thought, "Wow, that is
where I won the juniors." So that was kind of nice right before going out to play
Monica, because it gave -- it gives you a little extra confidence.
Q. Did you walk back out on that court -- you didn't go on it or practice?
TARA SNYDER: No, I haven't practiced -- practiced on the stadium this morning since
that is where we were playing.
Q. How will you look back at this match, I mean, do you see it as, wow, I definitely,
you know, I played some pretty good games against Monica Seles; I am definitely getting
TARA SNYDER: Yeah, it is a good gauge of where I am at because I haven't been able to
play any of the higher ranked players, so hopefully from here I can continue to improve my
game and I would like to be competing at this level every week and playing these players
-- seeing these players on a more regular basis, that is definitely my goal even for next
year is to try to get my ranking up to where I am in the main draw of the Slams and get a
chance to play these players, hopefully, every week would be great.
Q. Even though it is a loss, just sort of as a follow-up to that, how valuable was an
experience that you had today to the rest of your career?
TARA SNYDER: I think it is very crucial, you know, I think at the age that I am at, I
am still fairly young, so to get the experience now gives me a base to kind of grow on and
that is definitely what I want to do is kind of get the foundation because I feel like a
lot of it is there and then just keep working towards hopefully getting to a level that
where I am competing on a regular basis and feel very comfortable out there. But, I think
just going out there for your first time, you need to kind of get the experience of the
stadium and the crowd and playing a player like that. And, even in the juniors, it took me
a year just, you know, sometime to kind of get my ranking up, but I always felt like I
took smaller steps and it was easier for me because I -- I had that chance to play some of
the top players as a junior and now I feel like if I get that same chance as a pro, it is
definitely going to help.
Q. What was it like to have the crowd on your side? I mean, they love Monica, but they
also love to see more tennis and there was a point there where they were really reved up
to get you going; did you feel that and feed off that?
TARA SNYDER: It definitely got me pumped, yeah. That is one thing I love about New York
is that when you are American, a lot of times the crowd is very much behind you. I really
felt the support. I think it helps to hear people chanting "Tara." It definitely
helped get me pumped for some of those points.
Q. This will be your biggest paycheck so far?
TARA SNYDER: Yes. Yes.
Q. As far as opponents go, court coverage and quickness and foot movement, how do you
feel Monica was as far as her court coverage today?
TARA SNYDER: I think Monica anticipates very well. A lot of people have said, well,
maybe she is not in the best shape that she is. But, she makes up for that because she has
such great anticipation. And, I knew that even before going out there, like regardless of
what people have said, that she has still got to get to a lot of balls and anticipate --
well, what she is good at -- I thought several times I played a pretty strong shot and she
will come up -- she would still come up with a pretty -- she will make you play the extra
one or two shots which maybe you might not have to play for maybe depending on the
ranking, the type of player. But, so, I thought she anticipated pretty well and moved
Q. Is she the strongest hitter you have ever gone against?
TARA SNYDER: Yeah, at this point, I think. When I went out there I guess you always
expect, you know, maybe the worst of her, to come out blast and everything. Once I got
into rallies and I was stepping in it, sometimes I felt like I was hitting pretty good
with her. Then I started to feel pretty comfortable like I could hang in there. So, I
think that is the thing that helps with the confidence to know that I can play at this
level, and it gives me something to go home and really work hard to achieve to where I can
hopefully play Seles again soon.
Q. This was your first main draw of any Grand Slam, right?
TARA SNYDER: Yes.
Q. 1 and 1, not bad.
TARA SNYDER: Yeah.
End of FastScriptsÃ¢â‚¬Â¦.