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August 25, 1997
Flushing Meadows, New York
Q. How did you feel out there your first ever U.S. Open match, your first ever Grand
Slam match? Were you nervous at all? How were you feeling?
TARA SNYDER: Actually before, I was a bit nervous, I mean, normally before I play, I am
a little bit nervous, but once I got out there, I felt very calm. And, the thing that I
tell myself when I am playing out there is I love playing in New York. It is my favorite
tournament. It is almost like I feel like - even though I am not from here - that I am
playing in my home. When I am on the court I almost tell myself I am home again because I
like the pace of the courts and I like the atmosphere even though it is a bit hectic. I
really -- I have always played good tennis here.
Q. This is kind of a special tournament for you because you turned pro here two years
TARA SNYDER: Yes.
Q. And then you won the junior title here two years ago. So, tell us a little bit about
how you feel at the Open; how significant. And, now you have this big -- this is your
probably biggest win ever as far as an event like this.
TARA SNYDER: Definitely. I think my biggest -- of course, my biggest wins have come
from the Open, so, maybe it is the city or something, but every time I come into New York
I feel like I am playing pretty much my best tennis and going into this tournament, that
is why I laid off a week or two just so I could kind of rest my shoulder and get my mind
ready to play because I knew that this -- all the tournaments throughout the year, if I
could do well in one tournament, this is always the tournament I pick because it is here
in the States.
Q. What about looks like you will probably play Monica Seles if she wins tonight.
TARA SNYDER: Yes.
Q. Tell us how you feel about that.
TARA SNYDER: When I play Monica I am going to go out and really try and concentrate not
on the person who I am playing because it is such a big name, but actually concentrate a
lot on the ball. And, I think that is hard to do. Sometimes you get into playing the
player instead of just playing the ball, and, seeing what is coming over. But, it is
definitely going to be a new experience. I think it will be fun to go out in the new
stadium. It is the first time ever playing in front of a crowd that size. I mean, I have
never played anywhere close to that size of a crowd. And, I will probably, like today,
just leave it in God's hands.
Q. Do you think it is going to help that you played that little tiebreak match --
TARA SNYDER: Yeah.
Q. -- on Saturday, the fact that you were able to get kind of the acclimation for --
TARA SNYDER: Yeah, because it was kind of nice. It was really nice going out and
playing and I kind of felt, like, a little bit of the wind. When you are in the stadium it
does a bit of swirl. So I was able to kind of see how the court plays and how the wind is
and in the big stadium like that. So, I definitely got to feel the whole atmosphere. You
always imagine playing in it. Like when I win my first round, I am going to be playing
here. So, when I was out there I was also thinking and trying to kind of take everything
Q. Now, I think most of the media - most of the, kind of the tennis world, are kind of
just starting to learn about you. Obviously, when you won the U.S. Open Juniors, your name
started getting out. But, you are relatively -- I don't want to say unknown, but you are
make -- you are starting to make a name for yourself. But, in Wichita you are really --
you are the real deal in Wichita. Tell us a little about your celebrity status in Wichita.
TARA SNYDER: It is great being from a small town unlike Houston or where I am currently
living you have a lot -- we don't have that many professional athletes. Especially tennis
players, so when I go home and I won the U.S. Open, I came home. They had limousines
waiting, all three TV stations because we only have like three news stations. So, I have
done radio interviews, and news and so I have kind of -- it is really nice because you go
home and you do feel like kind of like you are celebrity. But, I also realize that it is
-- it is a small town, so, that is why I actually think it is nicer coming from a small
town because I know everyone. Like I know the newspaper guys since was like five.
(Laughter.) So, it is great. You get a lot of press.
Q. You are blushing.
TARA SNYDER: I know. It is funny, he used to watch me play when I was five years old
when I was out there with my dad. So, now he loves to come any time I am playing and write
Q. What is his name?
TARA SNYDER: Bob Strattun.
Q. Do people like stop you on the sidewalk and say there is Tara Snyder, can I have
TARA SNYDER: Yeah, but not to that extent. Amazing thing, when I went back to my
elementary school to see my gym teacher who was one of my favorite PE teachers, he taught
me a lot of eye-hand coordination, juggling and that helps in tennis. I went there every
week. He told me -- they feature pro athletes like Michael Jordan, a lot of different
sports and one week they had Tara Snyder. They had a Tara Snyder picture. Everyday they
would kind of talk about my tennis, so when I came into this school, I was had like --
hundreds of little kids came up for autographs, "Sign my shirt and hand." I said
this is my old elementary school. I think everyone knows me there because I have been
there for so long that I know -- I am friends with everyone, so I don't have like people
"Hey, can I have your autograph" off the street. Going to my old elementary
school and having a lot of younger kids that don't know me coming up, it is really nice.
So, I just want to set a good example for a lot of kids in Wichita to know that they can
do something with their lives like positive, you know.
Q. That is great.
TARA SNYDER: Yeah.
Q. What are you going to do tonight? Little dinner and you are going to stay and
TARA SNYDER: Yeah, definitely watch Monica and just kind of see what it would be like
to play in the stadium and watch Tommy Ho, who is also from Houston, who works with my
coach. And, like every night do a lot of praying because I think that has helped me more
than anything is the religion part of it. So, definitely do a lot of praying and just
Q. Excellent. Very good.
End of FastScriptsÃ¢â‚¬Â¦.