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September 4, 2002

Monica Seles


THE MODERATOR: Questions for Monica, please.

Q. Is Venus beatable by you or by anyone when she's serving that well?

MONICA SELES: I don't know. I mean, she was just really better than I was in every department tonight.

Q. Specifically talking about her serve. How tough was it?

MONICA SELES: Well, I just -- I think the match tells it all. I think I had one breakpoint. She just served too well. I really couldn't read it at all. Was too strong.

Q. You have won a lot of time 2 and 3. How does it feel to be on the other side of a big match?

MONICA SELES: I've lost to her many times 2 and 3. This is not the first time. She's one of the toughest players for me to play. Each time I go into a match I know it's tough because she has her weapons that make it difficult for me to play her.

Q. In a quarterfinal appearance, can you take a positive from that at this point? Is that a good tournament?

MONICA SELES: I really don't look at it that way. You come into a tournament wanting to win it. Tonight I faced a player that was just better, you know. Really, whatever department, she just played better than I did tonight.

Q. When you saw Venus struggle against Rubin, did you think that might make her more dangerous tonight?

MONICA SELES: I really didn't see the match. But, gosh, you can't -- maybe Chanda played better than I did. I don't know. I can just speak about the match. She was just better than I was out there.

Q. How do you think you played tonight?

MONICA SELES: It's hard to say because a lot of times I had little bit of a window and I kind of made more unforced errors than I would have liked to. But then a lot of times she didn't give me any chances. The balls were coming back very fast. When you lose, you definitely didn't -- you don't feel you played well. At the same time, I got to give credit for her. Her serves were just too strong for me to return and that put a lot of pressure on my own serve.

Q. You might not want to answer this, but who do you think is a better player between the two of them?

MONICA SELES: I haven't played Serena in more than a year's time. I think she's improved a lot since then. So, I mean, it's hard. I haven't seen the Wimbledon or the French Open finals, it's really hard for me to say. It seems from the last two matches, Serena. But Venus has won this tournament twice in a row. So, you know, we'll see.

Q. A year ago at this time it was like -- the mix was six or seven players reasonably could go for it. Now they seem to have pulled away quite a bit, obviously.

MONICA SELES: Yeah, definitely.

Q. Was it fair to say the most improved players are the Williams sisters?

MONICA SELES: Well, I think Venus was playing very well last year to win the US Open. I think she won all the three tournaments coming in. So in my eyes last year Venus was the favorite, as I think this year Serena's won the most tournaments. I think the one that has improved a lot is Serena, very much so.

Q. With the September 11th anniversary a week away, the thing that happened with Serena last week, there's a lot of attention to security on the tour. What's your sense of the feeling of you and the other players about how things are handled nowadays?

MONICA SELES: I really don't know. I mean, hard for me to comment because I don't know the things that are going around. Just coming into the stadium you feel you have to go through security check points before you didn't have to go. But I really don't know the details, so what goes around behind the scenes...

Q. Do you feel secure?

MONICA SELES: I've always felt secure at the tennis court, all my career. So I would see no difference today or...

Q. What do you have to do against Venus when she's serving that well?

MONICA SELES: Well, you got to return better and you got to serve yourself better to put the pressure on her. But, you know, when someone is serving 115, it's tough to return no matter how well you're playing.

Q. When you did have that one breakpoint, she came back with about an 112 mile ace. Did that deflate you?

MONICA SELES: No, I mean, all night long I had a very tough time on her serve. Her serve tonight for me was just too good. I mean, that sums it up.

Q. Is it as painful to lose this deep into a Grand Slam tournament as it used to be?

MONICA SELES: Oh, each one is very painful, I mean, each loss. I think if it wouldn't, then you wouldn't be playing. That's for sure. I mean, each loss - last year I lost in the fourth round - was just as bad as losing in the quarters this year.

Q. Is there anything from this that you get a feeling like you can improve on? You know, how do you close that gap?

MONICA SELES: Well, I definitely have to work on my serve a little bit. Not just this match but this past tournament, it's been out there. I'd have to sit down and, you know, not make a hasty decision here.

Q. You didn't want to go into the details of the difference between your play now and the clip that was on TV. If you played the Monica from that period, how do you think the match would turn out?

MONICA SELES: It's hard to say because obviously I didn't have to face a serve like Venus' going up in those 115s and stuff like that. That would be a big difference. You know, to compare to that...

Q. You've played a lot of great players in the years and stuff. Your game has gone up and down in shifts. It's hard to analyze this. Out of all the players you played, which player was capable of shutting you out of a match and intimidating you? Just playing so well?

MONICA SELES: Well, all the top players. For sure going back, Chris Evert, I had some tough losses, Navratilova, Steffi. Then Martina Hingis, Venus, Serena. I mean, I had some bad losses against each one. So... I mean, any given day, any of those ten players out there.

Q. Any edge you could see in your own mind between, say, Steffi, Navratilova?


Q. Navratilova, Chrissy and the Williams sisters.

MONICA SELES: Well, there's obviously a huge difference in their serve and athletic ability. You had someone like Navratilova and Steffi who were superb athletes, but I think both Serena and Venus are even better athletes. That's a huge difference. I don't think Martina or Steffi could serve as hard as Serena and Venus can right now.

Q. Is that translating into the Williamses are better players than the other players?

MONICA SELES: Well, I think the last three, four months, yeah. They have been the two players who have won most of the tournaments and the most important ones - the Grand Slams.

Q. I was talking theoretically, in comparison with Martina Navratilova.

MONICA SELES: If Martina in her top days if she would beat Venus? I have no idea. I don't know. I think it's hard to compare and I wouldn't want to go there.

Q. On a different topic, your coach, Mike, Can you talk about what he does for your game?

MONICA SELES: Yeah, he's been great. He's just a fantastic person; at the same time he's helped me a lot with my tennis. He played himself on the tour so he knows a lot of stuff about the lifestyle and the players and everything. So he's been a really great influence on me.

Q. What does he help the most? You're obviously a better player.

MONICA SELES: Yeah. Well, I mean, it's just nice to communicate with someone that's almost the same age as I am, who's been there, done it. He's a hard worker, he used to grind on the tour himself, that style of the game. I mean, he still plays fantastically. He gives -- you know, it's always challenging when I practice against him for me.

Q. Is he more of just a hitting partner coach? Is there really a mental...

MONICA SELES: That's hard to say. Mike and I never really got a chance to work that much besides tournaments, so it's been a tough one because I played so many. But he's been really terrific for me, working with him.

Q. Can you still learn from people like that?

MONICA SELES: Yeah, definitely. I mean, gosh, yeah. I mean, different people -- you have some of the legends who have played at the level, and definitely, I mean, of course . If you want to stop learning then I think it's time to move on in anything.

Q. In the men's game do you have a favorite player that you like to watch?

MONICA SELES: I love to watch Kuerten. I really love his game. Gosh, there are a few. I mean Pete the way he played last night was just great to watch - all those players.

Q. Why Kuerten?

MONICA SELES: I just like his style. I mean, he's so relaxed on the court. He just comes up with some unbelievable shots when he was in his prime, like last year really. He improved a lot coming from clay courter to an all-surface player.

End of FastScripts….

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