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adidas International

January 9, 2001

Monica Seles


THE MODERATOR: Questions for Monica, please.

Q. Monica, another year underway. What is your feeling going into this? Is it one of the excitement that another year is starting, or are you getting a little bit jaundiced by the whole thing?

MONICA SELES: Really, truthfully, I don't look at it as another year. I only have three weeks in between the championships to get -- and then leaving for Perth. I just look at it as a, you know, another tournament in two weeks' time and pretty much like that.

Q. But going back to that last tournament you played, which was the Chase, wasn't it, you played so well. Although you didn't win it, was that a good spur to go into this year?

MONICA SELES: Yeah, definitely. It seems like I play well with Martina at certain times, but I still can't get away at those key times where she's more steadier than I am or whatever it is. But for sure, playing so well there definitely helped. And I played well last week in Perth, so hopefully I can keep that going in the next few weeks of this season.

Q. Do you like tournaments like the Hopman Cup one?

MONICA SELES: I really enjoy it because I just love team competition. I love playing like Fed Cup, and Hopman Cup was very similar to it except it was a guy, and I absolutely love Jan-Michael. He's a really great guy and mixed doubles partner. We kind of play well together, so that makes it even more fun.

Q. How tough is it to win this tournament, then go down to Melbourne and try to win the Australian? The two in a row, how tough is that?

MONICA SELES: I don't think too many players have been able to do it probably in history, I think. I don't know if Lindsay did last -- no, Mauresmo won. I think Martina and myself have only done it. It's a very tough task, especially with the competition now. But as always, we just really look forward to the next match. Right now, for me it's a tough doubles match. After that, I worry about playing Mauresmo or Coetzer.

Q. How did you and Martina come together as a doubles combination?

MONICA SELES: Martina just called me up and she asked if I wanted to play in Melbourne, doubles. Then we talked at Hopman Cup, we decided to play Sydney just because we have never played doubles together. It would be an awful lot of pressure to start off at a Grand Slam tournament, and might as well get some practice matches in. Sure enough, we're going to get that tonight. So that's really how it happened.

Q. Did it just come out of the blue? When was that?

MONICA SELES: For me, it definitely came out of the blue. I mean, probably as everybody knows, I haven't played much doubles last year and I really wasn't looking to play much this year, too. But she's such a great partner. Kind of my doubles career, I never had, you know -- I mean I didn't have as good of a -- well, we had a few players. But like when Martina was at the top of her game, I did not play doubles with her and stuff like that. So for me, I just said it would be a lot of fun and it has been up to now.

Q. And when did the offer come from Martina?

MONICA SELES: I think it was some point in December.

Q. And how do you feel about playing against the Williams sisters first up?

MONICA SELES: It's probably the toughest match you could have gotten of anybody in the draw. It's kind of ironic how it happened. But, you know, they do have the advantage of playing together and practicing, and we don't have that. But that's all right. I mean, it's kind of a good warmup event, and I think we'll just go out there and do the best that we can tonight.

Q. If all goes well, do you hope to play with Martina in the other Grand Slams this year, or has that not been decided?

MONICA SELES: Well, what both of us said, she also said she did not want a full-time partner and I wanted to make sure that she understood that from me, too. I just don't know if I can do that in terms of a lot of tournaments. Obviously, if you would do well, I'm not playing the championships, it would hurt her a lot. I might just not want to play doubles every single week and every tournament. I still want to focus on my singles career. And, I mean, she had really the same view. I think we said that if we don't feel like playing tomorrow, one of us feels tired or injured, just as long as we communicate, we don't have pressure from either of us.

Q. But the fact that you are sort of thinking about playing occasionally, is that a good sign that your health problems are now out of the way?

MONICA SELES: Yeah, definitely. I mean, this is probably the most matches I've played. It's been Hopman Cup, coming into Sydney, then hopefully Melbourne for sure. I've done a few things to try to prevent injuries the last couple of months and it has helped, so hopefully it will continue. I'm just happy to finally start off the year healthy. Last year this time I had a tough injury of my stress fracture. So I was just really excited to finally start off the year healthy.

Q. Is it still windy out there on the court?

MONICA SELES: It's very windy. I'm coming, obviously, from the indoors. And today I definitely had a very difficult time timing the ball because there was just swirling. You get spoiled playing indoors a little bit. I wasn't moving my feet as much as I should have. It's a good first round match to get underway and get used to the surroundings.

Q. I read about the incident with the fan in Perth last week. How distressing was that for you?

MONICA SELES: It wasn't distressing at all. It was so blown out of proportion I can't even say. I was very surprised how it was portrayed and everything. There was really absolutely nothing to it.

Q. So security hasn't been increased?

MONICA SELES: Not at all.

Q. Doesn't need to be?

MONICA SELES: I have absolutely no problem with that issue, what happened there. I did not even think about it. Just the next morning when I had the papers and I opened it, it was like, "Wow." It didn't even occur in my mind. So...

Q. Some of the critics are saying that to beat Venus and Serena and Lindsay and the big baseline power players, somebody's going to have to develop a good net game. So do you think playing doubles will help you sharpen your net game and give you a chance against those players?

MONICA SELES: Definitely. It's kind of tough to start off your net game against the Williams sisters. I don't think that's going to be the best match to do that. But for sure I've been working harder on my net game, just finishing off. Today I tried to do that more and more. Looking back in my career, I probably wish I played more doubles because I do think it helps, as we have seen with a few players that have done that. But it's never too late. So hopefully it will help.

End of FastScripts....

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