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THE LIPTON CHAMPIONSHIPS


March 29, 1997


Monica Seles


Key Biscayne, FL

DEBBI EDWARDS: Questions for Monica.

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Q. You get to a final, congratulations, that's two people left. But what happens then, is it discouraging? Does it tell you what you have to do now? What does that do to you, a defeat like that?

MONICA SELES: Obviously a loss like today is really disappointing, but Martina just played really well this time again, the same way she did against me in Oakland. A few of my shots were not going, my first serve. She took great advantage of them. She just played some great tennis. I never got -- she never allowed me into the match.

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Q. Does that tell you what you have to do? I mean, you're a very experienced and very bright tennis player. Does it tell you how far away you are and what you need to do?

MONICA SELES: It does tell me a couple things that I'll need to do. I'll have to work on those things, think a little after this match is over and reassess a couple of things, yeah.

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Q. Monica, how was it playing down here at Key Biscayne, quite a while since you've been back?

MONICA SELES: It was great. I've had a great time really. I love the new stadium, and the fans were just unbelievable, supportive of me. That helped tremendously. I wasn't really sure, a lot of things were new for me this week. I had a great ten days.

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Q. Is there any way, Monica, you can quantify how much better she is, or is she any better than when you played her in Oakland?

MONICA SELES: Well, it was almost the same score. So from the score it's hard to say. But obviously the tennis she has played this year and the consistency and the amount of tournaments that she has played at that level is quite remarkable. She just seems to be having a great time. She told me, this is the best time of her life.

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Q. Monica, you hadn't played in quite a while. What were your expectations coming into this week?

MONICA SELES: Into this week? I was trying to take it a match at a time. Like I said, so many things were different. I wasn't sure how I was going to react. So that's about it there.

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Q. What did you say to Martina at the net?

MONICA SELES: I said, "Congratulations, great match." I also congratulated her being No. 1.

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Q. As somebody who was formerly the youngest No. 1, what do you think it's going to be like for her and how big a burden is being No. 1?

MONICA SELES: I think looking at her and her personality, does not seem to Martina it's a burden at all. I mean, she's having a great time. Everything is just happening I think she said very fast. I think she's handling it great. She just really is enjoying tennis out there so much. I think that shows through her game.

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Q. Would you say that your shoulder injury in no way, any way, affects your tennis?

MONICA SELES: I can't say that, but I'm not losing matches anymore because of that. I might have lost a few last year, at the French maybe, because I didn't play so much. Like today, I have no pain or anything like that, no.

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Q. Monica, how much of today was movement a problem on the court for you, especially the forehand side, she really seemed to exploit that?

MONICA SELES: I think quite a lot. Also my serve, too. I lost so many games early on. That put the momentum on her side. I struggled with that. She just took charge of all the points, which I'm not used to.

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Q. Monica, do you feel that your focus is the same?

MONICA SELES: I don't know. I mean, right now probably I can't have the focus that I had four or five years ago, and I'm not expecting that of myself at this point. I do think, you know, I'm going to have it back if I just be patient and play matches and keep practicing. But at this point, I do expect that of myself when I step on the tennis court, but it's hard to get it at this point. I really don't feel it's there, but I do believe it will be there.

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Q. When you came back on the Tour two years ago, your serve was consistently in the low 100s, and you had a very forceful serve. It was a new weapon that everybody was a bit surprised that there was even yet another weapon you had. Now your serve is not nearly as forceful. Is that because you don't want to serve any harder, that it might aggravate your shoulder?

MONICA SELES: Maybe subconsciously, yes, but consciously, no. I think it's just that I'm not able to serve as much and I don't feel as confident going for the big serves as I used to. I think you can see I struggle so much with the ball toss, which before, four or five years ago, I would never throw up the ball a couple of times in a match like I do right now.

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Q. Monica, from what you've seen of her, if you were advising somebody else to play her, what sort of hints would you give them?

MONICA SELES: I think I'm obviously the wrong person to ask that question from the past two results (laughter). Don't want to follow my example.

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Q. You must have some idea of her major strengths, the sort of things people need to admire most.

MONICA SELES: Wow, against me she does everything pretty much. I don't think if I had done one thing, she would start missing or I would start winning points.

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Q. What makes her so tough to play against?

MONICA SELES: Oh, a lot of things. She's good everywhere. She's very fast, gets back a lot of balls. She just can create some great shots out of shots that usually you don't expect back.

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Q. What is it that allows her to come up with so many service winners? She doesn't serve all that hard.

MONICA SELES: Well, today she was serving quite a few 94s, 98s. I definitely had a tough time with her serve today, even second serve. It was the same story in Oakland, too. I don't know.

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Q. Monica, in order to get back confidence, you want to play many tournaments. Can you tell us what is so far your plan?

MONICA SELES: After this one, I'm -- I can't say definitely, but I plan to play Hilton Head and Amelia Island. And from there on, depending on a few things, but if everything would be well, then I'll probably play Rome.

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Q. Despite the rustiness that you have right now, is your pride hurt by this loss?

MONICA SELES: No, it's not, because I already lost to her even worse in Oakland. I lost some matches to Steffi. You know, she's just a better player at this point than I am. So there's nothing to feel sad or anything about. It means that I have a long way to improve.

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Q. Monica, you talked about her creativity. Is part of her disguising shots or hitting shots that you don't expect to come back?

MONICA SELES: I think definitely she hides the ball really well. She just really creates some shots out of places you don't expect them, they go this close to the line (indicating).

DEBBI EDWARDS: Thank you.

MONICA SELES: Thank you.

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End of FastScripts....

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