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September 3, 1996

Monica Seles


Q. Can anybody beat you when you're playing like that?

MONICA SELES: Well, I thought I was playing really well in the first set and the beginning of the second set, then I let my concentration drop a little bit and let her back into the match. I was pretty lucky to finish it off at 6-3. But I definitely wanted to come out today being attacking and playing my game because Amanda is very fast, she's a big fighter, and I knew she wasn't going to give me any free points, so.

Q. Even so, she seems to have the game that suits your game. You seemed to beat her pretty easily.

MONICA SELES: Well, yeah. Well, I played her three times. The first time I played her was really tight, the second time was probably the easiest and tonight was pretty easy until 3-Love. Then after that, it was very close. It could have gone either way, could have been 4- or 5-All. I think for me the thing is when I take charge of the points, which I did at least one set of my matches, I'm okay. That's one of the reasons I got into trouble in the second set, because I again started not being aggressive, started pushing the ball back. They start hitting some winners, get their confidence and then you're in trouble.

Q. When you get up big in a match, is there a point late when you start working on things, trying different things, almost to prepare for upcoming matches?

MONICA SELES: No. I wish I would do that, but no. I don't know. I tried to stay really focused out there, and maybe that's one of the reasons why I'm not doing that. But that's one area I would definitely like to improve, and I'm going to try to do that. I promise myself each tournament I start, but I never do it, so.

Q. You face Conchita in the next round.


Q. What sort of challenge does she pose for you? What makes her so difficult to play?

MONICA SELES: Well, she has a good first serve and she has a great forehand, so I'm going to try to stay away from that. She can mix up her backhand, spin, slices. She doesn't make too many unforced errors. I have to hit a lot of winners. If there's in, great; if they're not, then I'm in trouble.

Q. You're 8-0 against her. What have you done that's led you to such success against her?

MONICA SELES: Well, I was pretty lucky because Conchita and Arantxa have some good records. Last year, I played her almost a year ago here at the US Open, and it was a pretty good match. But I had some close matches. I don't know. I think against -- I don't know. I mean, we'll see on Friday. I just have to go out and play my game. It's been one year since I played her, so a lot has happened in her game and in my life, so you go in on that day.

Q. Monica, where is your game now in regard to where it was at the Olympics?

MONICA SELES: That's a tough one to say because I really felt I played well at the Olympics. When I lost that match to Jana, I felt, gosh, I had so many chances to win that match, 5-3 in the first set, 5-3 in the second set, then up a break, constantly. I didn't close the match off. After the match, the one thing I told myself, "If you're up, you have to close the matches." In my comeback, I had trouble with that. I do feel I'm feeling the ball much better because I've been playing more tennis. From May 7 till Federation Cup in Tokyo, I hadn't played much tennis. After Tokyo, I started playing a bit more regularly.

Q. At the Olympics Billy Jean was encouraging you and the whole team to try and come to net.


Q. Two-part question. Was that fun, and do you think you'll be able to incorporate that at all into your game?

MONICA SELES: I hope so. I mean, I think definitely Lindsay and Mary Joe are way ahead of me in that department, at least in the Olympics, when we were counting the points, they came in more often than I did. I'm trying to do that, but it's really hard at this point because I still feel I need to play some more matches to feel more comfortable out on the court, that I feel the court, feel where the ball is going to come back. That's I think one of the biggest -- most important things for me right now at this point in my career is to just keep on playing, to get back the feeling that I anticipate where the ball is, plus where you're going to go. Those things, which I think for not playing so long, you lose that feeling that each player a little ahead of time you know where they're going to hit.

Q. I guess you're saying you're trying to do that; it's not really at the top of your list?

MONICA SELES: Not at this point. I think after the Open is finished, I don't have any big ones until the championships. When I play in Toronto and Tokyo, some of the other tournaments, I'm definitely going to try that.

Q. Monica, when you play a player who may not have so much experience on stadium court at night, a featured match like tonight, you have plenty of that experience, before the match, do you already go in thinking maybe you have a mental edge?

MONICA SELES: Not against a player like Amanda, because she's not that type of player. She played Steffi last year on the stadium, almost beat her. Beaten all the top players, she's a big fighter. Against Amanda, no. You do have that in the early rounds. I think it depends on the player's personality, but not like Amanda, she's been around way too long for that.

Q. Monica, are you confident enough in your game that if you do reach the final, you could go deep into a third set with Steffi?

MONICA SELES: I don't know. I think -- oh, boy. Steffi has been playing some great tennis. I didn't get a chance to watch her much. I watched a little bit against Anna when she played. She definitely is playing some great tennis. She's serving very well, everything else, you know. She's a tough player. I really hate to think about that because you never know if that's going to happen. So I don't know; I better not think about that.

Q. What was your impression of that?

MONICA SELES: I -- it was great. I had a great time watching both of them. Very different in some ways, but they also have some similarities. It's great. I mean, it was really fun to watch them.

Q. What are their similarities and differences?

MONICA SELES: Well, I think Martina has been around a little bit longer on the Tour so she's a little bit more mature in terms of the court feeling. Martina is probably one of the best in terms of reading other players, has such a great sense of the court. I really haven't seen too many players like that. If she has that at age 15, what is she going to have when she gets older? Anna, I was impressed, she mixes it in, coming in, serve and volleying, staying back, hitting hard, chipping. That's just great to see. I was very impressed with both of them.

Q. If you had to go out on a limb five years from now, who would be ahead of the other?

MONICA SELES: I think that's hard to say. So many things can happen in five years. You know, I'll never forget the match I played against Jennifer in '91. If somebody would have told me what would happen to Jennifer and what happened to me, wow, like to Gaby kind of, Steffi's rivalry. You know, a lot of things happen. A lot of players can come up. Maybe they'll make it, be like Steffi. Everybody knew Steffi was going to be great, and Steffi is great. So you never know. That's why I take -- as long as they love to play the game, that's the key. Everything else will come.

Q. Have you had a chance to see Venus play?

MONICA SELES: I've never seen Venus play, no. I'm sorry, I've seen them play in 1991. Actually I played with them, I think. Her dad asked me. But I never seen them recently. But Steffi had some great comments about one of them that she played. If Steffi says some great stuff, I'm sure they're really good.

Q. Monica, there's been a lot of discussion the last day or two about Anna Kournikova's choice of clothing. So as our resident fashion expert, do you want --

MONICA SELES: I'm not a resident fashion expert at all. I'm going to take The Fifth, as Steffi did, chicken out of this one.

Q. Moving right along, last year we had you on the sidelines at Giant's Stadium, we had you in the hat department at Barney's, at a show on Broadway. Have you been up to anything this year, if not, why the difference?

MONICA SELES: I pretty much had a little bit more of a quieter time this time. I didn't go to see any Broadway musicals. I'm going to try to go see Rent tomorrow night or the day after that. There was a football game I think last night and hockey. I was debating if I should go, but then I decided not to go. I don't know. This year felt a little bit more quieter with everything. I did quite a lot of things in Montreal. I had those ten days at home, kind of to calm me down a little bit. When I got here, I've been calm compared to my usual amount of things that I do. Pretty low key.

Q. So no Barney's either?

MONICA SELES: Well, they had a huge strike in front of Barney's. To be honest, it was so uncomfortable going in there that I just passed. It's really close to my hotel, so I haven't been in this year (laughter). I mean, they're just constantly striking and yelling, so I feel uncomfortable walking in. I'll wait for that strike to end.

Q. Now MTV invitations?

MONICA SELES: A friend of mine has invited me so I might go with them. Definitely easier decision to make than last year when I had to play my semifinal match the next day. This year, I might go for a little while, but I haven't decided yet. It depends on them kind of.

Q. Are there places in New York where you go where people don't recognize you?

MONICA SELES: Oh, definitely. Oh, yeah. That's what's so great about New York.

Q. Last year there was more of a protection of you. Is there a need to get away?

MONICA SELES: One more time. There's protection of me and this year?

Q. Last year. I was wondering if there's more of a need to sort of get away a little bit, last year, on your own?

MONICA SELES: Well, I always done a lot of things on my own. My personality is really very independent. I don't like to be caged in from anybody or from anything. But I think there's a point where after the stabbing I found the balance that I'm happy with, but I'm still being cautious.

Q. Do you prefer playing at night here, Monica?

MONICA SELES: I like to play at night. I know a lot of players hate to play night matches. I actually like it because, you know, the set time, and the crowd is definitely much more into it. The only hard thing in the beginning you have with the night matches is the lights. It's a little bit different, but otherwise it's much better. Other WTA tournaments, I also like to play night matches.

Q. Has there been a point since your comeback where you found yourself rediscovering the confidence that you had when you were winning Grand Slam after Grand Slam?

MONICA SELES: Well, I think the run that I was before the whole stabbing happened was unbelievable. The way it was stopped and everything, it's hard for me to go back, to think mentally how I felt. It's very difficult for me to accept some things. I try not to really think about that at all, just take one day at a time, not think what was passed because that's passed, where I was, good or bad. I can't add to that or delete anything from that part of my life.

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