August 27, 1996
NEW YORK CITY, NEW YORK
Q. How do you assess the match today, Monica?
MONICA SELES: It was a really good match. I had to hit a lot of long points. She didn't
give me too many unforced errors. There were a lot of close games. Stayed out there for
quite a long time, a long match.
Q. You looked as if you didn't even want to give up a point.
MONICA SELES: No, not really. I was just trying to stay focused. It was really hot out
there. First round match. I hit only once on the stadium this year. I'm not used to it a
little bit. I just wanted to finish this as quickly as I could.
Q. Comparing your physical condition, notwithstanding your shoulder, but your fitness
level, today with a year ago when you were here?
MONICA SELES: Well, last year after every match I would be getting cramps, from the
first round on. My muscles were like this (indicating). Obviously, not playing tennis for
two and a half years, only being in World Class Tennis, it was too much. I was relying
more on mentally being strong, the adrenaline for being out there for the first time in
many years. I felt really good physically. I felt good physically all through the French,
Wimbledon, and through Montreal and for the Olympics. I played a lot of tennis this form.
Of course, the Open is one of the toughest because there's so much going on. Even on the
court, you have to keep playing while there's noise and people moving. That takes even
more out of you. I mean, I stayed focused on my match, points, not worry about anything
else. Try to save some energy there.
Q. How much less weight are you carrying, Monica?
MONICA SELES: I don't know. As I said, I never put on a scale and I never will be in my
life. I really don't believe in that, so..... It's just my opinion on that.
Q. How is your shoulder right now?
MONICA SELES: My shoulder is the same. It's not better, but it's not worse. That's
good. Of course, after we play Spain, Federation Cup finals, obviously that's what I want
to do, how I want to enter the new season. I think this tournament is going to be the same
as it's been the last three months.
Q. Is it more difficult? Obviously, you've been through all different variations of
this, but after all the excitement last year, like you said, the adrenaline, to walk out
today and start the tournament, early match, very small crowd, is that difficult?
MONICA SELES: Not really. Almost when I step on the court, I try to focus on my ball
and my opponent, because I had some pretty rough first rounds the last two Grand Slams. I
probably will have here, too, no matter how hard I try to concentrate. You know, always
the 11 a.m. matches, you get very few crowds. At the end, they started coming more. It was
still fun. I like to play in the morning, I'll be honest. I like to practice in the
mornings early. I like to play in the morning. You have the rest of the day off. It really
doesn't matter. I'm here for two weeks to play tennis. Whenever I play, it's great.
Q. Do you look forward to those matches where there is a lot of adrenaline?
MONICA SELES: Definitely. I think, for me, maybe in the beginning of my career not so
much. I think the highlights definitely that I remember in the time off, and now when I
look back, are the close matches when the crowd was involved, 6-All in the third set, one
or two points deciding the match. For me as an athlete, that's what I love the most.
Q. How do you compare your form to your form in '92 and early '93?
MONICA SELES: That was very different, obviously. It would have been a lot easier if I
continued that and didn't have to struggle back, relearn a lot of things. I don't like to
compare stuff. I'm here; just look towards the future; still believe in the present, this
Q. Anne said whatever she hit, good cross-court shots, you seemed to hit back harder.
Did you feel your game was on?
MONICA SELES: I really felt I played well today. I had to play good points to win the
points. She hit hard, didn't serve any second serves, or she would hit a strong 90 miles
an hour second serve or she would miss it. I just tried to mix it up. I had a hard time
holding my serve a few times, but I was lucky to pull out those games and go up to 3-Love,
in the second set 1-Love. She hits the ball very hard, flat and hard.
Q. If you decide to have surgery on your shoulder, what's the name of the doctor who
will perform the operation?
MONICA SELES: Well, I don't know. I think I've seen all the time Dr. Steadman and Dr.
Q. In Colorado?
MONICA SELES: Colorado, yes.
Q. Do you know Anne at all?
MONICA SELES: No, first time I met her. She was really nice. She smiled during the
match, which is very unusual for most tennis players. Seemed very down-to-earth.
Q. You came here last year determined to really enjoy yourself and do things off the
court, sort of taking in the whole experience. I don't want to say you weren't focused on
tennis, but this year rumor (indicating).
MONICA SELES: I think I'm a bit more focused once I get here. Last year I was more
happy go lucky. This year before my match, I'm going to stay more focused. I don't want to
get too focused because I get stiff and when I go out there, I play bad. I'm still going
to try to do a lot of things on my off days in between, so.
Q. Any comments on the men's seeding controversy?
MONICA SELES: No. I pretty much didn't even read about that. That's not my business.
Q. How does the shoulder affect what you want to do with your serve?
MONICA SELES: Pretty much I don't have the power. That's, to me, the hardest. Each time
I serve, every third serve, there's just a pain. You're used to it now. I try to mix up my
ball toss because I know there's one spot where it's hurting the least. Sometimes I can
find it, sometimes I don't. It's just that I cannot practice my serve so I don't have the
consistency there. I really cannot do much upper-weight training, which is making it much
Q. Is it as it was in Australia? Is it worse?
MONICA SELES: It's gotten a lot better. In Australia, after Australia as over and
Japan, I think at that point from here I could not lift the shoulder up from this height
(indicating). Now I'm probably here, but still far from where it should be (indicating).
After Australia, I didn't do anything until like five days before Madrid. In Madrid, it
was terrible. In the French, it was slowly getting better. A think a few things the WTA
trainer, one of the massage therapists helped me a lot. At Wimbledon it was the same. It's
been the same pretty much since. It hasn't gotten better or worse. It definitely did not
improve as much as everybody thought in the two and a half months off that it has really
Q. Do you have to hit the serve more flat and try to hit the --
MONICA SELES: Yes. I have the height. There's so many other players that are much
smaller and they're serving faster than I am. I need to change. I think I need to hold my
serve against top players.
Q. Relative to previous Slams this year, how do you feel about your prospects in this
MONICA SELES: My belief is always taking it a match at a time. As soon as I start not
doing that, I'm in trouble. Right now I'm thinking of my next round opponent. That's all
I'm thinking about. I don't like to look at the draw, who after is coming, so.
Q. Monica, since you struggled to return to the court, how comfortable are you now
psychologically to be competing again?
MONICA SELES: What feels great is I'm doing something that I love. That's pretty much
where I leave it. That's all I think about. As long as I enjoy playing tennis and I enjoy
going out there, playing in front of large crowds, talking to kids or signing autographs,
I'm okay. I'll take it a day at a time. That's all I can do.
Q. What specifically is the shoulder injury?
MONICA SELES: It's a tear of the labrial. It's torn.
Q. You say you're looking to do different things on your off days. What types of things
might that include?
MONICA SELES: I'd love to see a couple Broadway shows. That's pretty much it. Maybe
once go to some other sports game. There's a hockey going on in Madison Square Garden.
Like I say, my doubles, singles, what night matches or day matches I play, all those
Q. Six-month rehab on that shoulder, is that right?
MONICA SELES: Yeah. It's a long rehab. That's for sure. After the surgery it's a long
one. I don't want to think about that because there's maybe a chance of avoiding it, a few
other things to try. I heal pretty quick. That's why everybody is surprised this hasn't
been healing well. It's a delicate area where you don't get too much blood flow. It's
slow. Each time you serve, it's making your shoulder go forward. I need to make it more go
backward so it's more stable.
Q. That is relating to the incident at all?
MONICA SELES: I don't think so, no.
Q. You're going to try other things in rehab? You're definitely doing surgery?
MONICA SELES: I'm going to decide after Federation Cup. I haven't seen Dr. Hawkins or
Steadman for quite some time now. I'm not avoiding them, but I haven't had a chance to go
out there. I've been showing a couple different things that have been helping me. I work
with John there who has sent me some stuff that I think might help. We'll see. It's tough
if you have the surgery, that's a big decision. Again, for me, I think it's important not
to miss again months and months like I've been having this last year. It's so hard both
mentally, but physically, to come back each time and play a Grand Slam with no prior
tournaments. That's I think asking a lot of myself to do that so often.
Q. The passage in your book about having met the homeless man and his dog, does it help
you to be able to talk to people without them knowing a lot about you, who you are?
MONICA SELES: Talking to them about me? You can tell pretty quick, really quick, if
somebody talks to you because of who you are, because you're a good tennis player, or
somebody talks to you when you're a person. I like it when most people don't know who I
am. That's when I feel most comfortable, talk to them with no pretenses involved there.
You can pick that up pretty soon. It depends on the other person, too.
Q. Is playing the US Open as a US citizen any different?
MONICA SELES: I went through that last year. Definitely. As I said, I've lived here
since '85 or something, so most of my memories are here, most of my friends are here. To
me it was just a natural process that I felt for quite some time but I never actually got
a chance to become one.
End of FastScripts...