August 31, 1992
NEW YORK CITY, NEW YORK
Q. In view of your having lost three tournament finals in a
row, what is your mental state of mind, Monica, coming into this
MONICA SELES: It is the same as when I was winning all the matches.
To me, mentally, it really doesn't make a difference whether I'm
winning or losing. Only thing that I think losing the Wimbledon
finals was a lot different than losing the two finals over there.
It pretty much, you know, was a different case.
Q. Do you feel, Monica, that suddenly, after you have been
playing a certain way for three years, the people started picking
on you at Wimbledon?
MONICA SELES: How do you mean picking?
Q. Well, about your emissions and so on?
MONICA SELES: About my groans?
MONICA SELES: Yeah, as I said, I was very surprised that, you
know, both players to complain at this point when I played them
five or six times. I didn't think it was fair of them, but then
again, I guess it is the biggest tournament; everybody is going
to try anything to distract you. But as I said, I don't think
I am grunting or I am not grunting. That is not what is affecting
my game at all.
Q. Were you distracted by Keller's grunting today? It was a
lot louder than you.
MONICA SELES: It is a lot louder and this morning when I practiced
with a few players, they have been grunting and a few of them
come to me, and we kid around. I will be out of target and they
will say, yeah, but I didn't even hear Keller grunt today. There
are a few lower ranked players that grunting never bothered. When
I played Jennifer, we both grunted. Up to now it never bothered
me and I don't think it bothered her either. I think it was an
issue, something needed to be written in two weeks.
Q. If that is not what is affecting your game, then what is?
MONICA SELES: First I think after the semi-finals against Arantxa
when I kind of twisted my ankle, that definitely affected my running.
Maybe I shouldn't have played on with it, because since after
that, my game just totally went down and I don't know if it was
more mentally about thinking not being able to run to the ball
with an ankle after that, I just didn't feel like I was playing
my game. I wasn't Monica on the court. Not just in the Martina
match or the Arantxa match, but through the whole tournament I
was struggling against players that I usually have a different
score. I think it was good. I learned a little bit from both matches
but I still think that, you know, both of them played great, but
I still didn't think I was playing that well as I should have.
But it doesn't matter. You can't have an ideal preparation for
the Open. You will win some and you will lose some.
Q. Is your ankle better?
MONICA SELES: It is better, yeah. I took a couple of days off
after it, after the Canadian Open. I am supposed to tape it always
but I didn't do it today but I will from now on. I just don't
want it to become psychological anymore to think about it, but
it is not hurting so that is helpful.
Q. It seemed to me and I didn't see the two subsequent finals,
but it seemed to me that at Wimbledon, in the final, you were
trying to subdue the grunt and I have been told that in the other
two finals that you have seemed to be trying to subdue it. Is
MONICA SELES: Not at all. I think at Wimbledon, I maybe was a
little bit surprised at the semi-finals when Martina said some
words, that I, you know, somebody told me later on television
about the grunting. I think maybe over there I was a little bit
thinking too much about it. During the final, I don't think that
was a point to think about it. And I was just kind of, you know,
a little bit surprised that all-- I really felt confident talking
to the players and just why they are so much picking on the grunting
issue. But I still didn't think that is why I lost. Steffi just
played an excellent match but I definitely wasn't up to the match
on that day as I usually was. But I think the final at Wimbledon
ended, the last tournaments totally have nothing to each other.
Q. The whole thing about the grunting, isn't that ridiculous?
MONICA SELES: I think it is because I am not the only one. I don't
feel why they are singling me out, and then when people bring
on the court a gruntometer, it has to get to the point that you
got to laugh at it. You can't take it seriously. It has been part
of my game. I told myself, basically after Wimbledon, if you do
it, that is great, Monica; if you don't do it, that is great.
And I mean, I am not thinking about it at all. I hope I will be
go on with the whole year.
Q. Is it a natural part of your game?
MONICA SELES: It has been part of me since I was 12 when I played
Carrie Cunningham in one of the finals and I started doing that.
Since then, it has been always with me each year at Wimbledon.
It has been big issue except last year I didn't play. Then again
this year, probably even a bigger issue because of the number
one player, it has been part of my game. I never done it on purpose.
I never thought I won or lost matches because of my grunting.
I still felt that it shouldn't get so much attention, But I guess
Q. Jim Loehr mentioned that it is related to your intensity.
He also indicated that if you change the tone it wouldn't be a
problem. Have you thought of that?
MONICA SELES: Yeah, well, I thought of that, but I had watch a
few tapes back a year ago, or about 7, 8 months ago when I was
playing a lot of different people practicing, and it is funny
in practice I never grunted even when I was playing probably the
best tennis against male players who I really wanted to play well;
not to prove anything, but to play well against them, and I was
not grunting, I still think it is just, you know, most of the
times if the other player starts grunting, automatically I do
start -- I am doing it unconsciously. I had do think it is when
I am hitting, it is just I am doing it, but I never done it on
Q. As far as prestige and importance, is this your most important
tournament to win, for whatever reason?
MONICA SELES: I mean everyone of them is to me, very important,
each tournament, it doesn't matter how many times I won it. It
was very special that I won it last year because I never played
well here, I always had some very bad losses. Then last year I
came through, but each Grand Slam is special, you know, and I
don't like to choose one above the other.
Q. Do you care what these other players think? Do you care
what they think?
MONICA SELES: I think few people who have felt I was close to
them - maybe not close as, quote, friends at home, but you know,
I was just surprised they would use words like that. I mean, I
don't think I am, you know, and especially on television, whatever,
but then I guess it is tennis and you try to do everything to
win a match.
Q. How do you feel you play coming into this U.S. Open?
MONICA SELES: I think the few dates were good taking time off.
Then, of course, the hurricane was there two days. There is so
much wind for one day that you couldn't play at all going outside.
It was raining a lot. I probably didn't get to spend as many hours
on the court as I wanted. I did a lot of running, a little bit.
I have been practicing, the usual here. I think I am playing fine.
I probably will not know 'till the matches come; then I have to
take them each at a time. I just hope that it is not going to
be windy the whole week as it was out there today. It is hard
to play your game. Whatever you do, the ball takes its own course.
Q. Monica, suppose somebody brings it up as it was brought
up at Wimbledon during a match; Martina goes to the umpire, what
will your reaction be? Do you have a strategy?
MONICA SELES: Not to bother me. It doesn't bother me. Actually,
during the Martina match, because I didn't hear what she said,
a friend of mine just called me later; she said, did you hear
what Martina said on national television, and I still didn't believe
it that she said that. After that, I started seeing it. I was
kind of -- heard more about it afterwards, than so much before,
because during the matches I was concentrating and I just heard
Martina saying something to the umpire, and then the umpire said
please, Seles, Miss Navratilova asked if you could tone it down.
At that point, it didn't -- that is the same thing when I played
Q. When did you leave Florida?
MONICA SELES: Friday.
Q. How were you in relation to the hurricane?
MONICA SELES: It didn't come over us. We were very lucky. I have
some friends that told me it was really scary. We sure got the
winds and we had the hurricane watch from 4 P.M. to 8 P.M.. It
was just raining and you couldn't go outside.
Q. You are listed as coming from Sarasota, Florida rather than
Yugoslavia as in Wimbledon?
MONICA SELES: The last time I saw it listed as Yugoslavia, so--
Q. Do you know much about your next opponent?
MONICA SELES: Yes, she is NCAA College champion. I saw her play,
so she is a tough player. I will just have to go out there, try
to play my game, very much, and just you know, play.
Q. Can you tell us what is the real connection between your
grunting and your breathing, much has been said about --
MONICA SELES: Yeah, I understand.
Q. Much has been said about it and written about it. Will you
MONICA SELES: I am no expert on this and I don't know anything
much about it. All I know is that when I go out there on the court,
it came natural to me. And there has been so much commotion around
and that I don't know, I get different experts sending letters,
both sides saying grunting is great for the game; grunting is
bad for your game. I don't think everybody knows the real truth
or whatever it is. As I said, if I do grunt, that is great. If
I don't, that is great also. I don't want to make issue out of
this. I don't want to go out on the court Wednesday or whenever
and think, Monica, don't grunt now, this is the most important
thing you mustn't think that. I do my best at each point with
grunting or without. And I really don't want to make an issue
out of it. Because you shouldn't be.
Q. When you are practicing you don't grunt?
MONICA SELES: Yeah, I don't know why. I don't know myself either.
I wish I would know, then I wouldn't.
Q. Thank you.
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