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September 6, 2004

Leander Paes

Martina Navratilova



Q. Did you have any strategy going in against Mirnyi and Sharapova?

MARTINA NAVRATILOVA: I tell Lee what he knows about the girl, he tells me what I know against the guy. I played against Max before. We sort of take it game by game. As they're serving, we say, okay, this is what he would like to do on their serve. When they're returning, this is -- we should be hitting the ball, what to expect. We sort of walk through it as the match unravels. That's what we've been doing always and it has worked pretty well.

Q. Mirnyi has one of the biggest serves. Did you fact that into your calculations?

LEANDER PAES: Of course we did. We know he has a big serve. We managed to capitalize early on it. We broke him first game of the second set. We started well today. We had been returning well all week. We don't really have too much trouble with big servers. We kind of use their pace and get the returns back in play.

Q. How does it affect you as a player playing with Martina, who is a legend, playing on center court?

MARTINA NAVRATILOVA: First time on center in mixed.

LEANDER PAES: Well, it's magic. I've said that right from day one. Playing with Martina is like a dream come true. Not only is Martina the epitome of what an athlete could or should be, but at the same time the grace that she does it with is magic. Whether it's been through many different situations on or off the tennis court, she's taught me a lot, and at the same time the camaraderie we share, the understanding we have, is the reason I call it magic.

Q. I don't know if it felt this way to you, but it felt to me a little bit like a generational thing. You guys are sort of the anti-them, they're a bit of the anti-you.


Q. Well, I mean, certainly Sharapova is sort of like young and now. Both of you are later in your careers.

MARTINA NAVRATILOVA: For me that's been the case for about 15 years.

Q. There was a young woman playing, actually lost a doubles match, from Turkey. I don't know if you've met her.


Q. I think she's the highest ranked woman from that country to play tennis. When you see something like that, it's sort of unique. Can you say how it makes you feel? What are your feelings about her?

MARTINA NAVRATILOVA: Well, I saw her name in the draw. I said, "I didn't know they played tennis in Turkey." That's the first player that I've seen on the tour from that part of the world. It so happened that we were in the training room and whenever I see a woman or young player that I haven't seen before, I introduce myself to them. So I did that with her. I saw her on the table. "Hi, I'm Martina." That's when I met her. I said, "Where are you from?" "Turkey." "That's great that you're out here." She was excited to meet me, very sweet. It's great to see tennis spreading to parts of the world. I was just thinking about the other day, like former Yugoslavia, Serbia, Montenegro, Serbia, Croatia, you have all these people from Serbia, coming from one country, but now it's four countries. In the Olympics, we had some players also from different countries. It's great to see the spread of the game, especially for women. I mean, it's a Muslim country, isn't it, so.... But the only democracy. No, there's two democracies, Turkey and Qatar.

Q. I think you said weeks before The Open, you haven't finalized decisions about what you're doing after this year.


Q. Do things remain the same?


Q. So you will play doubles through the end of the year and reevaluate after that?

MARTINA NAVRATILOVA: Well, sometime between now and then I will figure out whether I'm playing next year. But I'm definitely playing Filderstadt, Moscow and Zurich in Europe, and then Philadelphia and hopefully Lisa and I will make it into The Championships and play Los Angeles.

Q. Any inkling at all, you don't want to play singles again?

MARTINA NAVRATILOVA: No. I mean, if I play next year, then I would play some singles here and there again to help my doubles, but certainly not on a full-time basis.

Q. Is it just results that will determine your decision?

MARTINA NAVRATILOVA: I cannot tell you that. It's too personal. No, it's not just the results.

Q. Is the media putting pressure on you to stop now?

MARTINA NAVRATILOVA: No. Nobody's putting pressure on me. As if that would work. As if I'm going to start doing something somebody tells me to do now. No, I can do anything I want. I will do exactly what my heart and soul tells me to do. Media? How can media put pressure on me to stop? Where is that question coming from?

Q. When I see you on the court, you move faster than some of the teenagers.

MARTINA NAVRATILOVA: A lot of them, yes. No, nobody's putting pressure on me to stop or not to stop, one way or the other, no.

Q. After Wimbledon you said Maria Sharapova's victory was the best thing that could have happened to women's tennis. Why did you feel that way?

MARTINA NAVRATILOVA: Why not? We've got a new star. I think it was good, you know, to break up the Williams monotony at Wimbledon, number one. I think it was a wake-up call for Serena to sort of buckle down and get serious and sort of reorganize her priorities, I think, because tennis was almost a hobby to her. And I think she realized that can't be. You have to take it little more seriously than that. But she was able to get away with it for a long time. That's not to say that she doesn't try hard. I think she definitely could have done more, you know, the last few years. I think she knows that. The time she spent away, you know, the other women caught up a little bit. So it was a wake-up call for Serena, which was a good thing. And great to have a new star on the tour. Never can be too many of them. And Maria is a great ambassador of the sport, as well. On top of that, she's a nice young woman and, you know, works hard and has been very focused and knew exactly what she wanted to do and got it done. Great role model for kids growing up.

Q. Yesterday in the room here, Andy Roddick bounced a couple balls into the stands, was talking about how like Wrigley Field in Chicago, wouldn't be so bad if fans got to keep balls once in a while. Earlier today, Andre Agassi was, "You have to throw them back." Any particular thoughts?

MARTINA NAVRATILOVA: When you get a puck mark on a baseball, they bring out a new one. We play with the same balls. And they change quite a bit as you play the seven or nine games with them. They change quite a bit. If they keep the ball, you get another ball in, it's a different ball from what you're playing with, so you cannot do that. Eventually you might end up with two balls, and then what? You know, you got -- maybe keep track of that fan and give them the ball back after you've played your seven or nine games with it. That could be a job for somebody there. It's easy enough. It's easy enough to do.

LEANDER PAES: That's true.

MARTINA NAVRATILOVA: But we're not, you know, baseball. We don't start off with a new ball after every game. If you have new balls after every game, great, keep all the balls, then you're never going to run out. But the way it is now, you play with six balls. Especially at the beginning, if they keep the balls, you can't replace them, then you wore out the balls you have so much more. It really affects the play. Doesn't work.

Q. Since you still play well, do you think they should move the (inaudible) to tennis 35 instead of a player getting ready at 29?

MARTINA NAVRATILOVA: I think athletics have changed overall. We live longer and athletes are better at a much older age. I mean, you see what Agassi's doing. You see what baseball players are doing. You know, Nolan Ryan threw a no-hitter when he was 40-something. I mean, there's some amazing feats out there. It's still an exception to the rule to being into it into the 40s. But 30, 35, that's a piece of cake.

End of FastScripts….

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