August 30, 2003
NEW YORK CITY
MODERATOR: Questions for Mary, please.
Q. Pretty good at defending break points today. Do you think that was the major key to your victory today?
MARY PIERCE: I think today really just counted on me -- well, not really counted on me. I think the important thing was just to know and expect a tough match and that Shinobu is a fighter. Every point she's gonna be there. She has the type of game that's more challenging for me, that really takes me out of my comfort zone. I have to do a little bit different things. Think a little bit more. So I just tried to really just stay, you know, focused for every point. And, you know, the first set was a battle. Just glad that I got to win the first set. It was hot out there, too, today. Just tried to stay cool on the changeovers, to really just expect a close match and just play every point the best that I can.
Q. You did play well on the big points today.
MARY PIERCE: Thank you. I tried to bring my A game in certain important moments - when I was up 5-4, and to break her to win the first set, and when I was up 22-1 in the second set as well So those moments I think were really key. I just tried to really focus extra.
Q. Are you still with Sven?
MARY PIERCE: Yes.
Q. Since you teamed up after the French Open, two fourth rounds, two Grand Slams. Just wondering, what does Sven bring to your partnership?
MARY PIERCE: We have a lot of fun. Sven is great. I mean, we've known each other for a while now. I think about 12 years. He knows me really well. You know, he really cares about me as a person and as a tennis player. He's also, you know, not afraid to tell me the things that I need to hear. Sometimes certain coaches are afraid to say things to the players. So, you know, he just does a great job. He's just really professional and organized. We just get along really well.
Q. You seem to be very happy and relaxed at the moment. Is Sven part of that or is that part of your general life?
MARY PIERCE: Both. I think that, you know, with Sven, like I said, we have a great relationship that, you know, we can talk about things. You know, in tennis, for me at least, there's a balance in my life that when I'm balanced and I feel well, then usually I play well. So that's important. You know, just in life in general, I just always strive for balance, like I said so, you know...
Q. Has your attitude to the sport changed with all the injury problems you've had over the last couple years. How do you view it now, in this stage of your career?
MARY PIERCE: Yeah, there's a few things. Like I just want it more; it means a lot more to me than before. It's kind of funny when even before I thought it did, it's just different. I appreciate it more, every day - and the process that it takes and what to go through and the training and... You know, I just enjoy it. I just feel like I'm really blessed to have the life that I have and to be able to do what I do. Like I've said in the other days, I don't feel like I have a job. Yeah, of course, I don't like to pack, I don't like to be away from my home and family and friends and dogs and stuff, but I wouldn't trade it for anything. So having injuries and being home and not being able to play when I really wanted to, just I really missed it. So I'm just happy to be healthy and being able to compete again.
Q. When you won Australia, was that the best physical condition you've ever been in? Or at least very close to it?
MARY PIERCE: Well, I was 20, so I was feeling pretty good. Recovered pretty quickly. Didn't get tired that often. But I felt like, yeah, I was in pretty good shape. I think in Paris when I won the French Open I think I was in pretty good shape, too.
Q. How hard did you have to work to get in that shape?
MARY PIERCE: Both of those times or...?
Q. The French.
MARY PIERCE: The French, yeah, I worked hard. I think the key during that moment for me was that I just did all the little things right. I just really made sure all the little things weren't overlooked. Those things -- especially in the important moments and at the top, those things make the big difference.
Q. When you talk about the attitude you have after the injuries, how important would be a win at something like this?
MARY PIERCE: Huge (smiling).
Q. Are you happy without that, or do you need that?
MARY PIERCE: Happy without that? No. Do I need it? No. Do I want it? Yes... It's just winning a Grand Slam tournament is amazing. You know, what motivates me are Grand Slam tournaments. To win another one, I mean, would just -- I'd probably have a breakdown on the court or something. It would just be -- it would just make it that much sweeter, I guess, everything I've gone through in the last couple of years. So I try not to -- definitely that's a dream, so, if that happens, that would be great. If not, I can look back whenever I retire one day and say, "I had a pretty good career, you know."
Q. You've had a really very unusual career, a lot of incidents in your career, even from a very early age. Do you see yourself one day writing an autobiography?
MARY PIERCE: Definitely.
Q. You do?
MARY PIERCE: Uh-hmm.
Q. Will it be a very candid autobiography? Even though it might be hurtful to some people?
MARY PIERCE: You know, I haven't thought about that so much. When I do do something like that, I'll think about it. But I'm the type of person that if I'm gonna do something, I'm gonna do it all the way and full-out or not do it at all. It would take a lot of thought because I'm not the only person in my life. There are also other people involved. So I would have to think about that.
Q. When you sit down and think about writing an autobiography, will you say, "If I write it I want to be completely candid and that could be hurtful to some people you've known over the years." But on the other hand, if you're going to write one, you want to make it as honest as possible. Is that a major consideration?
MARY PIERCE: Well, yeah, because I try to live my life that way. That's one of my principles, is honesty. The truth hurts; that's a fact. But I think that it can definitely help a lot of people as well.
Q. Are you keeping a journal?
MARY PIERCE: Yes, I do (smiling).
Q. Are you so far along that you've actually contacted a publisher about the possibility?
MARY PIERCE: No, no. No, I just know that that's something I'd like to do. But I haven't even got into the process of that at all. When I retire, I might do it or something, I don't know.
Q. Do you feel physically and mentally strong enough to win this tournament?
MARY PIERCE: Uhm... I don't want to say yes or no. I mean, I just -- kind of like I said earlier, just really happy to be healthy and competing and feeling good. I'm definitely feeling better and better all the time. Playing better. Physically feeling in better shape. Tennis, you never know what can happen. I'm not going to count myself out, and I'm not gonna also put pressure on myself. I'm still in the process of working my way back to the level I'd like to be at. I'm very happy with how I'm doing. I'd just like to continue, take things day by day, match by match.
Q. Physically, do you feel like you're ready to be there?
MARY PIERCE: Mentally, I'm there. My body's not following my mind yet. There are things I want to do and I'm feeling a little limited at time. I'm like, "Okay, that's where my patience has to come in." The mental part I guess is experience, maturity.
Q. A lot of people think being a tennis player is what you do on the court. How much is getting to the top, about the pressure dealing with other players?
MARY PIERCE: Oh, there's a lot of things that go into it. I mean, it's pretty much -- well, it's pretty much if you want to be in the top, it's pretty much an all-consuming thing. It's like your life, basically. It's a 24-hour job. Everything you do, it affects you. We use our bodies. Our minds have to be at peace. There are so many things that come into play.
Q. Do a lot of people come at you, too, the higher up you go?
MARY PIERCE: Uh-hmm, yeah. I mean, that's how it works, I guess. That's life. I mean, it's kind of funny, you know. When you're not doing that well, you're not winning, it's like, "Oh, okay." Then when you are... hat's how it is.
Q. In a good way, bad way, both?
MARY PIERCE: I think I've gone through both, and I've seen all different sides of however you want to put it. I think from the experience of being in both situations, I know how to deal better if there's a lot more demands from people again next time.
End of FastScriptsâ€¦.