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August 31, 1999

Mary Pierce

Flushing Meadows, New York

WTA: Questions for Mary.

Q. Just talk about your match. Good to get it out of the way?

MARY PIERCE: Yeah. The first match is always a good one to win and to get through. I've never played her before. It's the first time I've actually seen her play. You know, when you don't know what someone looks like or how they play, you just go on the court and try to focus more on your game, then during the match try to see what you need to change, if anything. She's a really good player. She has a pretty big serve, a really great backhand. It was just a very weird match. I mean, it could have gone either way at any point. It could have been a mistake from her or a winner from her. I had to be ready for anything. Those kind of matches aren't easy. I think I made it more difficult than it needed to be, but those kind of matches are the ones where you just mentally need to stay focused for each point. If you lax off a little bit, it can start to get a little more difficult, like in the second set. I was just happy to kind of get together and finish the match in two sets.

Q. Was this match indicative of the way you've been playing? How would you assess where you are right now?

MARY PIERCE: I felt pretty good. I didn't feel too happy with the timing on my serve, even though I did have a few good serves. Overall, I served okay. You know, for a first match, it's okay. This is a long tournament, two weeks. Just, you know, try to get better and better with every match.

Q. How about your summer performances, how would you rate them and where do you feel you're at right now?

MARY PIERCE: I mean, you always want to do better. I think I played some good tennis in Toronto. I thought that my game is starting to finally be at a level where I feel pretty good, comfortable on the court, confident. Last week, I just rested a little bit, practiced, got ready for here. I'm feeling pretty good. Just go out there and take it match-by-match and enjoy it and have fun.

Q. That's not an engagement ring on your finger, is it?


Q. It is?


Q. When did that happen?

MARY PIERCE: A year and a half ago.

Q. People have made a lot about your relationship. Has that helped you personally, mentally, to have that part of your life?

MARY PIERCE: Yeah, definitely. I think it's great to be with somebody that makes an impact on your life in all areas and can help you in all areas of your life. I guess that's what a relationship is about, any kind of relationship really. We try to spend time together whenever we can. We go and play tennis sometimes. We have fun. He's helped me. I've been able to talk to him about things. You know, in sports, when you come down to it, it's almost all the same, no matter what you play. He has a good eye on things. He's come to some tournaments with me. We have a lot of fun. He's helped me.

Q. A lot of people talk about balancing their personal lives with professional lives. With two people that are athletes and popular, how much more difficult is it?

MARY PIERCE: I didn't understand.

Q. People talk about balancing your professional and personal life. With two people who are doing things in the public eye, how much more difficult is it?

MARY PIERCE: It depends on the individual and how you're able to handle things. I think we're two people who are very professional and disciplined. We're hard-working. We work out a lot together. We both understand what we do. Like I said, we try to see each other when we can. We know right now what we're doing comes first because you're not going to be able to do it forever. Then we'll be able to spend as much time together as we want. We're both very proud of each other, supportive of each other. I think that's important.

Q. Do you look up the box scores in the morning? Is that the first things you see?

MARY PIERCE: Yeah (laughter). I see how everybody's doing.

Q. Especially last night?

MARY PIERCE: Yeah, every game. It's fun. It's fun to see how they're doing. He does the same thing. So do his teammates. They're all watching tennis. It's cool.

Q. How do you like Cleveland?

MARY PIERCE: I like it. I'm not there much. I haven't got to do enough or to see enough to really give a real honest opinion. As much as I've been there, as I've seen, I like it. I enjoy it.

Q. What parts of it have you seen?

MARY PIERCE: Downtown, the airport, the ballpark, my house. That's it.

End of FastScripts….

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