November 22, 1997
MADISON SQUARE GARDEN, NEW YORK CITY
Q. You doing physically, and who were the problems with the shoulder, back?
MARY PIERCE: I was okay. I was a little bit tired today. I don't think I fully recovered from the match against Martina. But I'm not sure exactly what I did. I think I might have strained a little bit my neck muscle. I'll have to see the trainer about that. It's not too serious, because I was still able to keep playing. At one point in the match I had a little bit of back spasms or back cramps and then it went away. I think I just need to stretch and get a massage and just rest and I'll be fine for tomorrow.
Q. You faced a lot of break points in that last set, how were you able to kind of withstand all those?
MARY PIERCE: Just trying to think that it's not a breakpoint, just to play like it's any other point. And basically that's it, just to take it point-by-point.
Q. If you don't mind, would you tell us how you met Mr. Alomar (ph.)?
MARY PIERCE: I'd rather just answer tennis questions, please, thanks.
Q. So, how much of a difference does Craig make to you?
MARY PIERCE: I think Craig is a big factor in my game and also in my life. He's part of my team along with my physical trainer, and my family and friends. There's a lot of people that it takes to get the job done. But as far as Craig goes he's with me most of the time. And he's the person that's there day in and day out and has to deal with me, so I give him a lot of credit.
Q. And although obviously it was a disadvantage at the time missing so many tournaments this autumn, do you think now you have that hunger for the game and you're fresh, and that's an advantage this week with so many people who are a little tired?
MARY PIERCE: I think so, definitely. I'm not too sure how the other girls were feeling, I know how I feel getting to this tournament, you're counting the days, and you're tired, and trying to get motivated. But this tournament this time I'm really fresh, I'm really eager, and I wish there were more tournaments after this one, it still feels like half the year for me, but that's okay, I'll be fresher for the beginning of next year.
Q. Were you a little concerned about the semifinals again, it was becoming tough to finish it off, considering what you've done in the past semis?
MARY PIERCE: No, it never entered my mind.
Q. How do you feel about playing five sets, it's going to be the first time?
MARY PIERCE: Yes, my first time playing a match of five sets. I've always wanted to. I remember watching this tournament on TV, I was 16, I think it was Monica and Gaby in the finals, they played five sets. I thought it was really cool. And I said I'd love to see what it's like to play three out of five. I'm very happy to be in the finals and like I said on the court it's the last match of the year, I'm going to give it everything I have, and go out and have fun.
Q. How do you think it's going to be different, are you going to pace yourself different?
MARY PIERCE: No, not at all, just going to go out there and I guess play each set one at a time, basically one point at a time, and just take it from there.
Q. When you surprised how tough the match turned out to be?
MARY PIERCE: No, I only played Nathalie once, and it was in San Diego, it was outdoor in hard courts. I won the match in two sets, fairly easily. But Nathalie has been playing really well here at this tournament and this is a great surface for her, indoors, it's good for her game. I really didn't underestimate her at all, I knew she was playing dangerously and well. And I knew I had to serve well, return well and pass well and if I didn't it was going to be difficult.
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