August 30, 1997
FLUSHING MEADOWS, NEW YORK
Q. Did you feel that was a very winnable match?
MIRJANA LUCIC: Yeah, definitely. I mean, there is not much to say after a match like this. I can't believe -- I don't know really what happened with me. 3-1 in the third and there were a couple of close calls, but I definitely stopped. I stopped moving into the court, it was impossible to win because I had so many ups-and-downs.
Q. When you had your down, when you started to slide in the third set, did you realize what was happening and why couldn't you recover like you did in the second set?
MIRJANA LUCIC: Yeah, I did, but then she started to make the pressure and she was hitting the ball very well, very hard and she was coming in and I was just -- I just kept going back. So, I was trying to come in more, but still I was always moving back.
Q. When you were behind 6-2, 4-1, did you tell yourself you are going to have to change your tactics and be a little more aggressive?
MIRJANA LUCIC: Yeah, I just -- I had to put the ball in because I was missing very much and the only tactic was just to play the couple of balls and I mean, hard, but not all over the court.
Q. Is as disappointing as this is, is there a moral victory in that you ended up winning the second set and you pushed the No. 3 player in the world to the brink? Do you feel that you played a tough match and you are proud of that?
MIRJANA LUCIC: Yeah, well, I really -- I really think that I should have won this match and I really -- I had everything. I had the total match in my hands and it happened already a couple of weeks ago with Monica, so I am really not happy about that.
Q. Do you know what your record is against top 10 players?
MIRJANA LUCIC: Not really.
Q. So even though you are playing a top ranked experienced player on Center Court at night with all those fans, you still feel like you are the player to beat if you are playing well?
MIRJANA LUCIC: Yeah, I mean, I wasn't thinking it was great, it was first time for me to play on such a big stadium against third player in the world and I wasn't thinking about that at all. That didn't impress me. But, I just didn't play my own game.
Q. When you start that rally, did you have it in your mind that Jana has a history of having squandered some pretty good leads and maybe that was giving you an opportunity?
MIRJANA LUCIC: No, I wasn't really thinking about any of that.
Q. Do you always stand inside the baseline?
MIRJANA LUCIC: Yeah, doesn't matter who I play against, I always stay in. The problem was when I move back half meter, one meter back then I was holding on.
Q. Her serve into your body seemed to cause you a left problems, when it was hooking in?
MIRJANA LUCIC: Yeah, Jana has a very good serve, so I had a little problems. I wasn't really ready. I wasn't very, very concentrate, so, it was bothering me today.
Q. Do you think she won because of her experience?
MIRJANA LUCIC: Of course that experience has a lot to do with it. But, that and the thing that I don't have a lot of experience and that I went down a little bit, of course, it helped her.
Q. What was your thinking about the match beginning of the third set?
MIRJANA LUCIC: I was just going to win every point. I mean, I wasn't thinking about anything at all, just to win another point. But, then on 3-1, I lost the game and suddenly I moved a little back and then everything was just going backwards.
Q. Why did you move back?
MIRJANA LUCIC: That is a great question. (laughter) I wouldn't do it. I don't know, I wasn't concentrating. I wasn't coming in anymore. I just -- I don't know -- I was keeping the score or something, but --
Q. You said you have learned how to win these sort of matches?
MIRJANA LUCIC: Yeah, well, definitely after losses like this you can -- you learn something from the match.
Q. Do you think at 3-1 you were looking ahead?
MIRJANA LUCIC: Maybe a little bit. Not really, but probably somewhere in my mind that was happening, I guess.
Q. Going from winning the US Open junior title last year and having some struggles there at least in the earlier rounds, to now, almost toppling the No. 3 in the world, doesn't that give you have any sort of satisfaction that you have come that far?
MIRJANA LUCIC: I mean, I am just doing everything really well. I am doing everything as I like and everything goes great, but you can't be happy -- I mean, this all is good. I won two rounds. I was in the third round playing against Jana. That all is great. But, I mean, I am not happy at all with this today.
Q. Was it distracting at all being on that big court?
MIRJANA LUCIC: No, not at all. I wasn't thinking about that at all. That wasn't bothering me or anything. I don't think it has got to do anything with this match.
Q. Were you surprised to see all the slices and spins from Jana during the match?
MIRJANA LUCIC: No, I expected that. I knew how Jana plays and so it didn't really surprise me at all.
Q. Did it bother your rhythm at all? Against the other two players looked like you had a lot of rhythm. I guess it was her plan to throw your timing--
MIRJANA LUCIC: A little bit. I wasn't used to it at the beginning, but later I was okay.
Q. Given that all the attention is to Kournikova and Venus Williams, do you think here you have proven yourself to be their equal?
MIRJANA LUCIC: Well, for myself, I always knew where I am and where my place is. But, sometimes it is hard to show that to people. You really got to play and people got to see you to know what you can do, especially in the beginning when you are just starting. But, it doesn't bother me. They are both good players; doesn't bother me at all.
Q. Jana remarked after the match that she doesn't know when she is playing somebody that hit balls as hard as the balls you were hitting her. Did you let up at all as the match went on? Did your stamina wear out?
MIRJANA LUCIC: Yeah, well, definitely. That was one step backwards and that is where it took me here. I wasn't hitting the ball as hard as I do when I come into the ball, it is not the same when you go backwards.
Q. Do you think fitness had anything to do with that?
MIRJANA LUCIC: No, not at all. I was fit. I was okay, ready to play. No.
Q. Does your coach have any plans to try to tame some of those wild shots that you make when you are really going for it and have you play more percentage shots?
MIRJANA LUCIC: That is my game. I am not planning to change anything with that. It is just that sometimes I go for too much, but sometimes maybe I have to slow down a little bit, but I am not planning to change anything.
Q. If somebody told you you would have gotten to the third round of this tournament before the tournament started, would you have been pleased or would you have expected to have gone further?
MIRJANA LUCIC: I don't know what to answer that question -- I never really think -- I mean, third round, it is a good result for a beginning and everything, but you know, when you have a chance, when you have a chance to go to the next round, when you have really good chance, then you don't really feel well after.
Q. In your own mind have you set an age or time by which you think you should win your first Grand Slam?
MIRJANA LUCIC: No, I really don't. Never, ever don't think about that. I just play every match at a time, every point at a time and don't think about future at all. I am just going there enjoying it and that is about it.
Q. What is the one thing you are going to take away from this tournament? What is the one major thing that sticks in your mind?
MIRJANA LUCIC: Well, definitely next time -- I mean, when I play against some other players, they are not such a high rank as Novotna, then when I am 3-1 up, if I play a little -- if I go down a little bit, I can always come up. But with the players that are in the top for so many years, they just don't let it go anymore. And, that is the thing I really learned from this time and I hope it is going to be better for the next one.
End of FastScriptsâ€¦.