August 28, 1997
FLUSHING MEADOWS, NEW YORK, M. LUCIC/A. Rippner 6-0, 6-1
Q. Mirjana, Jana Novotna said she was going to stay around and scout you on this match that you just finished. Do you think that gives you an advantage because many other players on the Women's Tour haven't seen you play?
MIRJANA LUCIC: Well, maybe. That's just because I'm coming now, this is my first Grand Slam, just my fifth tournament. So I'm really feeling very well. I'm very glad to be here and to play.
Q. Earlier, Martina Hingis talked about your maturity. She is somebody who should really know because people talk about her maturity. Can you describe how you've developed such poise on the court? You don't seem nervous at all out there?
MIRJANA LUCIC: No. I think it's because it's something I really like to do a lot, something I enjoy very much, and I take it as a game. Of course, I take it very seriously and I enjoy it very much. I guess there's no reason for me to be nervous; just go out and play.
Q. How easy were these two matches? Were they as easy as the scores would seem to indicate?
MIRJANA LUCIC: Well, the first one was maybe a little bit more -- a little tougher. But, yeah, there were a lot of good points in both matches. I really felt very good. I was just playing one point at a time.
Q. Have you seen Novotna play? Have you watched her either on television or in person?
MIRJANA LUCIC: I watched her before a couple of times, but not really here. I was concentrating more for my match.
Q. From outside, one looking at you playing this way, my thoughts were, This girl has a lot of hungry for victory. Do you feel like that, going for it desperately?
MIRJANA LUCIC: Yeah, of course. It's also just because I started and I just show my face, I want to do it right now. I really want to show that I can play. I'm very, very happy that they let me play this tournament so I can do what I know what I do best.
Q. But do you think you will keep this attitude in the future or is it just because of this?
MIRJANA LUCIC: Of course. As I said before, it's something I love to do. I always like to win, like everybody else. I always go for it whenever I'm on the court.
Q. Do you feel it's already a success for you here, having first gotten here, gotten the opportunity to play here, and now gone into the third round, or would you like to go much further before you think it's a success?
MIRJANA LUCIC: I really don't think about that a lot. The only thing I think about is the next match I play. Every match I win, of course, it's a big success. I just go out and play, concentrate for the next match, don't really think a lot about the other things.
Q. Did you or your coach set any goals when you went to the tournament that you wanted to get to a certain round?
MIRJANA LUCIC: No. I never set any goals for me. I just go out and play and enjoy. Every time I go on the court, I try to get my maximum and I try to play the best that I can, that's all.
Q. What have you learned from observing Martina Hingis?
MIRJANA LUCIC: Well, from players like Martina, and a person like Martina, you can really learn a lot. I had a chance, and I was very happy about it, that I could practice a lot with her. I went to her house two times. I practiced here with her. She's really a great person. You can learn a lot from her.
Q. Like what kind of things have you learned from her? The way you handle yourself on the court?
MIRJANA LUCIC: Yeah, everything. Those little things, I mean, which makes difference. And as a person, she's really great. She's very professional, very good on the court.
Q. How did that relationship with Martina start?
MIRJANA LUCIC: Well, we met on Federation Cup two years ago. We talked a little bit. We played against each other doubles. I don't know. That's about how it started.
Q. Do you try to overwhelm your opponents with power here, or do you have different approaches?
MIRJANA LUCIC: This is my game; this is how I play. Doesn't matter who is on the other side of the net. I don't really think about my opponents, I just think about myself, my game. That's what I always do the same.
Q. Mirjana, are you a little concerned about your first serve at all? I noticed in -- after those misses, you were a little upset with yourself? Do you think you need to serve a little better on the first serve?
MIRJANA LUCIC: Yeah. Especially today the percentage wasn't very high. I was kind of upset about that. I guess it's going to be better tomorrow. I'm going to try to concentrate a little bit more, hit some more serves tomorrow. I'll be fine.
Q. Which of the top players today do you think you're game most resembles?
MIRJANA LUCIC: Well, I just started. I mean, I don't really think about that. I just go out and play. We'll see after a couple tournaments where am I going to be.
Q. You don't compare yourself with any of the top players in the way you approach the game?
MIRJANA LUCIC: No. I played against a lot of them. I beat them; I lose against them. It's very hard. I don't compare myself to anybody.
Q. Do you think that people's perception of you will change if you beat Novotna in the third round?
MIRJANA LUCIC: Well, of course, a lot of things will change. I don't really think about that. I really don't put any kind of pressure, I don't put any pressure on me or anything. I don't think about that. I just want to go to the court and really to give my maximum to enjoy myself. We'll see.
Q. People look at you and they say they can't believe you're 15, your physical presence, the way you play the game. How would you respond to that? Do you take that as a compliment?
MIRJANA LUCIC: Yeah, of course. That's how it sounds. That's how I am, so I guess that's a good way that I'm like that.
Q. Are you as calm off the court as you appear to be on the court?
MIRJANA LUCIC: Yeah, definitely. I mean, I like to have fun, especially here now. I mean, when my sister is here -- my father always travels with me -- but here I also have an opportunity to be with my sister a lot, so we have fun pretty much. I have a good time here.
Q. Is that your older sister?
MIRJANA LUCIC: Yeah.
Q. Were you aware that Jana Novotna was watching some of your match? She came over and watched a couple of points. I don't know if you could see her. She came over with her coach.
MIRJANA LUCIC: No. I don't watch. When I'm on the court, I just watch the ball. I concentrate on what I do. I don't really look around, so I didn't see her.
Q. Maybe that's a compliment from her, coming over to see you, knowing she is going to play you.
MIRJANA LUCIC: Yeah. It's normal. A lot of players they watch each other.
Q. When you were a kid, did you have a favorite player you would like to follow or imitate?
MIRJANA LUCIC: I always admired Steffi Graf. Even now, especially when I had a chance to play against her in Strasbourg, I really think she's great.
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