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January 18, 2001

Lisa Raymond


THE MODERATOR: First question, please.

Q. Lisa or Rennae, are you putting that down to just an unbelievably tough first-round draw?

LISA RAYMOND: Well, I don't mean to sound like a sore loser, but I think there's maybe five or six really good teams in the draw and it just so happens that two of us had to play each other in the first round. It's extremely unfortunate being defending champions and having to play Martina, who, you know, she's won this tournament, you know, three of the last four years with all different partners. I think that pretty much tells you how much how good of a doubles partner she is and you've got Monica out there who's an amazing double-singles player. Put the two together, it's a formidable doubles team. It's just one of those things you have to put behind you.

Q. So the disappointment would have to be fairly immense though, being defending titleists, the way you won it last year, where do you go from here?

RENNAE STUBBS: You guys ask the craziest questions. We go to Tokyo.

Q. As a combination --?

RENNAE STUBBS: I mean we're here, we're playing mixed still. What can we do. We had a crappy draw, they had a crappy draw. We lost, they won. I think they'll probably go on and possibly win the tournament and we'll just go on and play Japan next week and move on and try to win that event. If we don't win that event, we go on every single week and we play. That's just the way it is.

Q. Do you think something could have been done to avoid this? Are you saying there could have been some other way of going about it?

RENNAE STUBBS: Absolutely. I mean, you have to play everybody. But in the draw to win the tournament -- I mean, you basically had the 2000 final out there with the exception of substituting Mary Pierce and Monica Seles. To anybody to think that wasn't a ridiculous first round, they're not being honest with themselves. Monica and Martina have proven themselves to be a good team. They proved it last week with the two very, very, very good wins that they had, and, you know, I think the tournament organization should have looked at seeding them. It was completely unfair to the both of us to have played each other first round. Martina and I talked about it. And we both decided it wasn't fair to either of us. I mean Martina's ranked No. 1 in the world, 2 in the world in doubles. We're ranked 4 or 5, we shouldn't be playing each other first round of a Grand Slam. I think the tournament organization should have really sat down and really thought about the importance of having us and them in the tournament through to the second week. On form, knowing that we would -- if we play well, we would get through to the quarters and semi; then play each other. Then maybe it would have been a different result with us having a couple matches under our belt. And seeding the Williamses, it's ridiculous, they're not seeded either. They've won four of the five Grand Slams. Just because they don't have enough tournaments to have them have a ranking, it's irrelevant. I don't think any 15th or 16th seeded team here at the Australian Open doubles would argue that Monica and Martina and the Williamses should have been seeded. I think the 15th seed lost yesterday in the first round. So I think the tournament organization should really look at that and look at proven teams and they're both proven teams. It's not like they're two great singles players that were just thrown together to play a tournament. They're both proven, both done very well. Wimbledon does it. I can't see why the Australian Open shouldn't do it either.

Q. Have you spoken to any of the organizers about it before the match or since?

RENNAE STUBBS: Well, I spoke to Peter Bellinger the day after the draw came out. I mean, it's always the same reaction, isn't it? They're always, "Well, you're right. I guess we could have thought about it." Well, that's a bit too late, Peter. The draw's been done. So I don't want to sound like a bad loser. If we won, I would have had the exact same reaction because it would have been completely unfair for them to lose in the first round as well. But, you know, there's not a lot you can do after the fact. Maybe come the French Open, if that situation props up again, they'll think about it. Because it's different in a Tier I or Tier II event at our tournaments where there's four seeds, because the top four seeds generally are top 20 players in the world. They shouldn't really be unseeded because they've earned that right. But in the Grand Slams, you've got people ranked 50 and 60 in the world that are seeded because there's so many seeds. So I think that that's where common sense has to come into it. Yep.

Q. Just on the talk about changes to the doubles game and just having two sets in a tiebreak, what do you think about that?

LISA RAYMOND: I honestly -- I mean, I think it's fine. It's mixed doubles. You know, I'm really not against it. I mean -- but to be honest, I mean they -- the Aussie Open goes ahead and takes it upon themselves to kind of change that rule. So I think they could have maybe fiddled with the seeds a little bit, maybe changing that rule with the ladies' doubles or men's doubles. You've got another -- not exact, but you've got another example, you've got Bhupathi and Paes out there playing Eagle and Florent and Bhupathi and Paes are certainly a very formidable doubles team that have proven themselves time and time again. And just because Leander was hurt last year, his ranking fell off. And, you know, now they have to play, you know, seeded team, Florent and Eagle, in the first round so which really stinks for both teams. So --.

RENNAE STUBBS: I don't agree with the mixed. I just think that's -- I don't know. Me personally, I think the players have all different kinds of views, but I think it's just stupid. I mean what's the point of playing two sets then finishing it with a tiebreak? I think you should play it out. I think every Grand Slam has, like we said, you know if you're going to just go ahead and change the rules dramatically like that and not consult anybody, there was no consultation with the players as far as what they wanted, maybe a majority would have said, "Yeah, that's fine, let's do that. Make mixed doubles a little bit shorter." But there was no consultation as far as that was concerned. That was done. Then like what we're saying, their whole backing was, "We've never changed the seeds here at the Australian Open. We're not going to start now." If you're going to change the rules as far as one event is concerned, you should probably do it for the other.

Q. Would you invite any move to extend that change to doubles?

RENNAE STUBBS: Play a tiebreak in the third in doubles? Oh, God, no. I don't think that would be too smart. I mean, you know, we're -- we play -- we practice as, you know, we work hard and we get ourselves to prepare for these matches. I don't think, you know, it sounds like the establishment of trying to make everything shorter because they find it not to be entertaining. Well go out and ask the public what they want. And the public will say that a third set is the best part of watching a doubles match, or watching a great mixed doubles match. They don't want it to be over. They love that. They love split sets. They love to see the third set. That's the most exciting. You won't see a crowd roaring for a split set match and then leave. I mean, they're not going to leave. Okay, this is what we wanted. We wanted a third set. That's what it comes down to, it comes down to stamina and perseverance and patience and a tiebreak isn't patience perseverance and hard work. So I mean, I wouldn't fight for that.

Q. It's just that Martina Hingis was in here before you girls and was saying she agreed with it because she rushed from her singles match to the doubles game. For some of those players, I guess it's a matter of time.

RENNAE STUBBS: Yeah. In Grand Slams possibly because there are three events. But, you know, if you're going to play both events, then that's what you have to deal with. Martina Navratilova never complained, John McEnroe never complained. I don't think Martina would ever complain. Maybe if you give her the option, she'd be like, "Yeah, sure, that sounds good with me. I'm that good in tiebreakers, I'll probably win most of them." I think the purity of tennis is important. I think the fans appreciate that about it.

Q. Do you think doubles specialists are getting a bit of a hard time at the moment?

RENNAE STUBBS: Not in the women's game. There's only very few, and all our great singles players play doubles. I don't even think it's a question in women's tennis. I think everybody loves the fact that all the top players play doubles. I think it's fantastic for the game to see them out there playing doubles and coming to the net. Look at Monica, she's out there, she's loving it, she competes. You know, just because the guys don't play, that's not the women's problem. I think that's a completely separate issue.

Q. Why do you think they don't play?

RENNAE STUBBS: I don't know. Maybe they make so much money playing singles they don't need to play doubles. I don't know.

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