August 28, 2004
NEW HAVEN, CONNECTICUT
THE MODERATOR: Questions.
Q. How much did the real hot conditions out there affect how your play went today?
MARTINA NAVRATILOVA: I think for Lisa, holding onto a racquet. Body-wise it's not a problem. It's that it's harder to hold onto the racquet. I don't sweat as much, but I still used a sweat band for about the third time in my career because it was really muggy. As far as conditions, it doesn't get us tired or anything.
LISA RAYMOND: No. I agree. It's just a matter of -- you know, I think, if anything, it makes the conditions a little heavier. Other than that, we're all just -- you're toweling off a ton out there. It was very humid.
Q. Can you talk about the atmosphere? The fans, particularly when you were serving in the third set, every time they thought it was your last serve...
MARTINA NAVRATILOVA: I was never down a breakpoint the whole match. That was the best I served and volleyed the whole tournament. So, yeah, they were very fair. They applauded their good shots, as well. A really good crowd. I thought they were fair, and that's what you want. There were plenty of people pulling for Meghann and Nadia. She's an American, as well. It was a great atmosphere. The first two sets went by so fast. I think it was 15 minutes. Then the second set took longer than the first two sets combined. It was fun to be out there in front of a crowd like that. I wish they had them come down earlier in the match. But it was fun.
Q. What about the reception you got all week long?
MARTINA NAVRATILOVA: (Inaudible). I can't do anything wrong these days. I have a Kerry/Edwards sticker on my racquet bag, I think even the Bushites are pulling for me (smiling). It's pretty nice to get to this point where you can get away with a lot of stuff. I even yelled a bad swear word. People forgave me because I was very apologetic. It was a fun match to play. We had more opportunities. We should have won. We had lots of breakpoints where they didn't really have many at all. Didn't convert in the third set, which was unfortunate. It was fun to be on the court in that kind of an atmosphere.
Q. It was a special run. I would say aside from the Grand Slams, can you remember ever playing three doubles matches in prime time?
MARTINA NAVRATILOVA: Well, when I played singles and doubles I played at night a lot back to back. It would have been just as late. You know, the lights here are pretty good. The first night we played, I was really out of it, but then I got used to it. Today it was too bright for a while. I felt like a little gopher that had been underground all week. All of a sudden you come out, it's like, "Whoa." I can't play in sunglasses. I have a hard time with the depth perception. Oakley had given me some great glasses, but I haven't ever -- any time you make it darker, I lose the depth perception. It was a little bright out, but it was nice. I've done it before, playing night matches all the time. It's been a while since I played three in a row.
Q. Are the two of you as a team going to be playing in the US Open?
LISA RAYMOND: Yes.
Q. Do you know when your first match is scheduled to be, who you're playing?
LISA RAYMOND: No.
MARTINA NAVRATILOVA: Probably Thursday, most likely.
Q. What was the value of playing here for you going into The Open? You made it to the finals, had a tough run.
LISA RAYMOND: It was a last-minute decision as far as even playing singles here. I found out about the wildcard just a few days before the tournament. Once I was here to play singles, it was just, again, I think this is such a great warm-up tournament. I think it's a no-brainer to play this week, this event, before The Open. We decided pretty much the morning of the sign-in, "Hey, let's play. It will be some good practice for us for The Open." You know, we played well here. We had a good win last night. We could have won just as easily today. I definitely think it gives us some confidence for next week.
Q. How much do you appreciate the chance to meet the fans, the whole atmosphere everywhere you go now? Is it more special?
MARTINA NAVRATILOVA: In a way. I mean, the expectations aren't as high. I'm able to I think make people happy that I'm still playing. I don't think they're saying, "Oh, God, she shouldn't be playing any more. She can't move any more." I think they appreciate what I'm still doing out there and how much I love the game. What we bring to the court together, playing an aggressive serve-and-volley game, successfully doing it. I know they appreciate me and I appreciate them. It's just really nice to have this time on the court. It's definitely a bonus. I appreciate it very much. I wish I had them 30 years ago. I think it's been a long process, getting to know one another. I can be abrasive and brash, whatever. I think they understand me a lot better, so they forgive me a lot easier now.
Q. Is it more special that you do it on your terms? You never changed who you are. They accept you for who you are.
MARTINA NAVRATILOVA: It took a while. Like I said, it's been a long time coming. You know, I had to learn about America, the habits of this country and the people. Took me a while. I definitely appreciate and enjoy every minute of it.
Q. How about you, Lisa, how much do you enjoy the reception?
LISA RAYMOND: It's been incredible, the whole year. We played a match I think it was in Miami this year, it was the first round. We walk out, it's a standing ovation. It's just unbelievable. It's been great for me because it's been a different pressure that I've had to deal with this year, to go out there and to play with probably the greatest player to ever play the game. You know, it's like people expect a lot from us when we're out there now. It's been good for me. It's been good to kind of have to deal with that. At the same time it's been incredible. It's been very, very enjoyable. It's fun. The fans get so into it with us. Watching Marty, you know, the reception, sometimes I'm out there and you get goosebumps when you hear the crowd, what they do, what they say. They stand up and cheer. It's amazing.
MARTINA NAVRATILOVA: It's been great playing with Lisa because she holds her own. It would be easy for somebody to get overwhelmed eventually because I get all the attention. But Lisa gets her share. She has to gain it out there. People certainly know her. But first the attention's on me, but then they even it out and appreciate us as a team. Lisa has been handling it very well. It's been great that way.
Q. How about the job of Nadia and Meghann.
MARTINA NAVRATILOVA: Meghann played very well. She returned very well. I don't think I've seen her return as well as she did today. Today we lost because we couldn't break serve in the third set. We were holding more comfortable than they were. As big a serve as they have, that's something to say about that. But I had dinner -- actually the only time I had dinner this week was with Meghann. We went out and were talking about all kinds of stuff. I was talking to her about her game. Maybe I should have kept my mouth shut (laughter). I don't know if I would have made a difference so quickly. I was just trying to give her a little pep talk. I'm like, "Okay, that's how it goes." I'd rather lose to a good player than win against a lousy one.
Q. Obviously she handled the Olympic situation with a lot of class. Can you talk about the situation. She's ranked ahead of you.
LISA RAYMOND: I think you said it right there. Obviously, Meghann, she's a great girl, a good friend of mine. She has not to this day really said anything about it, whether it be in the press, whether it be even just really amongst other players. You know, she's handled it with class. Do I think she should have gotten a nod to go? Yes, I do. I know what it's like. I know what it's like to feel like you deserve to go and to not get that opportunity. You know, it's one of the reasons why I said that today. It's tough. It's a tough position to be in for her. You feel like you've earned a spot and you don't get the nod.
MARTINA NAVRATILOVA: She should have been on the team also, with Lisa and me playing, Meghann should have been there playing with whoever. She was in the Top 10 in the doubles. That's an automatic nod. She didn't know that. She wasn't picked. She should have been. It should have been three doubles and three singles. She could have played singles as well because she was ranked high enough to get into the main draw.
Q. What is your schedule after The Open?
MARTINA NAVRATILOVA: We're playing Filderstadt, Porsche Grand Prix, Moscow and Zurich, then Philadelphia of course.
Q. Basically with Lindsay withdrawing early, Maria losing early, you as a doubles player kind of became the marquee name here. Is it surprising to you that you still have that kind of drawing power? You didn't play for a long time. You seem to be even more popular now than you were when you were winning all the titles.
MARTINA NAVRATILOVA: I wish I had entered a bit earlier to help Anne Worcester promote the tournament earlier. I'll say one thing, if I'm playing next year, I will enter earlier. If I'm playing tennis and still standing, I will be back here. I'm not planning on playing next year, but if I am, which is a possibility, not a probability, I will be here and sign up two months or three months ahead, whatever. Sign up now, if I'm playing. Anne, I'll keep my word. I was glad to help out. With Lindsay pulling out at such a late time, I don't think I could be a promotor of an event and deal with this kind of possibility. Sort of like depending on the weather to get your crop in. But Anne did a great job. The crowds were still great. I think this event is here to stay. I think Pilot Pen is here to stay, the sponsor. Whenever you get that kind of continuity, it helps. What happened with Virginia Slims back in the '70s and '80s. It can again be a mark on the calendar for the people. They're going to come back. I guarantee the people that came this year will come back next year because the tennis was good, singles and doubles was good. Doesn't surprise me I draw the people. You only draw them if you play well. The name can only get you so far. But you have to keep winning to get the people in, keep the people interested.
End of FastScriptsâ€¦.