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August 29, 2004

Lisa Raymond


THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. Lisa, it sounded like when you were serving at 3-5, someone yelled, "Don't lose it for Martina." Was there a certain pressure that you knew there would be going into this? If so, did you feel it?

LISA RAYMOND: No. I mean, I've been playing with Martina all year. This isn't like the first time we went out there. You know, we've had goals all year - to win tournaments, to win Slams, to win a medal here in Athens. You know, tonight we just came up short. I mean, we came across a team that just came out firing. You know, we tried our best. I mean, we left it all out there. I mean, you know, obviously we're very disappointed. But, you know, you win as a team and you lose as a team.

Q. Martina, the end of a dream?

MARTINA NAVRATILOVA: No. No. I mean, this was not a dream when I was growing up. It was a bonus that I was able to be here. So I look at it as an unexpected bonus. But, obviously, disappointed because we were hoping to at least get a medal and hopefully win it. I mean, the field is wide open, and we had a great opportunity. But a dream? No, I'm living my dream (smiling).

Q. Will you talk about what you're going to take from this particular experience, this Olympic experience?

MARTINA NAVRATILOVA: Well, I haven't had much of one. I've been holed up in my hotel because I've been a bit under the weather. So I haven't really seen any events. So I'll stay an extra day and hopefully watch something tomorrow. I've just been watching on TV. It's great here in the locker room because you get all the events on the inner TV. It's great to watch events without commentating actually. It's quite enjoyable. Really just watch it for yourself. But, you know, it's a great experience. I just wish we had done better. But, like Lisa said, we gave it our best shot and they played better. We kept fighting, couldn't get ahead in the third set. We were on our back heels the whole time. We kept hanging in there, but not enough. They played well. They served well. I didn't see very many second serves, especially on Sugi's serve. She must have served 90% first serves in. That was just too good. But as a whole, it was a great experience. It was fun to be here.

Q. Martina, can you talk about where you go from here? How long do you think you're going to keep playing competitively?

MARTINA NAVRATILOVA: Go to New York, play the US Open. It's the week after next. We don't have time to rest on our laurels or disappointment, one way or the other. You have to be ready for, you know, two weeks later, big event. It's our last chance to win a Slam this year. I thought we would have won one by now, but we haven't. It's our last opportunity to do so. So I'll just go back to the drawing board and see where I can improve or where we can improve as a team. You know, go from there. Then play out the rest of the year.

Q. You said last chance this year. You're still going to quit?

MARTINA NAVRATILOVA: Well, last chance at a Grand Slam. But I'm planning -- always planned on playing through the rest of the year, through the championships. That's always been the plan. There have been a lot of other plans written about me, but that's always been the plan, that's always what I said.

Q. How about next year?

MARTINA NAVRATILOVA: Next year I have no plan right now. Just want to finish out the year and see what happens.

Q. You sort of came together this year with I think the Olympics really in mind as a major goal. Can you put into words sort of how difficult, disappointing this result is?

LISA RAYMOND: You know, you said it. I mean, one of the reasons, one of the main reasons why we started playing together was to try to make the Olympic team and then, you know, to try and win a medal. But, you know, again, it's hard, you know, to come off a match, you know, such an emotional match like that and be able to kind of put it into words like what we're feeling right now. So disappointment. And, you know, we'll just have to reflect on it. Again, like Marty said, we've got the US Open in a week. You know, we've got another opportunity to maybe, you know, win a tournament, win a Slam. You know, we just go from there.

MARTINA NAVRATILOVA: We left it all out there, you know. So, yeah, we're disappointed that we lost, but we fought hard. I thought we just lost to a better team. We didn't lose to an occasion. They just played really well. We played fine. We just, again, were on our back heels the whole time. But nothing to hang our head about. I know for me at Wimbledon, I was disappointed with my effort. I just was playing too careful. Today I didn't play too careful. They just played better. But, you know, for myself, I felt that I was playing much, much better tennis. I didn't play scared, which was the case at Wimbledon. I was really ticked off at myself there. But today, you know, we played some brave tennis, and they played better.

Q. How under the weather are you right now?

MARTINA NAVRATILOVA: You know, I sound worse than I feel. Just have not really been doing anything. I wouldn't have been able to play singles, I don't think, because I couldn't play a long rally. I'd just get out of breath. But in the doubles, I was fine. It didn't really affect my preparation much at all.

Q. What is it exactly?

MARTINA NAVRATILOVA: Just upper respiratory infection. Just good old cold with a sore throat. But I've been gargling with the salt water, sea salt water, sea water, which obviously is salty. That took care of my sore throat, so I highly recommend it to anyone who has a sore throat - gargle with the sea water here. It's very salty, it's got a lot of good minerals in it. That took care of the sore throat, so...

Q. You're obviously disappointed with the results tonight. But can you talk about playing the quarterfinals at the age of 47 here at the Olympics. Do you feel you are an inspiration to some people?

MARTINA NAVRATILOVA: Well, I think people enjoyed watching us play and they had a good time. That's what it's about. I think the atmosphere was electric. I mean, it was really fun to be a part of it. I think that's another disappointing part, is that we don't get to do it again. It would have been so much more fun to have one or two more matches, you know, in the same atmosphere. So, you know, that's what you work for, your butt off, all the time, to get into a situation like that. And it's disappointing that we don't have that opportunity again. But you have to ask the people that watch me whether they're inspired or not. I hope so. I know I've been getting great feedback from people, which is why I'm still playing. They sort of inspire me, I inspire them. It's a very symbiotic relationship. I hope to do more of that. US Open, that's all I can think about now. Go from there.

Q. You said when you grew up the Olympics were not in your thoughts. Can you say why in Sydney or Atlanta you did not compete?

MARTINA NAVRATILOVA: How many times have I answered this question? I tried to play the Olympics in '92. I couldn't. I was not allowed because I didn't play Fed Cup. '96, I already retired. I wasn't playing tennis. I wasn't even thinking about playing Wimbledon, let alone the Olympics. And 2000, I had just started playing again, so I wasn't playing well enough to qualify for the team. Lisa Raymond was the No. 1 player in the world doubles, and she didn't make the team because they gave it to Serena and Venus instead, which was a bad boo-boo. You know, I never had a chance at 2000. I never thought about 2004. I didn't think I would be playing this long. Let's put it this way: I didn't play tennis to play in the Olympics, but it did make me play one more year, this year, so...

Q. What would you say to the people who say, "She's already got a million Grand Slams, she didn't need to win a medal anyway"?

MARTINA NAVRATILOVA: Well, what's the point? Okay, when are you supposed to stop? At 1, at 10, at 20? What? It's not about winning; it's about how you play the game and the effort that you give. And most of the time it was good enough to win titles. So, you know, that's all you can do. I mean, I play tennis because I like the game. I have fun. I enjoy it. I like everything that goes into it, tinkering with shots, with strategy, with my coach, practicing with Lisa. I like all of that. The only thing I really don't like is the travel, especially now with the security, it's just not very pleasant. But everything that's about tennis, I love. You know, if people think that I (won/want?) too much, then I say, "Well, too bad." It wasn't about winning a medal; it was about giving our best, which is why maybe we're not as disappointed as we could be, because we just lost to a better team today. But, you know, when is "enough" enough? That's not about titles, it's about doing something that you love, that you're passionate about. Can't ever get too much of that.

Q. Do you think the fact you've done so much in the last couple of years in your mid 40s means we should be revising our opinion of the Agassis of this world, people in their mid 30s who we tend to write off because of age?

MARTINA NAVRATILOVA: Well, you know, people have written me off at 25. They said I was finished. And, of course, they write you off as soon as you start losing in your 30s. Then when you lose in your 20s, it's okay, but when you lose in your 30s, it's because of your age. In your 20s, it's because someone played better. In your 30s, it's because you're too old. But yeah, you guys have a tendency to jump on the wagon too soon and write off people because of their age. They don't look at how they're playing; they look at how old they are. I think, again, the age limit has been raised to now the 40s rather than 30s. For an athlete, 30 was the death knell, but nowadays, 40 is the bigger obstacle. When you're in your 30s, you can still be in your prime for the most part.

End of FastScripts….

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