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August 15, 2004

Lisa Raymond


THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. How is the whole experience? You've experienced so much in your professional sports life. Can you talk about what it's like to be an Olympian and what you've enjoyed the most? Also the opening ceremonies, I saw you looking like a little kid in there.

MARTINA NAVRATILOVA: No, I was just looking around, trying to take it all in, you know, remembering all the opening ceremonies I've watched since 1964. That's the first one I remember. I don't remember Rome in '60, but I remember Tokyo, then all the subsequent Winter Olympics, as well, which were the same year until recently. So, you know, it was fun to be a part of it. I think what I got the biggest kick out of was doing the wave in the gymnastics hall when we were all sitting there waiting. You know, we had a wave going a couple times around. That was like, "Okay, this is cool. We're doing the wave. We're not looking at the wave. We are the wave." It was all the athletes doing the wave. For me that was the most special moment right there.

Q. I understand you've talked to Rulon Gardner.

MARTINA NAVRATILOVA: Yeah, I think that's how I got my sore throat, talking to him. He asked a lot of questions. We had a great conversation. We probably talked about 45 minutes. We stayed there for a long time.

Q. What did he want to know?

MARTINA NAVRATILOVA: Everything, you know, growing up, childhood, both of us.

LISA RAYMOND: Her number.

MARTINA NAVRATILOVA: My number (laughing). Yeah, we were just sort of comparing notes. We're both sort of country bumpkins. The difference in athletes today and the athletes of 20 years ago, and people growing up in the city as opposed to people growing up in the countryside. Slightly different character, I think.

Q. Both Andy and Venus spoke this morning about how excited they were to be here, trading pins, the opportunity. If you could just reflect on what it would mean to win a gold medal, both of you, what it would mean in your career.

MARTINA NAVRATILOVA: I'm not talking about that. Go ahead. You talk about winning a gold medal. Do you want to talk about it?

LISA RAYMOND: I mean, obviously, for any athlete, I mean, to be on a podium, you know, how many times, like she was saying, how many opening ceremonies have we watched? How many, you know, award --

MARTINA NAVRATILOVA: Medal ceremonies.

LISA RAYMOND: Medal ceremonies have you watched? I was at the swimming last night. Just watching Michael Phelps get his gold medal, it was just amazing. Obviously, you play the Olympics to win a medal. I'm not here to lose first round. I'm here to win medals. But, you know, we've got a tough second round. You know, we've got to take one match at a time.

Q. Martina, do you regret that you didn't do this earlier? I know you had mixed emotions, if I remember, about whether tennis does belong in the Olympics. Could you just talk about that.

MARTINA NAVRATILOVA: I think, you know, I have mixed emotions about how the whole thing is run still because, really, everybody makes money off it but the athletes. So I'm still not in agreement with this Olympic ideal, you know, amateurism, all this stuff, because that's a bunch of baloney that was started by Pierre de Coubertin. That was just a way of keeping the riffraff, you know, away from the rich people. So we've covered that. Anyway, I mean, it's changed a lot, but it's still -- you know, they're trying to keep it pure. But that means that only people that pay money can have their logos out there. People that don't pay money to the Olympic Committee or whatever, or the various Federations, they can't, you know, be seen. So it's still -- you know, it's a money-maker for everyone but the athletes. But a few athletes, perhaps if they win a medal or become famous through the Olympics, then they can make their money in endorsements, et cetera. But for most athletes that's not the case. Anyway, tennis definitely does belong in the Olympics in that it's a worldwide sport played by many, many people. That's why you have sports even like beach volleyball. It's played by so many people, it should be here. You look at the Winter Olympics, you have biathalon. How many people really do that sport. Or curling? How specific is that? So this is a sport played by millions and millions and understood by millions, and it should be here.

Q. Were there any jitters before this match?

MARTINA NAVRATILOVA: You know, of course. But the only time -- it was really funny. When I was serving, the first game I served, the first toss, I thought -- I said, "Okay, this is your first Olympic toss," and it was a good one and I hit a good serve. And that's like all the jitters I had, you know, just playing a match. You know, when you have new experiences at this age, I appreciate them. I recognize them. That's all the jitters there were. I mean, we had our mind set on what we wanted to do, and we did it well.

Q. Did you get back a point at the end?

MARTINA NAVRATILOVA: Well, I couldn't see it, where it landed. I was trying to look at the mark. It looked good when I first saw it, but I couldn't see a mark. And from the angle that we were, before we could look at it, the umpire overruled. So that's fine.

Q. It was an overrule.

MARTINA NAVRATILOVA: It's close enough, you know. You certainly don't want to give it away, but at the same time when she overruled, you say, "Okay, that's fine."

Q. What was it like to walk out to a standing ovation, out of the stadium? The people who were still here, were just really saluting you?

MARTINA NAVRATILOVA: We got the biggest applause I think when we walked on the court and when we walked off the court. Had some good rallies actually in the second set.

LISA RAYMOND: Yeah, definitely, it was good.

Q. Are there any sports that you particularly want to see live at the Olympics?

MARTINA NAVRATILOVA: I'd love to go watch -- I'm nursing a sore throat, so I may be sleeping more than watching. I'll be watching on TV. But I'd love to get out there and watch. Most of all I think is the women's team sports is what really turns me on: softball, basketball, women's soccer, beach volleyball. Of course, track and field. But I think we'll be pretty much gone by the time track and field really gets going, which is a shame. Have to get back to the States and play The Open. Lisa went to swimming. How was it?

LISA RAYMOND: It was unbelievable. You know, again, just after watching so many years, that was one of the things I wanted to watch. It was definitely -- Michael Phelps, see, you know -- see if he can attain his goal of those eight medals. To be there last night for his first gold was pretty neat.

MARTINA NAVRATILOVA: I think I'd like to see gymnastics actually in person. I've never seen it in person. Amazing to see these little people tumble around. They are so little.

Q. When you see them in the village...

MARTINA NAVRATILOVA: I met them before at the Women's Sports Foundation dinners over the years. But I'm always amazed at how little they really are and how strong they are. Now the women are really getting muscle-ly, so strong. But it's just amazing to watch people fly. I've never done a summersault in my life so I really appreciate what they do and am amazed by it. So I'd really like to see that in person sometime.

Q. Would you like to see any athletes in special in competition?

MARTINA NAVRATILOVA: Not really, I guess. Not anyone in particular, no.

Q. Do you have any qualms about representing the country right now, the administration right now? Do you at all equate one with the another?

MARTINA NAVRATILOVA: Oh, no, no, no, no. Absolutely not. No, I'm in absolute disagreement with the policies of our administration, and certainly am in great hopes that John Kerry will win this fall. But, you know, that's -- I'm still proud to be an American. That will always be the case. If anything, I saw one of the Czech players. He said, "How come you're not in a Czech uniform?" If there would be any qualms, it would be about that. I'm torn. Of course, I'll always be a Czech; that's where I was born. But, you know, once a Yankee, always a Yankee, I guess. So, no, no problems about that. Absolutely not, no. Star Bangled Banner, man.

Q. Have you had to sign autographs for a lot of other Olympians?

MARTINA NAVRATILOVA: Well, we took a lot of pictures. Yeah, I got some good pins, "Okay, you want a picture, give me a pin, please." Yeah, it was fun. In the opening ceremony, I took a lot of photos. You know, I mean, my muscles were hurting from smiling so much. I was smiling anyway, and then I was smiling for the photos. I'm too tired of it. I thought, this is what you live for. And to get the recognition of your peers, you know, that's as good as it gets. So I was honored that so many people asked me. Apparently, the basketball team wasn't so honored, the men's basketball team. After a while, they said, "No more." So, no, I was thrilled and I was happy to keep smiling for everybody that came by. You know, you do that at parties or whatever where people pay, they pay money to take photos. You know, that's not that enjoyable. But you do it because people are nice. But this, to do it with your peers, that's special. So that was nice.

Q. Do you have a different view on this, being in the Olympics because you're 47 than at 27?

MARTINA NAVRATILOVA: No. I wish I was 27. I sort of feel like I don't belong, you know, because I look around, and they're all like 12 (laughter). They all look so young. But that's okay. You know, I missed Korea in '88. I would have been 32 then. Doesn't really matter. That was the first chance I had.

Q. What were your favorite Olympic memories, the impressions from watching so many of them?

MARTINA NAVRATILOVA: Chavlefska (ph) winning in Mexico. Bullet Bob Hayes winning the hundred meters in Tokyo. Let's see. I guess it would be the Czech people winning things back in '68, '72. Jean Claude Killy winning all three events in France, where was it, Grenoble. Yeah, so I guess my memories go way back to the '60s. It's when you're most impressionable, being a little kid.

Q. The wind was noticeable in the stands. Did you notice it much on the court?

LISA RAYMOND: It actually wasn't as bad as when we were practicing. You know, I mean, I think when we practiced on the outside courts, it was pretty bad. But, you know, it's bad for all four of us out there. So, you know, I think we actually played a pretty good match, a pretty clean match, considering the conditions.

Q. Did you ever think about staying in the village?

MARTINA NAVRATILOVA: We wanted to stay in the village, but the USTA didn't want us to stay in the village. I think they said okay. But now we have a choice. But now like I'm in the hotel and I'm like settled. You know, and you get room service (laughter). No, but, you know, I think we'll stay in the village, as well, some nights and hang out. I think maybe they were afraid we would party too much with all the other athletes. So, no, we're happy where we are. We've been in the village quite enough, so. Just wish the food was better.

End of FastScripts….

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