September 7, 2005
NEW YORK CITY
THE MODERATOR: Questions for the team, please.
Q. Martina, you were quite excited today that you won. It was unbelievable.
MARTINA NAVRATILOVA: That was an unbelievable match, period, you know. I mean, it was so tight the whole time. We could have won the first set, lost it. We could have lost the second set, won it. The third one was very, very tight. Some breakpoints against them. They had some break points against us. Just nobody could get ahead. It was tight all the way through. So that was an exciting match to win, period. And to do it on this stadium in the quarterfinals, it's sweet.
Q. Jammed on that last serve?
MARTINA NAVRATILOVA: Pardon me?
Q. You were jammed on that last serve?
MARTINA NAVRATILOVA: I don't remember, but it was a good serve. I just, you know, tossed it up there. She was serving me T a lot. I was waiting for it. This one went into me a little more. It was hard to see against the sun. Just tossed it up there again. Hit it as hard as I could. The wind changed. That side was with the wind in the first set. We went through the second set, the wind changed. That side was against the wind. It was hard to get your head around it to hit it hard enough to get it deep enough. Because the wind changed, I still think it made it more difficult to hit the overhead. We were lucky.
Q. Not many second serve aces.
MARTINA NAVRATILOVA: Oh, no. Not many aces. No, actually, I've been serving well. Doubles you don't go for it so much. You try to get the serve in. I've had some 108s, 109s. I've been popping the serve. Anna hit 120 today. It's like, okay, I'm trying to get 110, and she's popping 120.
Q. I'm assuming not, but does it ever get old, winning like this?
MARTINA NAVRATILOVA: Well, there's your answer.
Q. Like, how --
MARTINA NAVRATILOVA: You don't have to ask that question, do you?
Q. How do you keep the excitement so alive?
MARTINA NAVRATILOVA: Well, I am alive. I mean, that's what life is about. If you don't have passion for life then, you know, you might as well not be living. I show it probably more than other people. I know Anna is feeling it as well, but she keeps it a little more under control. I've always worn my emotions. And the passion for the game never left. Its nice to put it together. You know, we are working hard as a team. I think that's what makes it even more special than winning by yourself, because it's yours to win or lose, which is great. Obviously, I like that. But when you have to sort of, you know, put it together as a team and match up the games and talk things through, you know, sometimes I don't play so well, she keeps me up. Sometimes she doesn't play so well, I keep her up. Hopefully, we'll be playing well the rest of the time. It's very satisfying.
Q. How much of this is about competing, and how much is about more trophies? Or is it one in the same?
MARTINA NAVRATILOVA: It's never been about the trophies. I always said that. You guys don't believe me, though. I mean, winning is great. Don't, you know -- certainly you have to play well to win. But sometimes you can play lousy and still win because the opponent played worse. Today, you know, we put it together when we had to. But it's always been about getting the most out of myself, out of my game, and see how that matches up with the other guys.
Q. Someone told me days ago that it started with e-mail? How did you chose her?
MARTINA NAVRATILOVA: We chose each other. I do the stuff at the net. She does the stuff at the baseline. I think we matched up pretty well. I needed somebody that could be big, serve big and help me out on my serve. She needed somebody that was a little better at the net. So it was a good matchup for both of us.
Q. Who initiated it?
MARTINA NAVRATILOVA: I don't know. Do you know?
ANNA-LENA GROENEFELD: I don't know.
MARTINA NAVRATILOVA: I think the coaches talked, actually. The coaches talked. My coach at the time, Stefan Ortega, and her coach, Rafael.
Q. Had you seen her before?
MARTINA NAVRATILOVA: Oh, yeah, absolutely. I watched her when she first came on tour a few years ago.
Q. I have a question about the doubles controversy for the men. There's a lawsuit. You love doubles. What is your feeling about that? Are the adjustments needed?
MARTINA NAVRATILOVA: No. I think they're just trying to get rid of doubles and they're doing it slowly. It started with the mixed doubles third-set tiebreak, which is total BS. I've been talking to the USTA people about that a couple years ago, and they said, "Oh, the fans like it." That is such bullshit. I have never heard bigger bullshit in my life. Every time there's a third set, people are yelling. "Play it out, play it out. " We played a tiebreak two days ago and people were like, "What's the score?" They couldn't figure it out, we were playing a tiebreak. Then at 7-5, the guy jumped up because he thought we won the match. People don't understand it. It started with the mixed doubles, now they're doing it with the doubles. I think it's a mistake. If the tournaments are losing, or they're saying they need to make more money, they're losing money on the doubles, they don't bring fans in and all this stuff, okay, get rid of all the outfielder in baseball. There's a place for everybody. If they would just change it and be more imaginative. For example, they could use the doubles players to promote the game. Let's do some programs with inner-city kids and every city take them downtown and put on a clinic for 500 kids. Use the players. Do clinics for the people, corporate sponsors, whatever. Or the fans, what fan wouldn't want to hit Bob Bryan's serve, see if they can return his serve. Get a clinic with the fans. I mean, make it fan-friendly. Use their imagination there. But they're like, "Oh, well, it's costing us $30,000 a week." So they're doing away with doubles for that reason? It's silly. It's a big part of the game. They could do rankings where doubles and singles count both for the combined ranking. All of a sudden you're going to get the singles players playing doubles and caring about it. Now they're changing it so the singles players are playing doubles, which is great, they should have more opportunities to get into the draw, but they get into the Grand Slam, they don't really care. It's like extra money for them. They get out there and they play a match against two doubles specialist and they're bombing away because they don't care if they win or lose. But for the doubles guys, it's a matter of making a living. Then if they get far enough in the singles, they default the doubles, they don't care anymore, or they default the mixed, what ever. I think they're going at it completely the wrong way. I completely agree with the players because they had no say in the matter. The players are against it. The fans are against it. They want to see doubles. It's just a very near-sighted decision by the tournament promoters.
Q. What would tennis lose by not having doubles?
MARTINA NAVRATILOVA: Part of the game, big time. You don't have enough matches. You want to have eight players by Friday, you have eight players left in the tournament. Saturday you have four. The first two rounds you lose three quarters of the field. You know, golf is great because you have 20 players, still maybe they can win at the end of Saturday, Sunday. You have 40 women in the mix on Saturday, probably 20 of them in the mix on Sunday. We're down to four on Saturday, two on Sunday. They don't have enough matches. Grand Slams need more matches. The second week is very empty. You need to fill the stadiums with some matches. They're shortening the mixed doubles. They said they did it because the players wanted it. Totally baloney. Then they said the fans did it. Total baloney again. They need matches. And most people and clubs play doubles, not singles, so they can relate. They stay out there and watch it. Just because it's not in the newspaper or because the TV doesn't pick it up doesn't mean that the fan interest isn't there. People stay around and watch doubles, they enjoy it. Don't you find that?
ANNA-LENA GROENEFELD: Yeah, lot of people.
MARTINA NAVRATILOVA: Any questions for Anna-Lena, please.
Q. As players, what would it mean to not have doubles? Would tennis feel like a different sport?
MARTINA NAVRATILOVA: You want to answer? Go ahead.
ANNA-LENA GROENEFELD: Well, yeah, I think doubles is a part of the game, so it should stay there and it's a lot of fun for everybody. I mean, if you just take it out, it's like you take out a part of a whole thing and then just crack. So I think it should be there.
MARTINA NAVRATILOVA: You've become a better tennis player if you play doubles. That's the main thing. I mean, you know, you would be missing out on a big part of the game by getting rid of it. I've always been a proponent of doubles. It's not just now because I play doubles and not singles. I'm not saying it now. I've been saying it all along. I've played doubles all along. I think there were two or three tournaments in my life where I didn't play doubles, because it's a big part of the game and makes the players better players. Singles helps your doubles, and doubles helps your singles. That's why Anna-Lena wanted to play more. She played mixed doubles here as well. She just trying to improve herself as much as she can by playing everything and she's gotten better in the doubles and it's carried over into the singles. No question about it. It can do that for other players as well.
Q. Has Martina taught you how to play doubles?
MARTINA NAVRATILOVA: No, she knew before.
ANNA-LENA GROENEFELD: Of course there are some points she gives me good indications what I have to do and what is the right play now. So I think I learn a lot more. I mean, I always enjoyed playing doubles. Now to play with her it's a great opportunity for me also to learn even more.
MARTINA NAVRATILOVA: I mean, and she comes up with the plays as well, you know. It was her idea, "Maybe you should stay back. Someone's on first serves," do it different, for me to go on her serve and whatever. She comes up with the ideas as well. Makes you think. Again, makes you a better tennis player.
Q. Martina, I want to ask you about Kim Clijsters. She played last night a very gutsy match. Do you think this is a tournament where she could finally do it?
MARTINA NAVRATILOVA: I think she's definitely the sentimental favorite for the fans, for the media and for the locker room. I would love to see her win the whole thing. I was disappointed that I couldn't watch the match last night because we had to get up at 7 in the morning, so I had to go to sleep. I woke up at 1:18 and I was like, "Oh, I don't think they're playing anymore. I'm going to turn the TV on." It must have been 12:18 because they were still playing. Great opportunity for her. She's playing great tennis. I think she believes now she can do it. She's got the goods. She's had the best summer of anybody and she's healthy. It's still wide open right now, but it would be great to see her win.
Q. You said it was hard to see against the sun. You've played a lot of those last matches in the grandstand. How is that?
MARTINA NAVRATILOVA: It was too bright out there for me, I tell you. I've been playing night matches every match. But, no, because for the righty, the sun was on the right by that time of the match, and at the beginning it was more on the left, so it was harder for me to see the overhead. Then the sun moved over. So, you know, you play that. You know they're going to have a harder time seeing that, so you toss it up there, hope that if you bounce the ball, you get into the rally that way.
Q. You've played that last match in the grandstand at night.
MARTINA NAVRATILOVA: Uh-hmm.
Q. That has always seemed to be a different atmosphere, the fans seem to be different then. Is that true?
MARTINA NAVRATILOVA: Yeah. But, I mean, it's a completely different feel, obviously, on the stadium. It's a huge stadium. But it started filling out. Anna said at the beginning, "There's nobody here." I said, "Don't worry. It will fill out." We stayed there long enough for it to fill out. I love the fans in the grandstand. They really get into it. They're really close and it's a great atmosphere. They're not playing matches there anymore? I don't know why that is. They're playing the women's quarterfinal on court 7. I don't understand. I don't know. Don't ask, don't tell.
Q. Have you committed to playing together for the future?
MARTINA NAVRATILOVA: Not yet. We'll just play out this tournament. If we have a chance to get into the championships, then we'll play something the rest of the year so we can get in. We're not even thinking about it. Right now, we've just got a match tomorrow, that's all we worry about it.
End of FastScriptsÃ¢?Â¦.