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August 21, 2005

Anna-Lena Groenefeld

Martina Navratilova


THE MODERATOR: Questions for Martina and Anna Lina.

Q. You've won so much over the years. What did today's victory mean in the grand scheme of things to you?

MARTINA NAVRATILOVA: Well, it's wonderful. It's been a while, I think the last title I won was the doubles with Lisa Raymond in Vienna in May. It's been a long time coming. Been in a few finals, but no wins. This one was sweet. It's always nice to win with a new partner. You feel like you get better together and work together. We've done a lot of practicing together. It's very rewarding to see that you get better as a team. It's truly teamwork. It makes it more fun. That's why I'm playing doubles because I love the team aspect of it.

Q. You said to the fans out there, you apologized for saying you weren't coming back. What can we say about two years from now?

MARTINA NAVRATILOVA: Nothing. I say nothing. I'm just not saying anything at all. It's great to be here now. I appreciate it very much. It's a big bonus to still be playing and be healthy enough to be able to compete. Found me a great partner, so that makes it better. Yeah, so I'm not planning anything. Playing next week, two weeks from now at The Open, and that's it.

Q. Anna-Lena, can you talk about what you learned from Martina? Probably so many things. But maybe the top three things she's taught you.

ANNA-LENA GROENEFELD: Well, yeah, I mean, on the court she's teaching me so much stuff, where to stay, where to hit the balls, what to do. It's really a great help, great opportunity for me to learn so much about doubles also, then also about other things off the court. So it's really interesting, I really enjoy it.

Q. When you tell friends who are not perhaps involved in tennis that Martina is your partner, what kind of reaction do you get?


ANNA-LENA GROENEFELD: They are like "Wow". They are very surprised. They're surprised and happy I think at the same time.

Q. Will you play together at The Open?


MARTINA NAVRATILOVA: Better believe it.

Q. There was a shot in the second set, overhead, ended up going way out, bounced off the back wall.

MARTINA NAVRATILOVA: Double off the wall, yeah.

Q. How do you keep your concentration through moments like that? Looks like you both wanted to crack up, like everybody else?

ANNA-LENA GROENEFELD: No, I mean it was very tough out there today with the wind and everything. Then the ball, like I just a little misjudged it a little too much. You just have to keep going and forget, keep looking forward, try to get back. I think the last few matches we always were down and then come back. So we believed in us and we just keep going.

Q. Can you talk about why doubles is so much more entertaining and why it doesn't get the spectator recognition that it should.

MARTINA NAVRATILOVA: Entertaining I think because you have more possibilities. You have four people on the court. There are angles that don't happen in singles. Of course, the quickness of it. I think most people play doubles, so they can relate to it and they can learn. It's more of a situation where they say, "Okay, I can sort of do that or I can't learn singles. The way people hit the ball as hard as they hit it, it's kind of hard to pick up much." It is entertaining because you've got four personalities out there. For me it's just a lot of fun to try to work together as a team and make things happen. Why it doesn't get recognition? You guys need to write about it more, you know. A lot of times you look at the results and you see the singles, and doubles is like -- it's not even mentioned. You get a big article about who won the singles. "Oh, by the way, so-and-so won the doubles." The crowd enjoys it. They appreciate it. They stay, even if we play late at night. We finished at midnight. Lots of rain delays. A lot of people stayed. That was amazing. I would have gone home. The fans really appreciate it, but -- well, look what the ATP is doing with their doubles. They're pretty much phasing it out which is really a big mistake. Most of all, I think with Anna-Lena, I think that's why she wanted to play with me, she wanted to learn stuff, not just for doubles, but it's going to help her in the singles. Being a better doubles player improves your singles play. And vice versa, being a better singles players helps you in doubles. It's all part of the game. It's not just singles. That gets old. Imagine, having singles, not having any doubles, you don't have enough people out there. You don't have enough matches. After the first two rounds, 75% of the people is gone. By Thursday you have eight players left in the tournament. That's why golf is so exciting, because Tiger Woods barely makes the cut, he still has a chance to win the tournament. You have a bad day, you're out of there. So, you know, the format is difficult. You only have two people involved on a Sunday. If you take out the doubles, then you're really short on exciting stuff.

Q. You've now won a title every single year of the last 22 years. How do you explain that?

MARTINA NAVRATILOVA: Well, obviously good health and good partners and a lot of ability, yeah. I didn't realize that it's been a whole year almost, coming at the end of the year without a title. Thanks for reminding me. That was sweet. We didn't expect it. We lost first round in San Diego, but we played pretty well. We thought, okay, got to build on it, got to build on it. We played five days in a row, winning five, coming back in the last three matches. That's pretty sweet. Anna-Lena's coach, Rafael his last name?

ANNA-LENA GROENEFELD: (Indiscernible).

MARTINA NAVRATILOVA: He's already working with Meghann Shaughnessy. He's already in New Haven. He's emailing her. He's watching the match on the computer, making comments based on the score. He's trying to figure out what's going on. So after every match, we go to her email and it's like 12 emails from the match because he's watching on the computer.


MARTINA NAVRATILOVA: We might tell him to stay away after this week.

Q. Martina, you talk about good health. That seems to be a rare thing these days on the women's tour. Why have you been able to stay healthy for so long and yet a lot of your colleagues haven't?

MARTINA NAVRATILOVA: A lot of it is genes and a lot of it is hard work. A lot is what I eat. I've been on a really good diet, eating very healthy foods for 25 years now. That definitely has to pay off. I mean, you really are what you put into your body. You can't run on fumes. You don't put a lousy gasoline in a top-quality car. I feed myself well, and I'm lucky that I can do that. But, you know, just paying attention to the body and a lot of hard work. I think the tour needs help. I mean, we have too many injuries, not just on the women's tour, but the men's tour as well. You see players have a great year and they drop down. Look at Juan Carlos Ferrero or Carlos Moya. They were No. 1, 2 in the world, and now they're barely top 30 or something. There's a lot of fluctuation going on based on how your body feels. We need not just better training and everything, but most of all they need that off-season. They got to have those three months to be able to recover, regenerate. So I took my own off-season. I created it. I had long breaks in the middle of the year. I would take a month off where I didn't play for four, five weeks in a row to sort of recover and get going again. I think people just play too many tournaments in a row.

Q. Are you able to relate that wisdom to the younger players? It doesn't seem like they really share the philosophy, a lot of them.

MARTINA NAVRATILOVA: Well, you know, they do their own thing. There was a player that was slightly injured a couple weeks ago. I saw her in San Diego. The trainer was begging her not to play next week, not to go practice. She got strapped up and went to practice anyway. I'm telling her, "You need to give your body a break." "Well, my coach wants me to hit." You're the only one that knows how you feel. She keeps playing through the injury. It's not smart. They push it too much. But, you know, everybody makes their own mistakes, I guess. You try to alleviate some of them, but they don't listen.

Q. What would you say was the best advice Martina gave you today, best tactical thing she said to you?

ANNA-LENA GROENEFELD: Probably to come in, go to the ball. Because of the wind, the ball is a lot like -- we're not coming to me. I had to step forward and get into the net. I think that was the most important one.

Q. Talking about the number of injuries, the number of top players that pulled out or didn't show up for this tournament, is that something you've seen more in recent years?

MARTINA NAVRATILOVA: Yes, definitely. I think the last three or four years, it's been an epidemic the way I see it. I mean, we've had so few Grand Slams where 10 of the top 10 are playing. It used to be unusual where maybe two of the top 10 didn't play. That was very unusual. Now it's norm. I mean, if you get seven out of the top 10, you're doing really well. You know, something's got to give.

Q. Do you think the tour is doing enough to protect the players from themselves? Clearly the players want to maximize their earnings at a young age. Doesn't somebody have to step in and take the players' best interests?

MARTINA NAVRATILOVA: No. The player ultimately has to take the responsibility. You're a professional tennis player. You go out there. Whether you're 15 or you're 25, you're the only one that can make that decision. There are players, there are coaches. The tour, no, that's not the tour's responsibility. The players earn their own living. They have to make their decision on the court and off the court. We can only give advice. What are you going to do? Tie them down and say, "No, you can't go practice." It's not possible. So it's up to the coaches to pay better attention if the players are young and don't know any better. The tour is doing a very good job I think taking care physically with the trainers. I think we're hiring some more people with more expertise on how the body works, get some unusual doctors in there because we are unusual athletes. Tennis is a very rough sport. The injuries that we have, orthopaedic doctors don't see with the rest of the population. You need specialists. We're hiring I think more people now. With Sony Ericsson's sponsorship, we have better possibility of getting the budget up and hiring the people that can actually make a difference on the tour with the health of the players. But ultimately it's the players' responsibility to take better care of themselves, when they have the time off, to do everything to be ready for the tournaments. If they're not a hundred percent, they're the only ones that can make the decision. Ultimately you don't know. This might hurt really badly, but you can still play through it. Sometimes you can have a little infected toe, and it makes you walk differently, and then your ankle starts hurting, and everything just starts of snowballing. You're the only one that knows how you feel.

End of FastScriptsâ?¦.

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