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January 21, 2005

Martina Navratilova


THE MODERATOR: Questions in English first.

Q. I wanted to ask you what you think about Martina's trying to come back, Martina Hingis? Do you think it's possible after such a long time?

MARTINA NAVRATILOVA: You're asking me if it's possible to come back after a long away (smiling)? Yes, I think it's possible. She's about 25 years younger than I am, yeah, I think it's possible. No, I just hope her health holds up. I mean, it would be fantastic. Tennis certainly could use her. It's a shame that she had to stop so soon. It would be fantastic if she could play. She's the only one that knows, you know, how her body is feeling, but we know she has it here. It's just a matter of whether the body can hold up. What do you think?

DANIELA HANTUCHOVA: Yeah, exactly. I think it would be great for tennis if she comes back because, I mean, she was one of the most talented players that's been around. As Martina said, it's really a shame she had to stop so early. So, yeah, I wish her all the best. Hopefully she's going to make it.

Q. How do you size up the women's draw so far?

MARTINA NAVRATILOVA: Wide open. I think it's going to be a survival of the fittest. Literally, physically who can withhold the rigors of the tournament and the tour. I mean, some people are starting in the minus already. They're not a hundred percent even recovered from last year. And the surface is very hard on the body. When it's hot, it's that much worse. It's like the walking wounded. Everybody's got something. Pretty much I think everybody's got something. At least that evens out the field a little bit. So it's pretty wide open.

Q. When you say that about the surface, do you think it should be like a US Open hard court surface instead of this?

MARTINA NAVRATILOVA: Well, I think the Rebound Ace is a good idea. But with the temperatures fluctuating so much, it becomes a dangerous surface when it's really hot. Lost my mixed doubles partner last week in Sydney, sprained his ankle playing doubles because it was, what, 50 degrees on the court. It just becomes too spongy. I think they can tweak it and make it work. But they know they need to do some work on it because there's too many players getting injured. Playability-wise, it's okay, the way the ball bounces, but it's hard on the body.

Q. Our Belgian girls are injured. Many players complain that the season is too long and too heavy. Do you agree?

MARTINA NAVRATILOVA: You haven't been around, have you (smiling)? You have not been around very much. I've been talking about that for about 10 years now. The season is too long. We need to change it. We need to have a longer off-season so players can recover and recharge their batteries. We don't have that right now. So it's a shame because then we lose the top players because they play the most matches. It's just too hard to handle physically and emotionally as well.

Q. Justine admitted last week in Sydney she might have suffered from burnout last season, besides the virus. Has the tour become that demanding that at age 22 you can suffer from burnout?

DANIELA HANTUCHOVA: Yeah, I mean it's --

MARTINA NAVRATILOVA: You're almost 22.

DANIELA HANTUCHOVA: I agree with Martina. The schedule is, you know, very tough. Especially when you are young and you start early and your body's not really used to it. You know, what Justine achieved last year, you know, takes so much out of you. Without having enough rest, it's really hard to recover and to come back and play at the same level again. So, I mean, obviously it can happen to anyone.

Q. Could you compare to what it was like 20 years ago?

MARTINA NAVRATILOVA: Well, it's the same. I mean, the difference is how you approach it. I mean, the stress on the top players is very similar. It's not that it's any worse now, but the matches are more difficult. So you have to really be careful with your schedule. And when I saw Justine training, I thought, "My God, that woman works, you know, very, very hard," and I was wondering how long she can keep it up. And there's your answer. The trainer that she works with, he's done that to other players. He works them too hard. He's done it before.

Q. You think so?

MARTINA NAVRATILOVA: Yes, I do. I mean, you see the result. She's in her prime physically. Obviously she overdid it a little bit, and she knows that, and she'll probably pull back the reins a little bit. The trainer should have known better because he's been there before. For her, it was the first time, and she worked her butt off, worked a little too much, yeah.

Q. All these injuries, it's not a coincidence?

MARTINA NAVRATILOVA: All these injuries to what? To who?

Q. There are a lot of injured players.

MARTINA NAVRATILOVA: Some are because they don't train hard enough; some train too hard. That's the coincidence.

End of FastScripts….

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