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May 13, 2004

Martina Navratilova


THE MODERATOR: First question for Martina, please.

Q. Are you tired?


Q. Yes.

MARTINA NAVRATILOVA: Should I be? No, I'm not tired. No. Three sets of doubles is not something that would get you tired - not me.

Q. So when did you take the decision to apply for a wildcard at the French Open?


Q. Yesterday?

MARTINA NAVRATILOVA: Well, yesterday is when I asked for it. I don't really want to talk about the French Open much. I came here to talk about this tournament. There's plenty to talk about there. Is Sergio Palmieri around (smiling)? I figured I can't do any worse than I did in '94 (smiling).

Q. Do you still feel that by playing singles it's assisting the doubles then?

MARTINA NAVRATILOVA: Absolutely. I'm playing better tennis than I have since I've come back. It took a long time to get to this point, and I think just practicing for the singles - just practicing for it - helps my doubles; of course playing the match helps my doubles. So that's the whole idea behind it, just wanted to get some more match play and, you know, this is one way to do it. I would have played here actually, but I didn't have time to prepare properly. I had too many commitments in the States in my two weeks off between the Fed Cup and coming here, so I didn't have enough time to play. If I had a week where I could have practiced and prepared properly, I would have played singles here, but I didn't. Now I have a week off before next week, so I'll have plenty of time to practice and I'll be ready.

Q. Will you come to Paris right after Rome?

MARTINA NAVRATILOVA: No, I'm going to practice somewhere else - not Paris.

Q. You don't know where?

MARTINA NAVRATILOVA: I do, but I don't want to tell you (laughing). Because then you'll write about it. I just, you know, would as soon keep it quiet. But I'll be practicing on clay in Europe, okay (laughing)? Not that it's a big secret, but there's just no need to know, really, where I will be next week.

Q. I saw the two matches you played, one in Amelia Island and one in Charleston. Do you think you can do well? Even if it's just to improve your game in doubles, do you think you can do well?

MARTINA NAVRATILOVA: Look, you keep asking me how I will do. I had no expectations for doubles, I have no expectations for singles. The only expectation I ever have is absolutely give my best effort, just like I did today. And whatever that's good for, that's what it's good for. Today I played good tennis, I fought hard, and we came up short. I have nothing to hang my head about. And same thing happened in my singles matches. I got tired -- the first singles match I played, I got tired mentally in the second set. It was hard to keep -- things started happening very quickly. But I got better the next week. Somebody said, "I can't believe you got tired mentally." Well, I played two singles matches in nine years. You go and try that - and I had exactly two practice sets getting ready for that match. So I'll have had more practice, and I will not be tired mentally, I promise you that, or physically, playing matches. Again, give it my best effort, have a great time, enjoy myself, and hopefully put on a good show for the people so they'll enjoy it. That's what happened today and, you know, go from there.

Q. Is it one tournament at a time?

MARTINA NAVRATILOVA: Uh-hmm. Always has been, yep.

Q. You did say in Miami, though, you maybe thought about Eastbourne. Is that still in the cards?

MARTINA NAVRATILOVA: Actually, I asked for a wildcard into the qualifying so I have more matches so... You could ask John Fever what's going on with that.

Q. So you are also going to play doubles and mixed doubles in Paris?


Q. All three?

MARTINA NAVRATILOVA: Well, you know, we'll see how it goes (laughing). But doubles, you don't really start til Friday; mixed, Saturday. So, you know, it should be okay. I'll be ready to play two matches in a day if I have to.

Q. Are you expecting to play on the center court or Lenglen?

MARTINA NAVRATILOVA: They didn't put me on center court in '94, so I certainly don't expect it now. I played on Court 1. So, you know, hopefully I get on - I don't know. It would be nice to get on Court Lenglen. I played doubles on there, and what court -- I don't care if I play on Court 16, doesn't really matter. The dimensions are still the same, and there will be enough people watching there whether it's a little court or a big court. It doesn't matter. It will just be one-on-one against whoever, so that's all that is.

Q. Are you afraid about the draw?

MARTINA NAVRATILOVA: Am I afraid? Am I afraid? If I was afraid, would I be playing? What is there to be afraid of, losing? "Oh, wow, that's terrible. You can lose a match. Wow." We're playing tennis. We're on the other side of the court. It's not like, you know, I'm getting into the ring with Mike Tyson. Then I'd be afraid. Tennis is not a contact sport, and I've never been afraid in my life. I'm certainly not going to start now. My goodness, afraid... If I was afraid, I wouldn't get out of bed in the morning (smiling).

Q. What is it that made you decide to enter after so many years?

MARTINA NAVRATILOVA: I don't want to talk about it. It's too complicated and you guys are -- it's simple and complicated, and you guys wouldn't believe it anyway. I'm not even going to talk about it. Read about it in my book when -- I'm writing a book that will be out early next year, so you can read about it then, all right? Keeping something for myself (smiling). Then I'll tell you where I was next week (laughing)... if you really need to know.

Q. Martina, if the French is a success, playing all three events, is there a chance you could play all three at Wimbledon?

MARTINA NAVRATILOVA: I'll take it one tournament at a time, but it certainly is a possibility - but that's what I've been saying all along. I'm not changing my mind on anything. We'll just see what happens, how I feel, how I do, and take it from there. If I think it can help my doubles, I'll play. If I think it will hamper the doubles, then I won't play; it's that simple. I don't want one last hoorah playing singles, that's not what it's about. It's about playing the best that I can and, really, that's it.

Q. McEnroe was in the other day saying why they don't give us a wildcard to play in the tournaments. So you had it. So there is a difference. I mean, you are in and he's still asking for it.

MARTINA NAVRATILOVA: He's asked for a wildcard and he wouldn't get it?

Q. Yeah, that's what he said. He has only to play the senior tour.

MARTINA NAVRATILOVA: Well... You know, I've been active for a while now playing doubles, so maybe that's different because I've proven myself on the doubles court. Certainly, I'm ranked in the Top 10. Maybe that's the difference. We also have a rule that former Grand Slam winners get a wildcard, but within reason. They have to be like, you know, ready to play. I obviously am ready to play. But at the same time, I don't want to abuse that rule and just keep taking wildcards and keep taking spots away from players that would get in the draw. I'm very aware of that, which is part of the reason why I asked for a wildcard in the qualifying in Eastbourne rather than the main draw, so I wouldn't be taking anybody's spot away and, you know, make it more fair. But I don't know what the men are doing, so I'd rather not comment on it. I have no idea what their rules are, what the situation is, so I'd just as soon not talk about that.

Q. And then the Olympic Games?

MARTINA NAVRATILOVA: Uh-hmm. Yeah, hopefully we'll get the nod. We still have to get the - whatever you call it - we have to be chosen for the team. It's not just only on rankings, on the performance. So it will be decided after the French Open, and there's a committee. But when I asked to find out who is the committee, I was told they didn't know. I said, "Who chooses who is on the committee?" They didn't know. So I just know that Zina Garrison is the head of the committee and has the biggest voice as a captain on the Fed Cup team, and she'll be at the Olympics. But that's all I know, okay (smiling).

Q. Let's change the subject for a moment. Why do you think there are so many injuries among the top players on tour and right now?

MARTINA NAVRATILOVA: Well, I've been talking about this for a long time, and it's not going to change until the structure of the tour changes, which I think people play too much. The ranking system, the computer system, is encouraging people to play more, and then it's encouraging them to play even when they're not well because they don't want to miss out on anything, just in case they get to, whatever, defend their points and this and that. And players play more than they should be, but they're not playing at 100 percent most of the time, which is a shame. Then, of course, the injury will eventually catch up with them and they can't play anymore. Or it's just they may not be injured at all, but because they're playing so much, they will get injured. It's because they've started -- I think we're playing on hard courts too much and that takes its toll. Everybody's hitting the ball harder, so the ball's coming harder at you. What I don't understand is how many more injuries there are on the left hand of two-handed backhanders, the off hand. Everybody's wrapping their wrist or they can't even play. That's something to worry about in the long run. And the rest of it, I think people just play too much. They're not in good enough shape to play that much. You get out of shape when you play the tour. When I was working out really hard, I'd do all my training before the tournaments and I'd play three tournaments in a row, and if you timed me for let's say a mile before the first tournament and you timed me after the third tournament, I would be slower after the third tournament, and I would be in the finals of all the events, singles and doubles, playing a lot of matches. You get out of shape playing tournaments. You cannot maintain your physical level. That was playing 16, 17 tournaments. These players are playing 25 to 35 events. And even if you lose second or third round, you don't ever get the rest. You get one or two days. You need a week, you need two weeks, you need a month. And the off-season, we don't have that. The off-season is too short. Players are playing too many tournaments and don't have definite breaks in between, and the body just can't take it, so...

Q. What's the solution to that?

MARTINA NAVRATILOVA: Solution is longer off-season, which I've been harping about for years. I took it by not playing the Australian Open. Great, I have to miss a Grand Slam because there is no off-season because we finish in November, then you've got to start again in January. You got to give at least a three-month off-season. That's number one. Number two, change the ranking system so it rewards you more for quality rather than quantity. And maybe set up -- the whole circuit needs to start over. I've been saying that for a long time. It's not anything new. Just need perhaps more big events like Tier I, and everybody plays and that's the only thing that counts towards the ranking and they don't keep playing Tier IIs, Tier IIIs, and that's it...

Q. There are two Italian players that played today that continue - I mean, Farina and Schiavone. You know them?

MARTINA NAVRATILOVA: Yes, I know them. I lost doubles against them three weeks ago in Amelia Island. I know them. I'd rather not know them (laughing).

Q. What do you think about the results of today?

MARTINA NAVRATILOVA: Well, I didn't really see either match, so I can't really tell you about it, but I what good players they are. Clay, of course, is their best surface. They work very hard, and it's great for them that they can do well in front of their home crowd so I'm very happy for them. They're both nice women, and it's great to see them do well. Farina, I think, is not playing quite as -- hasn't been playing as well as she did a couple years ago, but lately she's been coming along and been hitting the ball harder again. You know, they both are great fighters. Schiavone, she makes a lot of noise when she plays, but she's a great fighter and fun to watch, actually.

Q. Any comment on Monica Seles? Apparently, she had asked for a wildcard to Paris and then she said today she's not going to be able to make it. Do you think she'll come back at a certain point?

MARTINA NAVRATILOVA: I'd rather not talk about that. Who knows what's happening with her body. I know she would like to play again, but I don't know if her feet will allow her because she's been having problems with her feet. So it's too bad, that sort of the body dictates when you have to quit. That seems to be the case here, unfortunately. I was lucky that I was able to say, "I'll stop now," and not when my knee said. I had my knees fixed, I was okay for three more years or four more years. But Monica's problem is much more complicated, and so it doesn't look like the body will allow her, unfortunately.

Q. Are you leaving tomorrow?

MARTINA NAVRATILOVA: Am I leaving tomorrow? I have no idea. No, I think I'll go to Serenissima one more time, the restaurant up the road.

Q. What happened at the end of your match? What happened?


Q. For this match.


Q. Yeah.


Q. The match of Myskina, I think.

MARTINA NAVRATILOVA: Yeah, was going for my head. I don't think she -- she didn't mean to hit me. I don't think she has a whole lot of control over that shot - I was hoping she'd have more than that (laughing). Obviously, she didn't mean to hit it that far out. I mean, the ball was six, eight feet long. But, whatever... that happens.

End of FastScripts….

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