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adidas International

January 7, 2003

Martina Navratilova


THE MODERATOR: Questions for Martina, please.

Q. Can you talk about the way they played.

MARTINA NAVRATILOVA: They served big, played well the whole match. She aced me on that one. I didn't return particularly well, but I wasn't horrible. The rest I did okay. We never played together before, so... It was not the best conditions under which to get to know one another, because they served big and they didn't seem to be bothered that much by the wind. Particularly Casanova is returning very well and put a lot of pressure on us. We didn't volley very well.

Q. What do you do now? Do you hang around? Do you have to go to Melbourne?

MARTINA NAVRATILOVA: Well, I'll practice here for a couple of days, then I'll drive down to Melbourne.

Q. Why don't you fly?

MARTINA NAVRATILOVA: Well, because I have a dog and they don't allow pets in the cabin in this country for some unknown, God-awful reason. You have to check them in as cargo, even though he weighs all of five pounds. I can't take him with me on the plane, which you can do around the whole world, but not in Australia or New Zealand, apparently. So I'm driving. I don't want to put him under unless I absolutely have to. We'll drive down to Melbourne. Still trying to figure out how to get out of the country without having to put him under. It's supposed to be good for the dogs, but it's not good for the dogs. It's not a good place to be. Maybe I'll turn him into a seeing eye dog. He's a five pound pug, I don't know if that's going to work (laughing).

Q. Is this likely the last time fans in Sydney will get to see you on court?

MARTINA NAVRATILOVA: Are you asking about next year? This year just started, so I have no idea. I don't know. Most likely this will be my last year. I'm not really planning on playing anything beyond that. But who knows, you know.

Q. Technically, what's the most difficult thing you've found coming back?


Q. Yes, any particular shot or speed?

MARTINA NAVRATILOVA: Well, the return, you don't have that much room in doubles. It has to be quick, and there's a person moving. Singles, I was fine with the returns. Doubles is a little more tricky, to get the timing. But no shot in particular. I guess my serve, just don't -- you feel like you should hold serve, then you feel more under pressure. But I served fine today, and I served well last week. So I think I've straightened that out. I think it's more just having the carelessness almost, or carefree attitude of hitting the ball and being too careful with it. I think that's what happened -- just happens with older players, you get careful. You don't want to miss, instead of just going for it. So it's a matter of making myself just hit out and not worry about the result. If I hit, I'm fine. You just want to make it. And it doesn't work, especially these days, the way the women hit the ball. You can't just make it, you have to make it well, hit it hard.

Q. Can you talk about I guess the state of the women's game. When it was you and Chrissy at the top, people were saying, "Well, this is good, you're kind of bringing the level up." Now you've got the Williams sisters at the top, and some players have suggested that that's unhealthy; that they're dominating.

MARTINA NAVRATILOVA: Well, then beat them (laughing). They're not going to lower their level; you got to raise yours. So I think the women will have to just play better and beat them once in a while, you know. Really, last year they just beat each other - well, Serena beat Venus. I don't think Venus ever beat Serena last year. Serena lost a few matches, but people just have to get better. But people always dominated. They say, "Oh, this is it for the next ten years," then here comes somebody else. Steffi, "Oh, she'll never lose again." Then Monica is kicking her butt. Then Monica got stabbed. Who knows what would have happened without that. Then it's back to Steffi. Now here comes Hingis, and she looks unbeatable. She had two great years and after that, nothing. Then Lindsay dominated for a while. Now you got Serena and Venus. Nobody dominates for as long as people think they will, so somebody will come around. There may be a girl that we don't know yet that will, all of a sudden, next year shoot up like that (snapping her fingers). But right now the rest of the women know they have to play better tennis. They're not going to beat Venus and Serena the way they played last year. They have to play better.

Q. Is it disappointing for you that there aren't more serve-volley players?

MARTINA NAVRATILOVA: Yeah. Chris Evert left such a legacy on the game with her two-hander. I wish I had left more of a serve-volleying legacy. I didn't. I don't know why people don't do it more, especially with big serves. There is a lot of -- some really big serves. I know the returns are better and everything, but most women don't even attempt to serve and volley. Of course if you don't try it, you can't ever be good at it. I think the academies are changing their teaching. What I've seen at Saddlebrook, they work on their volleys a lot, they play doubles a lot. I think now you'll see better all-around players - maybe not a pure serve and volleyer, but somebody that will mix it up, come in, certainly at least attack the second serve, come in when they get a short ball and they're closer to the service line than the baseline line, they'll actually follow it in instead of running back to the baseline. That's the next step, other than just a pure serve and volleyer. Yeah, it would be fun to see more people doing that, just to see the variety and the contrast between styles.

Q. Do you think there are more parents on tour these days?


Q. Do you think there are more parents on tour these days?

MARTINA NAVRATILOVA: Well, of course. They can afford to travel now. That's the only reason now. It's economy.

Q. Really?

MARTINA NAVRATILOVA: The economy. You couldn't afford to have people coming with you before. Now you can, so they do. Whether it's good or bad, you know, there are a few really great parents out there, but I think there are some really bad parents out there. There are some that are sort of not doing much of anything. But it's okay, you know. If they're good people, they'll be helpful to their kids. If they're messed up, then the kids will be messed up.

Q. Are there any plans for you to move into coaching or into some kind of coaching?

MARTINA NAVRATILOVA: Not yet. No, I'm still playing.

Q. Has anyone approached you about it?

MARTINA NAVRATILOVA: No, not a full-time basis. People have asked for help here and there, but I haven't done anything. I will - eventually. Probably might even start an academy, a smaller one. Just bought a place near Sarasota, and Florida is the place to do it. Certainly, Colorado does not lend itself to an all-year-round academy, especially at 8,000 feet. But, yeah, I'm sure that I will -- I promised that I would pass on my knowledge. When Billie Jean was helping me, she said, "You have to pass it on." I said, "I will." And I have been, but not to any one particular person. But I have helped kids here and there. There's a couple Indian girls that I helped, their parents asked me. There's another girl in California that I'm helping out a little bit. These are not players on the tour yet, so...

Q. When someone spoke to you at the Gold Coast, you told them you missed your dogs back in the States and you were thinking about borrowing one in Australia. Is this one you got in Australia?

MARTINA NAVRATILOVA: Yeah, Gladstone, came from Gladstone. He's a pug. His name is Frodo.

Q. As in...

MARTINA NAVRATILOVA: Yeah, well, he's short (laughing). Legalos (ph) would have been a bit of a stretch. He doesn't look like a blonde elf, a good-looking elf. He looks just like the dog from "Men in Black."

Q. Is he your only pet?

MARTINA NAVRATILOVA: No, I have about ten more dogs in the States, but you can't bring them here. But it's difficult getting them out of here as well, which I just found out. This is a difficult country when it comes to animals.

Q. Is it because of the quarantine situation?

MARTINA NAVRATILOVA: I don't know why. The quarantine is peculiar. They've changed it in England, finally - it took a while. But they've sort of come out of the Dark Ages. The quarantine laws are a bit draconian, you know. This is not 1850 anymore. We have better ways of finding out if an animal has a disease than keeping him locked up for six months. If a dog has rabies, they show symptoms within ten days, then they die. Ten days, that's it. You don't need six months. But anyway... I'm not gonna be changing the laws here, but it is -- the thing about not being able to take dogs on board really makes no sense. I wonder where that law came from.

Q. What do you think of Alexandra as a tennis player?

MARTINA NAVRATILOVA: Well, she's got -- she's a bit still raw around the edges, but she keeps working on her game. She's very eager to improve. She's had some great results this fall indoors, played some really good tournaments. She's got the possibility of a serve and volley game. She's a bit tall, so it's hard for her to get down to the low balls, but she's trying to do the right thing. I think potentially she could do it and be certainly a Top 10 player.

Q. When you were preparing to come out to Australia and that was finalized, that you were coming, what were some of the thoughts, the memories of the place that filtered back through?

MARTINA NAVRATILOVA: Oh, God, I didn't really think about it. You know, I don't live in the past much. I mean, I think about it when you ask me. But normally, I was just trying to figure out how to best prepare for playing here. Then I was just only going to play Sydney and Melbourne. Then Liz Smiley called and said, "Would you consider coming to the Gold Coast?" I'm like, "Yeah, well, I guess." I didn't think about it. I thought I'd spend Christmas and New Year's in Aspen, then I'd come out here. But it was just getting prepared, make sure I had enough tennis playing under my belt when I came here. The memories, you don't, you know -- I haven't thought about it at all.

Q. So no past wins?

MARTINA NAVRATILOVA: Past wins, losses, no. No. Just really how nice the people are here and the climate is fantastic. I really had forgotten how nice the people are, other than the Customs officer in Sydney airport who could not crack a smile. I was trying to joke with him. He was like, "Take off your hat." "Okay." But after that, it's been -- it was just remembering how nice everybody is here and how tennis-knowledgeable the crowd is. They're very in with the game. I mean, they know what's going on. If you hit a great shot, they know it's a great shot. If you hit a lucky shot, they know it's a lucky shot. That's fun to play in front of a crowd that really knows what they're watching. And what a crazy sports country this is. I really had totally forgotten that, with the cricket and the swimming and the Olympics still going on. I think they were hoping that Athens wouldn't get their act together so they could have it here again (laughing).

End of FastScripts….

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