May 15, 2001
THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.
Q. You made it very suspenseful.
MARTINA NAVRATILOVA: This is Rome, you have to be dramatic, no? (Laughter.)
Q. That's right, that's right. There's still a few hitches in your coordination, I guess, with the two of you.
MARTINA NAVRATILOVA: Well, yeah, we let a whole lot of balls go down the middle last week, so it was better today, it was only a couple. And then we crashed actually, so that was good. I said, "Better we hit each other then, say, ahhh, back off." So, yeah, I'm getting there.
Q. How many tournaments together?
MARTINA NAVRATILOVA: Well, French, Eastbourne Wimbledon, Toronto, the US Open, and we'll see after that.
Q. How fun is this?
MARTINA NAVRATILOVA: How what?
Q. How fun is it to play and be competing and enjoying?
MARTINA NAVRATILOVA: Well, I think it's obviously a lot of fun. That's why I'm here, because, you know, I can always come to Rome and go sight-seeing and eat a lot. Actually, I can eat more if I don't play. So it's great to still be able to, you know, hold my own on the doubles court at least, and win once in a while. It wouldn't be much fun if I was losing a lot, but, you know, there's still enough to win a match here and there and have a good time.
Q. What's the feeling of seeing that you still have all the crowd behind you, because there were more people watching your match than watching the Center Court match today?
MARTINA NAVRATILOVA: Who was on Center? (Laughter.)
MARTINA NAVRATILOVA: Oh, well... (Laughing.) Well, I don't know what the other courts are doing, but it was nice to have the fans behind us anyway, yeah...
Q. What do you miss more of your old game, let's say, if you miss anything? Like power or legs or speed or what?
MARTINA NAVRATILOVA: I think a little bit of everything, you know, just everything is just not as good as it was 10 years ago or 15 years ago, but it's better than when I was about 15 I guess. (Laughing.) Better than 30 years ago. Yeah, I think just a little bit of everything. I mean, technically, I feel better than I've ever been. But, you know, just a little bit slower in responding to the ball, a little bit slower getting there. I mean, if I ran the 40 meters, you know, I don't think I lost more than two meters over the 40 meters, but that's still enough, you know. And on the court it's maybe this much, but that's enough.
Q. Are there any players that you find are similar to you in the way they play and their style or their personality that have come after you? I mean, younger players now.
MARTINA NAVRATILOVA: Well, I mean, I just don't see any serve-and-volleyers, and that's what I was pretty much. And there's, you know, Pat Rafter, you know... (Laughter.) But he's got better legs. Better-looking.
Q. How is your feeling with Aranxta? During the match you didn't talk so much.
MARTINA NAVRATILOVA: How was my feeling?
MARTINA NAVRATILOVA: Well, we have to communicate. I think last week when we played we didn't do enough crossing, and I was not enough of a quarterback. So I think, you know, I need to take charge, and I did that most of the time and sometimes she took charge, so we were much better at communicating today, and we have to keep doing that. But Aranxta really held me up. I mean, she played great today. I thought she returned really well the whole match, and we both served pretty well and they returned well. But we had to keep mixing it up. With these girls, they return so well that if you just play normal, you know, they get grooved and keep hitting that cross-court return. So we have to keep talking because we have to keep creating new situations. So...
Q. If you came back, it means that you like it and you were missing this atmosphere. But what is there, if there is anything, that you least like?
MARTINA NAVRATILOVA: That I what?
Q. That you like the least.
MARTINA NAVRATILOVA: Oh, that I like the least?
MARTINA NAVRATILOVA: Waiting. Waiting for matches, you know, rain delays, waiting at the airports, waiting for your luggage. You know, waiting. When there's time that's sort of dead time, so... But that's okay, you know, small price to pay for having fun and getting paid for it. It's a good thing. And I didn't miss it, by the way. When I was away, I did not miss it. But when I came back, it was nice, so...
Q. How do you fill in the time, the dead time you were talking about? What do you do to occupy yourself during that time?
MARTINA NAVRATILOVA: When I'm waiting for my luggage? (Laughing.)
Q. Do you write?
MARTINA NAVRATILOVA: No. No, I mean you can't do anything in that time. It's like waiting in line for bread, you know? It's like you sort of just stay there, maybe talk to the person next to you.
Q. With regard to your activities off the court, which one's the one that you're most involved in and that you enjoy the most?
MARTINA NAVRATILOVA: Well, I enjoy most giving money away and least making it. But I think the one that I like the most, which I haven't done last year because tennis got in the way, is flying.
Q. Do you find in the locker room these kids, do they look at you as a curiosity?
MARTINA NAVRATILOVA: (Laughing.)
Q. Do they want to meet you? Are they in awe? Tauziat wouldn't be particularly, but there's so many. How do they regard you?
MARTINA NAVRATILOVA: I don't know. You need to talk to them. They don't tell me what they think. Some, I would practice with and they want to take a picture afterwards. So, yeah, you get a little bit of that. But I think most of them just regard me as a peer. So it was funny getting -- the other day I didn't have my badge. I went out and tried to get back in, and the guy said, "Where's your pass? Where's your pass?" I felt like saying, "What, do I look too old to play tennis here?" I'm like, "I'm Martina, I don't need a pass!" (Laughing.) So I got a pass. But it's more likely I would hang out with the parents than the players, yeah. (Laughter.)
Q. You won everywhere but here probably, four times in the final you lost. Which one do you regret more when you were closer to winning, and is it something important or not really?
MARTINA NAVRATILOVA: You know, I didn't know I didn't win here until you reminded me. (Laughing.)
MARTINA NAVRATILOVA: I guess I was in the finals enough. Yeah, that's too bad. Especially the last couple of years here, my fans were just amazing. But by then I was not playing as well as I did in the '80s. Yeah, that's too bad. Maybe I'll win the doubles. (Smiling).
Q. Twice to Evert, once to Seles and once to Martinez.
MARTINA NAVRATILOVA: The Martinez one, I had chances. I remember set point and I missed that forehand, yep, forehand volley. Yeah, if I had won that first set, I think I would have won the match. But I didn't play -- the best tennis years I didn't play here, so... Unfortunately. For whatever reason.
Q. Could you tell us offhand what was the best victory in your career?
MARTINA NAVRATILOVA: No. I don't know. I don't know. No. You know, there's over, what, 1500 or something? I don't know which one. It's hard to pick. Let's see, second round at... (Laughing.) No. Probably beating my grandmother, yeah. That was big. She's a good player.
Q. Do you recall beating Nancy Richey at the French?
MARTINA NAVRATILOVA: Yep, '73. Yeah, I remember beating Nancy. That was like 3 and 3 or something. I remember beating Masthoff on Court 6 here - it was '73 I think, 7-6 in the third, 14-12 in the tiebreak. Yeah, that was a big match. I kept serve and volleying, I kept coming in, she kept passing me, and 13-12 I was serving, I stayed back, she was so surprised, she dumped the return in the net. That was a stroke of genius on my part because I had no idea what I was doing. But, yeah, I remember beating Nancy on clay. That was big.
Q. What was your first reaction when you first heard that Melanie Hingis named her daughter Martina because of you? When you were told something like that --?
MARTINA NAVRATILOVA: Well, she was like 10 or 11 when I heard about it first, so she was not a big player yet. So I thought, "Oh, it's just another parent that named their daughter after me." I had a taxi driver, a Romanian taxi driver in New York that told me he named his daughter after me. I thought, Oh, this was the fourth or fifth kid I heard about being named after me. Then she turns out to be No. 1 in the world, so, yeah, it's pretty amazing.
Q. What was your most important victory outside of tennis?
MARTINA NAVRATILOVA: Birth. (Laughing.) No, it's still in the works - being a very good person. That's still a work in progress.
End of FastScripts....